Saturday, February 11, 2017

You down with NAP? Yeah, you know me.

If you spend any time online amongst Libertarian groups you may see a lot of "TAXATION IS THEFT?" "AM I BEING DETAINED?" and "ABOLISH _______". While all of these things can be/are libertarian principles. They aren't THE basis of what I consider to be all things libertarian. For me libertarianism starts with the Non Aggression Principle, or NAP for short.

The Non Aggression Principle asserts that any act of aggression is inherently illegitimate. Anything that has to be imposed upon people by force is regarded as criminal in nature. This applies to government as well as our personal lives, and can be applied to almost any thing. There are few issues that fall outside the logical repercussions of this singular theory. Most of which, we as libertarians, rarely chime in on.

Aggression in this case refers to any initiation of a coercive relationship. It's easy enough to see how one could follow this theory to insert that taxation is indeed theft, or that many government programs are not legitimate since we, as citizens were not ASKED if we'd like to pay for them. Anything I am forced to participate in at threat of violence is a violation of the NAP.

Libertarians oppose the initiation of force to achieve social or political goals. They reject “first-strike” force, fraud or theft against others; they only use force in self-defense. Those who violate this “non-aggression principle” are expected to make their victims whole as much as possible. This “Good Neighbor Policy” is what most of us were taught as children. We were told not to lie, cheat, steal, not to strike our playmates unless they hit us first. If we broke a friend’s toy, we were expected to replace it.

Most of us still practice what we learned as children with other individuals, but we have grown accustomed to letting government assert aggression against others when we think we benefit. Consequently, our world is full of poverty and strife, instead of the harmony and abundance that freedom (i.e., freedom from aggression) brings.

There are many other ideas and concepts that surround libertarian principle, and it has even been suggested that we move away from the NAP as it is a somewhat limited philosophy, but I for one agree in entirety that it should be the basis of all our principles, and that anything that could be considered a violation of the NAP should not be supported by libertarians. If it can't be supported by this one principle I don't believe it should be a part of our platform. However as libertarians we are allowed to disagree and hold beliefs different than one another.

So what do you think? Should we abandon the NAP and build a more specific platform/philosophy?

1 comment:

  1. Great write-up Megan. This should be read every morning by all children! Wait...that sounded forceful. :)