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“No, The Non-Aggression Principle is Not Enough”

My reply to one “Chris George’s” post No, The Non-Aggression Principle is Not Enough (see Reply to Left-Libertarians on “Capitalism” for other discussions with Chris):

Chris, you are getting better. Glad you accept the NAP as a basic rule of thumb. But confusions remain.

“If we got down to the really nitty gritty, I’m sure you could find plenty of people who would deny my libertarianism at all since I’m a rationalist, anarchist, localist, pluralist, and moral subjectivist before I’m a libertarian”

As long as you are opposed to aggression we don’t “deny your libertarianism.” We welcome your opposition to aggression. THe word “before” is confusing; you don’t mean chronologically, and you won’t give an example of where you value something more than non-aggression such that you would condone aggression. (BTW this is exactly what conservatives say: “Hey, we are as against aggression as the next guy, but unlike you libertarians it’s just one of MANY “values” we hold. So we have to balance them.” So they leave the door open for moral majority laws etc. This is what you are doing too, in principle–you need to work to root that out. we must oppose aggression *on principle*. Your *reasons* can be your own. But it has to be a principled opposition, not a mere tentative rule of thumb).

You also write: “While I don’t accept the NAP absolutely do to issues of property and efficacy, it’s something that I think should be looked to first in the majority of cases.”

you mean “due” to. But still, you seem to want to leave the door open to condone aggression against private property due to some kind of leftist sentimental abhorrence of property rights. But all human rights are property rights, of course. You cannot be against agression and a libertarian without objecting to trespass against private property rights, of course.

” If we can define a decent standard of property/possession/whatever-you-want-to-call it,”

we have already done this. Next!

““no, the NAP is not enough.” Let me explain and it doesn’t lead to specifically “left” answers.

For the most part, the reason is strategic. Simply put, most people don’t want to hear some philosophical gibberish about “aggression” or “how ethics ‘derived’ from the nature of man are the ‘correct’ ethics.””

As for your first “reason,” I stopped reading there. You are conflating truth with strategy and persuasiveness, a common mistake of the activist mindset (see my The Trouble with Libertarian Activism, http://www.lewrockwell.com/kinsella/kinsella19.ht… .) You cannot say the NAP is wrong because it doesn’t persuade many people. this makes no sense at all.

Then you get to your “second” reason which is equally confused:

“The second reason the NAP is not enough is just simply due to its relative worthlessness in real life. Would you really want to live in a world where the only constant is non-aggression? A world where everyone was a shallow, selfish dickhead who avoided aggression would suck.”

This again makes no sense. Libertarianism is a narrow philosophy concerned with interpersonal violence. But we are not just libertarians. As humans we can and should oppose meanness and shallowness, etc. Living in a good society means (a) being free from aggression; and (b) a lot of other things, like culture, art, benevolence, civilization, civility, charity, and so on.

Recognizing this in no way argues against the non-aggression principle! Just because living a crime-free life is “not enough” does not mean we should not oppose crime on principle!

Think straight, man. You have potential, but you have got to get out of this muzzy, confused, left-emotional way of thinking. Think clearly and all this is easy to sort out.

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Neverfox May 11, 2010, 11:56 am


    That’s not my post. I believe it was written by Chris George.

    • Stephan Kinsella May 11, 2010, 12:07 pm

      fixed. the lefties use nyms, refuse to sign their posts… confuses us poor old doddering non-prefix libertarians!

  • PirateRothbard May 11, 2010, 12:05 pm

    “Chris, you are getting better. Glad you accept the NAP as a basic rule of thumb. But confusions remain.”

    I like the fatherly tone.

  • Chris George May 11, 2010, 5:42 pm

    Am I pretending to be “Chris George?”

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