18 votes

What makes law "legitimate?" - A question from an anarchist - posed to the minarchist

So the "anarchist vs minarchist" debate is on pretty strong here at the DP. I like it, let's keep that topic open. Jan, Marc, and BILL3 have been doing well at keeping this topic alive at the DP.

So one thing that minarchists claim to be SO NECESSARY that a government or state court system supposedly has, is the "power to pass and enforce legitimate laws."

So minarchists basically say that "state courts are necessary in order to enforce laws, and the authority of the court is the highest possible authority. Without these state courts, under anarchy or voluntarism, there would be no "way of addressing criminals and criminal activites efficiently or correctly."

And then the minarchists go on to pose questions like "What makes the NAP valid at all?" "Why should the NAP be binding on others?" and "Why should property rights be binding on others?" In a non-statist world?

So minarchists are basically saying "The NAP (property rights) is not necessarily valid or binding. That is why we need a valid and binding court system."


But here is where I see a major problem for statists and minarchists. We do have states right now. We do have courts right now. We do have a "limited govermnent" that is supposedly "bound in its limits" outlined in "the constitution."

So here is my question to you minarchists. You want a constitution; you have one. You want a "limited government," you have one, the constitution supposedly guarantees this.

But WHAT IS BINDING about laws passed by the state and limits found in the constitution????


Because it seems that we have these laws and these courts. But WHEN THE GOVERNMENT breaks the limits, breaks the law, doesn't follow the constitution... WHAT IS THE RESULT? Are corrupt politicians and judges tried? Don't we see the government and its employees, agents, departments and agencies BREAKING THE SACRED LAWS left and right without recourse?

So to turn this line of questioning "What makes it valid?" (In reference to the NAP or property rights.) Let me turn this line of questioning around and ask you the same about the "sacred court system" that you statists insist is necessary to HAVE JUSTICE.

In other words, "Is your sacred court REALLY SO SACRED?"

Trending on the Web

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.


This country is so far from both minarchy and/or anarchy that arguing between the two is useless. Work together to move towards both. If by some miracle minarchy is reached, then argue away about moving on to anarchy. Until then, it is pointless to bicker.

I do enjoy the discussion about anarchy vs. minarchy and open friendly debates. It's the bickering and fighting that I'm addressing above.

"Do right and risk the consequences”
― Sam Houston

I would agree

And I like to think that "minarchists and anarchists have similar goals and should be united." And I would hate to see that either group, the minarchists or the anarchists, prove that they are so exclusionary that they can't even get along with a group that shares 95% of the same goals.

But there is A FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCE in beliefs in the anarchists and the minarchists.

Anarchists fundamentally think "rulers" like government or aristocracy IS IMMORAL. Minarchists say "rulers" like government or aristocracy IS CRUCIAL.

That is a serious difference of opinion in these two groups. That is a night and day difference. So when we speak as if we are "95% in agreement," that is somewhat dishonest when you consider the foundational statement above shows we are 100% different, not 5%.


The extremity of the difference in foundation is similar to: An abolitionist that says that "Slavery is immoral and disgusting and cannot happen for moral and ethical reasons," vs someone that says "Slavery is crucial, slavery is necessary for society to even function, without slavery society would crumble, eliminating slavery is 'blashpemous.'"

So while both groups would LIKE THE EFFECT of "Shrinking our government," I hope you can now see that these two groups DO NOT SEE EYE TO EYE because of the foundational principles of anarchy and minarchy.

Not True

Anarchists fundamentally think "rulers" like government or aristocracy IS IMMORAL. Minarchists say "rulers" like government or aristocracy IS CRUCIAL.

I am a Minarchist that thinks a Ruler outside of oneself or parent/guardian is immoral. I also understand that Aristocracy or any other form of ARBITRARY Rule is inessential to maintaining Limited Government.

However, in absence of Self Rule, a unified and stable understanding of the Law is Crucial to a peaceful and prosperous society. Competing sets of Rules and Ethics does not lead to peace & prosperity, they lead to divisiveness and constant tinkering.

