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What makes the non-aggression principle "Right"?

If I see someone coming toward me with an intention to do me harm, a criminal, a sociopath, an enemy, someone operating outside the human social norms or moral law, a predator, I know with no uncertainty this person is bad news. There's a feeling of danger, fear, like with a wild animal. More than that, a feeling of sickness, anger, betrayal, injustice. This person is a deviant, someone with no right, no quarter, no protections. A traitor to human society.

But why?

Because I have some presumption or expectation that this enemy and predator should not be an enemy, that I am owed a certain respect by this human, and see them as a common member of some kind of social agreement, or moral law, or community where everyone refrains from breaking these common rules. I feel this person is under an obligation which they're breaking.

But if I did not have this expectation, if I was in a hostile territory and expected no such common treatment, I might regard such a human being just as a predator no different than a wild animal.

I have to imagine that at points in history, this is much how people regarded dangerous humans from other tribes, not with any moral outrage, just with a sense of danger from a predator. In the absence of any expectation of a common law or moral code, in the absence of any mutual obligation or shared interests, there would be no moral outrage.

Perhaps this is wrong. Perhaps people always did or at least should have felt moral outrage at predatory behavior from other humans. Maybe all such behavior is inherently, objectively wrong, regardless of whether people knew or apprehended it. This would presuppose the existence of objective moral obligations on all men toward all other men, and could only be grounded in some higher law giver.

If men are just animals following their natural instincts and dispositions, then there is neither ground for objectivity in right and wrong, nor should there be a sense of injustice or instinctive moral knowledge that all humans ought do such and such.

Historically, such a sense of moral outrage did not always attach to predatory humans, unless they were already within the tribe, bound to some kind of mutually understood code of behavior to which all adhered. It is the shattering of this expectation of common conduct that I think produces the feeling of injustice, moral outrage, and shock.

But such a blow to one's cognitive peace does not in fact provide any objective grounding for the real moral nature of an act. It explains the feeling, or describes it, rather, but it doesn't tell us that the act itself is unjust.

Just because we don't like to feel betrayed, tricked, caught off guard, or in the cross hairs of a self serving human predator, out for himself and running his own game, taking advantage of social arrangements only to abuse and flout them for his advantage... doesn't mean that that person is doing anything morally wrong.

This person is not responsible for our assumption of a common moral law, or some agreement. If he's running his own game, and has his own goals, we can hate him, we can be angry, but he doesn't owe us anything in a world of free, equal individuals with no higher law giver.

Men are their own masters and bosses, define their own moral oughts, personal goals, define what is right and what is wrong, and assuming they have moral obligations to you is just your false assumption.

You may be right in locking them up, destroying them, hunting them down, just like wild animals. But if they are just animals, as on naturalism, and there is no higher moral law, no law giver, and no objective, binding morality, then they are just free agents pursuing their chosen goals.

Even a person who has explicitly made promises, if he then breaks them, is that a standard of immorality? But who says he is obliged to keep promises? Who gives this law?

Is it just because it harms the interests of society? Are we just an injured party, angry and taking revenge? If society is the source of right and wrong, where does that road end? If so, then society also defined and delimits rights.

So what is even meant by right and wrong in terms of the non aggression principle?

Here, we are dealing not just with a code applied to an ingroup where a common moral law is rightly assumed as applying, where a social contract of mutual obligations exists. No, the NAP seeks to extend its domain to all human relations, so that no human ever physically interferes with another without invitation. And if anyone does, it is deemed morally wrong.

What is the argument for this moral system, if it is not given from above, or written in the human heart?

I still have yet to see the argument.

And let's be clear. On atheism and naturalism, which is the predominant view in the higher educated libertarian movement (Mises, Rothbard, Rand, Larken Rose, Adam Kokesh, Molyneaux) as well as the greater western intellectual culture - THERE IS NO HIGHER LAW GIVER. Let's get that clear and not debate it.

