The Non-Aggression Principle

Posted: January 17, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

Mises.org defines the principle of non-aggression as:

“An ethical stance which asserts that ‘aggression’ is inherently illegitimate. ‘Aggression’ is defined as the ‘initiation’ of physical force against persons or property, the threat of such, or fraud upon persons or their property. In contrast to pacisifsm, the non-aggression principle does not preclude violent shelf-defense.”

I doubt many of us would take issue with this principle as set forth in this definition. Sounds like common sense, no? Most of us abide by the non-aggression principle (NAP) as a matter of routine. It’s second nature. We know that we should not harm others or defraud them or steal their property.

Adherence to and the defense of this one simple axiom is the cure for much of what ails this country and our world. It can curtail poverty, certainly end war and death, and generally lead to a better life for earth’s citizens. Conversely, violation of the NAP leads to death, destruction, poverty, and misery. A truth is a truth no matter who is concerned. The NAP should apply to a 4 year old, a wall street executive, our elected officials, or the government at large. We would not stand for our neighbor breaking into our house, holding a gun to our head, and stealing our stuff. I submit that we should hold our elected officials to the same, simple standard. But Republicans, Democrats, and frankly most governments of all forms violate this principle as a matter of practice.

Most of us have been taught that we need government. Without government we would have toddlers working in factories, employers paying $1.50 per hour, massive starvation, and a general state of chaos. We have been so convinced of it’s necessity that we have allowed it to insidiously steal more and more of our freedoms in the name of “security” or “equality”… Government makes sure we comply with their rules and regulations and give them our money all via the threat of force, an obvious violation of the NAP. Government, if they serve any purpose, should exist to enforce contracts and property rights (I’m counting one’s self as his own property here). In other words I should be able to do whatever I want: eat what I want, smoke what I want, screw who I want, etc. as long as I don’t infringe on someone else’s rights. Instead, government makes rules and regulations about everything under the sun and punishes you if you do not comply. The rules and laws are millions but the most egregious examples of government force (IMHO) are conscription and the income tax. In regards to the income tax, they literally steal your hard earned money through threat of force. If you do not pay there’s the threat of jail. Some other time I’ll show how society could (and did) function just fine and in fact flourish without income taxes. But my point today is not to argue this issue, rather it is to simply show that government violates the non-aggression principal. This is not debatable. So, you can argue that you are ok with the government violating the NAP, but you cannot argue that the government does not violate the NAP. You cannot argue that government does not violate our natural rights through aggression.

So please consider this question, and try to suspend what you’ve been taught and what you think you know about the role of government: why are you ok with behavior from government that you would never put up with from a fellow citizen?

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