Natural Law is the Golden Mean that a Minarchist government should be based upon. The NAP is derived from Natural Law.

What started out here in the US as the Rule of Law has becomes the Rule of Laws, the arbitrary kind. Had God sent Moses down the mountain with 11,227 Commandments, his tribe would have stoned him to death. Today we should consider stoning those who get creative with law for arbitrary reasons.

The All or Nothing scenarios that Anarchists and Statists keep arguing are not the only scenarios worth contemplating. The Statists say Minarchy leads to Chaos and the Anarchists say Minarchy leads to Totalitarianism. Truth is that Minarchy can lead to both without mass vigilance on an individual scale.

Minarchy is the Golden Mean between chaos and extreme collectivism, but it is so close to Anarchy that the Anarchists really should consider it. Minarchy is actually quite far from Statism and spontaneously would devolve into Anarchy much easier than Statism.

To me both the Statists and Anarchists have this flawed ALL or NOTHING solution, when it is easy for me to see an Almost Nothing system of governance solves the issues that come with All or No Government.

Why can't...

we all just unite to work toward smaller less intrusive Govt and stop all this endless bickering that just ends in hateful personal attacks and destroys unity?

The vision of both Ron Paul and Rothbard was a coalition of the Old Right and libertarians. Rothbard even founded the Taft Club. Taft was an Old Right conservative. Ron Paul is an Old Right conservative. (Old Right = non-interventionist, small govt, jeffersonian).

Constantly stabbing each other in the back a thousand times per day isn't helping anything and our disunity means the Establishment and status quo automatically wins (and finds it amusing).

~wobbles but doesn't fall down~

What do you mean by

What do you mean by "constantly stabbing each other in the back"?

All the bickering,..

name-calling, personal attacks and personal animosity. The "stabbing in the back" strongly alludes to the damage done to political unity [the ability for political change to actually occur through unity].

~wobbles but doesn't fall down~

Who should unite?

Who should unite?

I already said...

The non-interventionist, small govt/minarchist, jeffersonian, Old Right'ists and Rothbardian libertarians/ancaps.

Are you unfamiliar with the history of Ron Paul and Rothbard working together and their vision of a coalition? Toss in Rockwell.

Why are you acting clueless? Go ahead an spit out whatever point you are trying to arrive at. :p

~wobbles but doesn't fall down~

LOL, OK. My point is that we


My point is that we should argue! A good argument brings people together, it provides unity. As far as name-calling goes, yeah that can be hurtful, but what some people see as name-calling others just consider to be a good argument. Argument is discovery!

You just listed off a bunch of groups of people by using labels which cannot even be well-classified. You are name-calling, and I don't think it's useful. In fact, it's divisive! ;)

yes, a deducer is well to remain relatively sane

This has been a very interesting [and sneaky] string. I reply here to you, because I think you may be one of the few around here to actually "get" my little campaign of marketing liberty. It hasn't really gone viral yet for some reason. :D


The "law", if I had it my

The "law", if I had it my way, would be understood, not written down.

“Without liberty, law loses its nature and its name, and becomes

“Without liberty, law loses its nature and its name, and becomes oppression. Without law, liberty also loses its nature and its name, and becomes licentiousness.” -James Wilson, Of the Study of the Law in the United States, 1790

kind people rock

Cyril's picture

I could ask, conversely:

I could ask, conversely: what would make the total absence of any formalized law legitimate, as well, then?

Case in point (analogy):

try to build any new software any useful (i.e., to anyone) by consciously, i.e., purposely, ignoring all along each and every of the few simplest laws of logics which have been accessible to the understanding of most for millennia (if only intuitively), and to a 10 year old, even.

In other words:

what good does it bring to anybody / to any market if, at the same time, nobody can (i.e., nobody bothers / cares) to acknowledge the difference between a software feature(1) vs. a software bug(2)?