More pertinent to the discussion, as perhaps more controversial, is the second point. Let's be truthful and face the facts. There is no such moral system written in the human heart. Not of everyone, not of most, not of a majority. There is no imperative in the human heart, historically or presently, in instinct or logic, that tells a person never to use force to advance one's own interests, one's family, etc.

A hungry man with a hungry child has no moral statement written on his heart to refrain from stealing an apple from a rich man's apple cart, or killing said man, for a meal. And you can take it as far down the road from there as you want. Nothing was written on the hearts of socialist revolutionaries and gulag operators, or German nationalists and camp guards.

Sure, some probably had grave moral misgivings about their actions, deep moral pain and guilt. But by and large, every state and every nation has a large share of people with no moral misgivings about harming others and plenty more who will justify intellectually such actions even if they product bad, vestigial feelings of remorse.

If there is no higher law giver, and there is nothing written universally on the human heart, then how do you persuade people to adopt the radical NAP?

Do you say it's not radical? Don't be obtuse. It would dismantle every existing social arrangement and order, every state, every legal system, democratic or otherwise. It is extremely radical and a departure from all present legal order and international relationships.

So then, how persuade people to adopt a radical departure from the order they know, in service of a moral claim or ethical demand that no person ever physically interfere with another person uninivted? How do you justify the rightness of this claim?

Just say it's right? People are free to disagree, and do.

Appeal to their self interests? That's an appeal to self interest, class interest, or what have you, and is not a justification of ethics.

Appeal to the good of everyone? That is utilitarian approach, and is one step removed in to abstraction than the direct appeal to interests.

I am at a loss to understand or grasp how modern intellectuals, fully enwrapped in atheism and nothing doubting, and fully aware (or should be, anyway) of the psychological and biological nature of human beings, their violence, particularism, irrationality, selfishness, and shortsightedness - how do they come up with morally binding ethical claims and demands, and justify them?

How do they believe them, themselves, or hope to persuade others less blind to the implications that follow obviously from the absence of any law giver and the absence of any internal emotive or logical demands in humans for such ethical imperatives?

Do they even care to be taken seriously? Do they even wish to have an intellectually sound, consistent and defensible position?

Are they just gurus, cult leaders, powerful personalities and witch doctors on the modern stage of the podcast and blog?

Give us something. Give us an argument, at least try.



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Very good post. Really asks a

Very good post. Really asks a question that I think many in the Liberty movement do not think of, and a question that the leadership does not want answered.

Personally? Nothing is true, everything is permitted...

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:

Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a

Well said Bill

There is no "natural" morality. People either come up with their own definition of morals to suit themselves for personal gain or they accept the moral standard of our Creator regardless of immediate personal implications.

I enjoy the thought behind the NAP

but the one thing I have learned in my life is that when confrontation comes, being MORE AGGRESSIVE to people trying to harm me worked everytime compared to trying to take a passive approach. Punks look at someone trying to calm a situation as weak and you can actually take charge of the situation by acting MORE AGGRESSIVE than them. I actually find it kind of funny.

I don't think it is ever good to take the first step towards aggression BUT if one is confronted with it, you need to be the top dog in the fight or you will be picked apart due to them seeing weakness whether assumed or real.

It is also why I believe everyone should carry a gun. You don't need to be a bad ass anytime you are in public and try and punk people because you know you have one BUT if the need arises, you need to BE the crazy mofo that no one wants to mess with if someone does in fact try to harm you and deal with the situation.

The thoughts behind a non aggressive principle is a sound one minus the fact that the evil in the world could care less if you want to turn the other cheek or not.

Paranoid or not, I am sick of hearing about people getting shot, stabbed, raped or robbed just because they LOOK like a victim. Once someone takes the time to get to know you then you can take that "NAP".

http://shelfsufficient.com - My site on getting my little family prepped for whatever might come our way.

http://growing-elite-marijuana.com - My site on growing marijuana

Well...

