Mary Ruwart: Is the Non-Aggression Principle Dead?

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Posted to www.ruwart.com

Is the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP) Dead?

October 9, 2015 By Mary Ruwart

Recently, the NAP has been the subject of a number of blogs posted by people who question its ethical basis, practicality, and universality. As someone who has written extensively on this subject for over two decades, I thought I’d weigh in.

Basically, the NAP has two parts. First of all, we don’t threaten others with first-strike force, fraud or theft. If we do, we make things right again with the person we’ve harmed, usually through restitution. For example, if we put a baseball through our neighbor’s window, we buy a new one. The NAP, or as I like to call it, the Good Neighbor Policy, is what most of us were taught as children. In relating to each other on an individual basis, most of us still adhere to it.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise. The NAP has been “discovered” and “rediscovered” by tribes/civilizations since before the written word and passed down as oral tradition. The Ten Commandments has language reminiscent of the NAP as well: thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not commit adultery (break contracts), thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness (commit fraud), thou shalt not covet … anything that is thy neighbor’s.

The NAP is not pacificism. If someone threatens first-strike force against us, we don’t violate the NAP by defending ourselves with enough force to stop the aggressor. If I come after you with a knife or gun, and you knock me unconscious with a baseball bat, that’s perfectly appropriate.

If, as I lie unmoving, you continue to beat me with the baseball bat, that would likely be use of excessive force. While you are entitled to restitution for any trauma I’ve caused, you risk becoming an aggressor yourself by exacting vengeance instead of giving me a chance to apologize and make things right with you once I’ve been stopped.

Restitution is both a deterrent and rehabilitation. Japan, which encourages a restitution settlement between victims and aggressors before the trial, boasts a low crime rate. In the U.S. and other western nations, cases resolved, in whole or part by restitution, have greater victim satisfaction.

Restitution is an integral part of the NAP; it re-balances the scales after first-strike force, fraud, or theft. Since most of us will violate the NAP at some point, it’s important to understand how restitution works.

For example, let’s say you are standing at street corner waiting for the light to change. You notice a man talking on his cell, oblivious to the fact he’s about to step off the curb right into the path of an oncoming car. Just as he’s about to be hit, you grab the back of his jacket and pull him to safety. You’ve initiated force against him, not to harm him, but to help him.

Do you feel like you’ve done something wrong? No! You’ve just saved the man’s life; he’s going to be thanking you, not suing for restitution. You haven’t harmed him or his property, so there is nothing for you to restore.

Let’s take another example. You are hiking in the woods with your ten-year-old child and lose your way. Your child screams; he has been bitten by a rather large rattlesnake, which is now making a hasty exit.

Your son needs immediate attention. As you look frantically around, you see a house—finally! It looks lived in, but is vacant at the moment. You see a landline telephone as you look through the kitchen window, which could be life-saving. You are too far out in the wilderness for your cell to work and you need first-aid instruction. You see car keys in the kitchen and a car in the garage. If you had directions to the nearest hospital, your son would have a chance.

Do you violate the NAP by breaking into the house, using the phone, and taking the car? The answer is almost certainly “Yes!” You’re quite willing to pay restitution to the homeowner at some later date. In most instances, the homeowner will just want the broken entryway replaced and maybe a full tank of gas. Helping is so instinctual that we usually take great pride in being able to render it.

Of course, the homeowner might not be “usual.” Maybe he’ll demand $100,000 as restitution for the day-use of his car. The man whose life you saved might trip as you pull him from the curb, break his leg, and expect you to pay his hospital bills. For times when people can’t agree, a third party, such as a judge or arbitrator, can be called upon for resolution. Gray areas will exist in any system we choose to adopt when interacting with our neighbors.

How does government fit into all this? Maybe government is just trying to protect us, by pulling us back from a figurative curb or taking what belongs to one person to help another. How is this different from the violations of the NAP described above?

The difference is that government usually claims “sovereign immunity” to limit the restitution it must pay. Most of the time, it pays no restitution at all. Even when it does, the individual bureaucrats who harmed others with their decisions are rarely held personally liable, as you or I would be if we committed the same acts. They have little or no incentive to do things differently next time. Their violation of the NAP, and harm that they do, usually escalates as a consequence.

The libertarian philosophy, which has the NAP as its foundation, is primarily a political movement only because this ethic is missing in politics. In our individual interactions, most of us are libertarians. Maybe the reason that politics feels dirty is because harming others without making it right again feels like a criminal act, even when done by bureaucrats and politicians with the best of intentions.

