The Non-Aggression Principle, and the Questions that follow…
When it comes to those who profess to grasp the NAP, I must say that there are few if any who really understand the philosophy behind it. Most always forget that it does not simply work as the one way street that they talk about it in. The majority of the “libertarian” thinkers, Eric Peters, Lew Rockwell, LaUrence (Don’t forget its spelled with a U) Vance, Mike Rozeff, and others, write that as long as they continue to live their lives according to the non-aggression principle, then they will be doing their best to further the cause of liberty. They all look at it from the perspective that they are not interfering with ANYONE ELSE, that they are minding their own business, and that they leave the door open for everyone to come to their own conclusions without any coercion. They HOPE that if enough people see how they handle their lives, then the world will spontaneously CHANGE and everyone will say to hell with politicians, taxes, drug laws, and a state monopoly on banking, law enforcement, roads and schooling. Where is it that they fail? They fail to see that they are not an originating point in the equation. They are not point A where every interaction begins with them, and the flow chart moves east. They are a mid-point, where true, their interactions with others do move eastward, but, in a correct understanding of how the NAP works, there are also interactions that flow INTO them from others, and it is how they have NOT-chosen to deal with those “flows” that prove they do not :
1. Understand the NAP and its diverse workings. 2. Actually cloak a form of passivity and non-violence under the title of the NAP, which is wrong. 3. By doing this, they actually hurt the “liberty cause” more than help it.
In order to have a full-working of the NAP, it must flow according to a non-coercive plan and action from all directions. Person A must leave person B to his own business as long as he doesn’t hurt anyone, and Person B must leave person C to his own business as long as he doesn’t hurt anyone, ad infinitum. But, even if 15% of all individuals interact in this manner, yet there is a giant mass of individuals who act coercively in any number of ways towards those same individuals, then there must be repercussions. And WHY must there be repercussions? Because that is the inherent value of the NAP. The NAP holds each person responsible for their actions. If Person A, B, C, D are all working cooperatively to mind each others business in perfect harmony, but someone comes along and starts bullying them around to give them a percentage of their money at gunpoint, to make them buy licenses to move around (which before they had done freely), to jail them if they do not adjust their lifestyles to their actions that are permitted, then what must be done? Who is living according to life’s rules? What happens if Person A, B, C, D allow this intrusion to occur to them and their property? How will they be able to justify hypocrisy in their philosophical system of “liberty”? How could these Persons be trusted if they wrote to others about living a responsible system of self accountability if they can’t even live according to the rules they preach? If the whole system of libertarianism is based upon value and the individual, then how can people ever learn to value freedom if they will not fight for it and let the value of freedom become KNOWN to them?
Each time there is a fault to a system, a break in the chain, it causes a further breakdown to the next necessary link, and because this is a philosophical system that lacks strength, it is obvious of its lacking because each question of its weaknesses leads to new questions of further weaknesses, further holes in its armor, new areas of penetration for the propaganda of outsiders to penetrate.
A strong philosophical system is not only one for the mind, but also must lead to action. Libertarians, anarchists, those who want to be left alone have all had themselves corralled under the name of Non-Violent protestors. They take the lash, they give up their dollars, waste their time legally addressing their wrongs in the very court of law they are against, and they waste their time hoping and preying for it all to change. Please, Please, Please, can’t you bad people just leave us alone!
Scott Lazarowitz writes of a make-believe libertarian, limited government society:
Now, if you institute your “limited government” to rule over me as well over yourself, regardless of my lack of consent, then you are saying that those people who are employed by the State are given some sort of extra authority over my life and some extra armed (presumably) power to enforce that scheme, whether I agree to their authority or not.
But this kind of scheme clearly violates the non-aggression principle. First, you are initiating aggression against me by instituting this regime with power and authority over me, without my agreement or consent, and without any valid contract binding me to such an agreement. You’re just binding me to it anyway, by force. For a contract to be valid and legitimate, in my view, it would have to be voluntary, and this scheme is not. And second, in this involuntary scheme you have imposed on me without my consent, you are employing other people to act as agents of this State with authority over my life to which I did not consent. Here is more violation of the non-aggression principle. This scheme of limited government is not “libertarian,” nor is it just, nor is it a peaceful arrangement.