Since you are describing a situation that is *responding* to aggression, the response isn't "aggression", it's self-defense. And there is nothing wrong with a strong, swift, violent self-defense. It's probably the best kind there is.

http://lionsofliberty.com/
*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

I agree on the defense

I don't know if what I was trying to write came out the right way. I was trying to convey that many people look like a victim when out in public and sometimes it helps to have an aggressive look to you versus a passive happy go lucky one.

Either way, I agree with you on the defense side of things not being aggressive.

http://shelfsufficient.com - My site on getting my little family prepped for whatever might come our way.

http://growing-elite-marijuana.com - My site on growing marijuana

Staying on the moral path, but can that path itself be moral?

I might later comment on the interesting details you bring up, but for now I'd simply like to address you're basic question [as it seems to touch upon all that you write here at the DP to some degree].

What makes the non-aggression principle "Right"?

It makes me happy. That is my basis for ever deeming it "Right". Such is the simple essence of all that may be described as moral. "Right" doesn't directly refer to the NAP, or at least it can't until it has been directly shown to refer to someone's state of mind, like me for instance. I'm a happy camper as I engage the NAP, I find others who've had a similar experience, and then at some point I become lazy with my language and misplace reference toward the NAP that which I should more correctly refer toward myself, being "Right". "Right", as moral reference, is always traceable to someone's experience of being right, happy and healthy. A houseplant is right when its branches are erect and green. I may get sloppy with my language and say that it's "Right" to water my plant and to pull back the curtains for sunlight, but "Right" ultimately refers to a healthy plant or a happy water-giver. We abuse the terms "Good" and "Bad" in the same manner we abuse "Right" and "Wrong". I just ate a really good pizza! -What does that really mean? All I know is that I feel really good having eaten that pizza. True story.

What if…?

What if aggression made you "happy"? Would it then become "right"?

http://lionsofliberty.com/
*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

Basically no

...for the same reason I expressed above - that "it"(aggression) is not exactly something that can be right or wrong. "Agression" can't be healthy or happy. Even the sentence "What if aggression made you "happy"?" needs to be tweaked for argument. That particular sentence is similar to "Guns kill people", but you and I both know that the better sentence is, "People sometimes kill people, with guns." So therefore the hypothetical is better expressed as "What if you became happier upon using aggression?". I have come to believe that hypothetical arguments make a neurotic mess of moral philosophy pretty damned fast, but by cleaning up the language [as I have attempted here] some insight might be gleaned. The essence of moral philosophy is in keeping track of the notion that conscious beings bear an inherent drive to be happy and/or healthy. So hypotheticals need much scrutiny. Are they believable? Do they have context? Are people honest with themselves, or whimsical? Is there a time element? I thought drinking a bottle of tequila last night would make me happy, and I did seem happy last night for a while doing that. Today I can clearly determine that I am quite unhappy as a result.

I can hypothetically say "Yes", but I've more actual reason to say "No".

I would wager that far more

I would wager that far more people than you believe enjoy a whole panoply of immoral acts, from petty theft, banging the neighbors wife, winning a fight, bullying, putting ourselves into an intoxicating stupor, indulging in personal pride, making others feel small and second best, enjoying the misery and embarrassment of others we dislike, in not helping people in need, in feeling power over others, envy, hatred, contempt.

America culture is practically an artistic salivating over the idea of pulling off heists, getting away with crime or being a gangster.

Human nature is deeply fallen, as the religious would say. The evolutionary biologist would agree but instead of fallen would say that our animal impulses continues to play the role of tempter, away from what we typically call "moral."

Morality seems more or less to be a projection onto others, in the form of obligation, of how we'd want them to act in our best interest. Do we act that way? Hardly! And according to our science, there is nothing about morality that is "good" objectively. You can just as easily favor conflict, war, inequality and chaos if your highest value is strong, dangerous personalities.

Who decides what is the right end goal? Happy, gregarious, unselfish little democrats who would never raise a hand against another? How do such people comport with libertarianism? They are the very people who cowardly submit to the state and the security it offers... Lots of thinkers have embraced very undemocratic and unegalitarian ideals as the best future for humanity.

