Talk:Non-aggression principle

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What this could use[edit]

  1. A review of what is an acceptable use of force
  2. An overview of how the application of the principle differs with different strains of libertarianism

Saswann 12:44, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)

The new "Formulations" section addresses #1 above, i.e. only against those who initiated it. Many would add a proportionality provision.

3. The problems with the term of aggression and violation. --Alfrem 13:24, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Aggression is the initiation of violence (assuming you meant "violence" rather than "violation.") Here's one:

4. The dependence of aggression on property. IOW aggressive conduct is indeterminate without reference to an underlying property system. PhilLiberty 03:03, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Axiom vs. Principle[edit]

Because "principle" is the main article name and "axiom" is a redirect, and also because it seems that "principle" is slightly more common in libertarian discourse, I re-wrote things to use "principle" rather than "axiom" (Now Rothbard preferred "axiom" which is why that's used in the anarcho-capitalism article) I don't have a personal prefrence, so if someone prefers "axiom" feel free to edit, just be consistent and change all the instances (without changing qutations, that is :) and note the change here so future editors know what's the preferred formulation for this article. Saswann 12:50, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I don't care a pap for it. Only in the logical/ethical discussion it is important, since it is an axiom. --Alfrem 13:21, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
 ? Are you saying you don't care what term is used in the article? Or are you saying you prefer "axiom"? 14:15, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I prefer "axiom" in the situation as above. The name of the article doesn't make any difference to me. --Alfrem 14:51, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)

The libertarians I've encountered use the two terms interchangeably. But "principle" seems more popular, if for no other reason than it lends itself toward a niftier acronym. --Matt Apple 21:05, Jun 26, 2005 (UTC)

Criticism - taxes and tax havens[edit]

Mihnea, in order to avoid an edit war, please do not revert my contributions without further discussion here. In particular, if you have a problem with a particular change, explain why here, then change it in the main article. I promise to do the same, as I'm doing below. Thanks.

  • An excellent course of action. Thank you. And I apologize for reverting out of hand yesterday - I was in a hurry. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 08:47, 6 August 2005 (UTC)

I've changed:

"some minarchists have suggested to establish social contracts"


"some minarchists have suggested establishing social contracts". That's just a grammar correction.

Yes, obviously. No objection there. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 08:47, 6 August 2005 (UTC)

I am once again removing the following sentence:

Such a problem does not exist in the case of large countries, because a large country, unlike a small region or neighborhood, needs a complex and fully functional economy - and therefore it cannot specialize to cater only to the needs of the rich (or any other particular segment of the population).

The reason I'm removing it because it does not make sense. Whether the U.S., for example, or Europe, as another, is governed by one monopolistic central government, or hundreds of smaller regional governments, the need and ability to establish "a complex and fully functional economy" is the same. Even before the formation of the EU, Europe had "a complex and fully functional economy", despite the lack of a large centralized government, and the existence of tax havens like Monaco.

  • Alright, it is true that the part about a "complex and fully functional economy" was not well written on my part, but the point remains that small independent (or autonomous) polities can become tax havens, while large countries cannot. This is because a small polity can easily end up with a population entirely made up of a very specific kind of people (in our case, rich people, but you could just as well have all-white polities, all-black polities, polities for members of a specific religion, etc.), and such a polity could tailor its laws (in our case, its tax code) to suit the preferences of its residents. This is not possible in large countries - at least not without cutting up the country into different areas with different laws for different people, which brings us back to the small polity system. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 08:47, 6 August 2005 (UTC)

I'm changing:

"On the other hand, this system also makes it very hard to ..."


"This system also makes it challenging to ..."

since the latter is more succinct and clear.

For clarity and grammar reasons I'm changing:

(since an agreement between different local governments would be needed)


since an agreement between different regional governments would be needed,

I'm changing the clause:

and it allows for the creation of "tax havens": ...

to it's own sentence:

This system potentially allows for the creation of "tax havens": ...

Since it's a separate point.

  • Agreed. You really don't need to explain such changes of language, though. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 08:47, 6 August 2005 (UTC)

I am adding the following sentence, because it clarifies why minarchists would support such a system, and provides examples of existing model systems:

The additional challenges would limit the implementation of large-scale public projects to only those with widespread support, perhaps consolidated through an umbrella organization of smaller governments (e.g, UN, EU, NAFTA, NATO).
  • Again, good call.

I am adding the following sentence to point out the advantages of having tax havens in an economic system:

On the other hand, the potential of tax havens forming and enticing the rich to move to them would serve as a natural regulatory mechanism against relative over-taxation in all regions (much as international tax havens like Monaco drawing on the super-rich was instrumental in reducing the super high income tax rates in other nations in the late 20th century).

While it is true that "relative over-taxation" is a subjective term, as you pointed out in your comments, regardless of one's point of view, whether "over-taxation" is 1%, or 90%, or something in between, relative over-taxation can exist, and tax havens, at least to some extent, help regulate it.

  • Ok, let's just state the facts: Tax havens help lower taxes. That was already explained in the sentence prior to the one you quoted. Whether this reduction in taxes is an advantage or a disadvantage depends on one's POV. I have edited the paragraph to say that. Furthermore, I do believe we should include the observation that tax havens are possible in small polities but not in large countries (see above). -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 08:47, 6 August 2005 (UTC)

Thanks in advance for your cooperation in improving this Wiki article. --Serge 17:29, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

There is one other edit I have made that is unrelated to the ones discussed above:

There is a problem with your counter-criticism of the libertarian socialist view - it (implicitly) commits the fallacy of the excluded middle. You wrote it as if the only two possible views on private property were that it should be always respected (libertarian position) or entirely abolished (libertarian socialist position). The paragraph implies that anyone who doesn't agree with libertarianism advocates the elimination of private property, which is clearly very wrong. Most people who use the "property is illegitimate" argument don't want to abolish private property - they just want to take it down from its ivory tower of inviolability, and they just argue that there is nothing wrong with violating private property from time to time, under certain conditions. Therefore, arguments regarding the impracticality of abolishing private property are beside the point. No one is suggesting the abolition of private property, at least not in this article.

You have also made what I consider to be a factual error in the same paragraph: stating that much of the land property on Earth was never stolen. This is incorrect. Europe had hundreds of wars, and every patch of land on the continent changed hands via theft many times over the past 3000 years (at least). The same holds true for Asia. In Africa, Australia and the Americas, the current divisions of private property over land were established by European colonists, who stole the vast majority of the land of the natives. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 08:47, 6 August 2005 (UTC)

A recent straw man[edit]

RJII, you edited the article to insert the following argument:

"So, it is held that advocating that each individual base his actions on utilitarian calculations would lead to overall bad consequences, such as rampant violence. Thus, it is seen that advocating a rule against aggression saves individuals the complex process of utilitarian calculation and leading to the maximization of good consequences."

This is a straw man, since no person (that I know of) makes the assertion that individuals should be allowed to make their own utilitarian calculations and act on them without being constrained by any laws. Rather, the argument is that the state should make utilitarian calculations and pass laws accordingly. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 02:50, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

Minhea, your bringing political law into this when it has nothing to do with this. The non-agression axiom is a moral law ...not a legal law. Utilitarians indeed think that individuals should take that action that maximizes good consequences NO MATTER WHAT (legal or illegal) --that's the very definition of utilitarianism. It's an ethical doctrine. It has nothing to do with government. (If a utilitarian stays within the law, it's because he thinks doing so maximizes good consequences. If he doesn't think it maximizes good consequences, he violates the law). If you want to talk about the state, feel free, but it's a separate issue. RJII 04:17, 20 September 2005 (UTC)
Well, now I see where you are coming from. You have a good point. However, your text gave the false impression that rule utilitarianism is the only way to reconcile the different utilitarian calculations of different individuals in order to form a coherent society. This is not the case. I have kept your point, but edited it to give a clearer picture of the views surrounding the essential question of utilitarianism: how to decide what will produce the greatest good for the greatest number (also, logically speaking, we should mention rule utilitarianism first, and the version of libertarianism based on it second, because political views flow from moral views, not the other way around). I have only omitted your idea about teaching deontology for utilitarian purposes, because I think that will cause too much confusion for the reader. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 21:35, 22 September 2005 (UTC)

Social contract theories[edit]

I'm bothered by this sentence. "But advocates of the social contract theory argue that taxes are part of a free agreement (or contract) between the government and the population, and that anyone who disagrees with this contract is always free to opt out of it by leaving the country."

First, there isn't any such thing as "the" social contract theory. There are lots of them. Second, most historically important S.C. theories don't treat the government as a party to the contract, as the language suggests, but somply as the result of the contract, a different matter. Sam proposes marriage to Samantha. She accepts. The marriage, and the obligations that are part of it, isn't itself a party. Likewise, most views of a S.C. speak of an agreement among the members of a population, creating a state (of which the government, in turn, is the agent, not a party). Third, of course, "opting out" by leaving the country? one is not "always free" to do this. There are border guards, demands for proper documentation, etc. If one does get (lawfully) from one state's territory to another, one hasn't so much opted out as opted in. Or opted around. If one gets unlawfully from one state's territory to another, one will find lots of new meanings for "out" and "in"! A true "opt out" doesn't exist. I think the Branch Davidians were trying something like that. It didn't end well for them. If the social contract depends on an opt out for legitimacy, it isn't. Anyway, I'll work on the above very awkward sentence. --Christofurio 15:17, 23 September 2005 (UTC)