Scott’s example, even though it is meant to illustrate the problems with implementing any “new” limited government scheme, fails to address the coercion inherent in the governmental scheme that exists now. Of course, do not get me wrong, every guy on LewRockwell or Mises.com is fully aware of the wrongs being done to them from all angles, their only problem is that THEY DO NOTHING ABOUT IT! When Scott says of this make-believe limited government system, he says that: this kind of scheme clearly violates the non-aggression principle. First, you are initiating aggression against me by instituting this regime with power and authority over me, without my agreement or consent, and without any valid contract binding me to such an agreement. You’re just binding me to it anyway, by force. For a contract to be valid and legitimate, in my view, it would have to be voluntary, and this scheme is not. And second, in this involuntary scheme you have imposed on me without my consent, you are employing other people to act as agents of this State with authority over my life to which I did not consent. Here is more violation of the non-aggression principle. Ok Scott, if all of those are against the NAP, and you are living in either that world or the one we live in now, which makes infinite violations of the NAP, let me ask: WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT? How do you propose to others to deal with these violations? The hypothetical arrangement is probably a bit easier to deal with because it will accept a hypothetical answer. What I am most concerned with is how MUST WE ALL DEAL WITH THE OBVIOUS VIOLATIONS AGAINST THE SELF AND AGAINST FREEDOM THAT OCCUR ON A DAILY BASIS (eliminate trespassing violators)? Or maybe there is a psychological bloc in many of us that has been implanted there from years and years of repeated programming that prevents those many from being able to confront their captors, their jailers, their oppressors and to make them responsible, to sever the head from the body of those devils and to slide the head onto a stake for all the world to witness, to view what will happen if coercive oppressiveness ever takes root again. Maybe we all just have too many other things that we cannot live without? Maybe freedom is really number 125 on the list of things we want, right after legalized marijuana and 7 day a week Amazon shipping? Or maybe we just all like hypothesizing? But probably more closer to the truth, is that it all comes back to defining what the world is that we live in, as well as the place we each want to have in this world, and how we want to be treated. I just don’t believe that the population, the sheep, the masses have the capability of discerning what it really is that they are, the complexity of the world, and how they can go about taking back their individuality. There’s still food at the market, movies on the tv, sunshine in the air, and the pool is open, what’s the point? Freedom just seems so far away….
And I truly think this is where the problem lies. There’s just not enough people that have their OWN values, their OWN ideals, their OWN principles. A personal war against the manipulators and the masses? I’m sure they think that would require some anger management classes. If I believe that everyone is my enemy then I probably have some anti-social tendencies and it must be my fault, right? People are just so used to being told what to think, who to fight, how to work, where to go, what to do, who the fuck to be. They have to wonder what this idea of freedom really is. Their minds are unable to begin to fathom its reaches, of the idea and the extent of their own minds. What are limits? What are obstacles? If there really was a heaven the first thing people would do when they walked through the gates would be to look for the sign with all the rules posted on it.
How is it that people comprehend this world to be round? How is that people can solve the mathematical equation of change? What are the constants and what are the variables, and who said anything about the mystery x factor? In this structured world there are no more variables, as the variables were locked up within individuality, packed away in individual minds, value, choice, and action. The constant action is that you will do what you are told. Routine is the strongest force in the universe, well at least the milky way, and routine is the constant, and the constant is routine, and everyone just wants to live, even if that saying lacks substance, lacks a subject, an object, and who’s doing what to what or whom for how long and toward what purpose? Language’s only point was to define, to carry things in the mind, to pack the world in our backpacks so we could open them in the privacy of our own homes so we could dissect and deconstruct the world we had been given. How could we ever define the world before we defined our selfs? Why would it matter to anyone if the world was round anyway, if it is just lived flatly, along a chronological time line, where man is born, he grows, he works, he dies. Oh, but while he lived he hit a bunch of home runs, or he threw a bunch of touchdowns, or he scored the most goals, or he was a senator, or he died for the usa in afghanistan? What does it all matter, and for who did he do it, why did he do it, and what did it change?
Max Stirner, anarchist, philosopher, said that man has these “fixed ideas.”
Man, your head is haunted; you have wheels in your head! You imagine great things, and depict to yourself a whole world of gods that has an existence for you, a spirit realm to which you suppose yourself to be called, an ideal that beckons to you. You have a fixed idea! Do not think that I am jesting or speaking figuratively when I regard those persons who cling to the Higher, and (because the vast majority belongs under this head) almost the whole world of men, as veritable fools, fools in a madhouse. What is it then, that is called a ‘fixed idea’. An idea that has subjected man to itself. When you recognize, with regard to such a fixed idea, that it is folly, you shut its slave up in an asylum. And is the truth of the faith, say, which we are not to doubt; the majesty of the people, which are not to strike at (he who does is guilt of –lese-majesty); virtue, against which the censor is not to let a word pass, that morality may be kept pure; are these not ‘fixed ideas’?Is not all the stupid chatter of most of our newspapers the babble of fools who suffer from the fixed idea of morality, legality, christianity, and so forth, and only seem to go free because the madhouse in which they walk takes in so broad a space? Touch the ‘fixed idea’ of such a fool, and you will at once have to guard your back against the lunatic’s stealthy malice. For these great lunatics are like the little so-called lunatics in this point too–that they assail by stealth him who touches their fixed idea. They first steal his weapon, steal free speech from him, and then they fall upon him with their nails. Every day now lays bare the cowardice and vindictiveness of these maniacs, and the stupid populace hurrahs for their crazy measure.
What is your fixed idea? We all know that morality, law, aggression, are so rooted in man’s nature that he cannot see a way to become alive, to become his own man. It’s plain that the libertarians fixed idea is non-aggression no matter what, and that he must RE-DEFINE what his position is if he is to make any headway against his captors. As long as he carries around with him his baggage of morality, legality, and his mis-understanding of how the world works and how those in power follow a code far different than his, devoid of right and wrong, then he will always be on the losing side. The libertarian can take his honor with him to his grave, but what kind of a libertarian could he really have been to never really know the liberty he talked so much about.
According to the two-way street of the NAP, everyone, its been sword-bearing time for quite some time. Draw it from its sheath and let those who engage in manipulation, thievery, dishonesty, and murder, know that they have violated your code and it is too late for apologies, that their skulls will now rest atop a stake for all the world to see. Maybe you will die too, but at the least you die more free than you ever would have been sipping a coffee showing your tax accountant all your newest yearly receipts for your exemptions.