Maybe the self selection bias of moral theorists tricks them into thinking others are just like them, and maybe they just trick themselves into thinking they conform to their own moral ideas.

What if the sky were

What if the sky were green?

Mentally stable individuals do not feel happiness from aggression. It is not the way our brains work.

The use of aggression is like

The use of aggression is like using duct tape to patch a tire. :D It might get you another mile. Be careful not to use that mile to jump back on the Interstate. ;)

This is a truly thought-provoking post

I appreciate an argument, not meant to say right versus wrong, but the finding of truth versus untruth as enjoyable as most here. I applaud you for getting peoples brains moving whether they agree with you or not. The truth is that, while the nonaggression principle may seem completely logical to most of us, here, it is important to be able to explain it and to provide reasons for why it is the optimal form of interaction for mankind.

I believe that most of your arguments are truthful in that people have no "moral obligation to act a certain way." However,to some extent, I believe it is almost operating within a vacuum. By this I mean that the assumption seems that we are a lone animal on the plains with only ourselves to think about. As hard as this may seem to be currently, isolation is still a possibility. One could if they were so inclined move to a place where they would have little to no human interaction. Is this what you wish?

If, this is in fact what you wish, I am sure that you can abide by whatever moral code you decide to live by and if anyone were to come in your way you could probably take care of them in whatever fashion you devise without any consequence from anyone.

However, I am not so naïve as to believe that you wish to be alone. I am going to guess that you actually wish to deal with other men and women. Again, I could be wrong you may be living on a mountaintop with no one else. Your want for conversation here suggests otherwise.

I believe that this is where the subjective rubber meets the road. We have in fact gone beyond the individual. But understanding that we are individuals that wish to interact with others, we seek to find an agreeable set of rules that would not infringe upon our individuality.

So speaking to the nature of things, do you believe that a society without rules will be successful? Do you believe that a society with rules that don't respect individuals will be successful? By successful, I mean that it would optimize happiness peacefulness and individuality and other things that many hold to be more pleasurable and life sustaining. There will always be those that do not respect others. (I suppose there's a truth for you). Though this may be a truth within society I believe it to be a small subset. And I find it no reason to throw out the idea of a nonaggressive principle when trying to form a better society to live in with others. Do you have another method of so ial interaction?

-Love-
Fritzi on the mountaintop

by the very fact that you're

by the very fact that you're still alive means you want to be free from harm, otherwise, you would have succumbed to something else by this point.

Why are you so committed to aggression?

The NAP certainly demands contextual understanding.

But you don't want that. You don't care about that. What you really oppose is the Rule of Law.

You are attacking anyone who dares to make the assertion of the Rule of Law.

It's not the NAP you dislike. It's the idea that one law is good enough for everyone. It's the Rule of Law you oppose.

You support democracy. You support contextual morality.

I don't believe in God (open to be convinced) but I do like the Ten Commandments.

You do not.

You want the Ten Commandments to apply when you think they should and never to rulers.

Thanks

for that non biased rundown. : )

'non biased' is apparently pretending you aren't a statist

You are. You are a collectivist.

Stand up for what you believe coward. Stop typing pages of crap trying to obfuscate the fact.

I argue with and respect statists and collectivists. I work with statists.

They are honest. They admit what they believe and advocate for it.

You sir stand up for no position. You argue against freedom but won't make the case for statism. Why?

Because you can't.

inalienable rights, people should have the right to be left

alone as long as they are not harming others. Also morality is not subjective to nature, society cannot rule by force and say it is justified. Not forcing others to be a slave of societal rules is a good starting point for restoring a higher moral ground.

kind people rock

Jan Helfeld's picture

First you have to objectively prove what is good- morally

First you have to objectively prove what is good- morally: then you can get to social ethics or political theory. You need to figure out how to optimize the possibility of a happy life, what principles to follow, and habituate yourself to following them. You need an integrated philosophy based on reality. There are right ways to act and wrong ways, based on what we do all share: a basic human nature. So there are things that are good in principle for everyone, but that doesn't mean that every choice must be the same for all people, because we are different in many ways as well, apart from our basic human nature. For example, you may like chocolate and I don't. There is nothing right or wrong about you either choice. On the other hand, it is wrong to be a murderer (or initiate force except under extreme duress).