Back on topic:

is our bitter, sad experience of the Law Perverted (and for too long, already, easily granted) enough of a necessary and sufficient excuse for denying any formalized law, moving forward, including if such were only meant for reckoning Justice -

(and Justice only) -

as it (the law) should have never departed from?


(1) e.g., satisfied contracts / growing businesses and economies
(2) e.g., broken contracts / disputes / frauds / crimes

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


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

A law is legitimate

if I think it is legitimate.

At least, that is the bottom line.

If a group of people get together who have have similar ideas about which laws are legitimate, then they have a shared political philosophy.

Typically, a political philosophy will offer some sort of cohesive and coherent rationale for which laws are legitimate based on a general set of "principles," such as natural rights doctrine, NAP, etc.

As an individual actor, you will have an idea of which laws you think are legitimate. Normally, this will merely be laws which you find convenient to your own situation and/or laws that are espoused by your identity group. If you are more thoughtful, you might have a "political philosophy" by which you try to abide as a sort of moral code vis a vis the appropriate use of force in society.

However, it is important to realize that a "political philosophy" is merely a statement of general principles, and does not capture the full richness and complexity of real life. If it did, it would be as complex and voluminous as real life, and would therefore be unknowable and essentially worthless. A political philosophy is merely a heuristic which can be used as a guide to action. Any political philosophy can be reduced to absurdity by the right set of circumstances, because it cannot anticipate all possible situations that could arise in human interactions.

Political philosophies are implemented by "political structures" which lie in the domain of "political science" (for lack of a better word).

Although political structures can be biased in various ways to favor various outcomes (such as juries, presumption of innocence, etc.) there is no guarantee that particular political structures will successfully implement a particular political philosophy.

In fact, you are fairly well guaranteed that it will not. Once political structures and political processes are created, they take de facto precedence over a political philosophy.

They will implement the political philosophy accurately only to the extent that a wide swath of society continues to subscribe to the philosophy.

"A law is legitimate if I

"A law is legitimate if I think it is legitimate." Well put Kyle. Our actions (including the act of thought) create legitimacy. I have my own personal set of "laws", unfortunately the laws of others restrict me in such a way that I cannot freely operate under my own principles.

As I see it, the best "laws" are those which restrict others the least.

I think a voluntarily society would be amazing, but …..

….the REAL QUESTION is, right now, does governmental tyranny grow faster and quicker unchecked?

kind people rock

Normally see more articles like this when liberty is gaining

in politics. I think a voluntarily society would be amazing, but the REAL QUESTION is, right now, does tyranny grow faster and quicker unchecked? Will America loose more freedom if liberty minds do not participate in checking corruption and tyranny where it starts, the government????????????????????????????

Can anarchy be a greater vehicle than limited government to educate the masses? Is anarchy easier to willingly accept than limited government for low information voters?

These are the questions we should ask ourselves, what is more efficient with messaging liberty. I say swing the bat as long as it's for liberty, and also get the hell out of the way and don't block the swing!

It seems this question in my opinion we should really think about.

Does tyranny grow faster and quicker unchecked?

kind people rock


I have refrained from posting much on this thread because the original poster framed it as a question from anarchists to non-anarchists, and I wanted to give the non-anarchists the floor, more or less, uninterrupted.

I see now that the original poster, in response to my own post (maybe mistakenly) declares the point of the thread to be a different question: What is the basis of law in an anarchist society? Since that seems to be an odd question for non-anarchists, I will attempt to offer an answer.

We have seen Bill3's answer below that the legitimacy for law in a non-anarchist society comes from the fact that the legislators simply happen to be there legislating and have no adequate opposition.

In contrast, the legitimacy of law in an anarchist society is based on the condition that any legitimate law must be *necessary* for society to exist and be sustainably perpetuated. We have to discern these laws from nature. But we have some experience. It's probably required for a society that people don't go around killing others without a good reason. When you have a society where that starts to happen, things begin to unravel. (No knock warrants for using drugs provides a current example.) In any case, I hope we can agree that the law "Do not murder people" is a legitimate law in society. That's how you get laws in an anarchist society. Aggression is not necessary for society to exist and perpetuate, so arbitrary laws involving aggression are excluded.