I can tell you I've heard that argument before, but only in very informal unsophisticated argumentation. I'd be interested to know if any serious noted philosopher actually says that. It is definitely strange. RJII 15:36, 23 September 2005 (UTC)
I believe I've just improved it considerably. BTW, John Locke somewhere wrote that anyone who regards himself as outside the social contract is simply a wild animal, and can be shot just as one might shoot a wild dog. That's a more realistic appraisal of "opt out" choices than the earlier version of this passage offered! --Christofurio 16:08, 23 September 2005 (UTC)
Let's assume the whole world is an anarcho-capitalist society. That means that all land is privately owned. So, a person who doesn't own any land can't "opt out" of paying rent except by "opting out" of living. How is this any different from the current situation, in which all land is owned by states? If we look at the state as an organization of private individuals who own a certain patch of land (known as a country), then we already live in anarcho-capitalism. There is a free market in states. Sure, this market has imperfect competition (oligopoly, high barriers to entry, etc.), but so do most other real markets. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 18:50, 27 September 2005 (UTC)
It's different because in anarcho-capitalism land would be purchased instead of claimed by conquest. You can't opt out of paying rent, BUT that's because you voluntarily opted IN if you happened to have sold your land to a landlord. In an anarcho-capitalist society a government could not own land unless it purchased it from private individuals. You're right that tax on land and rent on by landlords would amount to the same thing, but the difference is you don't voluntarily opt into a statist situation, but you do opt into an anarcho-capitalist situation. So, the idea of having to opt out of a situation one didn't opt into in the first place, is incoherent even. RJII 20:21, 27 September 2005 (UTC)
What if you were born into this anarcho-capitalist society and your family had no land? You can't really expect each of the Earth's 6,500,000,000 people to own a plot of land; and even if they all "opted in" the anarcho-capitalist society, their children won't have that choice. Given enough generations, you'll be right back to a state system. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 20:57, 27 September 2005 (UTC)
It wouldn't be a "state system" --it would be a private system. On a practical note, it's possible that without a state, rents would be very low ..much lower than taxation would be, due to decentralization and competition for tenants. But, we don't know this for sure, of course. RJII 21:09, 27 September 2005 (UTC)
My point still stands. If all the land on Earth is owned privately, and some people don't own any land, then those people have no way to opt out of paying rent. And the landowners have no need to compete for tenants. You can build anything you want on your private property, correct? So a landowner would be well within his property rights if he built a fence around his land to prevent people getting in or out. After all, it's his land, so he can build a fence on it if he wishes. Welcome to serfdom. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 23:48, 27 September 2005 (UTC)
The difference is in one case it would be taxation and in the other cases it would be rent. If you're born on land that someone else owns, yes, you would eventually have to pay rent. But the landlord would come to own that land through a voluntary transaction (or occupation or use, in the case of original land). So, if you're born on his land, I think the anarcho-capitalist position would be that you're the one initiating coercion once you reach adulthood and choose to stay there --not him --so of course you would have to pay rent if you choose to stay there once you reach adulthood and your parents stop paying rent. And, no, the landowner could not prevent anyone from leaving his land in an anarcho-capitalist system. He could build a fence around his land, but whoever wanted to move to the apartment building across the street on land owned by someone else, who offers lower rent, would be within their rights to break down that fence, if necessary, in order to leave. And, the situation wouldn't be "serfdom" because the landless could purchase land of their own. RJII 13:25, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
This just shows the absurdity of the non-aggression principle. So if the land is private property, the tenant is initiating force against the landlord, but if the land is public property, the landlord is initiating force against the tenant? Ridiculous. Land is land, a tenant is a tenant, and a landlord is a landlord. In practice, taxation is identical to rent. And no, the private land would not be obtained through voluntary transaction (unless we're imagining this anarcho-capitalist society on a different planet, which was anarcho-capitalist to begin with), because all land on Earth was stolen at some point or another in its history. So there will inevitably be some coercion or fraud in the chain of voluntary transactions. Furthermore, since you're so fond of the "water under the bridge" argument, why not apply it to states? Most of the land governed by current states has been obtained by force a long time ago. Water has passed under the bridge. Thus, the state is the rightful owner of the land it rules. You may consider a country the private property of its government, and voila! We live in anarcho-capitalism, and there are no taxes - only rent. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 16:33, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
The anarcho-capitalist position is that the landlords are different from the state in that they purchased the land with their own earned money instead of simply claiming ownership. From that, then, a state does not legitimately own the land and cannot therefore legitimately charge rent (tax). RJII 16:46, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
The landlords purchased the land with their own earned money... from people who simply claimed ownership (in the beginning, property over land came about by people simply claiming ownership). And, again, before you bring up the "water under the bridge" argument, I must point out that it just as easily applies to states as well as private individuals. By the way, there are many territories in the world that were purchased by states using money, in the same way a landlord would purchase them. Louisiana and Alaska, for example. Finally, what is the point of an anarcho-capitalist system that is identical to our current system in every way, except its origins? If all current states originated in voluntary transactions, anarcho-capitalists could not raise any objections to them, correct? So anarcho-capitalist really only care about the past, not the present. If the world was just the way it is now, but with a different past, they would be perfectly okay with it. That makes anarcho-capitalism an irrelevant and pointless ideology. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 16:48, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
Oh, and by the way, why would you be within your rights to break down a private fence put up by a landlord on his private land? Are you saying people have a right to destroy the private property of others? Your entire foundation for capitalism just crumbled. And no, the landless could not purchase land of their own in an anarcho-capitalist system unless the landlords were willing to sell them some. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 16:33, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
Of course you would be allowed to destroy the private property of another if he's using it to enslave you. That's not inconsistent with anarcho-capitalism at all. Preventing another freedom of movement would be an initiation of coercion --which would justify removing the impediment. And, of course to purchase land there would have to be a willing seller. That's what anarcho-capitalism is all about cannot take the property of another by coercion but only through voluntary means (gift or trade). RJII 16:46, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
Enslave you? But I thought you said you are initiating force against him by living on his land. Or do people have a right to live on other people's private land? It sounds to me like anarcho-capitalism is horribly inconsistent - and the only way to resolve this inconsistency would be for anarcho-capitalism to approve of slavery. Regarding the purchasing of land, you've just proved my point: Anarcho-capitalism offers no guarantees that the landless will be able to purchase any land. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 16:59, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
You are initiating force against the landowner if you refuse to pay rent for living on it, of course. But if you choose not to live there he must allow you to leave. If he doesn't allow you to leave then he is initiating the coercion and you would have the right to fight him and destroy any object he using to block your exit. And, of course anarcho-capitalism offers no guarantee that another person will sell land to you --it must be voluntary. It merely allows you to purchase and own land if there is a willing seller. And a seller would not have his land taken by a government, but would be allowed to choose to sell whenever he was willing. RJII 17:14, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
You are merely re-stating what you said before, and it still makes anarcho-capitalism horribly inconsistent. You are saying that people have a right to cross other people's private property, and that landowners have an obligation to remove any obstacles that may stand in their way. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 01:36, 9 October 2005 (UTC)
I think Anarcho-capitalism [i]is[/i] flawed and inconsistent for a number of reasons, but I don't think this is one of them. The basic principle here is that: if you try to remain on someone else's land against their will, then you are "coercing" them. But if they try to stop you leaving, then it is they who are doing the coercion. If I stop paying my rent, then my landlord can kick me out. But if my landlord padlocks all the doors on the house, I can legitimately break them down to leave. (Of course, this situation already exists under current law - you don't need an anarcho-capitalist society for that).Wardog 00:10, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Wardog (talkcontribs) 00:09, 26 January 2007 (UTC).

In any case, not all states put restrictions on emigration. The article should not make the unfounded assumption that they do. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 18:50, 27 September 2005 (UTC)
It doesn't. But every border between sovereigns has guards, whether they're more interested in watching the traffic from one direction or from the other. And where is the crossing that I can use for this "opt out" I've been promised? rather than from one alleged "contract" to another draft of it? --Christofurio 21:42, 27 September 2005 (UTC)
1. A private landowner might just as easily have guards to prevent trespass on his land. 2. Border guards won't stop you from leaving if you go through all the legal channels. In most countries, this is easy to do. 3. You can always move to Antarctica. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 23:48, 27 September 2005 (UTC)
(1) A private landowbner hires private guards, within any pretense of sovereignty, which is thus irrelevant to arguments about the so-called "social" contract, (2) going through legal channels rather concedes the point -- what "contract" obliges one to do so? (3) and, yes, the sovereigns of the world have entered into treaties with each other as pertains to the status of Antartica. So they claim that is theirs, too, although collectively rather than by division (as of yet). (4) In general, please stop misrepresenting an argument about coercion as if it were an argument about "difficulty." It simply isn't. What libertarian thinker has made the argument that you insist on inserting on their behalf with the word "difficulty"? If none, then please stop misrepresenting their position. That's not a lot to ask. --Christofurio 02:38, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
(1) How are private guards magically different from government guards? If you live on private land and the landlord hires guards to prevent you leaving, how is that different from the state doing the same thing? (2) The law obliges one to do so. If you want to argue that the law is illegitimate, fine, but make this argument, not the argument that emigration law in particular is illegitimate. (3) I do not believe there is any police, army, or other form of state authority to prevent you doing whatever you want in Antarctica. (4) You were falsely claiming that states force their citizens to stay within their countries' boundaries. I pointed out that this is not the case. You may argue that states force their citizens to go through legal channels before emigrating, which means that states use force to make emigration more difficult, but they certainly don't use force to prevent it. There is a difference between "you must fill in some forms if you want to leave" and "if you try to leave we'll shoot you". -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 02:56, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
(1) private guards don't carry the pretense of sovereignty with them. This is key, because "social contract" theory is all about legitimating the actions of a sovereign -- its an effort to persuade dissenters that their dissent shouldn't become rebellion, that they should submit themselves to authority that has gone against them. As far as private land is concerned, as I've told you before, there is no a priori reason to believe that in an anarcho-capitalist world the landowners' rights will be considered absolute. That will be a recipe that must be left to future chefs. Needs to co-operate despite and through conflicts will likely bring about market based methods of mediation, arbitration, and the enforcement of breaches of rules established through genuine, non-"social" contracts, after the manner of medieval Iceland. (2) social contract is a general theory about the obligation of law, not the obligation of some laws in particular -- so of course it encompasses emigration law. If there is no social contract, then the states that claim to be derived from one are just bandits, and the argument in the main article about how the bandits aren't really 'initiating' aggression simply fails, (3) there are treaty obligations in regard to Antartica, and I'm sure if homesteading anarcho-capitalists set up heavy industries there, you would be among the many to complain that 'the whole planet is at risk!' and to call for the instruments of the signatory states to close them down, (4) the difference you cite here is not the same as the mere 'difficulty of moving' which you've been insisting on in the article. --Christofurio 04:41, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
(1) You have not addressed the issue of how sovereignty is any different from private land ownership. The sovereign can just claim that the land of the country is his private property (as many historical sovereigns did claim). I am also not impressed by your argument from blind faith that "things will take care of themselves". If you do not hold property rights as absolute, then something else must preclude them. What is that "something else" to you? (2) What does that have to do with your unfounded claim that states use force to prevent emigration? (3) Of course I would. So what is your point? That anarcho-capitalism is so frail that it cannot stand up to any opposition? That, in effect, an anarcho-capitalist society could be easily crushed by states? I don't see how that supports your cause - on the contrary, it supports the argument that anarcho-capitalism is unsustainable. (4) I have attempted to include your point in a compromise version; you reverted. We clearly need more open dialogue here. I'll spell out the reasons why I disagree with your version of the paragraph:
  • It gives the false impression that all states use force to prevent emigration, when this is not the case.
  • It excludes the counter-argument about the similarities between this situation and a situation where you have a private contract with the owner of a vital resource in a certain territory.
-- Mihnea Tudoreanu 16:33, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

And another thing ... geesh, the socialists hereabouts have a peculiar view of neutrality! I'm sure whoever wrote, "However, there are actually anarcho-capitalists who believe..." thought he/she was being very NPOV. However, here are actually people who know derogatory phrasing when we encounter it. Imagine that! --Christofurio 18:11, 24 September 2005 (UTC)