Jan Helfeld

Thanks, Jan

But what is that basic human nature? If we hope to seat objective morality in human nature, then are we stuck with results we don't like? Is it human nature to demand a fair distribution of economic and social power, even at the cost of coercive collective action? It seems to be as true as any claims about non violence. I would be much more cautious about rooting morality, in the sense of something universally binding, in the is of human nature.

A further objection, the is of human nature does not imply any moral ought on an individual who either departed naturally from such a predominant nature, or someone who chose on intellectual grounds to depart from the most typical sort of morality to define some personal value for oneself.

Finally, if there was, say, some commitment written on the human heart or nature for reciprocity, keeping promises - something basic and modest like that - it in no way commits a person to a specific, obscure theory of just title or property, as is built into and implied in the typical NAP formulation.

Remember, the NAP is not mere simple non aggression against bodies, but also property, and so carries in itself (or rather, smuggles) some normative theory of property rights which is neither predominant, nor uncontroversial, and is far from something instinctive or rooted in any average human nature.

Jan Helfeld's picture

let me answer your first questions

Bill, let me answer your first questions:
But what is that basic human nature? - Human beings have physical and mental/ soul needs .physical - eating, breathing, keeping warm physical integrity, etc. Mental needs - knowledge, self-esteem, piece of mind etc. following the right principles lead to greater satisfaction of these needs and thus optimize your possibility of a long happy life which should be your ultimate end, i.e, Supreme good .
If we hope to seat objective morality in human nature, then are we stuck with results we don't like? - NO. Part of human nature is the fact that we have free will . Thus, we do not need to make the wrong choices. We can correct ourselves and improve our lives.
Is it human nature to demand a fair distribution of economic and social power, even at the cost of coercive collective action?- No.

It seems to be as true as any claims about non violence. I would be much more cautious about rooting morality, in the sense of something universally binding, in the is of human nature.- What else would you root morality on if it is not on the facts of human nature, i.e. reality? Morality, by its nature, claims to be universal and in order to be properly universal it must be based on facts that are universal to human beings.

A further objection, the is of human nature does not imply any moral ought on an individual who either departed naturally from such a predominant nature, or someone who chose on intellectual grounds to depart from the most typical sort of morality to define some personal value for oneself. - It is not about typical or not typical. It is about the about the truth about what will optimize your possibility of a happy life- long term consequences incorporated in your present behavior.
The epistemological derivation of the concept good from the facts of reality is complex. I did it in an essay.

I think I have given you a sufficient lead to sort these things out.

Jan Helfeld

Thanks, Jan. Part of human

Thanks, Jan.

Part of human nature is the fact that we have free will . Thus, we do not need to make the wrong choices. We can correct ourselves and improve our lives.

We haven't really defined wrong choices, yet, that's what we're in the course of discussing. You did give a good basic outline of human nature and needs, and you defined a supreme good as the end goal. While I don't disagree with your end goal, I also realize that there are people who would place some other abstract goal is highest. Some would argue that the maximum well being of everyone is not necessarily consistent since conflicts arise, and that human nature may in fact have elements that are not moral.

That's why I would advise caution in trying to root an objective ought in the descriptive characteristics of human beings. If human beings value fairness, as they in fact very much seem to do, it would seem to imply on this view that they have a moral right to a social system that offers fairness as an outcome. Now, this conflicts with an ethic like the NAP as nor mally formulated, which lays out ethical imperatives no matter the outcome on equality and justice.

What else would you root morality on if it is not on the facts of human nature, i.e. reality? Morality, by its nature, claims to be universal and in order to be properly universal it must be based on facts that are universal to human beings.

