Time to put the NAP to rest?

Source: Center for a Stateless Society
by Logan Marie Glitterbomb

"The non-aggression principle is an ethical stance which asserts that 'aggression' is inherently illegitimate. 'Aggression,' for the purposes of NAP, is defined as initiating or threatening the use of any and all forcible interference with an individual or individual's property. The NAP is considered to be the defining axiom of the modern libertarian movement. However, there's a problem with basing an entire political philosophy on any single axiom: especially one so poorly defined that it remains a hot topic of internal debate. If the very basis of libertarian philosophy is ill-defined and subjective, how can anything branching out of such an axiom be viewed as legitimate?" (03/17/17)


  • The confusion arises not from a problem with the NAP, but with people's understanding of it. The "punch a Nazi" thing isn't a problem at all; it's not okay to initiate aggression against someone. If they're engaged in the act of committing aggression, then their reason for doing it and their political ideology is irrelevant.

    The question is fundamentally flawed. It's not "is it okay to punch a Nazi?" It's "Is it okay to defend someone against a credible and imminent attack?"

    Their poor understanding of the NAP isn't a mark against the NAP. It's actually very simple. It's getting people to apply it universally that is the difficulty.

  • dL

    presumption of liberty + burden of its abridgment lies w/ authority==solid intellectual bulwark against arbitrary authority==liberal

    do what you will constrained only by no harm to others==solid moral foundation that is adjudicable via heuristic law==liberal & libertarian

    self-ownership…if you don't own yourself, then by default the state will mark its claim==liberal and libertarian

    thinness==very light on the impersonal duties(duties owned to no one). Can be liberal and/or libertarian. Stands in contrast to the cultural commitment duties espoused by communitarianism and social critical theory.

    social contract==relinquish some liberty in the name of security, be it personal or property, and/or justice==liberal, but NOT libertarian.

    NAP==non-aggression principle==libertarian, but not coherent across all the traditions(e.g, is property aggression?).

    I don't subscribe to NAP, but I'm nonetheless often weary of the reasoning why it should be put to rest. For example, Zwolinksi's six reasons to reject NAP are the 6 foundations of the totalitarian liberal state.

  • The person who wrote this–he's what they mean when they say "leftist libertarians," right? If so, it's my first encounter with one, and I can see why people are leery of them.

    • dL

      nope…i'm one, so this story's author is not your first encounter

      left libertarian==redundancy, each term implies the other