Dr. Mary J. Ruwart is a research scientist, ethicist, and a libertarian author/activist. You can read her Q&A about restitution in the Free Library at http://www.ruwart.com/restitution or Chapter 13 of her award-winning book, “Healing Our World.”

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54 thoughts on “Mary Ruwart: Is the Non-Aggression Principle Dead?

  1. jim

    I’m clicking on the line labelled “leave a reply”, to see how it will identify the comment.

  2. paulie

    It will identify it by the name you put in the reply box, like always. What in the world are you using … Knapp said some email thing? I didn’t even know we had such an option.

  3. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Commenting to subscribe.

    Jill, you beat me to posting this. I love Dr. Ruwart. I so wish she would run again.

  4. jim

    This comes to me by email. I use Gmail, but I suppose it would come by any email client I might happen to use. I was not aware there was any other method!

  5. Michael H. Wilson

    This is the comment I left on Facebook.

    No Doctor Mary J. Ruwart it is not dead. It is just misused. I get annoyed when I am working a booth and a customer walks up and ask what we are all about and the guy next to me says. “Its all about the Nap” as if the customer is going to automatically understand what the Nap is.

    It might just be better off if we talked about respecting someone’s right to live as they choose. Words like respect and phrases like human dignity may seem too left for some people but they work much better than talking about Nap but this isn’t the only problem Libertarians have with words. We seem to be unable to discuss a lot of issues without using words many people don’t understand and then blaming the customer for the problem.

    And then there this little addition. When I am working at a public booth or some such place I don’t think I have ever mentioned the NAP. One of the problems we have might be that the Libertarian philosophy does not give people anything that they can hold, except maybe their own money which is where I usually focus the discussion. That and respect for their right to live as they choose. I’ll respect your right to live as you choose and the right to support that lifestyle in the manner you choose. And Yes! I have had worked booths with people who came out with the “Its all about the NAP”. Sometime I’ve wanted to hand out warm milk and Oreos.

  6. Caryn Ann Harlos

    If I ever use the phrase “Non-Aggression Principle” (and I do at booths), it is only when I know I can immediately follow up with an explanation. I don’t ever say “NAP.”

  7. Caryn Ann Harlos

    FWIW I don’t think Dr. Ruwart is literally advocating for the words “Non-Aggression Principle” or the acronym, but rather the concept which can be articulated in many different ways.

  8. Gene Berkman

    The other way to phrase the idea – as Ayn Rand and others have said it – is the principle of the non-initiation of force. No person has the right to initiate the use of force against another person, for any reason.

    If someone does initiate force, or makes a plausible threat that they will initiate force, you have a right to defend yourself. But force may only be used in defense, and only to the degree necessary for defense; if you have contained the threat, you do not have a right to continue attacking the person you have neutralized.

  9. Jonny Stryder

    “I hereby certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals” is the pledge that Libertarians take, and still distinguishes the LP from the other parties. Call it what you will, it is a principle that deserves mention anytime someone asks what the LP stands for.

  10. jim

    I’ve been waiting 20 years to have a libertarian analyze my AP system from a libertarian perspective. https://cryptome.org/ap.htm

    It may surprise people who have never see it before, but as a lifetime libertarian, I carefully explained within it how I felt (and still feel) it is not inconsistent with the NAP. The only in-depth analysis came from two people, Bob Vroman and Bob Murphy, business partners, about 2002. Their opinions are still available on the Web.

  11. Matt Cholko

    I’m completely with you on all of that, Michael Wilson.

    To add to that, I think its important not the use the acronym LP when talking to non-Ls. Nobody knows what the LP is. I’ve heard it used many times by people doing outreach though. I’ve probably screwed up and done it too. Within the party, we use it all the time. But, I’d bet that virtually nobody outside of the Libertarian Party, and associated circles, has any idea what those letters stand for.

  12. Caryn Ann Harlos

    I never use that with people outside the LP or those on my FB wall who are either LP themselves or painfully aware of my peculiar obsessions

  13. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    I went to a sales meeting a couple years ago where someone addressed the problem of using industry lingo (including acronyms) while talking to potential customers. They often have no idea what you’re talking about, and are often too embarrassed to tell you.

    My company particularly loves acronyms, but don’t use them when I explain my products to someone. I try to do that with my political activities, also.
    .