I don't think morality is universal or objective at all unless there was a human soul and some objective seat for moral values in a higher law giver. Otherwise I would affirm the subjectivity of morals, and consider them to be makeshifts that perhaps best serve the supreme end of most people and so evolve culturally. Or, moral demands can be viewed as cultural tools and weapons which individuals or groups use to get a fair outcome by appealing to the sense of fairness and rightness of others, even if it in actuality places nothing binding on anyone else.

On a naturalistic worldview, I would have to view morality as an evolved mechanism of culture to advance interests, not as something real in itself or something imperative on everyone.

It is not about typical or not typical. It is about the truth about what will optimize your possibility of a happy life; long term consequences incorporated in your present behavior. The epistemological derivation of the concept good from the facts of reality is complex. I did it in an essay.

Well, I'm sure that the well being and fullest fruition of development and happiness for the antebellum southern aristocracy did not conflict with the institution of slavery. People we would think of as bad, or who were doing wrong on this or that moral system, were in no way necessarily unhappy or unhealthy. This would apply to the ruling classes throughout history, who thought of themselves as eminently good, happy, and just on their particular moral theory.

I don't see the derivation of a specific system of property rights and political ethics stemming from the demands of human nature. But I would definitely read the essay and give it some thought if you have a link.

I think the proof is in the pudding

Collectivism is the evolutionary, and thence logical apologia for predation.

All animals reject aggression against their life, liberty, and property (territory/food).

Their moral right is in their DNA. They are not extinct, therefore broadly all who are alive descend from those that protected these rights. The only other option is they became genetically domesticated, like aphids or sheep. We should call this genetic enslavement.

Many men also want to prey on other men. But not all. Thus for two reasons predation (theft murder slavery) cannot be a right. A moral basis of asymmetrical rights is interesting, and had been posited for millenia, but it not logically sustainable.

If rights exist we all have them.

Collectivism isn't a human invention. Humanity is merely the recognition of rights. Animals don't. Collectivism is the negation of rights. Collectivism is the worship of the animal. Plato would make us into a perfected insect rather than a perfected human.

When the good of the many is used to subjugate the good of the minority, (numerical or ideological) it is merely some individuals expressing dominance over other individuals.

I suspect I am telling you nothing you do not know, but others may be helped.

Most of your statements here

Most of your statements here are patently false. All animals do not resist limitations on their liberty, they run with the herd and submit to its instinctive strictures, including elements of hierarchy. To make such a bold and unreflected assertion that all animated life is somehow individualistic and ethical is so reckless that I welcome further forays into the absurd from you.

Of course, the fact that animals of some sort might not like getting nipped at by the pack leader is hardly grounds for seating moral values. Not liking coming in second place doesn't entitle one to demand others run slower or share their hotter girlfriend with you.

Such silliness here, already refuted in the earlier thread, but you just fled from that one to set up camp here and hurl the same absurdities...

Can you stop with the fallacies?

I mean seriously, why don't you just say what you think without all the carp. Just a suggestion. Don't worry, I know you won't do that.

To make such a bold and unreflected assertion that all animated life is somehow individualistic

This is called straw man, or putting words in someone else's mouth.

Yes it would be a bold assertion had I made it.

Is it really so difficult to find something I actually said that you disagree with, and you know, argue some point?

I didn't say all animals are individualistic. I said all animals successfully protect their life liberty and territory/food/property in some way or they would be extinct.

It does say all animals assert rights. That is quite different from saying all animals are individualistic.

In fact the whole point is that humans have one of the most individualistic evolutionary mating strategies of all animals.

But I won't waste my time explaining it since whatever I write you will make something up that I didn't say.

So just go ahead, just assume I wrote something and marshal your army of straw men attacking whatever it is.

That will be more efficient.

Fallacy this, fallacy that

This is what you said...

All animals reject aggression against their life, liberty, and property (territory/food).

Do worker bees reject aggression against their liberty and go their own way?

Do female baboons reject being forcibly mounted and impregnated by the victorious male baboons?