As a matter of fact, it was RJII who wrote that - and he's anything but a "socialist". -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 20:50, 27 September 2005 (UTC)
You do not know what my political pursuasion is. I've, in fact, contributed to the socialism article and recieved praise for it --from self-labeled socialists. I contribute to any article that I feel I am able to add value to in terms of bringing understanding and exposure. Please don't claim that my edits are reflective of my POV. Thanks. RJII 22:13, 27 September 2005 (UTC)
I made no such claim. I only said you were not a socialist, as a response to Christofurio's claim that the text in question had been written by socialists. Indeed, I was trying to show that you were not editing from your POV. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 00:01, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
How would you know if I was not editing from my POV? You don't know what my POV is or if I have one. You can only speculate and that's fine, but don't make a claim about what my POV is or isn't --especially to others. Thanks. RJII 01:27, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
Very well. I'll keep that in mind for the future. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 02:56, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
To RJII. The confusion may well have been mine. The language of which I complained ("there are actually libertarians who believe" or something similar) struck, and still strikes me, as betraying incredulity which, whether you are a socialist or no, isn't right here. But I shouldn't have postulated motive so quickly.
To Mihnea, You told me on your talk page you believe in an opt out. Somebody wrote something similar here, whether it was you or not is of no concern to me. I've frequently congratulated you on the value of the insight, because I do believe that if you followed that insight consistently and fearlessly you would end up close to anarcho-capitalism. Which is why I fear you won't follow it. Above, you referred to "the current situation, in which all land is owned by states," which is an inapt statement of the current situation! All land is ruled over by governments which claim to be the agents of states, but most of them acknowledge in one way or another that some of the land is owned by private people or associations. --Christofurio 21:42, 27 September 2005 (UTC)
I certainly believe in an opt out from the social contract. But you do not seem to understand what this implies. A person who opts out is free of any obligations towards the state, but also, crucially, it no longer has any state protection against other people - or against the state itself. Thus, if I ruled a state, I would gladly allow a corporation to opt out of the social contract and be free of any obligations towards society. The next day, however, I would declare war on that corporation. A person or group who opts out of the social contract will be treated as a separate sovereign entity - which means the state can declare war on it. If your anarcho-capitalist association can't defend itself against my state, tough luck. You've just been out-competed. And you brought this on yourself when you chose to reject the social contract. In fact, an argument can be made that all states already allow their citizens to opt out of the social contract: by disobeying the law, which results in the state declaring war on them. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 02:56, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
If this is something that is already done of necessity, (you can disobey if you want, then we will kill you) then it is also done by every bandit who has ever said "your money or your life", and those bandits are just as legitimate as every state. Which has been exactly my point all along -- statism is the bald expression of power which has pretenses to be something else, somthing better, and the part of reason is to expose those pretenses. But if your 'opt out' proposal is something that is already 'done' of logical necessity, then why did you offer it as a proposal, as something that could and should be done? It seems redundant, like saying, "I believe that mammals should have hair." I have been reasoning from the premise of charity -- that you didn't mean something absurdly pointless by your 'opt out,' but that you did mean something that would actually give some point to the notion of a social contract, that would make it something other than either might-makes-right or the fiction it is. If you want an opt out to do that, then the opt out has to mean what a divorce means. It means the marriage no longer exists, it doesn't imply that either ought to kill the other. --Christofurio 04:50, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
Once you have opted out of the social contract, you cannot make any demands on the state. You cannot demand state protection against anything - including itself. Why should the state refrain from declaring war on you? I am not saying every state should declare war on every person or group who opts out of the social contract, I am only saying there is no a priori reason why it shouldn't. If this seems like "might makes right" to you, then welcome to the stateless world! Once you are outside the protection of a state or some collective social entity, then yes, you are in a world where might makes right. This is a positive statement, not a normative one. I'm not saying might should make right. I am saying that it inevitably does. It shouldn't, but it does.
It is interesting that you compare the state with a bandit, while making the implicit assumption that the bandit is acting immorally. Why is that? Because the bandit is breaking the law? Certainly not - that would be painfully bad reasoning on your part, since you oppose governments and laws. Then why is the bandit acting immorally? What if the bandit in question is Robin Hood? What if the man he steals from is a thief himself? What if the "bandit" is in fact working to achieve justice by punishing a wrongdoer? As you can see, your bandit comparison leaves far too many questions open. And while we're on the issue, you've never told me your stance on morality, Christofurio. What ethics do you subscribe to, anyway? -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 15:51, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
But let it not be thought that I am one for making hay out of someone else's infelicitous expressions. Assume in a future anarcho-capitalist world all land is owned by some persons or other, and that landowners constitute a minority of the populace, the majority being their tenants. How is the world different, for the tenants, from the world that now exists. Is that your question? If so, the relevant answer, in this context, is honesty, or realism, or whatever word you wish to use for a world in which comforting but distorting and harmful delusions have been shattered and abandoned. The world just postulated would work on actual contracts, and their real terms, and would have dispensed with the "social" contract where the adjective "social" really means "fictitious" and supports an unending parade of systems of sovereignty, hierarchy, and unearned privilege. No wonder the more recent advocates of a "social contract" also like to talk about a "veil of ignorance." You certainly have to be behind one to buy what they're selling. --Christofurio 21:42, 27 September 2005 (UTC)
There is nothing fictitious about the social contract. Its terms are made perfectly clear in all countries where there is rule of law - because the law is the social contract. Anyone may review the law and gain a complete understanding of one's rights and obligations under the social contract. Now, let's assume I live in your anarcho-capitalist society described above. I am born as a tenant; thus I am born into a contract with my landlord. What would this contract look like? Well, it would be a set of clauses that specified my obligations towards the landlord and the landlord's obligations towards me. If I disagreed with the contract, I would have to move to some territory owned by another landlord (assuming my local lord did not build a fence around his land preventing me from leaving), and accept the contract offered by that other landlord. Now you tell me: How are these landlords different from states? They function in the same way. The contracts they offer me function just as the laws of a state do. In truth, there is no difference whatsoever. Unregulated land ownership and sovereignty are one and the same. Indeed, sovereignty originally evolved from private land ownership. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 02:56, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
To say that the social contract is not a fiction because it "is the law" is to abandon the whole reason it developed in the first place, and the reason why you felt it necessary to tell me that you believe in opt outs. Or the reason they are mentioned in this article. The development of social contract theory was an effort to justify the obligations of the law, as the Platonic dialogs you cite, themselves show. To say that "the law is the social contract" is to say the law justifies itself, which is baldly circular. What 'Socrates' was saying was that he had obligations to Athens, and that as his part of an implicit bargain he had to allow himself to be executed. So the implicit bargain isn't the same as the law, it is something imagined as standing behind the law, in something of the same way as the platonic ideal of "a bed" stands behind any of the specific factual beds I sleep on. And it is just as fictional. The argument in the article is supposed to show that the state doesn't 'initiate aggression' when it imposes taxes, not because taxes are 'the law' (which would be simply an assumption of the conclusion) but because there is some sort of contract authorizing those laws and, in fact, law in general. The Bed standing behind all specific beds. I prefer to lie down in an old-fashioned nominalist bed. I prefer to live my life according to real contracts. The argument in the text fails, which is fine (we should represent bad arguments fairly, too), but you seem to want wording that privileges this bad argument. --Christofurio 04:41, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
I clearly did not express my point correctly, and for that I apologize. To clarify, what I meant was that the terms of the social contract are inscribed in the law. In other words, the social contract is an agreement that says "you shall obey the law, and the law shall be decided in such and such manner". All that would be required to turn this contract into a physical one akin to any other would be for the state to ask every citizen to sign a statement at the age of adulthood, which reads "I will obey the laws of this country or face the appropriate penalties". I am sure you can see how that would be a mere formality. But if formalities matter so much to you (as it seems they do), I am sure it would be relatively effortless for states to create such explicit social contracts.
On a related note, I see you have failed to address my main argument. I will re-state it for you: Let's assume I live in your anarcho-capitalist society described above. I am born as a tenant; thus I am born into a contract with my landlord. What would this contract look like? Well, it would be a set of clauses that specified my obligations towards the landlord and the landlord's obligations towards me. If I disagreed with the contract, I would have to move to some territory owned by another landlord (assuming my local lord did not build a fence around his land preventing me from leaving), and accept the contract offered by that other landlord. Now you tell me: How are these landlords different from states? They function in the same way. The contracts they offer me function just as the laws of a state do. In truth, there is no difference whatsoever. Unregulated land ownership and sovereignty are one and the same. Indeed, sovereignty originally evolved from private land ownership. To insist that the state is somehow different from these landlords merely because it does not ask you to actually sign a paper saying "I will obey the laws of this country or face the appropriate penalties", but assumes you have signed it as long as you stay within the confines of its territory, is an absurd delusion. Whether that paper physically exists or not, your contract with the state/landlord functions in the same way. If the paper existed, you would have to sign it (thus accepting the laws of the state/landlord) or leave. No different from a social contract. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 15:51, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
The anarcho-capitalist position is that the landlords are different from the state in that they purchased the land with their own earned money instead of simply claiming ownership. From that, then, a state does not legitimately own the land and cannot therefore legitimately charge rent (tax). RJII 16:31, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
The landlords purchased the land with their own earned money... from people who simply claimed ownership (in the beginning, property over land came about by people simply claiming ownership). And, again, before you bring up the "water under the bridge" argument, I must point out that it just as easily applies to states as well as private individuals. By the way, there are many territories in the world that were purchased by states using money, in the same way a landlord would purchase them. Louisiana and Alaska, for example. Finally, what is the point of an anarcho-capitalist system that is identical to our current system in every way, except its origins? If all current states originated in voluntary transactions, anarcho-capitalists could not raise any objections to them, correct? So anarcho-capitalist really only care about the past, not the present. If the world was just the way it is now, but with a different past, they would be perfectly okay with it. That makes anarcho-capitalism an irrelevant and pointless ideology. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 16:48, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
If a current landlord has purchased his land from one who took it by coercion or simply put a fence around original land, then according to anarcho-capitalists he would not be justified in charging rent. It ought to be returned to the owner (or returned to the unowned state in the case of claim by putting a fence around unowned land). Now, you're right that in accordance with anarcho-capitalism most if not all land has been taken illegitimately in the past, but if it goes so far back that it's untraceable and the original owner is long dead then there's really nothing you can do but accept a current landowner who purchased his land as a legitimate owner. RJII 17:09, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
Yes there is something we can do. We can demand that all land be returned to its original unowned state, and then we can discuss where to go from there (we could re-divide it into privately owned plots according to some principle, or we could make it all the public property of humanity). If you refuse to accept this, then you are endorsing past injustice and past initiation of force, and you open up a huge can of worms (if I take by force all the land on Earth today, and keep it in my family, will my descendants 2000 years from now be the legitimate owners of the entire planet?). Furthermore, as I pointed out before, I can easily use your "water under the bridge" argument to justify the state. Example: The British royal family are the legitimate owners of all the land in Britain. They obtained it by force, but it was so long ago that it cannot be returned to its original owners. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 01:02, 9 October 2005 (UTC)
A state purchasing land, such as "Lousiana and Alaska" would not be legitimate since it would be purchasing it with money taken by coercion, rather than obtained a result of free commerce. And no "If all current states originated in voluntary transactions, anarcho-capitalists could not raise any objections to them, correct?" A state could not originate from voluntary transactions --essentially what makes something a state is that it taxes --and claims land without paying for it with it's own earned money. If all transactions were voluntary, there would be no state. There would only be business . And if there were only business, there would be competing businesses that would be performing the functions of protecting individual liberty and private property. RJII 17:09, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
What is money? A form of property. And how was all property originally obtained? By coercion. But I have already explained this too many times to count in the course of our debate. You are not making any new arguments; you are only re-stating the same old ones over and over again, and I naturally refute them in the same way over and over again. What is a state? An organization with a monopoly over the (legitimate) use of force in a certain area. If we lived in anarcho-capitalism and all transactions were voluntary, protection would be provided by competing businesses. But a business could establish a local monopoly in the protection market over some area, by driving all its competitors out of business (and this would eventually happen everywhere, because force is a natural monopoly). Now, how do you call a business that has a monopoly over the (legitimate) use of force in a certain area? I call it a state. Thus, a state could originate from voluntary transactions - in fact, it inevitably would. So anarcho-capitalism could give birth, over the course of centuries, to a world absolutely identical to our own. Therefore, my point stands:
If all current states originated in voluntary transactions, anarcho-capitalists could not raise any objections to them, correct? So anarcho-capitalist really only care about the past, not the present. If the world was just the way it is now, but with a different past, they would be perfectly okay with it. That makes anarcho-capitalism an irrelevant and pointless ideology. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 01:02, 9 October 2005 (UTC)

The Crito argument[edit]

Are there any philosophers that say that taxation can be justified by "social contract"? Anything one could read that would explain this better? I can't imagine anyone seriously making this argument, because it seems it could be used to justify any act by government. For example, "We're going to take a whip to you unless you leave the country --it's in the social contract." RJII 01:50, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

I do believe that all philosophers who support social contract theory argue that it justifies taxation (among other things). The core of the idea goes at least as far back as Plato (or Socrates, if you believe he actually said the things attributed to him in the Crito). -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 02:56, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
I don't think your example of the Crito argument answers RJ's question here. Let's assume that there is no difference in principle between the injunction to pay taxes, which wasn't at issue there, and the prohibition of blasphemy (by which the Athenians meant, roughly, dissent), which was. Still, Socrates wasn't telling Crito that he, Socrates, had been wrong to blaspheme. He was explaining why he would have been wrong to leave Athens (whether for Antartica or for Sparta!) in order to escape punishment, which is very different. What he is arguing for is roughly equivalent, in the sphere of taxation, to saying, "there is nothing wrong with avoiding and evading taxation, and using the money saved as one thinks best for so long as one isn't caught. Only with this qualification ... if one is caught, one ought to go quietly." If enough people act like that, the system will collapse as soon as there are more evaders or dissenters than the authorities can process -- which is one good non-violent plan for causing systems to collapse. That may be why Tony Blair has no say about taxation in India these days. Neither taxation nor the prohibition of dissent in the agora, then, are justified by Crito, only passivity as a form of resistance. Any better examples come to mind? --Christofurio 08:55, 5 October 2005 (UTC)
My example of the Crito was merely an afterthought. As I said, I do believe that all philosophers who support social contract theory argue that it justifies taxation (among other things). Indeed, social contract theory must support taxation if it is to have any relevance, because all states require some sort of taxes to support themselves. Arguing in favor of the state while calling taxes illegitimate is like saying that you have a right to live but not a right to breathe. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 01:02, 9 October 2005 (UTC)
The problem, though, is your own imposition upon classical thinkers of your ideas of "having relevance". Socrates, or Plato if you believe the dialog was largely fictitious, wasn't concerned with "having relevance" for the justification of taxation. He was concerned with his own decision -- to flee or accept execution. His version of the social contract theory had great relevance to that, but much less to the concerns to which you would apply it. If a state takes action that induces some large body of its citizens to disobey its laws, a large enough body that the system collapses -- well, that state had no "right to live". What is the level of Socrates-like martyrdom that a state can't support? that varies, I suppose, and isn't especially Socrates' concern. I don't see that Crito "justifies" taxation, or even implicitly enjoins individuals to pay taxes, or refrain from blasphemies! It enjoys them to go quietly, non-violently, if they are caught for non-payment, or blasphemy. It enjoins them not to allow themselves to be chased to Antartica and then killed there -- better to accept that fate at home, after all. You get to stay warm until the end. --Christofurio 15:42, 9 October 2005 (UTC)
We're going off on a tangent here, but while we're at it, this brings up an interesting point. Do you pay your taxes? Do you live under the sovereignty and protection of the state? Of course you do. You would be in jail if you didn't. So here you are, preaching against the evils of the state, expounding the great virtues of "freedom", while you are admitting, through your own behavior, that this "freedom" of yours isn't worth the bother of actually fighting for.
You have never explained your ethics to me, but I assume you believe in some form of the mantra "give me freedom or give me death". Why, then, aren't you standing up for this "freedom" of yours? Why do you prefer to be comfortable and enslaved rather than make a bid for "freedom"? If you, the anarcho-capitalists themselves, are perfectly fine living under the authority of the state, and don't think rising against it is worth the trouble, how can you ever expect anyone else to ever fight for your ideals? If you yourselves choose the life of a "slave" over a life of "freedom" - if not even you take your own version of "freedom" seriously - how can you expect anyone else to do so? -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 00:58, 10 October 2005 (UTC)
Well, you complain about my following tangents that you send me on, so you'll probably do the same about this, too, but here goes: I'm not in prison as I write these words, so you can fairly conclude that either (a) I am a so-far-successful tax evader or (b) I pay my taxes. I suppose you are entitled to adopt whichever of those presuppositions you think makes me look the worst, and I am entitled to be unconcerned. Since you would interpret either fact to suit your conclusions, you've simply built a bubble of non-falsifiability for yourself, which sounds comfortable. In the meantime, while you're living in that bubble, calling freedom "freedom," I'm sure I can be more effective working toward the expansion of freedom, sans scare quotes, from outside of jail than inside it. I also drive on roads paved by the state, there being no alternative system of private roads available. I'm not clear what point you think you're making here, but people who are trying to make the same sort of non-point usually mention the roads, so I've given you that one for free. If your point is that Christofurio is a bad person ... I'm happy to concede it, in that spirit of humility for which I'm so renowned, but the fact doesn't touch the merit of my ideas at all! And my own unimprisoned condition doesn't imply my view that an uprising isn't "worth the trouble," its a matter of choice of means and time. My ethical views are teleological, after all. --Christofurio 13:33, 10 October 2005 (UTC)
Whether Christofurio is a bad person does not concern me in the slightest. Whether Christofurio is a hypocrite, however, does have some importance, especially when all other anarcho-capitalists act in an equally hypocritical manner. Still, to be fair, this issue mostly concerns the deontological anarcho-capitalists - because they declare the absolute and universal validity of their moral principles while breaking them on a daily basis. As for my scare quotes around the word "freedom", I will continue to use them - because the "freedom" you advocate is nothing other than the most vile form of tyranny. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 21:50, 11 October 2005 (UTC)
Whether I am a hypocrite is as unimportant to the issue of whether my ideas are right as whether Martha Stewart is an inside trader would be to the tasteworthiness of her recipes. And you are right ... your ad hominem 'reasoning' would apply only to a deontologist, and only to a rather mechanical one at that. Patrick Henry knew ehen to pick his fights, and used the phrase "Give me liberty or give me death" only after news from Lexington had arrived in Virginia, i.e. only after peaceful efforts at pressing his cause had been exhausted. "The gentlemen cry 'peace peace' but there is no peace," he reminded the reluctant.
You also talk a good deal aout how I have supposedly accepted some status I am obliged to regard as slave like. This is nonsense. I don't believe myself to be a slave and have never said so. I am somewhere on the continuum between slavery (or, rather, serfdom, which is a better word for what I fear) and full freedom, and hope that we as human beings can continue to help each other progress away from the former, toward the latter, for everyone's benefit. --Christofurio 00:37, 12 October 2005 (UTC)
But I'm happy to see that you're no longer defending your skewed view of Crito. Maybe you ought to take some time and actually read it? Or read the wiki article about it, which is concise and pretty well done. To read Crito in context, though, you really have to read it in the same sitting as the Apology -- you need to get the conjunction of defiance with passive resistance, to understand either. While you're catching up on your reading, I'll stick to the agora, including the 21st century electronic agora, spreading my ideas and asking questions like my hero. When you get around to making that illegal, come after me. --Christofurio 13:33, 10 October 2005 (UTC)
Judging by the number of ad hominems in that paragraph, I seem to have touched a chord. You may embrace whatever interpretation of Socrates you like; he is "your hero", after all. You may even be absolutely correct in your interpretation - as I have said before, I care about ideas, not authority figures. But since you admire Socrates so much, I can only hope you will find your Meletus as soon as possible. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 21:50, 11 October 2005 (UTC)
You brought up Crito, not I. I only suggest that you do your research before your pontifications. As for your final sentence, it confirms wonderfully the nature of Marxist. Your instinct when faced with opposition on the level of ideas is to think "gee, it would be better if that person were dead." Some Marxists do the deed themselves, others simply hope that it will be done for them. You care neither for ideas nor authority figures, but on the evidence of that sentence, you very much care for power, and for the elimination of dissent. I don't return evil for evil. I turn the other cheek and wish you a long and happy life. Is that hypocritical of me? Ah, Bartleby, ah humanity. --Christofurio 00:37, 12 October 2005 (UTC)
Would it be better if you were dead? The question had not even occurred to me before you mentioned it. The point of my last sentence was to bring out the irony of you declaring Socrates as "your hero": You are an egoist (I presume), and, as such, you would not like to share Socrates' fate and die a martyr. But your apparently instinctual reactions when dealing with Marxists are interesting to note. All I have to do is make one vague remark and you instantly pounce on the idea that I want you dead, perhaps as the first step in my insidious master plan to take over the world. This isn't the first time you have reacted like this (remember the issue of the beautiful painting? I made one bad analogy and you flew off on a rather paranoid tangent).
What I want right now is to persuade you of the inherently fallacious nature of your own ideology. I haven't given up hope that you can be persuaded, because you clearly are a rational person with high intelligence and an at least partially open mind. At the very least, our debates will help me strengthen my own arguments and improve my own ideas. I might wish you were dead if you were on the verge of imposing anarcho-capitalism on some unwilling population, but, as it stands now, I enjoy our conversations. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 21:45, 14 October 2005 (UTC)
To say that you hope I encounter a Meletus is to wish me dead. It isn't to indulge in irony but to display a typically Hegelian desire to suppress dissent (because, as a college professor of mine once told me, "the dialectic can't go backwards.") I don't believe myself to be an ego(t)ist in any sense, except perhaps the one implied by the theologians who speak of original sin. I have an ego and may sometimes be misled by it. But I'm not an egoist in the Ayn Rand sense I take you to mean here. I believe all people are as valuable as I am, and that if I give myself central importance I'm doing something wrong. My goals are (egotistically?) those that I believe are best for the future of the whole species. As for the beautiful painting, I still think your comment was rather revealing of broader problems. If I see a painting as beautiful and you see it as ugly, my point was: neither of us need be wrong. Value is subjective. That's an important point for a lot of reasons. Suppose you own this ugly painting (maybe you inherited it from a deceased parent whose aesthetic tastes resemble mine) and you offer to sell it to me for $100. It may be worth a lot less than $100 to you, but a lot more than that to me. A capitalist has no trouble saying that we're both right. So if you sell to me, I get a good painting for my money, you get a good chunk of money for the ugly painting, and the amount of value in the world has been increased. Positive sum, see? On the other hand, if the value of the painting is defined objectively (by the labor that went into it, by majority vote of some population or other, or by a Artistic Central Planners Board) as $90., then your sale of the painting to me for $100 means you've cheated me out of $10., a crime has been committed, etc. I find that attitude misguided, and I believe that the misguidance begins with the intolerant attitude toward subjective differences in value. Interesting how these issues connect, isn't it? --Christofurio 16:55, 15 October 2005 (UTC)
Interesting how you presume to know my own thoughts better than I know them. You are apparently convinced that for some reason or other I wish to "suppress dissent", and nothing I say or do can persuade you otherwise. While we're into the subject of precursors of totalitarianism, isn't it amusing that you seem to be accusing me of thoughtcrime? I can turn your own logic right back at you: Since you are so convinced that the desire to suppress dissent is inherent in Hegelian thought, you could all too easily use this as an excuse to go on a crusade against Hegelians - in the name of tolerance, of course.
If the subjective judgements of others happen to lead to inequality, misery and death for millions of people, then please forgive me if I feel less than tolerant towards them. Of course, a subjective judgement of a painting won't cause any such effects, but that is because a painting is a luxury good. I am intolerant of anything that causes net harm to human beings, and tolerant of everything else. I am a utilitarian, as I have repeatedly stated. You, on the other hand, have never stated your ethics, and I can't imagine why you apparently want to keep me guessing. I am afraid I don't share your ability to read minds, so my guesses are very likely to be wrong. But even so, I will risk another guess: If your goals are those you believe are best for the future of the whole human species, then you are a fellow utilitarian, and we have the same basic moral convictions.
Now, as far as I can see, you are making the assumption that a person who does not tolerate one kind of behaviour deemed unjust must necessarily be equally intolerant towards all behaviour that does not fit perfectly into his high standards. Because I consider some value to be objective, you are making the assumption that I consider all "value" - which, according to you, includes that which cannot be expressed in monetary terms, such as beauty - to be objective. This is an unwarranted and quite absurd generalization. I am more than happy to say here and now, as I believe I have said before, that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The beauty of a painting is clearly subjective. Value, however - the kind of value that can be expressed in terms of money or some other quantity, the kind of value you talk about when you mention buying and selling - is objective; at the very least, it is objective for all goods and services that have a physical use. Value is not and cannot be created out of thin air, out of people's subjective judgements and desires. Suppose a man suffered from some mental disorder and believed that beautiful paintings were more valuable to him than food. That man would go and spend all his money on paintings, starve, and die. You would not see anything wrong with it; on the contrary, you would believe that the man acted correctly in following his own subjective judgement of value. I would say the man's subjective judgement of value was wrong. The value of a good does not come from our imagination, like beauty. It comes from the labour necessary to produce that good (and yes, this includes the labour necessary to extract the natural resources, to educate the skilled workers that are needed, and to do all the other things in the production process). -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 19:48, 15 October 2005 (UTC)
I'm glad to see you now agreeing that the beauty of a painting is in the eye of a beholder. You may for all I know have said that someplace before, but (a) not to me and (b) you have said quite the contrary to me -- you have said that if I believe the painting beautiful, I must believe the contrary assertion (even when made by other people with other eyes), to be an error. You now seem to be abandoning that position, and you've made me happy. You should think your new view of value through consistently, it certainly has consequences for the value of the painting. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm feeling a bit claustrophobic squeezed over to the right side of the page like this so I'll start a new paragraph. See below --Christofurio 18:02, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

You complain that I'm using extra-sensory perception. That is a poor effort at parody, I think. All I've done is press your statements toward inferences from them that you aren't prepared to accept. Which is how many valid arguments work. If you aren't prepared to accept A, and A follows from B, then you should reject B. You say you don't believe in the various intolerant inferences that I draw from your statements. But I don't draw them from mid air. I draw them from your statements, and they are there because you draw those statements from a Hegelian body of beliefs which I'm urging you to re-examine, precisely because you do reject A.

Marx was no more of an original thinker than, say, Spengler. This is not an insult or a criticism -- there isn't anything wrong, after all, with being an erudite synthesizer of others' opinions, which is what Marx was. As it happens, the most malign of the several original thinkers who influenced Marx was G. Hegel. Does saying so mean I'm intolerant of Hegelians? No. I'm intolerant of Hegelianism -- for good reason. But you might conclude that I've crossed a crucial line and become intolerant of Hegelians, as people, if you see may saying that "if they want to be consistent, and non-hypocritical, then they really ought to kill themselves, thereby advancing the world's dialectic." If I were to say something like that, I would be making statements quite analogous to those you have made either about me or some unspecificed deontological anarcho-capitalists. But, of course, I haven't.

Have I kept you guessing as to my own ethic? Heaven forfend! You've kept yourself guessing, but that's hardly my fault. I am a pragmatist on the nature of the right, a pluralist on the nature of the good, and a cognitivist on the epistemological status of ethics. Have I now done enough self-labelling for you?

I'm curious about these people who starve to death surrounded by the works of art they've bought with money they could have used to buy meals with. Do you know of many such cases? Any? If you don't, then we may well conclude that human nature solves that imagined problem for us ... people without food but with enough money to buy a painting will buy food first. Woorying that some such person might someday neglect to do so seems a positively goofy reason to institute central planning or abolish private property in wheat futures or in paintings for that matter.

Have a nice day. I hope I've helped. --Christofurio 18:02, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

You believe that "all philosophers who support social contract theory argue that it justifies taxation"? Apparently you're not familiar with anarchists. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: "What really is the Social Contract? An agreement of the citizen with the government? No, that would mean but the continuation of [Rousseau’s] idea. The social contract is an agreement of man with man; an agreement from which must result what we call society. In this, the notion of commutative justice, first brought forward by the primitive fact of exchange, …is substituted for that of distributive justice…. Translating these words, contract, commutative justice, which are the language of the law, into the language of business, and you have commerce, that is to say, in its highest significance, the act by which man and man declare themselves essentially producers, and abdicate all pretension to govern each other." RJII 22:27, 9 October 2005 (UTC)
Proudhon hardly qualifies as a supporter of social contract theory; but regardless, the point remains that taxation is vital to the existence of a state, so anyone who advocates the existence of states must necessarily also advocate the existence of taxes. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but last time I checked, most proponents of social contract theory supported the existence of states. You would have significant trouble trying to paint Rousseau or Locke as anarchists. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 00:58, 10 October 2005 (UTC)
Yes Proudhon does qualify as a supported of social contract theory. You must think there is only one "social contract," when there are numerous social contracts posited that are used to justify anything the advocate wants them to justify. RJII 13:44, 10 October 2005 (UTC)
That is, in fact, the whole point: The social contract is a free agreement, so different groups of people may create social contracts with different terms. Thus, it makes no sense to argue that some terms are legitimate but others are not (as Proudhon seems to be doing). But let's not get too far off topic, especially since we have resolved our above dispute. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 21:50, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

A Letter From Mr. Thompson[edit]

Here's something neat that appeared in the letters to the editor section of the London Review of Books recently. I post it for the enjoyment of my fellow wiki editors, not to make any point --Christofurio 14:12, 10 October 2005 (UTC)

The notion that ‘property is theft’ is not a ‘Marxist rationale’, as John Jones has it (LRB, 22 September). It was coined by Proudhon, and Marx ridiculed it in The Poverty of Philosophy. Marx’s argument was that property cannot be founded on theft because in order to be stolen, it must have been property in the first place.

Willie Thompson Sunderland

Thank you, Mr. Thompson. --Christofurio 14:12, 10 October 2005 (UTC)
Why do some keep insisting on refuting the literal meaning of "Property is theft" instead of looking at the real implied meaning ("Property is illegitimate")? -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 21:50, 11 October 2005 (UTC)
Most people who know of Proudhon's comment that "Property is theft" don't know how he was defining property. He was defining it as government protection of unused resources. He actually supported property as long as it was the product of labor. He even said "Property is freedom," later when he started using the term in a more ordinary way. He thought property was essential to liberty: "Where shall we find a power capable of counter-balancing the... State? There is none other than property... The absolute right of the State is in conflict with the absolute right of the property owner. Property is the greatest revolutionary force which exists." (Theory of Property) His support of private property (property belonging to an individual) was explicitly rejected in the development of communist-anarchism. RJII 22:46, 11 October 2005 (UTC)
You would have to close your eyes a lot to ignore all the clear and unmistakable anti-property statements made by Proudhon in What is Property?. I suggest re-reading - or reading, as the case may be - that book. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 21:57, 14 October 2005 (UTC)
Did you not read what I just wrote? I suggest you read more than What is Property. Actually I suggest you read What is Property as well because obviously you haven't. Proudhon did not oppose property. He opposed government protection of unused resources, which he defined as property. Later he started using the word "property" in a more ordinary way, and strongly defended it. It was his position that the produce of an individual's labor was his rightful property. Since land itself is not the produce of labor, then it is not legitimate property. When government grants titles to unused land, that's when "property is theft" --it keeps those who need to use it from doing so. "Property is freedom" when it is the produce of labor. Read Theory of Property. Or read General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century: "the social contract is of the nature of a contract of exchange: not only does it leave the party free, it adds to his liberty; not only does it leave him all his goods, it adds to his property." As I said, those who think that Proudhon opposed property only know his statement "Property is theft" without knowing how he was defining it. Obviously you haven't read Proudhon. Proudhon was a "market anarchist." Think about it; you can't have a market economy without property to trade. RJII 02:21, 15 October 2005 (UTC)
Marx, whom after all Mr. Thompson was explicating, wouldn't have agreed that "property is illegitimate" as an unequivocal statement either. It depends upon the stage of history under consideration. When the historical imperative is to turn all things solid into air, when that is progress, and private property is a means to it, then ... to Marx and any consistent Marxist, property is perfectly legitimate. That was the reason for the whole book critiquing Proudhon. It is only at a later stage that (in Hegelian fashion) property becomes illegitimate, and not because of its origins, but because it then (supposedly) stands in the way of further increases of productivity. --Christofurio 00:24, 12 October 2005 (UTC)
When attempting to prove that an ideology is inconsistent or fallacious, I work from that ideology's own premises. Thus, when making the case that property is illegitimate, I never bring Marx or Marxism into the picture. The same method is used by all those I consider to be the best critics of libertarianism. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 21:57, 14 October 2005 (UTC)
I quoted Mr. Thompson because I thought his comment was amusing, and tangentally relevant, not because I thought he had proved a cosmic point. I do find his observation about Marx and Marxism of historical interest, but it seems odd that you should take his correction of Mr. Jones' misreading of Marx personally, as if he (or I?) had accused you of misreading Marx. At any rate, I'm glad you see the difference between Marx and Proudhon here. Some day you may also realize that, on this point, Marx was the more acute thinker. His fault was in believing that the historical goal of capitalism has already been accomplished and the pendulum has to start swinging the other way. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of too solid things, and they still have to be turned into air. --Christofurio 16:55, 15 October 2005 (UTC)

Existence of social contract[edit]

Minhea, you added " Non-libertarians contend that the existence of implicit contracts is inevitable; for example, if one is born into a family that has accumulated a large debt, one will inherit that debt and have to pay it even if one has never signed the contract that originally created the debt." I don't think this relevant. Being legally responsible to pay off that debt does not constitute a "social contract." A social contract would exist with or without such a law. One who opposes the notion of a social contract just says that one is not obligated to pay off that debt since it wasn't contracted. So, I have to delete your addition there. RJII 23:45, 8 October 2005 (UTC)

Libertarians argue that debt cannot be inherited? This is news to me. Please provide sources to support your assertion that all libertarians oppose all obligations that are not founded in explicit contracts. If you enter a restaurant and eat there without putting your signature on any explicit agreement, are you not obligated to pay the bill? -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 01:02, 9 October 2005 (UTC)
I didn't assert that "all libertarians oppose all obligations that are not founded in explicit contracts." I asserted that many hold that there is no such thing as a contract where the parties do not consciously and voluntarily agree to one. Read Lysander Spooner's "No Treason" for a discussion. [1] And yes, if contracts only exist by the parties agreeing to one, then, in the case of someone going to a restaurant, he would not be violating a contract by walking out without paying. It's simply expected by the restaurateur that the diner will pay before he leaves. If he leaves, he would not be violating a contract as he never entered into one. The obligation to pay would be a legal one, not a contractual one. In the absence of law, if the diner pays, it's not because he's obligated by contract. He pays because he doesn't want to go to jail or due to some other self-interested reason. This is the position of the egoist libertarians, such as Benjamin Tucker. RJII 01:50, 9 October 2005 (UTC)
So libertarians reject all implicit contracts, yes? Good. The anti-libertarian argument, as I noted in the article, is that implicit contracts are inevitable. We can use the restaurant example to present the views of both sides. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 01:18, 10 October 2005 (UTC)
It depends on the libertarian. Libertarianism itself is not much of a "philosophy" --it's simply opposition to intitiation of coercion. The philosophical methodology of arriving at that maxim can vary significantly. RJII 13:48, 10 October 2005 (UTC)
It's not just the methodology of arriving at that maxim that varies - the conclusions derived from the maxim also vary significantly. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 21:50, 11 October 2005 (UTC)
Also be aware that many libertarians hold that the non-aggression principle itself is a social contract. For example, they would say that people implicitly agree to not initiate coercion against each other, and the evidence that they agree to this would be simply that they are not initating coercion --knowing that if they do, they will be subject to the violence of others. So, they volunteer to give up the liberty to initiate coercion against others in order to have the same restraint practiced by others. Therefore, taxation would be a violation of the social contract since force is initiated on individuals who have not initiated force on anyone. RJII 04:39, 9 October 2005 (UTC)
So libertarians hold that the non-aggression principle itself is a social contract, while arguing that social contract theory is fallacious? Ummm, that is blatantly self-contradictory. And, in any case, there are no universal terms in the social contract; the entire reason why it is called a contract is because its terms are decided by the involved parties - namely the people. Of course, the people may decide to make the non-aggression principle a term of the social contract. Or they may not. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 01:18, 10 October 2005 (UTC)
Obviously someone who holds that the non-agression princple is a social contract does not think social contract theory is fallacious --they would think your alleged social contract was fallacious. Of course, those libertarians who regard social contract theory itself as fallacious would argue that the non-agression princpiple is not a social contract. Again, you have to understand that "libertarianism" is not a philosophy beyond opposing initiation of coercion. How any particular libertarian arrives upon this principle varies significantly. Some believe in social contracts, some don't. Some believe in natural law, some are egoists. Some are utilitarians, some are deontologists. Some are objectivists. And, so on. Libertarianism itself is more of a conclusion than a philosophy. RJII 13:55, 10 October 2005 (UTC)
...which is precisely the reason why the "criticisms" section of this article is now so large: Because there are so many different (sometimes mutually exclusive) justifications for and conclusions derived from the non-aggression principle. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 21:50, 11 October 2005 (UTC)
Actually, this article should probably go through each philosophical justification for the principle, and have a section for each. It goes straight into criticism without it being known what the various justifications for the principle are. RJII 17:46, 10 October 2005 (UTC)
Now, that's a very good idea. Unfortunately, its also a big project. I'll let you start! --Christofurio 13:00, 11 October 2005 (UTC)
Much of the necessary information already exists in the criticisms section, since that section deals with arguments for and against, presenting them in a rather debate-like form. I'm not sure if it would be better to stick to the current format or divide the debate into two compact sections (one for and one against). -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 21:50, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

Food for thought[edit]

Since this page has ended up being used for general debate around the topic of anarcho-capitalism as much as for discussion of the actual article at hand, I think this would be a good place to post what I consider to be the very best arguments against the practical viability of anarcho-capitalism - made by none other than a disillusioned anarcho-capitalist:

Essentially, Paul Birch has demonstrated that anarcho-capitalism is economically unstable and will inevitably lead to the re-emergence of some sort of state. With this, I believe my rebuttal of anarcho-capitalism is complete. I have shown it to be philosophically inconsistent, and Birch has shown it to be unworkable in practice. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 22:08, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

Who cares one way or the other? This article is about giving the reader and understanding of the non-agression principle. Take your arguments on whether anarcho-capitalism is good or bad somewhere else other than Wikipedia. Wikipedia is a place for constructing an encyclopedia rather than using the talk pages for arguing whose philosophy is the best. I don't know why anyone would care whether you feel you've debunked anarcho-capitalism or not. I sure don't. What do you want, a pat on the back? Get a grip. RJII 02:43, 15 October 2005 (UTC)
Yes, I'm sure my addition of those 10 lines of text above has put the entire fabric of wikipedia in imminent danger of total collapse. I for one enjoyed our debate on this page, and I find it strange that you choose this particular moment to start demanding that we get back on topic - considering the fact that, until now, you have been more than eager to argue about whose philosophy is the best. But let's not degenerate into a "I'm a better wikipedian than you" shouting match. You may either continue our debate on this talk page, or email me in order to move that debate off wikipedia, or simply ignore the whole thing. Frankly, I value Christofurio's opinion much higher than yours. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 05:18, 15 October 2005 (UTC)
I'm astonished that you think I've been debating you on the rightness or wrongness of anarcho-capitalism. It has never crossed my mind to try to convince you of the merits of anarcho-capitalism. I've been trying to relay it to you what anarcho-capitalism *is* as best as I understand it because it didn't seem you had that firm of an understanding of it, but that's about it. I've never claimed to be an adherent to any "ism," much less anarcho-capitalism. I couldn't care less which philosophy you choose. Of what consequences is it to me whether you're an anarcho-capitalist, anarcho-communist, or whatever? I mean really. Talk about a disconnect in I guess that explains a lot. I trying to help make articles on subjects I feel I understand clear, explanatory, and educational. You're just here to debate. Wikipedia is not the place for that. Do that on a blog or something. No offense to you Minhea, but it really wastes everybody's time. The only thing that needs to be debated here is whether something is true, sourceable, and NPOV. If we're all working toward the same goal of relaying understandable information, it's better for the encyclopedia. As long as all knowledge is made available in an NPOV way in the articles, people are going to choose the philosophy that makes the most sense. Whether that's anarcho-capitalism or not, I couldn't care less. RJII 05:49, 15 October 2005 (UTC)
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the distinct impression that you (and I, and Christofurio) were debating the validity of various arguments for and against anarcho-capitalism - therefore, in effect, debating anarcho-capitalism. I am certainly not here for any debate, but I have unintentionally found myself engaging in one - just as you have, for that matter.
I can't speak for Christofurio, but I sure haven't been trying to convince you of the validity of anarcho-capitalism. Like I said, I was merely trying to explain some details of it to you, as I've been reading sources on it lately; I find it interesting. You were asking questions about it and I was responding. I thought I was just relaying information to you. Like I said, I couldn't care less what philosophy you choose to accept or discard. RJII 21:01, 15 October 2005 (UTC)
Now, regardless of all that, we are wasting time here arguing about arguments. The two essays I posted above, even if they have no value to you, clearly do have value as criticisms of anarcho-capitalism that wikipedia should take into consideration. It is true, however, that they have nothing to do with the non-aggression principle. Thus, as I'm sure you'll agree, I would like us to get back on topic. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 18:50, 15 October 2005 (UTC)

Minea, Paul Birch's arguments have been demolished repeatedly on various forums, in particular the forum. Birch's "fatal instability" argument is extremely weak - it uses a fallacious form of ceteris paribus argument. He assumes that OTBE people will bid up the restitution ratio to infinity. The error is in thinking that the restitution ratio is all people value. An analogous argument should suffice to demonstrate: OTBE people prefer faster cars to slower cars. Thus, in the long run, people will only buy the fastest car available, and only the fastest race car will be sold. Obviously, this fails because it ignores that people have other values when buying cars - safety, gas milage, economy, cargo capacity, and so on. Birch ignores that there are other things people seek in a PDA - justice, fairness, enforcability, and compatability with their own situation, needs, and sense of morality. Most people would reject e.g. lifetime slavery for stealing a loaf of bread as morally repugnant. PhilLiberty 15:57, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

The NAP is nowhere stated[edit]

There are four quoted formulations of the Law of Equal Freedom, but zero!!! formulations of NAP. What gives? The article definitely needs specific formulations from e.g. Ayn Rand, L. Neil Smith, and other libertarian luminaries, if for no other reason than to acknowledge the differences and nuances. I think earlier versions of the article had specific formulations, but somehow they got lost. PhilLiberty 16:02, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

I added a section called "Formulations," with quotes from Rand, Rothbard, L. Neil Smith, and Walter Block. I also added an Epicurus quote to the Historical section. PhilLiberty 02:50, 25 October 2007 (UTC)


Sounds the same, starts with the same letters, so it must be the same. I propose merging non-aggression pact and non-aggression principle. --Joshua Issac (talk) 22:37, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

What!? Surely you must be joking! One of the articles is about a philosophical concept. The other is about a specific type of agreement. I vote 'no', but perhaps I misunderstand you. Please explain further. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:13, 27 March 2009 (UTC)
These are drastically different articles related to very different things. Merging them would be akin to merging every animal's article into the Elephant article because they are sort of similar in all being animals. (talk) 14:20, 28 March 2009 (UTC)
Good sir, is it possible you are trolling? Even a cursory reading of the two articles should illuminate that the two subjects are quite distinct. The alluded to essay is being foolishly applied in this case. For, upon reading the articles, it's clear the subjects do not look alike. You are foolishly, or maliciously, applying the Duck Test solely to the title of the article; under such an ill-conceived standard, numerous distinct articles with similar titles—such as this one and this one, or this one and this one—would be recommended for merging. It is obvious there should be no merge. The proposal cannot even be taken seriously and should be dismissed immediately. --darolew 09:51, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
Given there appears to be no one who is pursuing this merge, and that the merge is fairly frivolous anyway, I'm removing the header from the two articles. --darolew 00:17, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

Consequentialist criticism[edit]

(sorry, english is not my main language). I find not neutral to give examples where someone is not killed leading to millions of deaths and then a poor who steal food must give compensation. In a case the NAP is respected and in the other it's not. Moreover, in the first case, it is said that "The non-aggression principle holds that you should not kill that man.". That's false, the non-aggression principle holds that killing that man is illegitimate, so it would require compensation, and that is perfectly normal, surely the millions of lives saved will want to help the killer in paying the compensation. The process of compensation is not automatic, if nobody complains, no compensation is required, so the starving man can also meet someone who will forgive his actions. The non-aggression principle is used as a mean to tell if an action is a crime, the NAP alone don't prevent crimes or force compensations from occuring. -- Jarod 16:50, 25 May 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

I agree completely with your assessment of the criticism.

The criticism starts with an innocent man being aggressed against. The person being aggressed against has the option of defending himself AND others from aggression. In the example given, the person being aggressed against could rationally shoot another innocent man if he felt that it was the only way he could protect the lives of millions.

I recall Rothbard arguing in favor of an actor shooting through a hostage to kill an aggressor if the aggressor had taken the gun and pointed it at the actor. The non-aggression principle makes exceptions for self-defense and extends that to other innocents as well. The example given is a poor one and should be removed.

-- (talk) 01:29, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Ambiguous Wording in Consequences Section[edit]

"If these two rights to private property and to freedom of contract are taken as given, then the non-aggression principle is held by its supporters to lead to the rejection of theft, vandalism, assault, fraud and victimless crimes."

I find this sentence to be ambiguous and I think it could cause some confusion. Theft, vandalism, assault, and fraud are certainly things adherents to the non-aggression principle oppose. (From earlier in the article -- "'Aggression' is defined as the 'initiation' of physical force against persons or property, the threat of such, or fraud upon persons or their property.") However, victimless crimes, by definition, cannot be crimes according to the non-aggression principle since they don't involve aggression or a victim. Whoever wrote this sentence may have had that in mind, but the sentence seems to say that non-aggression principle adherents feel the same way about victimless crimes as they do about theft, assault, etc. Gantiganti (talk) 23:21, 12 January 2011 (UTC)


it may be useful to add references to ahimsa, since they are similar concepts.--Elvenmuse (talk) 19:01, 1 May 2011 (UTC)


Someone put in there that consequentialists derive the non-aggression principle. That's not true. They may oppose aggression in some circumstances and support it in others. Therefore it's not a principle of theirs. Little c as in Charlie (talk) 20:37, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Correct. The NAP is an ethical principle, which means that even a consequentialist who opposes aggression in all cases on the basis of consequences is not an adherent of the NAP. The page claims that JS Mill was an NAP advocate, even though he literally wrote the book "Utilitarianism." JasonW1415 (talk) 21:00, 16 March 2016 (UTC)

Please stop deleting content![edit]


i appreciate your desire to clean up the page and ensure accuracy, however your edits to this wikipedia page are making it unusable! It seems to me that you clearly have absolutely no understanding of the non-aggression principle. You'll get your citation soon (be patient) but all you are doing is destroying the wikipedia page and making it more difficult have any real content.

Thank you, - James

JamesCarlin (talk) 12:04, 4 October 2011 (UTC)

Intro On Taxation Beliefs Needs To Be Removed[edit]

This statement:

Some libertarians see taxes as a violation of NAP while others argue that because of the free-rider problem, enough funds would not be obtainable by voluntary means to protect individuals from aggression of a greater severity. They therefore accept taxation as long as no more is levied than is necessary to optimise protection of individuals against aggression.

Does not belong inside the intro description of the non-aggression principle. It does not matter what "some libertarians" think about this issue. The principle itself precludes the initiation of force against people for the purposes of taxation. Therefore, what "some libertarians" may think about it is irrelevant as it pertains to the description section.

Such a statement may be relevant in a criticisms section, but clearly they do not belong in the intro. (talk) 02:43, 13 November 2011 (UTC)

Note to "Nanobliss"[edit]

I'm glad you're interested in making large contributions to this page. I think you've included some great stuff already. I do, however, believe that we should avoid including content without citations unless what we're saying it pretty broad/obvious. For example, I don't think we need citations for "some libertarians support the state" or "some libertarians support taxes because of the free-rider problem" or "Geolibertarians support taxation on land" etc. The more specific it is, the more uneasy I become, because I think it's more likely that it's OR. Please include more citations with your new content. Thanks! Byelf2007 (talk) 21 November 2011

Lil Jon?[edit]

I mean, yeah, "Don't start no shit won't be no shit" is fairly in line with the NAP; however I question whether it adds anything of value to the article. The main reason I find this somewhat objectionable is that the quotation is a drastic departure in tone from the rest of the article. This isn't some attack on rap or even cursing, just that it does not seem to fit in this article.

Consider removing Ayn Rand from the "Natural rights" justification list[edit]

Rand does not argue from natural rights in the typical sense of the concept. See this brief overview for details: Carlerha (talk) 05:17, 13 May 2012 (UTC)

Consequentialists accept the non-aggression principle???[edit]

The text says "Some advocates base the non-aggression principle on rule utilitarianism or rule egoism." But there's no source. Sounds dubious to me. Big Large Monster (talk) 23:41, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

Correct. The NAP is an ethical principle, which means that even a consequentialist who opposes aggression in all cases on the basis of consequences is not an adherent of the NAP. The page claims that JS Mill was an NAP advocate, even though he literally wrote the book "Utilitarianism." This is an attempt to co-opt the term "libertarian." JasonW1415 (talk) 21:02, 16 March 2016 (UTC)

The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism article[edit]

I don't feel like dealing with this yet, but if one looks at Ronald Hamowy's The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, there is an excellent article that outlines the principle in a much more encyclopedic fashion than this article and certainly it should be studied and used. Here are three links in the book, including to the whole article. CarolMooreDC 22:35, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

Non-physical violence[edit]

Why does this section of the criticism not list the possibility of starving someone to death, or enslaving them, by locking them up? According to the NAP as it is usually stated the following would be legal:

1) invite someone over to your living room (or any other place you or, an accomplice own, making it impossible for the victim to always avoid the trap, and that's just if they even suspect you),

2) once they are in your living room tell them you've just instituted a $1 billion toll fee for crossing the hallway that connects your living room to the rest of the world

3) pull out a shotgun and guard the hallway while the other person starves to death in your living room


4) pull out a shotgun and tell the other person he'll get food and water if he becomes your personal butler , he can sleep in a closet in you living room, you can keep doing this with their children and their children's children to have an indefinite and infinite supply of slave labor.

I suppose that IF the rest of society finds out about your activities some of them will shun you for it and will not trade with you anymore, but that doesn't seem like much of a guarantee this sort of thing won't happen constantly, after all, people used to be ok with slavery for thousands of years and the societal mindset required for an NAP-based system to emerge would be less empathic than the current societal mindset. You could still make a profit by using slave labor if at least some people will still trade with you and if you starve to death someone who wasn't liked or wouldn't be missed by the community you'd get away with it completely (a modern form of witch burning).

P.S. a similar thing is possible with child laborers: there is a gap in libertariaism where parents can sell their kids years before the kids are old enough to consent to contracts themselves (btw, who gets to set this age if there is no government?), in the meantime the buyer can ensure the kids will never become self-sufficient, by instating an enormous fee for leaving his premises or charging them a huge debt for their upkeep during childhood that they'll never be able to pay off.

Rather than giving individuals freedom from force it makes everyone a potential target for a slaver or a sick rapist/murderer. The end result would be fearful people sitting behind their front door with a shotgun, never leaving their homes, with perhaps robotic drones delivering goods from manufacturers to consumers. I doubt that corresponds to most people's idea of "freedom".

Anyway, I'm missing arguments like that in the "non-physical violence" section. (talk) 01:10, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

Threatening to shoot someone, locking them in a room, etc. obviously are physical aggression. I think you are using this talk page to push an anti-libertarian agenda and this post is just vandalism. CarolMooreDC🗽 01:28, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
No, you've got it wrong. According to libertarian thought the victim would be the one initiating the violence if he tried to cross the hallway without paying $1 billion, because that would be a violation of the homeowners property and the victim and homeowner did not sign a contract prohibiting the homeowner from instating a $1 billion toll fee for his hallway. The homeowner does not have the right to shoot the victim as long as the victim stays in the living room, but he can shoot the victim if the victim tries to cross the hallway and he can withhold food from the victim even if the victim stays in the living room. I agree with you that the above is obviously a form of aggression on the homeowners part, but libertarians do not agree with that; letting a person in need perish is not aggression according to the NAP, even if you are the cause of that person's need and even if you have the means to help them. (talk) 17:00, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
I'm sorry you are grossly misinformed. Find a reliable source that says anything like that - not just some political rant by an unknown person and we can discuss it. Otherwise you are engaging in WP:Soapbox which is against Wikipedia policy. CarolMooreDC🗽 18:37, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
No, you're trying to dismiss me because what I write is inconvenient. Now the article here on Wikipedia does give an alternative formulation of the NAP (Rothbard's) that makes an exception for emergency situations and might enable the victim in my scenario to cross the hallway and request arbitration later, so that's one possible solution (though the victim still risks being condemned to a $1 billion fine, meaning a life of debt-slavery), but I have to emphasize "might" here. However the form in which I've most often encountered the NAP it would not help the victim in my scenario because a) the victim entered the living room voluntarily, b) there was no contract signed that stated the homeowner could not raise toll fees whenever he wants to, c) the victim isn't strictly withheld from leaving: he can just pay $1 billion, it's just very hard for him to do so, but under libertarianism the needy do not have a right to help they cannot pay for, even children don't have to be taken care off by anyone if no one wishes to bear the burden because such a requirement would violate the property rights of the prospective caretaker (they would be forced to give away food and clothing). The problem arises because the NAP makes some artificial distinction between killing someone with a knive or through starvation, hence the need to expand the "non-physical violence" section which currently only features weak stuff like defamation, not unreasonable debt-bondage or death-by-boycott. (talk) 20:43, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
No, NAP is quite clear on these issues. Your comment has nothing to do with non-physical violence (i.e. mental battering, defamation, boycotting and discrimination). In line with your example a theatre owner would be allowed to hold a captive audience forever securing himself of a permanent income. It’s simply nonsense. An owner may invite someone onto his property but no invitee would agree to this if they were not allowed to leave again. If the owner changes the conditions of stay unilaterally the previous bilateral contract is broken and, in order to establish the condition before agreeing to the invitation, the invited party is free to leave. If the owner hinders the invited party in leaving, according to NAP, this party is allowed to use force and ask others to help him to regain his freedom.Nanobliss (talk) 09:57, 23 June 2013 (UTC)
In the case of a theatre you buy a ticket (a contract that already stipulates you get to leave) and you strictly don't need to be in the theatre again so you would indeed have the right to leave the theatre before agreeing to a price hike and if you refuse you can go home. But it's not always that simple though. If a road owner owns all the roads around your house he must let you leave the road before agreeing to new toll fares (or warn you in advance) but that means that if you refuse the new fares you are either trapped in your house or unable to ever get to your house again (in which case the road owner can make you sell your house to him very cheap because he can keep other buyers away from the house). Also, if a child is born in a house with a toll fare (or in a house surrounded by roads with a toll fare) that child would have no right to leave without paying the toll fare. I really doubt there'd be a rule stating that someone has to let you cross a road or a hallway before you work out whether you accept a toll fare contract for that road or hallway (that would basically mean perpetually free travel for people who make it a habit not to sign toll fare contracts). Naturally there's also the possibility of contracts with a clause that states fares can be changed at any time (in the US there are already corporations that have a clause stating that clauses of the contract can be changed at any time), if those become relatively standard in some sector people are screwed. In general the NAP allows for the exploitation or starvation of trapped people and there are plenty of ways of getting and keeping people trapped (just refusing phone and internet access to someone who's on your premises, knows there is a toll fare but forgot his wallet at home, would do the trick). (talk) 23:06, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

Should the Tea Party photo be removed?[edit]

My understanding of the Tea Party is that they oppose what they see as wasteful government spending that results in unnecessarily high taxation, not that they oppose all taxation. If the latter were true, the photo might make sense there, but the Tea Party is not opposed to all taxation, and is not typically identified with the Non-aggression principle. Either the article should specifically say that a large portion of Tea Party members are opposed to all taxation becasue of the NAP [which I'm not sure is true], provide citation to back up the claim, and keep the photo, or we should take the photo down. Dr. Hipopotamo (talk) 05:46, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

If you zoom in on the woman in the photo's background, you can clear make out her button which reads: "Taxpayer march on DC 9/12/09". The word "taxpayer" implies that she, and be extension, the TEA party, believes taxes to be voluntary payment for received work. This does not comport with the NAP. The photo should not exist in this article. --WikiTryHardDieHard (talk) 19:14, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

Tea Party sign - Taxpayer March on Washington.jpg

Sunni islam and the NAP?[edit]

Since islam literally means submission to the will of allah, and since there is nothing peaceful about islam, it is laughable to try and include ibn tufail since although his story tries to imply there is a natural law, its premise supports islam, which itself defies the NAP. While the story does imply rational thought, it ends up promoting the idea of islamic supremacy and concludes with the idea that people must submit the truth of allah and his instructions(given by mohammed), which directly violate the NAP.. In fact, islam not only defies it, it is the opposite of NAP since it orders violence to be carried out against those who do not want to believe in and follow it.

abu mansu maturidi, should not be included at all on the list as nothing he says has anything to do with the NAP, in point of fact his religious dogma and promotion of it stand contrary to the NAP. Did anyone even bother checking?

ibn qayyim, should not even be mentioned as there are ZERO works of his that have anything to do with the NAP. All his works are about the supremacy of allah and stories about the life of mohammed(hadith). While he does talk about behavior, the commentary is mostly about human need to submit to what his father abu bakr and his uncle mohammed told him was the will of allah. There is nothing even remotely resembling non agression principles with regard to kuffar (non believers).

averroes, while this is surely the best example of an islamic philosopher, he simply tries to rationalize islam with philosophy in general. Trying to imply that the two are not exclutionary of one another. Unfortunately he nowhere writes about the non aggression principle. While he does argue that women are equal to men, in direct contradiction to the teaching of mohammed, there are no demands for islam to cease coersion and violence against kuffar. He is the best example on the list for remaining on the page, but also not fit for addition.

All these men supported the aggression against those who did not want to acknowledge mohammed as a prophet, and subsequently submitting to what mohammed instructed was the will of allah. This included supporting text such as

Koran 8:12 "I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them"

Koran 8:59-60 "And let not those who disbelieve suppose that they can outstrip (Allah's Purpose). Lo! they cannot escape. Make ready for them all thou canst of (armed) force and of horses tethered, that thereby ye may dismay the enemy of Allah and your enemy."

Koran 9:5 "So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them."

Koran 47:3-4 "Those who reject Allah follow vanities, while those who believe follow the truth from their lord. Thus does Allah set forth form men their lessons by similitude. Therefore when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then smite the necks until when you have overcome them, then make (them) prisoners,"

There can be no logical reasoning that people who promote the ideology of forcing submission should be included in a page about the NAP.

I submit that they were added by someone wanting to promote the false idea that islamic teachers in some way supported the idea of non aggression... it is lunacy to suggest any such thing. There are hundreds of examples in koran and thousands in hadith that prove beyond all doubt that the NAP is not compatible with it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Amsterdamned (talkcontribs) 18:30, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

Ayn Rand and Objectivism[edit]

I have said this before, there is no evidence that Ayn Rand or Objectivism in general has created NAP. If you will edit the article to credit Rand with the development of NAP, please provide a reference rather than just updating it with a blanket, non-supported claim. If you want to discuss further, I would be happy to consider whatever references supporters of Rand are willing to provide, but so far I have not seen any. Virgil (talk) 18:37, 4 January 2015 (UTC)

Better check again... looks like Ayn Rand is back. (talk) 20:42, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

It's a fetus, not a "child"[edit]

Any medical or technical dictionary will tell you that the unborn is called a FETUS as long as it remains inside its mother's womb. It is not called a "child" or a "baby" until after it is born. Referring to it as a "child" is wrong and violates WP:NPOV. Accordingly I am replacing the word "child" and the phrase "unborn child" with "fetus" in the ABORTION section. HandsomeMrToad (talk) 04:30, 9 June 2015 (UTC)

Objectivist stance on abortion.[edit]

The Objectivist stance is deeper than just that Peikoff quote. Essentially, yes, a fetus isn't a conscious human being yet, so it doesn't have rights yet. But there's more to it than that.

In Objectivism, individual rights come from the human ability to make free-willed moral choices. (Free will being an aspect of human consciousness.) A fetus is not yet a human being. And more: Not yet a conscious, choosing human being.

Rand herself argued that a human being doesn't gain consciousness until they're born. At which point they become aware of reality and they now have individual rights. But in modern days, you could argue that fetuses gain sense-awareness before they are born, gain a limited human consciousness, and gain their individual rights then. In which case, late-term bans on abortion could be consistent with Objectivism if a good cut-off point could be found for when a fetus could gain consciousness.

Where Rand would differ on other libertarians is what you do with the fetus after it is born and it is a human being with rights. Once it's a human with rights, the parents have an obligation to care for it or see to it that somebody else does. The reason is very similar to the pro-life libertarian argument: You put a living human being, with rights, into a position of dependence on you. Letting it die would be murder. You have an obligation to see to it that the child becomes independent from you, which means raising it (or having someone else raise it). It's the same thing as taking an adult out onto a lake and then dropping them into the water. You put them into a position of dependence on you, so you have an obligation to make them capable of surviving independently of you again.

The essential difference between before and after birth is this: In both cases, you created a new life. But while it's still a non-conscious fetus, it doesn't have its rights yet, and so you don't have an obligation to it yet. Once it has its rights, your obligation comes with it.

Of course, I can only speak for myself and my own understanding of Objectivism.

