How the Non-Aggression Principle Works
‘Rectitude is one’s power to decide upon a course of conduct in accordance with reason, without wavering; to die when to die is right, to strike when to strike is right.’ Another speaks of it in the following terms: ‘Rectitude is the bone that gives firmness and stature. Without bones the head cannot rest on top of the spine, nor hands move nor feet stand.’
In order to understand the Non-Aggression Principle, or the NAP for those new to an understanding of liberty, freedom, or those just seeking to understand how basic human interaction is supposed to operate, we must look to the ways in which it is defined, and then see if this Principle is able to work in the modern world, or if its application is just as much of a Utopian dream as we can dream up, especially considering that all dreams have come to an end with the hunger for power that always creeps into civilization.
Murray Rothbard, to many the leading philosopher when it has come to defining Libertarianism, says of the NAP:
“No one may threaten or commit violence (‘aggress’) against another man’s person or property. Violence may be employed only against the man who commits such violence; that is, only defensively against the aggressive violence of another. In short, no violence may be employed against a nonaggressor. Here is the fundamental rule from which can be deduced the entire corpus of libertarian theory.” – War, Peace, and the State
I like the theory. I find that in a world that revolved around true “justice,” cooperation, and meaning, this principle could work. The individuals would have to find that Happiness achieved its highest state through interacting with one another when they found it most beneficial, and being able to be left alone when his preference dictated it. This is not just a principle that one man can live by, it is a system of ethics, a moral system that men find that they can achieve their highest meaning for themselves, only by being left alone when they want to be left alone, and leaving others alone when they want to be left alone. But this system of morals and ethics must be constantly reinforced, it must be taught to the youth to explain how and why this system achieves a full alive thinking being. Nowadays, we can contrast the other ways of thinking against this system, but there are so many interdependencies tied in with all of the other systems, that no one feels they can give up one whole system to go to this: What the common man of today wants is a combination of all moral systems, he wants a system that is completely free of all contradictions, and can be applied to the minutest situation, all the way up to the largest scenario.
Why do the libertarians of today like this system? I believe it is because it is the only system that gives confidence in the individual. The individual is the cornerstone of philosophical thought, is at the epicenter of your and my thought. I find that it is only my individual brain that can do MY OWN thinking for me. I know it would be a disaster if I left my thoughts and actions up to another! Capitalism is founded upon individual decisions, on the beauty of choice, and both of these can only take place where there is zero coercion upon the individual to get what he wants.
Let’s take a look at an example. In today’s age, man is beset with all sorts of stresses, most of which he has accepted and which his conscious mind no longer recognizes as stresses, they are things he calls by the brainwashed names of “responsibilities and duties.” The most common of these stresses are taxes, but it may be interesting to note that man’s acceptance of the tax system begins early in his life, as it is taught in all schools that “taxes and death are the only guarantees.” But taxes are not just surcharges upon man’s labor. There are taxes upon his food, his clothing, his toys, his home, his travel, his time. Most of the time man looks at just the dollar figure upon his labor, his work, as one of his “responsibilities” for living in society. He looks all around him and sees people extolling the “virtues” of a man who pays taxes, and since he has grown up with this same idea, he begins to justify this action as something he must do. He does not see his day filled with all sorts of value that is his and his alone. He merely sees the value that is left. And yet he sees no coercive taking, he does not see that because he must give x% to people a, b, c, d, and e, that his decisions as a consumer have been altered. He has had an entirely new reality constructed for him, one not of his own creation, which allows him to see through the same lens as everyone else in society. He thinks that if he pays off the collector, then he will be left alone. He thinks that this is the only way. He thinks the only two choices he has had are to pay or not to pay. He believes that if he does not pay then he has done something wrong. He has had his entire world turned so upside down in today’s modern world, that he feels non-aggression is just not aggressing. He believes himself to be a pacifist even though he has no idea of the ethical foundations of such a position. He feels all too much, and what he feels is that society has done him a service by making him perform these ethical duties to his fellow men, that he even believes he ACTS (chooses the action) from a position of moral superiority than others who refuse to let their time or money be taken.
What is man if he does not have choice? Who or what guides this man if not his self? The wonderful thing about the mind is the questions it can ask, the reflection it must undergo so that it can become its own. This is why ethics and moralities ARE philosophies, because in order for them to be understood there must have been a level of thought, contemplation on what, why, and how these are to work.The Non aggression Principle too is a philosophy, not an answer for every single scenario that comes up, but it can be pretty close if the right amount of contemplation, from the right kind of mind, takes place. Now, I say the right kind of mind, I do not mean that Joe Sheep, who spends the majority of his time watching the news, performing a Shelter-in-Place when he is “asked,” and believes that it is justifiable to give up some of his “rights,” in order to be more secure. No, I do not mean that guy (for one he is not human. he is a following machine.). I mean a guy who can see the whole picture. The guy who experiments with different types of behaviors, who is not afraid of failure, who fights for what he believes in no matter the consequences, and a guy who understands how to use his power of reasoning.
Applying the Non-Aggression Principle is very easy in today’s coercive world. I find it ridiculous that there are plenty who object to this principle on terms of Marxian criticism, in that capitalism forces there to be owners and producers, and if everything is owned by the owners, then they can kill the producers at any time if they trespass into any of their privately owned lands. What I call that train of thought, is applying all of the interdependencies that have been forced upon everyone through government-controlled crony-capitalfascism. How can one really understand what pure capitalism is, if they have been told that what has been going on in amerika for the last 100 years is actual capitalism? Then there is the guy who says that sometimes the initiation of force could be used for the common good, “such as the death of one man to save a forest?” Again, this carbon-copies the operating principle of Non-Aggression onto this spider-web society of coercion, limited choice, over-population, war, and the capital and supply domination of the elite. This principle of Non-Aggression is a basic principle of morality, it has been a part of every man’s (actual man, see last paragraph on actual definition) being since he was born. It is not a political system, it is how man is able to find meaning. And what is the dilemma man finds himself in, when he has been aggressed upon?
Enlightened man shall not be aggressed upon, whether it is by one man with a gun, knife or stick, or a million men who call themselves a government. Morality is morality, and a just because the majority says it is ok, does not make it morally right. This whole principle of whomever thought democracy, when applied by the majority, could change definitions, ethics, right and wrong, does not pass the logic test. Sure, in Aristotle’s time, I believe they applied democracy or a republic only by the thinking people actually having votes that counted, so there was at least contemplation more so than mere might behind the democratic system, something which lacks today, and is why the sheep are called the booboise. Because even though they can check a box, they still cannot see that they are only checking a box. They consigned themselves to limited choice and being treated like grain-fed, poorly housed cattle, andknew they were mindless automotons from the minute they shut up when their teacher told them to in the first grade,
But there is only ONE WAY the morally minded, deep thinking individual can handle the Non-Aggression Principle that is at the core of his every action and being today: Fuck EM. Go on you fucking pigs, you politician, you law-makers, you alphabet wearing robots. Knock on my door, and boss me around. Look me in the eye through your ski goggles, with your camouflage on in the middle of a city, I can still see you. Fuck you, get the fuck off my property, get the fuck out of MY Space. So when one looks at it critically, the Non-Aggression Principle really is only effective because of its use of actual Aggression. Come on people, quit letting your selves be trampled upon….