Do pack wolves fight back when nipped by the leader to stay in formation?

Stop trying to look for antecedents to libertarian ethics in animal behavior, it's a fool's errand and leads to contradictions.

The NAP is concerned with when force is justified in relation to private property. Animals don't have private property! They don't trade or recognize title claims. If they want something they try to take it with force. If attacked in a way that isn't part of the social dynamics of their group, they defend themselves. If the one is ground for morality, so is the other.

Just bandying about the word fallacy, without every pointing to the fallacy, is probably a fallacy.

Do you feel you're making an

Do you feel you're making an impact here, changing anyone's mind?

whoever downvoted a bunch of us

PLEASE state your opinion as to why. I'd love to hear it.

I'd rather have 10 down votes to hear a counter argument than an anonymous downvote with no reason given.

Don't be afraid to give your opinion, again I'd love to hear it!

all values are subjective

This is a basic principle of economics. The NAP is a value. Therefore, it is subjective. In fact, all moral codes are values, and are, therefore, subjective. There can be no such thing as an objective moral code. Even if you assert a divine moral code, it has to be adapted and used by people as values. Hence, even a divine moral code, were such a thing to exist, would become subjective in practice.

I think of the NAP as an agreement adapted by people in society. It could even be viewed as an implied contract. Someone who violates it is open to retaliation.

I don't think people need to be convinced of the NAP. The vast majority of people already hold the NAP as a value in their everyday life. What they need to be convinced of is to extend this value to politics.

I do think the NAP is written in the human heart. I also think there is a biological basis for the NAP. We are the most social and most cooperative species. Cooperation has a much higher survival advantage than violence. Just look at the type of man that attracts women. Is it physical strength and fighting prowess? Or is it social status? A man with high social status gets more women than a muscled brute. A man with high social status has acquired the social status by getting others to listen to him, to cooperate with him. Even in a violent confrontation, who will win? The physically strong, or the one that can get others to band together with him?

I hold the NAP in my heart and have no desire to initiate violence against others. And I know all my friends and family feel the same way, as does the vast majority of the population. Pointing to all the wars and violence in history as evidence of man's wicked nature is just a huge sampling bias. Most people throughout history were, and continue to be, non-violent. Most people throughout history were peaceful hunters and gatherers, and, later, peaceful farmers. Violence is an aberration. Even if you look at the horrible bloodshed of the 20th century, what percentage of the population was killed? A small fraction.

The reason violence gets so much attention is because even a small amount has a huge effect, and it grabs our attention. How many movies were made about peaceful farmers going about their life? People are fascinated with, and interested in, aberrant behavior. But, in the end, we are far more peaceful than we are violent.

“Although it was the middle of winter, I finally realized that, within me, summer was inextinguishable.” — Albert Camus

Don't get confused

Values are subjective. Principles are not subjective. That's the point of principles. That's the point of the rule of law.

You can value a principle, or not value a principle.

That has absolutely no bearing on the truth of the principle.

You can value gold ETFs or not value them.

That has no bearing whatsoever on the real value of them.

I, as an atheist can value adherence to the scripture or ignore it, this has no bearing whatsoever on the truth of whether God exists or not. I could be wrong.

Subjective values are important in economics.

Because we do not know the future.

Subjective value doesn't determine the value of Pi. Subjective value doesn't determine the value of freedom.

To paraphrase Mises.. without freedom how can you even have subjective value?

Cyril's picture

I agree.

You can value a principle, or not value a principle.

That has absolutely no bearing on the truth of the principle.

I agree. Which is also why I recalled, below, how I personally prefer to evaluate principles according to the observable, most recurrent outcomes coming from their application (or, contrariwise, conscious rejection), per their more or less implicit logic (embedded in their formulation - be it in natural language).

I am sad to make the assessment that the NAP is precisely - and by large - vastly rejected, de facto, by the epoch we're living in, btw.

:/

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.

http://Laissez-Faire.Me/Liberty

"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius