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The Limits of the Non-Aggression Principle

The Limits of the Non-Aggression Principle
JUNE 07, 2013
The Freeman

One of the mainstays of libertarianism is the non-aggression principle, or NAP for short. One version of the NAP states that while it is legitimate to use physical violence in defense of one’s rights, initiating violence against another person is wrong and can be met with proportional violence in self-defense.

In this formulation, aggression means “initiating physical violence” in violation of another person’s rights to person and property. If Jack hits Jill, Jack aggresses against Jill and Jill is the victim. But if Jack hits Jill because Jill is coming at him with a knife, then Jack may simply be acting in self-defense—that is, in defense of his rights. Jill is the aggressor. (The classical-liberal legal theorist Richard Epstein addresses scenarios like this in this important essay on strict liability.)

Now, some libertarians argue that any kind of taxation by the state constitutes wrongful aggression because it threatens violence (e.g., arresting and imprisoning) against a person if she merely tries to protect her rights to her property by refusing to pay. Others argue the state does not aggress when it uses or threatens physical violence in the course of its legitimate duties (e.g., taxing to finance national defense), but does violate the NAP when it goes beyond those duties (e.g., taxing to finance a war of aggression). But people often strongly disagree about what those duties are or how they are defined: What exactly constitutes national defense?

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Your last point: what is national defense?

National Defense consists in building defensive weapons, defensive fortifications and counterattack abilities. Deter attack by a strong defensive posture and a threat of overwhelming counterattack. This would mean monitoring our borders and immediate seas, developing anti-missile, anti-aircraft, and anti-ship systems. Developing counterattack capabilities consists in maintaing long range missiles, submarines and bombers. Signing treaties for fast forward deployment is also useful. Our military should be wargaming from the premise of detecting and repelling attacks and counterattacking, not waging war in foreign lands or the two simultaneous wars theory.

In an AnCAp society,

In an AnCap society, competing private courts would be the arbiters of legal disputes. Both parties would have to agree on which firm would arbitrate contract disputes before the contract was signed, thus both parties would be well-aware of which property rights regime the court favored before the dispute described in the article arose. If either party refused to comply with the court's (the court which both parties agreed to) interpretation of the contract, they would soon find that they had no claim in any court in the land since no court would view them as reliable in upholding contractual agreements, and any claim they brought to any court would thenceforth be ignored until they satisfied (or demonstrated that they were attempting to satisfy) the provisions of the previous court decision.

Quotes and sayings.

John F. Kennedy - "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

Though I only advocate peaceful solutions, I have always enjoyed learning quotes and sayings.

"What if the American people learn the truth" - Ron Paul

The Issue: Who Should Umpire Those Rights ?

There is no justification for unwarranted aggression. NAP is not that complicated. The fact that there are some people who act in bad faith, or there are some cloudy areas of an agreement, does not justify using impersonal government guns to enforce a decision in favor of their good 'ole buddy political team.

Gene Louis
Supporting a Needed Tool for Government Feedback:
A Citizen-Operated Legal System.

This is a Christian Ideal as well, however....

Ask most Christians today if Moses was a murderer for killing an Egyptian task master in the defense of another, and they will say "Yes, he is a murderer"

Christians today are brainwashed into being peaceful pansies. A true shepherd fights to the death to protect his flock.

I still think waking up the Christians is the next step, this is what I've been working on.

Some are waking up

Some Christians are waking up to this fact, Chuck Baldwin (Constitution Party Candidate '08) is helping in this area concerning the Bible and the U.S. Constitution, and how they go almost hand in hand. Sometimes it takes a bit to get people to get away from the Dogma's of the "Church", and realize that they only preach servitude to the Church and not Christ.

"Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth. "
— William Faulkner