There are some related topics (which are also related to other threads floating around at the moment---Stonewall Jackson's thread on justice for example). So what of justice and due process and such things?

First of all, this difference between arbitrary laws and natural laws (the ones in an anarchist society) must be emphasized. The arbitrary laws in a society with rulers require "enforcement." The rulers can enforce these laws against the ruled, but not the other way around. That means the rulers need a special class of people who can attack people who aren't following the arbitrary rules without having to face the consequences of their aggression. Natural laws don't need enforcement, or enforcement doesn't apply to natural laws. It's not about stopping people from violating natural laws or forcing them to obey natural laws, it's simply a question of what do you do with people who violate them. I hope it's very clear that those are quite different. Enforcement: Forcing people to do arbitrary things that are not necessary to have society but are for the convenience of the rulers. In an anarchist society, enforcement doesn't make sense. You don't "enforce" a law against murder in any kind of society. There simply is a law against murder, and the only quesiton is how you deal with murderers.

I think that, somewhat in the same way, "due process" is irrelevant in an anarchist society. That sounds bad, of course, but due process, properly understood, is a collection of rules and rituals put forward to be followed by enforcers to give the ruled livestock some (false) sense of security. Without enforcement (of arbitrary laws), there is no need for due process.

Justice, does mean something to me as an anarchist. I have a definition for it. That definition is tied to property. Of course, one can start with self-ownership is a baseline for property. Since self-ownership is, by definition, only possible in an anarchist society, it follows that any notion of justice in a non-anarchist society/framework is purely rhetorical and fundamentally arbitrary. And we have many examples of that.

But still, it's a difficult problem to justify property beyond self-ownership, and I don't see that the mainstream of anarchist thought has embraced the natural and correct definition/basis for property in society. As I've stated elsewhere, I think that basis is the following:

An individual (in an anarchist society) has a right to property to which he is connected, i.e., is responsible for, and from which he sustainably derives his life.

I think that is the fundamental (natural) basis for legitimate property rights. And there is not much beyond that.

And justice is the ability to take whatever measures are necessary to maintain legitimate personal property rights.

A basic example is that of the American Indians. They had legitimate rights to property in America. They did not have the ability to maintain those property rights. This is the core of what it means that they suffered "injustice" at the hands of the European invaders.

Having said all that, I can also offer an answer to the question from Stonewall's justice thread, we have a right to justice by the above definition. We have a fundamental right to do whatever is necessary to secure that justice. But we do not have a guarantee of justice. If we admit rulers, we have a guarantee of injustice, because we are seen to not own ourselves.

Ignorant and dishonest

The term intellectually dishonest gives way too much credit to damn liars.

Those who will steal are those who will lie to cover up their crimes of theft.

Those who will murder are similarly inspired to cover up their crimes with lies.

The inspiration to lie is well understood by any intelligent living being; anyone having an interest in knowing the accurate account.

Liars lie.

Liars lie because natural laws of moral conscience exists in living beings and the individual power to know and the individual power to defend is combined with other individuals into a total combined power of knowledge and defense that threatens every single criminal, and so crime must be hidden by the criminals.

The best lie that works best for the criminals is the lie that the criminals invent and maintain whereby the victims are fooled into giving the criminals credit for being helpful instead of the criminals being nothing but harmful.

The false labels criminals use are unbelievable for anyone interested in knowing the truth.

When a criminal calls what they do with a false label such as The State, or Government, or Court, or Jury, or Posse, or Police, or Security, or Insurance, or Religion, or WalMart, the fact that the criminal uses the false label remains a fact, and if anyone is interested in knowing the facts, then the false front label is acknowledged as a LIE.