  14. Matt Cholko

    Back to the subject of this thread….. I don’t think her title fits the article. She just explained what the NAP is. There was no discussion of whether or not it is “dead”

  15. Caryn Ann Harlos

    She is dealing with (obliquely AFAIC) Petersen’s recent claims… so yes, the title doesn’t fit entirely. Petersen was claiming that it was a childish concept that libertarianism has outgrown and it doesn’t fit how libertarianism would interface with the world (and he implied it required pacifism). So I think she was just trying to show that this still fits in with how today’s libertarians view situations and answering the charge of pacifism.

    Her articles are simple…. and I like that. I get really tired of how complicated we make things. For most people, they are not going to have to worry about if they can legally tell someone to let go of their balcony who fell from the roof and grabbed it save their lives or if a conjoined twin can commit suicide.

  16. fred

    Perhaps part of the problem is that the NAP is only part of the equation. If we don’t accompany it with a spirit of good will, it seems rather useless.
    A bunch of angry guys wearing “don’t tread on me” t-shirts and yelling at other people about Robert’s Rules of Order, or demanding their “rights” without concern for others may not violating the NAP, but they also aren’t showing anyone reasons why it might make all of our lives better.

  17. jim

    Caryn Ann Harlos:
    “Petersen was claiming that it was a childish concept that libertarianism has outgrown and it doesn’t fit how libertarianism would interface with the world (and he implied it required pacifism). So I think she was just trying to show that this still fits in with how today’s libertarians view situations and answering the charge of pacifism.”

    I look at it this way: If something called “libertarianism” did not have the NAP, why couldn’t that transmogrify into “Democrat-Lite” or “Republican-Lite”?

  18. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Jim,

    ==I look at it this way: If something called “libertarianism” did not have the NAP, why couldn’t that transmogrify into “Democrat-Lite” or “Republican-Lite”?==

    I help admin the LP USA Facebook page. It has.

  19. Michael H. Wilson

    Long before there was the non aggression principle there was the golden rule. And sometimes I think we should use that.

  20. jim

    Caryn Ann Harlos
    I have a FB page, but I rarely log into FB, and by intention refuse to have any FB “friends”. (I refuse to have to draw the line somewhere, and I see no reason to “friend” everyone.
    Thus, I simply don’t know much about how to use it. I have tried to find the national LP website, without success. I’ve come to the conclusion that FB is very hokey as to its user interface.
    I can’t find people. This doesn’t surprise me all that much, because virtually every name I try would apply to at least dozens, if not hundreds of people. But after entering a name, I EXPECT to see a mechanism to allow me to narrow down the possibilities. If there is such a system, it is either not working at all, or it’s very poor.
    What is going wrong?

  21. Robert Capozzi

    mhw: Long before there was the non aggression principle there was the golden rule.

    me: Yes, the GR is far more flexible than the NAP. If asked the question: Should I be taxed along with everyone else to fund domestic tranquility peacekeeping mechanisms, I believe most would say yes.

    Do you feel otherwise?

  22. Michael H. Wilson

    RC:writes “Should I be taxed along with everyone else to fund domestic tranquility peacekeeping mechanisms…”? If you wish but is the “domestic tranquility peacekeeping mechanism” a government agency? I’ve never heard of it.

  23. jim

    RC: You said, “Yes, the GR is far more flexible than the NAP. If asked the question: Should I be taxed along with everyone else to fund domestic tranquility peacekeeping mechanisms, I believe most would say yes”

    Finally, we’ve found something on which we can absolutely agree. The GR is way too flexible to be a principle of life, or of government.

  24. Steve Scheetz

    “Should I be taxed along with everyone else to fund domestic tranquility peacekeeping mechanisms, I believe most would say yes.”

    If this is the case, than I would suggest that most have not witnessed what taxpayer funded “peacekeeping mechanisms” have been responsible for throughout the world. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/04/world/asia/afghanistan-bombing-hospital-doctors-without-borders-kunduz.html as a recent example.

    I agree with others on this thread when they write about how the NAP is misused.I would go further in stating that some people enjoy trolling by picking the most absurd scenarios in which the NAP could not possibly apply, or would consider self defense as a violation of the NAP within their statements. There have been recent stories, even here on IPR. Those of you who pay attention will recognize, perhaps immediately, to which stories I am referring, otherwise, I will not be drawing further attention to them given the fact that they have been discussed to death already.

    Suffice to say that the NAP mixes morality in with one’s political philosophy, and while the Golden Rule is not always wrong, it is also not always right.

    Sincerely,

    Steve Scheetz

  25. paulie

    This comes to me by email. I use Gmail, but I suppose it would come by any email client I might happen to use. I was not aware there was any other method!

