The Non Aggression Principle and the initiation of force.

The definition of the Non Aggression Principle (NAP) according to Nations of Sanity is basically as it is defined by most sources, with simple clarifications on any areas of potential grey or points subjected to particular scrutiny.

The NAP is based on the concept of self-ownership. If every individual has right over themselves then it is immoral to violate that right by interferring with their right over themselves. Any initiation of force, including threats or attempts, are a violation of the NAP.

As the basis for a society and rule of law the NAP is essentially saying that you are not, and cannot be deemed to be, committing a crime unless you are causing harm or loss to another.
Your freedom and liberty is guaranteed by the societal acceptance of this principle and you are literally free to live your life the way you see fit with the only stipulation being that you cannot interfere with the freedoms and liberties of others.

The initiation of force is defined by the word “initiation” and does not refer to acts of self defence or defence of others. You can act, even forcefully, against someone to defend yourself or others, and you will not be deemed to be violating the non aggression principle.
So in addition to having the right to protect yourself and react in opposition to those who cause you harm or loss, or threaten to do so, an agency that polices (for want of a better word) this agreement is also permitted to act on your behalf.
But unlike the modern day police forces, such an organisation cannot initiate force onto people who have not defied the non aggression principle/agreement themselves, as such an act would itself be considered a crime. Nor could such an organisation be funded by taxes, as is currently the case, because tax is theft and is itself a violation of the Non Aggression Principle, though there are many ways to facilitate sustainable voluntary alternatives.
Such differences alone would perhaps suggest that such an organisation would require an alternative name, as they would be unrecognisable from current day police forces because of these stipulations.

The Non Aggression Principle is not limited to physical force, or physical injury to the victim. It is defined (at least according to the Nations of Sanity) by the context of being a prohibition against causing harm or loss to another. So theft, even when utilising stealth tactics rather than physical violence, is against the non aggression principle and therefore deemed a crime.
Also the actions of self defense permitted by the non aggression principle, as defined here, are not restricted to only "after the fact" responses.
It is permitted to act in response to the threats in an attempt to prevent the crime, so it would not be true to say that people would have to wait for crimes to be committed before they can act in defence.
All reasonable steps are permitted to prevent crimes against yourself, your property or others.
Essentially the law would not need to differ drastically from its current form with regards to the laws that are retained by the Non Aggression Principle, including the focus on initiation of force and the allowance for self defense and crime prevention.
The fundamental difference is that the prohibition against causing harm or loss to another is consistent and uncorrupted, meaning that (by definition) actions against people who are not violating the NAP would themselves qualify as an initiation of force and as such would violate the Non Aggression Principle.

There is a limit to how you, or any agency acting on your behalf, can respond to a criminal violation. This is based on the idea that an excessive response that spills over to becoming its own initiation of force can be seen as a violation for that very reason.
The specific guidelines of this would need to be agreed, prior to implementation, as part of the Non Aggression Agreement, but while there is room for debate over the specifics, the basic lines are clear and the Nations of Sanity do present the suggested parameters.
It would be hoped that common sense would allow the basic parameters to be agreed upon with ease, as such parameters do already exist in our current legal system, but in any case any agreement can be negotiated on the specifics.

For example, if you are physically assaulted or in danger of being assaulte you can act, even with violence, to both defend yourself and even retaliate in the interest of defence to neutralise or restrain your attacker.
However your response would be considered excessive if your actions continued to impose violence on your attacker long after he has been restrained or ceases to be a threat to you or others. To continue violence against such a person would then be a separate initiation of force against that person, as they are no longer representing a threat to you or others or attempting to act in a criminal manner.
Again, parameters do already exist when it comes to acceptable responses to criminal violations and while the definition of criminal violations would change, as it would be based on the Non Aggression Principle, the parameters for acceptable responses for those violations could potentially remain virtually unaltered.

As mentioned such parameters can be agreed prior to formalising the sanity agreement but we would hope that reasonable effort can be made to apply basic levels of sanity to such parameters.
Just as it is recognised today when judging issues of self defence, there is an easily accepted definition of acting in defence, of yourself or others, that separates such acts from the initiation of force.
Even in the face of the most pedantic scrutiny, an agreement on the basic parameters that define the initiation of force and the non aggression principle should be achieved with relative ease. But, in any case, the NAP takes care of the black and white, even if the grey requires negotiation.

The Non Aggression Principle, as it is represented here by the Nations of Sanity, is not a complicated principle (despite efforts to represent it as such) and while its simplicity may seem almost child like, especially as it so closely resembles the basic lessons of right and wrong many of us would be taught at ages as early as 4 or 5 years old, that same simplicity makes it less prone to corruption and manipulation and its basic tenants are impossible to rationally dispute (though all are welcomed to try), which is why it is the basic foundation for a society that represents simple sanity.

Possibly the most compelling factor supporting the claim that the Non Aggression Principle provides the only suitable basis for a sane society is the moral and logical consistency of it. It is simplistic but undeniably consistent and built on a universally objective morality that everyone could, and should be able to, support.
The child like simplicity of this ethos is one of its biggest strengths and while it may be very basic it is also logical, morally consistent and universally agreeable.

Add comment

Security code

Become A Volunteer

Join the Nations Of Sanity and help us create a real revolution of simple sanity

Join Now


Connect with Us