Getting Your Bearings
"..there were no thoughts in Ivan's mind but something very vague. He felt that he had lost his bearings." - Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
A Steady Reference
A compass is a tool that is both consistent and elegant in its simplicity. It does not point the direction to travel but instead provides a steady reference point to use as a guide.
The Non-Aggression Principle, or NAP, is a similar kind of tool. It is a moral compass providing a logical and ethical standard for living a free and peaceful life. The NAP does not dictate which specific path to take nor does it provide a detailed itinerary. Every individual has their own journey to travel and there are many roads available. Used intelligently, the NAP can serve as a steady reference on the Path of Peace and Liberty.
The NAP Quick Start Guide
The Non-Aggression Principle is the moral stance that individuals should be free to act as they choose with the exception that they may not initiate the use of force, or threat of force, against another person or the products of their labor, commonly referred to as property.
The NAP provides a rational foundation for many of the most highly regarded ethical principles. Rules against murder, rape, theft and kidnapping follow logically from the NAP. By natural extension, the NAP also prohibits most forms of taxation, military drafts and other forms of involuntary servitude, and nearly all forms of government as currently practiced.
The NAP is not pacifism. It does not prohibit the use of reciprocal force in the act of defending one’s person or property against aggression. Equally important, though, the NAP does not validate the use of violence in personal defense if bystanders are likely to be harmed.
The free and voluntary exchange of goods, services and ideas is a natural and desirable outcome of the Non-Aggression Principle. This is in sharp contrast to most forms of government, incorrectly hailed as protectors of individual rights, which instead violate humanity on multiple levels. Using unwarranted force and the threat of force against both people and property, governments are neither necessary nor the proper foundation of a free and civilized society.
- The Non-Aggression Principle (NAP) is a reference point useful as a moral compass. It is not a fixed map or list of directions to a specific destination.
- Governments, with their involuntary taxations and wars of aggression, are notorious violators of the NAP.
- Voluntary exchanges between individuals and groups are the embodiment of the NAP.
"Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success." - Mark Skousen