How does anyone tell a criminal hiding behind a false front?


They always lie.

If they don't answer, that is a confession too.

Anyone claiming that involuntary association is anything other than them enforcing a crime upon their victims is confessing their criminal minds in point of fact.

This is not that tough to understand, so anyone fooled can know they are fooled, or they can decide to remain fooled, or they can admit that they are simply guilty of mind; they simply are criminal, they simple WANT to perpetrate crimes, and they simple WANT to keep perpetrating crimes so their LIES work for them, and their LIES infect their own minds eventually.

Giving the criminals ANY credit of anything other than the credit that they are LIARS when they LIE and that they are thieves when they steal, and whatever other crimes they perpetrate, giving them any credit for being a Judge, a Prosecutor, a Lawyer, a Politician, a News Reporter, a Blogger, a Forum member, anything other than a LIAR for their LIES is misapplication of accounting for the facts: a falsehood.


Hey Josf

I understand some of what you've written above. The fact that what you write is becoming clearer to me says something. I'm not exactly sure what it says, and I'm a little scared to find out.

I have little doubt that you'll respond by telling me I'm a liar, but I give you +1 anyway.

False accusations?

You have little doubt that I will tell you that you are a liar?

My method is consistent. If I suspect that someone may be reaching for falsehoods then I can ask, and if falsehoods materialize, then I can accurately account for those falsehoods, and I can do so with questions, and if the falsehoods continue, and continue, and continue, then there is no need for me to make any claims as to what exist, since what exists does exist.

"I have little doubt that you'll respond by telling me I'm a liar, but I give you +1 anyway."

That appears to be an accusation.

Is that an accusation?

If that is an accusation, then is that accusation specific concerning you and your message concerning me and the way I communicate with other people?

In other words, are you sending a message that is specific to my character, and therefore a message that is not specific to specific information that is separate from my character?

Is there a specific incident concerning a specific lie told by someone specific?

Is there, for example, someone who does not lie, where there is no lie told, and then someone making a false claim about a lie that does not exist, and the one specific individual making the false claim about a lie that does not exist is thereby accurately identified as someone making a false accusation about a lie that does not exist?

"The fact that what you write is becoming clearer to me says something."

I've learned a long time ago to separate individual character traits from the specific information transferred between individuals.

The information can be understood as STAND ALONE, individual, information, and separate from the information is the source of the information.

One is one thing: the information.

The other is the other thing: an individual offering information.

Yet another thing is the character traits possessing the individual offering the information.

If the information is false, self-contradictory, then the information (currency/language/money) can be followed back to the inventor of the information, following the money, so to speak, back to the source of it: the POT OF GOLD.

Why, one might ask, is the information self-contradictory?

The answer, or no answer, may be telling a story?



I think I've been called a liar by you before. I've certainly been accused of making accusations against you. I have never meant to deceive nor cause offense. And I have broad shoulders.

But how about if I just answer "No accusation intended"?

Concerns of merit?

If there are no concerns of merit then that is not the reasoning for writing, speaking, transferring information.

There may be many reasons, or causes, or inspirations, inspiring the individual to offer information to other individuals.

My inspiration here on this forum, and other forums, has been, is, and will be specific concerns that I think merit exchange of information so as to find better information and so as to find worse information, so as to choose better instead of worse.

What are some of the qualities and costs of better information compared to worse information?

1. Intentionally accurate information
2. Accurate information (not intended)
3. Inaccurate information (not intended)
4. False information (not merely inaccurate: intentionally inaccurate = misleading, dividing, confusing, destroying)

That is a scale offered as an offer of information on this Forum as an example of why I am inspired to engage in the transfers of information on forums.

Were my motives, my interests, my inspirations other than concerns of merit, as I see them, then my methods of writing, engaging, commenting, reacting, offering, inventing, adapting, learning, knowing, doing, deciding, rejecting, accepting, adopting, improving, with these symbols published in these places, then I might be inspired to reach for falsehood too.