    I use gmail also – I don’t subscribe to IPR comments though (that would drive me up a wall – on busy days we get 200 or more in a day), I just read them directly on the IPR website. I’ve noticed gmail sometimes does not deliver some of the emails from lists that I am, but does deliver most of the emails from those same lists. Not sure what triggers its spam filters. Maybe some IPR comments get caught in those also. I would recommend looking at the website directly.

  26. Robert Capozzi

    ss: If this is the case, than I would suggest that most have not witnessed what taxpayer funded “peacekeeping mechanisms” have been responsible for throughout the world.

    me: Actually, I would also say that most would acknowledge that the state does many things that destroy peace rather than keeping it. Most who know of the NAP (quite few, I suspect) would be open to a demonstration of the NAP in action, but there are few to no examples against which to compare it.

    Statelessness is essentially un-observable.

  27. langa

    …the GR is far more flexible than the NAP. If asked the question: Should I be taxed along with everyone else to fund domestic tranquility peacekeeping mechanisms, I believe most would say yes.

    Your understanding of the GR appears to be quite shaky, to put it charitably. The GR (“do unto others as you would have them do unto you”) has nothing to do with whether you believe it would be beneficial for the majority to enslave the minority, nor the justification for such a belief. Rather, it is simply the principle of reciprocity. It states that you may not do something to someone unless you would also consent to them doing the same thing to you. As I mentioned on another thread here recently, the very existence of the state violates this principle, as the state is literally defined by its insistence that it has the right to do something (initiate force) that no other agent has the right to do. This is, by definition, a clear violation of the GR, and no amount of hand waving or sophistry on your part can change that.

    Further, as I have also stated, the NAP can be directly deduced from the GR, as no one would ever consent to being aggressed against — again, this is true by definition, since aggression necessarily occurs in the absence of consent. (For example, one boxer punching another during a match does not constitute aggression, precisely because the boxers have consented to allow it.) Thus, since no one would ever consent to being aggressed against, according to the GR, no one has the right to aggress against anyone else. In other words, the NAP is simply a specific application of the GR. Thus, while it is possible to consistently adhere to the NAP without consistently adhering to the GR, it is not possible to consistently adhere to the GR, without consistently adhering to the NAP.

  28. Robert Capozzi

    L: Your understanding of the GR appears to be quite shaky, to put it charitably.

    me: Are you Walter Block? I ask because he uses these fallacious syllogisms as proof. But this sentence is a doozy, too. First you attempt to question my foundation without any support.

    L: The GR (“do unto others as you would have them do unto you”) has nothing to do with whether you believe it would be beneficial for the majority to enslave the minority, nor the justification for such a belief.

    me: Then you go further out into Straw Man Land. Who has said anything about “enslaving” anyone? A review will show: No one. First you claim my understanding is shaky. Then you make up a characterization that I never used.

    Do you really think I or anyone paying attention is going to buy your approach?

    L: Rather, it is simply the principle of reciprocity. It states that you may not do something to someone unless you would also consent to them doing the same thing to you.

    me: Oh? Looks to me that you are reading things that simply are not there in Cthe GR. The GR is not a “commandment.” Rather, it is “counsel.” It suggests nothing at all about consent or reciprocity that I can see. It’s simply advise on how to behave in this world. It appears you are projecting values onto the GR that you hold or are convenient for your argument, but are nevertheless false.

    L: As I mentioned on another thread here recently, the very existence of the state violates this principle, as the state is literally defined by its insistence that it has the right to do something (initiate force) that no other agent has the right to do.

    me: Now you falsely extrapolate on a foundation of sand. For ex., I don’t see anywhere in the Preamble of the Constitution anything about the union having the “right” to “initiate force.” I don’t believe those words appear anywhere in the document. Another Straw Man!

    L: This is, by definition, a clear violation of the GR, and no amount of hand waving or sophistry on your part can change that.

    me: Violation? Nope. Straw Men don’t exist, and can’t violate anything.

    Try again. And remember, the truth really does set you free!

  29. langa

    Who has said anything about “enslaving” anyone? A review will show: No one.

    Perhaps you should review your own comment. You know, this part:

    “If asked the question: Should I be taxed along with everyone else to fund domestic tranquility peacekeeping mechanisms, I believe most would say yes.”

    That’s where you insinuate that the GR justifies the majority voting to expropriate the income of the minority, in order to fund a scheme that the majority desires. If forcibly taking someone’s income doesn’t amount to slavery, then I don’t know what does. Wait, let me guess: This is yet another example of you defining a term (in this case, “slavery”), however it suits your purpose.

    The GR is not a “commandment.” Rather, it is “counsel.” It suggests nothing at all about consent or reciprocity that I can see.

    Then perhaps you need glasses, so you can see better. From the Wikipedia article on the GR:

    “The Golden Rule or ethic of reciprocity is a moral maxim or principle which may appear as either a positive or negative injunction:
    One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself…
    One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated…
    In both forms, it serves as a directive to treat others as one does oneself.”

    I don’t see anywhere in the Preamble of the Constitution anything about the union having the “right” to “initiate force.”

    We’ve been over this before. This should refresh your memory:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monopoly_on_violence

  30. Robert Capozzi

    L: If forcibly taking someone’s income doesn’t amount to slavery, then I don’t know what does. Wait, let me guess: This is yet another example of you defining a term (in this case, “slavery”), however it suits your purpose.

    me: Well, of course. Aren’t you doing the same?

    It’s true that there are some who view themselves of “slaves” because they pay taxes. The vast majority show no indication of feeling so. But I personally have great compassion for these self-described “slaves.” It’s why I advocate Nonarchy Pods, self secession onto one’s property for the few refuseniks who want out of civil society.

    L: In both forms, it serves as a directive to treat others as one does oneself.”

    me: Yes, sure, “directive.” Point is: It’s not a “sin” when one fails to follow the GR. We all fail to follow the GR at least some of the time. Maybe you read that to me that therefore we will all go to Hell. I surely don’t. (Of course, I don’t buy the whole Hell thing anyway. I think JC was wildly misunderstood and misquoted on a number of fronts.)

    L: From your “source”: “By the same token, the “monopoly” does not mean that only the government may use physical force, but that the state is the only source of legitimacy for all physical coercion or adjudication of coercion. For example, the law might permit individuals to use force in defense of self or property, but this right derives from the state’s authority.”

    ,me: That may well have been Weber’s opinion, but so what? If someone were to assault you and you defended yourself, I really don’t believe that the vast majority would say Langa was only able to defend him/herself because the state authorized him or her to do so.

    I mean, jeez Louise!! 😉

    Most would simply say Langa has the right to self defense. How can this possibly be controversial?!

  31. Wang Tang-Fu

    Someone has to decide what is self-defense and what isn’t in cases where opinions on the matter differ. Will it be the people involved, a private arbiter, or some agency of the government? Even in cases where whether it was self defense is not controversial there may be differences of opinion whether the degree of preventive or retaliatory force was appropriate or justifiable.

  32. Robert Capozzi

    WTF, yes. For NAPsterchists, it would appear to be the insurance company they have selected for that time period. Of course, if the OTHER party uses a different insurance company, who uses different T&Cs, there might be no resolution. Lysander P&C might have a fracas with Bakunin Assurance.

  33. paulie

    You’re forgetting the “Frankel Singularity” 🙂

    And before then, I don’t think that jurisdictional disputes are the norm among monopoly governments, nor would I expect them to be the norm among non-monopoly dispute resolution mechanisms.

  34. Caryn Ann Harlos

    I am jealous. We have AndyLand and the Frankel Singularity…

    I will work harder.

  35. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Robert,

    LOL. Which is funny because I am involved in an anarchist group on Google and was introduced to the idea of “panarchism” which seems to describe your concept. Which to me is just voluntaryism. And I have always said voluntaryism describes my view much more precisely than anarchism, though it is a species of anarchism.

    I know that deviates from the old-school definition of anarchism as absolutely no political rulers. I also take it as no mandatory political rulers. If people cannot voluntarily choose to be ruled, then it is just another form of authoritarianism IMHO.

  36. Robert Capozzi

    CAH, I did share the then Nonarchy Pods concept with Rozeff, an LRC contributor, who’s a big proponent of panarchism. He didn’t like it, mostly because the Podsters would be restricted to their own nation/property, unless they abutted other Harlos Pods, in which case visitation among Pods would be something they (and their insurance companies) could work out.

  37. Caryn Ann Harlos

    I can’t say I have put terribly much thought into it as we are so far from anything regarding real choice, but on the face of it, I don’t see why there would be a problem… if the other people choose that arrangement, what right does anyone have to go unto their property? I don’t get to just bust into my neighbor’s house.

    I don’t see how it differs at all from voluntaryism in theory. Voluntaryists generally denounce any political involvement, so they don’t abide me, but I agree with them on everything else.

