The Non-Aggression Principle

What Is The Non-Aggression Principle?

What Is The Non-Aggression Principle?

The Non-aggression principle (NAP) is an ethical stance that states that aggression (use of force) in any form besides self-defence is inherently immoral and therefore wrong.

The NAP forms the central basis for the Agorist philosophy, which asserts that state interference in the form of taxation and regulation is inherently aggressive and therefore immoral. Agorists seek to withdraw their support and consent in the state via counter-economic means (more on this topic next).

The NAP is sometimes confused with pacifism, however the NAP differs in that it does not preclude the use of force in legitimate self-defence situations.

With regard to state influence, the NAP applies across a wide spectrum of government action. Primarily:

  • Use of coercive force in collection of taxation

Although it may not appear so at ground-level, the government uses the threat of force as a means by which to enforce the collection of tax revenues.

This force if often not exercised as most people simply accept taxation as a fact of life and do little to work against it, however for those who do minimize or avoid their tax burden, they become an immediate target for the full force of the law in the form of fines, prison sentences and criminal convictions for tax evasion etc.

The basic implication if the taxpayer to government relationship is as follows:

Pay up, or else”

This really does not differ from a mafia-style racket, whereby as long as you pay your “dues” to the mob for “protection”, you may just wind up owing more, or worse.

This threat of force is a direct violation of the NAP.

  • Enforcement of victimless crimes

When the state conducts enforcement of victimless crimes, they are in fact initiating force, under the false premise that the state automatically knows what is best for the individual.

Using the example of cannabis prohibition:

When the state enforces punitive action against an individual who chooses to use cannabis in the privacy of their own home, this is an initiation of force on the part of the state.

The revenues collected by the state in the form of fines from these “offences” amount to nothing more than institutionalized theft.

The Non-Aggression Principle in Action

Agorism rests on the basis that all human interactions can and should be voluntary. Coercion and unprovoked aggression result in market and social distortions that are neither healthy nor positive for the individual.

By refusing to support, fund or engage in coercive behavior, we can all move towards a freer, more prosperous world.

What is the Non-aggression Principle? The Bottom Line

The NAP is the central tenet of Agorism. The NAP simply states that the initiation of force in all forms (except legitimate self-defense) is wrong and immoral.

In simple terms, it’s the real-world embodiment of “live and let live”.

The NAP applies to both individuals, governments and institutions, and serves as a useful test of how free a society or belief structure actually is.

In our next episode, we’ll dive into the fascinating world of counter-economics

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