4 on the list.

There is a world of things to do in 1, 2, and 3 on the list.

4 on the list offered is a concern of merit to me.

Many people may disagree in various ways.

"No accusation intended"

How can I respond?

How about thanks?


I think the legitimacy of laws

derives from the fact that the enforcing body or group is the only source of justice in the first place. On your own, you have only your own force or might, or what you can hire. For anything beyond that, you have to appeal for help to third parties, or the public. Since it is the public body that protects in individuals rights, it also has the legitimate right to create laws conducive to its well being and the stability of rights enforcement and other priorities, like general security, property, legal procedures, etc.

We can always disagree what rules should exist, but we recognize the validity of laws and the decisions of juries, courts, etc.

As long as basic liberties are defended like speech, association, due process, trial, and as long as people are free to leave a territory where they don't like the laws, then the have validity.

Where do laws and rules get legitimacy on anarchism?

Any body you can imagine will be based on group consensus, agreement about guilt and innocence, which then uses force to impose its decision.

This is true also on any sort of anarchism that enforces rules through private agencies. All ultimately have to rely on a decision by third parties based on consensus: about the meaning of property, about the meaning of rights, about what principle is right, about the nature of those principles, about innocence and guilt, about whether a party actually contracted or not, etc.

There is hardly any conceptual difference between an anarchist agency and a government, as both is force on the basis of a claim to legitimate jurisdiction. Both are free in reality to violate NAP, and the incentives for that behavior are present in decentralized as well as centralized worlds.



still here

I guess this has just been here "speaking for itself" with no response. Let's look at what Bill3 has to say here.

> I think the legitimacy of laws derives from the fact that
> the enforcing body or group is the only source of justice
> in the first place.

Really? You're going to say that? OK.

By that reasoning, the demands of the mafia are perfectly legitimate.

Luigi comes to Mr. Cheng's Chinese Restaurant and says: Mr. Cheng, we have a new law. You need to give us 30% of whatever people pay you for your Chinese food. If you don't do it, the members of my enforcing body are going to show up here and break your legs and burn down your restaurant.

Mr. Cheng looks around, and as far as he can see, Luigi and his group are the only enforcing body in sight. They are there in the first place, i.e., they are there first. Therefore, according to Bill3 (currently Mencken's supposed ghost) this is all completely legitimate, and Mr. Cheng should just submit to Luigi's authority.

Anticipated response from Bill3: But I said the enforcing body or group was a source of *justice*.

Ah yes, but you didn't say what "justice" means. Therefore, that part of what you are saying turns out to be just empty rhetoric. In point of fact, "justice" under this scenario of "whichever group is enforcing in the first place" is whatever the enforcing group says it is. In this case, justice is simply the hope that Luigi and his thugs don't show up and break Cheng's legs and burn his restaurant.

And this provides a very accurate description of how your governmental systems work in practice.

Is it really worth going into more details? I think the basic assertion given up front sort of says it all. The laws are legitimate because they are mandated by the group that is there in the first place.

Actually, one should perhaps mention the technical point that groups don't enforce anything. It is an individual (in this case Luigi) who delivers the mandate, and it will be certain individuals who enforce the justice as well, i.e., break Cheng's legs and burn his restaurant. So that part just doesn't make any real sense, but we know what Bill3 means.

It really just speaks for itself. I guess that's why no one responded. I'm sorry that I'm sort of a silly simple person and decided that it needed a little elaboration, after sleeping on it.

I could even go on to the next sentence:

> On your own, you have only your own force or might,
> or what you can hire.

That seems to be quite obvious. That is my situation now, and it's not so bad. I don't have any desire to have more force or might than that. Why should I? Even that much might be far too much force and might if I had control of enough resources and I decided to misuse them, i.e., use them immorally. In that case, the fewer resources and the weaker I am, the better it would be.

In view of these facts, it is clear that I should work to make sure there is no accumulation of resources in the hands of people with evil intent. In fact, wouldn't we all do well to work to that end?