  38. Caryn Ann Harlos

    There is a whole other issue with whether there is such a concept of right to freedom of movement (i.e. some kind of universal right to limited easement) that is another topic. (can you donut around someone’s property etc). If there isn’t such a right, then no problem. And if there is, that is just an aggression to be resolved.

    Either way I don’t see a problem with the concept. In any system the issue of encirclement would have to be dealt with.

  39. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Like I am thinking of that article I posted on the libertarian position on immigration stating that there was no right to tell a private property owner on the US/Mexico border that they cannot let someone into their property (and conversely NOT let them). This is no different…

  40. paulie

    Opinions can differ on who would be encircling whom. One day you’re the donut, the next you may find yourself and other Capozzi Archypodsters to be in the hole with Harlos Podsters all around you.

  41. Robert Capozzi

    Podsters could conceivably pay for visits out of the Pod, though. There is no right to walk into Disney World. You need to buy a ticket.

  42. Caryn Ann Harlos

    That issue would have to be solved in any system, I was simply mentioning that I didn’t think it was fatal to this one.

  43. Caryn Ann Harlos

    No different then present property borders… I am just trying to figure out what Rozeff’s issue would be. This is just a form of voluntaryism.

  44. langa

    Well, of course. Aren’t you doing the same?

    No. I try to use words in the sense that they are commonly understood to have meaning. That’s why, whenever there is a controversy about the meaning of a word, I always try to provide sources, to show that I am not just pulling meanings out of my ass.

    It’s not a “sin” when one fails to follow the GR. We all fail to follow the GR at least some of the time. Maybe you read that to me that therefore we will all go to Hell. I surely don’t.

    Where did I say anything about it being a “sin” to violate the GR? My point was that the GR sets a standard for behavior, and if you claim to be an adherent of the GR, then you need to behave according to that standard, or else risk being labelled a hypocrite (or even a liar). Of course, if you don’t mind being thought of as a hypocrite, then you can feel free to ignore such standards for behavior, but that’s true of any moral or ethical code, isn’t it?

    If someone were to assault you and you defended yourself, I really don’t believe that the vast majority would say Langa was only able to defend him/herself because the state authorized him or her to do so.

    There have been countless cases of someone claiming self-defense, and the state using their supposed authority to reject such claims as illegitimate. Surely you are aware of these cases.

  45. Robert Capozzi

    L: No. I try to use words in the sense that they are commonly understood to have meaning.

    me: It’s precisely this sort of tortured logic that made me recognize that I’d been brainwashed when I was a Randian/Rothbardian.

    Whether you realize it or not, you are now claiming that it is a common understanding that because everyone pays taxes that they are ALL SLAVES. I don’t know how to convince you otherwise.

    You could ask people on the street or non-L associates. Maybe that might be helpful for you.

    L: That’s why, whenever there is a controversy about the meaning of a word, I always try to provide sources, to show that I am not just pulling meanings out of my ass.

    me: I’d encourage you to keep an open mind on this. Ask around.

    L: Where did I say anything about it being a “sin” to violate the GR? My point was that the GR sets a standard for behavior, and if you claim to be an adherent of the GR, then you need to behave according to that standard, or else risk being labelled a hypocrite (or even a liar). Of course, if you don’t mind being thought of as a hypocrite, then you can feel free to ignore such standards for behavior, but that’s true of any moral or ethical code, isn’t it?

    me: A rich subject. Everyone’s a hypocrite and a liar. In short, I’d suggest the GR is a suggestion to be happy. It has nothing to do with reciprocity or standards of behavior. It’s — in a sense — selfish to practice the GR.

    L: There have been countless cases of someone claiming self-defense, and the state using their supposed authority to reject such claims as illegitimate. Surely you are aware of these cases.

    [Earlier, L said:] this right derives from the state’s authority.

    me: So, yes, in a territory, a state codifies and adjudicates rights. The premise is that rights are inalienable, but some entity will need to sort them out, as they are not b/w in many instances. In the US, notice that the adjucation is done by a jury. Since juries are randomly selected, there is no standing “monopoly.”

    The codification is sort of a monopoly, but the people who make the code are elected and do change. Further, sometimes codification is subject to evolving case law, involving both non-monopoly jurors, and several legislatures in different jurisdictions.

    THE STATE is not a thing. It’s a fluctuating institution made up of a changing lineup of players, subject to many rules that are themselves fluctuating.

    AndyLand would have an entity for such adjudication, too.

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