How does such an aspiration and responsibility square with the following proposal?

Proposal: We should designate a certain group (Luigi and his thugs for example) to be *legitimate rulers*.

Better yet, if some people claim there is such a group of legitimate rulers (even if we never decided to designate them as such or even if they are claiming it for themselves), then we should agree and follow all their laws.

Does that sound like a good idea?

How does it relate to our responsibility to prevent the accumulation of resources in the hands of people with evil intent?

Do we have any examples?

Call em all out, I'm tired of this rhetoric myself, just

surprised how many back this 'force is ok' crap!!!!!!!!!! This place is infested with apathetic trolls who only convince you on how the system sucks, but never have any ideas on how to advance the message of liberty. Take notes, there names will change, but their apathy is still the same, and their sarcasm is always agreeable.

I don't think it's wrong to put someone on record because of things they have said here, but when that information gets deleted, ask yourself WHY.

kind people rock

"Where do laws and rules get legitimacy on anarchism?"

That is precisely the topic of this thread. Very good.

Where do laws and rules get legitimacy on anarchism?

That is the question everyone has been posing in the numerous "Is NAP valid" threads. So this thread has turned that question around to the statists and ask "If government guarantees the enforcement of these principles, yet the government is a walking violation of these principles, then your original statement of guarantee of enforcement is contradicted and the authority must come from somewhere OTHER THAN the government."

Which I think you have correctly recognized that the "legitimacy" of the laws has nothing to do with the courts, the judges, or the documents, or the government structure. The "legitimacy" of the laws COMES FROM THE PEOPLE, the public agrees, and so it is legitimate.



Where do laws and rules get legitimacy on anarchism?


...but we recognize the validity of laws and the decisions of juries, courts, etc.

The same applies to a stateless society. We recognize the NAP and property rights.

I assume this was meant for me.

You're correct about everything in this statement, except NAP. All enforcement, state or stateless, violates NAP, because it imposes rules on violators via force, in ways that are clearly not self defense. The principle of public jurisdiction over individuals to judge, arrest etc., violates NAP. NAP is not a sound principle, because it prevents its own enforcement, and also contradicts other principles which are necesary to make it functional.

Arrest and trial and necessary to make NAP functional, but they contradict NAP, because not self defense.

Same with property laws. NAP says nothing about property rights, doesn't define them. A group consensus must be forced on dissenting individuals from the outside about what constitutes valid property. If you are standing on my property, minding your business, and I grab you, I am acting not in self defense, but in defense of a property claim that has to be validated by a majority rule or jury consensus, and so violates NAP.

The tactics needed for a security agency to prevail against a rogue agency inherently violate NAP.

Nuclear deterrence violates NAP, since it threats to harm innocents and would do so if consummated.

NAP is completely impotent by itself, and contradicts all the other principles needed to make it functional.

You are confusing the

immediacy of defense, with the legitimacy of defense.

Justice is a continuation of the process of self defense.

Once someone has violated NAP by committing aggression, you have a right to defend against the aggression.

To conclude otherwise leads to absurd conclusions.

Consider the typical fistfight. You get into a verbal dispute, and a guy punches you in the nose.

Do you have the right to hit him back?

Practically all libertarians would agree that you do.

However, after he threw the first punch, there is a delay in time before he throws the second punch. So, technically, the "attack" has stopped between each punch, and you have no right to punch him back, using your logic.

Indeed, the underlying rationale for defensive force is to apply enough force to dissuade your attacker from continuing to run around attacking people.

If an attacker attacks you every day by sneaking up on you and hitting you with a bat, do you have the right to attack him back if you happen to spot him 4 minutes later, 4 hours, 4 days, etc.

Yes. You do. Once someone has demonstrated by their actions that they will violate NAP, it is reasonable and justified to expect that they will continue to violate NAP until they are met with sufficient force to dissuade them from further attacks. It does not matter how much time has elapsed since the original attack.