Amaroq64 (talk) 00:17, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

The NAP is absolutely not the defining principle of libertarianism.[edit]

Libertarians support a reduction in the size and scope of government. It is a political philosophy, not an ethical philosophy. It makes no statements about ethics, and includes any reasoning that leads people to it. Consequential libertarianism is more common that NAP libertarianism, and there are plenty of other brands as well. It is absolutely incorrect that the NAP is the defining principle of libertarianism. Furthermore, it is stated nowhere in the first citation, and the second, FFF, does not speak for all, most, or even many libertarians. The author of that article is simply stating his opinion. (talk) 07:53, 8 March 2016 (UTC)

  • Non-aggression is indeed a defining principle of Libertarianism. In fact, it is listed in the State of Principles in the party platform and exactly ten-times throughout the platform ( Buncoshark 08:39, 8 March 2016 (UTC)
  • agree with Buncoshark. the political philosophy of libertarianism is based on the libertarian ethical system. Furthermore, you seem confused about the distinction between justifying libertarianism (consequentialism, natural rights, etc), versus the construction of libertarian ethics based on the NAP
  • I'm on the Platform Committee for the Libertarian Party. None of us can find the NAP in the SOP, or anywhere else in the platform. Some libertarians base their beliefs on what you might call "libertarian ethics," but the overwhelming majority do not.

Jason Weinman

Secretary of the Libertarian State Leadership Alliance

Political Director and At Large Rep for the Libertarian Party of Nevada

Member of the LNC Platform Committee, 2016 (talk) 03:21, 11 March 2016 (UTC)

    • There are lots of tricky people trying to destroy the NAP and libertarianism. I was on the Central Committee of the California Libertarian Party in the 1980s and I assure you non-aggression is indeed in the SOP and the Party platform, ten times as a matter of fact. (

This claim is demonstrably false. JasonW1415 (talk) 20:24, 2 April 2016 (UTC)

To be clear, libertarianism is not defined by the Libertarian Party. I Use Dial (talk) 17:11, 11 April 2016 (UTC)

Inclusion of Thomas Jefferson on List Misleading[edit]

Thomas Jefferson supported forcible imposition of taxes for various collective purposes. Property taxes by states, and import taxes by the federal government. He also supported:

taxpayer financed public education (A Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge)

restrictions against monopolies (Letter of December 20th, 1787)

imposition of government embargoes (Embargo Act, Non-Intercourse Act, Enforcement Act)

anti-miscegenation laws

taxpayer financed national expansion (Louisiana Purchase)

the use of tax policy to diminish the odious effects of inequality, specifically by taxing very wealthy property owners more "in geometrical progression" than less wealthy property owners (Letter of October 28th, 1785)

So when the article states "a number of authors created their own formulation of the non-aggression principle," followed by out of context Jefferson quotes that superficially sound similar the NAP articulated at the top of the page, it falsely suggests that Thomas Jefferson would have agreed with that formulation, descended from Ayn Rand's. Yet I've found no evidence Mr. Jefferson ever even read an Ayn Rand novel.

New here, so won't make any changes right now. But I suggest either that Thomas Jefferson's name be removed from the list of authors who formulated "the" non-aggression principle. Or that the article be clarified to indicate that Thomas Jefferson had a different conception of "aggression" against a person's property than lawful imposition of government taxes for legitimate collective purposes like educating the poor and reducing wealth inequality.

"Silence gives consent," so if I don't hear any opposition to my proposed changes in the next day or so, I'll go ahead and make them myself. If I do hear opposition, I might just go crazy with a baked potato.

Bug1333 (talk) 03:59, 29 December 2016 (UTC)

Stating NAP is right-libertarian does not tell anyone what it is.[edit]

I rewrote the article to match the previous edit, which first describes what the NAP is in the opening paragraph. It is not informative for a layperson wanting to know what the NAP is to read a discussion that describes the NAP as something that is associated with right-libertarians (or any-libertarians). That type of discussion is for somewhere within the article.I Use Dial (talk) 15:36, 26 August 2017 (UTC)

The non-aggression principle defines aggression in right-libertarian terms. Non-aggression literally means "non-violation of right-libertarian rules", and so mentioning right-libertarianism in the opening paragraph is not only accurate, it is dishonest to neglect to do so. TheRealRocknRolla (talk) 01:22, 28 August 2017 (UTC)

You present this as fact without adequate sourcing.I Use Dial (talk) 03:44, 28 August 2017 (UTC)

The rest of the content of the article explains this clearly and provides sources. This is not a contentious point: Libertarians define aggression as violation of libertarian property rights. Please stop reverting these edits. TheRealRocknRolla (talk) 07:40, 28 August 2017 (UTC)

You did not address my very first concern, which is to inform a user what the NAP is. No quantity of sources can address this. The fact that you use weasel words in your article tells everything anyone needs to know. You don't care that someone comes to the page and learns what the NAP is. You want them to read that the NAP is associated with some group, and who cares what it is.I Use Dial (talk) 01:24, 29 August 2017 (UTC)

The article as it stands is very misleading, and my edits are an attempt to clear that up. The NAP is a right-libertarian specific concept (it isn't used by any other group) and defines aggression in right-libertarian terms (for instance, non-libertarians don't regard tax collecting as "aggression"). My edits make that clear. Can you let me know if you object to these two points (which seem to me to be fairly non-controversial) and if so, why?

The other problem my edits address is the inclusion of quotes that aren't related to the NAP, and merely refer to general notions of freedom. Do you object to these being removed? If so, why?

Generally, it would be more constructive if you would simply build on/modify my changes rather than reverting all of them. TheRealRocknRolla (talk) 11:37, 29 August 2017 (UTC)

The article is not misleading. I Use Dial (talk) 14:25, 29 August 2017 (UTC)
The article does not belong to you. Other editors are not here to kindly build on or modify as pleases you. I Use Dial (talk) 14:47, 29 August 2017 (UTC)
The article doesn't belong to you either. You're here to contribute constructively, not act as gatekeeper and simply reject all changes that you don't like. TheRealRocknRolla (talk) 00:57, 30 August 2017 (UTC)

The article on the principle of non-aggression at the Mises Wiki of the Ludwig von Mises Institute does not mention the term "right-libertarian(ism)", and it features a list of historical precedents that is even longer than the list in this Wikipedia article that User:TheRealRocknRolla has been (wrongly, in my opinion) trying to delete.

For a considerably broader, but still libertarian, definition of the NAP see, for example:

Liberty and the non-aggression principle mean not imposing one doctrine of values or motivations on peoples and cultures with unique circumstances and opposing doctrines; imposition is not the same as communication; change can be voluntary and brought about through reasoned argumentation.

— Mendenhall, Allen (2014). "Introduction: the basis for liberty". Literature and liberty: essays in libertarian literary criticism. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. p. 10. ISBN 9780739186336. OCLC 862589369.  For Allen Mendenhall's libertarian credentials see, for example, his bio at the Mises Institute

Another problem with User:TheRealRocknRolla's edit that is being discussed here, in addition to the more serious problems already mentioned above, is that the edit wrongly removes important synonyms in boldface from the lead sentence that should remain because those terms redirect to this article: non-aggression axiom, non-coercion principle, zero aggression principle, and non-initiation of force. Biogeographist (talk) 22:04, 29 August 2017 (UTC)

The Ludwig von Mises Institute is a right-libertarian organisation! That page itself notes that the NAP is defined in right-libertarian terms, such as prohibiting taxation ("When applied to the state, it has been taken to prohibit many policies including taxation.."). The fact that the current article is mostly a direct copy-and-paste from this one source is problematic and constitutes both plagiarism and violation of NPOV. TheRealRocknRolla (talk) 00:57, 30 August 2017 (UTC)
You've mentioned two libertarian sources and no others, which seems like agreement from you that the NAP is right-libertarian specific. You've quoted two definitions of the NAP, both of which define aggression in right-libertarian terms, which seems like agreement from you that the NAP defines aggression in right-libertarian terms. Yes? TheRealRocknRolla (talk) 00:57, 30 August 2017 (UTC)
That is solved by simply modifying my edits, not rejecting them wholesale. TheRealRocknRolla (talk) 00:57, 30 August 2017 (UTC)
@TheRealRocknRolla: I have moved your response, which was interspersed with my text, after my signature. You should not break up another editor's text on a talk page with your own text; you should place your response after the last entry in the discussion, per WP:TP, so that each block of text is signed and it is clear who wrote each block of text in temporal order. If you feel a need to quote another editor's text, you can use Template:Talkquote.
You were wrong to tag this article with Template:Copypaste (in this edit) and to claim that this Wikipedia article copied from the article at Mises Wiki. In fact, Mises Wiki copied from Wikipedia, as can clearly be seen by comparing the article histories of each article. The article on the Mises Wiki (which is just an older version of this Wikipedia article) presents multiple perspectives on the NAP; it does not make the mistake of simply calling the NAP "right-libertarian" and thereby eliding or conflating different perspectives.
If your edit were largely an improvement over the existing article, then other editors would accept your edit and correct any minor errors, rather than revert. But that is not the case here: Your edit was considerably worse than what it replaced. Perhaps you should explain in detail here on the talk page what your agenda is—i.e., describe in detail your overall purpose in attempting to edit this article—and somebody can help you craft a high-quality edit that will be acceptable to other editors, and that doesn't merely blank important content and doesn't replace substantive description with the vague label of "right-libertarian(ism)". Biogeographist (talk) 12:29, 30 August 2017 (UTC)
If it is not clear in what I have just written, let me be clear about what my agenda would be if I were substantively editing this article. (I say "if I were" substantively editing this article because I have barely made any substantial contributions.) I would do a scholarly survey of the widest possible variety of literature that mentions the NAP (and any of its variations—see, for example, my quote of Allen Mendenhall above), and I would make sure that all possible perspectives and interpretations are included in this article. In other words, my agenda would be to increase the quantity of perspectives on the NAP represented in this article, in accord with an inclusively neutral point of view. Simply labeling the NAP as "right-libertarian" does not do justice to the nuanced panoply of well-sourced perspectives on the NAP that should be represented in this article per the Wikipedia core content policy of neutral point of view, "which means representing fairly, proportionately, and, as far as possible, without editorial bias, ALL of the significant views that have been published by reliable sources on a topic." (Emphasis added.) Biogeographist (talk) 13:08, 30 August 2017 (UTC)

Sorry about the comment ordering, fairly new to this! Sorry for the mistake with the copy-paste labelling too, I assumed that the content had come from a libertarian site. However, that does get to the heart of the main issue with this article: It has been written from a libertarian point of view, and not from an objective, external perspective.

Take this line for instance: ""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." This isn't correct: Right-libertarians consider taxation to be aggression. But in a society that isn't right-libertarian, your tax liability doesn't belong to you, so isn't "an individual's property" in the first place.

They consider the right to demand property rents legitimate, even though they require equal aggression to taxation in terms of coercing payment. Property enforcement itself requires "forceful interference with an individual" (eg handcuffing the individual and taking them to jail if they commit trespass law). And yet right-libertarians are strong supporters of property law.

To answer the question "is this aggression under the NAP?", you have to already know what right-libertarians believe in order to answer it. It's misleading to say anything else. This is the issue that I am addressing in my rewrites of the introduction. The current revision speaks to the reader as though they are already fully committed right-libertarians.

I'm happy to change my proposed intro to word it better: I see that repeated mention of "right-libertarian" seems like clunky phrasing. Perhaps "capitalist" would be better? TheRealRocknRolla (talk) 13:33, 30 August 2017 (UTC)

@TheRealRocknRolla: Regarding the sentence in this article's lead: "'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." This sentence is appropriately supported by a reliable source. You said above that this sentence "isn't correct", and as justification for your claim that the sentence isn't correct you point to some contradictions in some alleged "right-libertarian" arguments about taxation and rents. You may be correct to point out the contradictions in those arguments, but this article's lead does not actually make those arguments. How the NAP is derived and interpreted—i.e., how the principle is used within arguments to advocate for or against systems or policies—is explicated later in the article. So I don't agree with your conclusion that this article's lead currently "speaks to the reader as though they are already fully committed right-libertarians." Perhaps the lead could use a minor improvement, but defining the NAP as "a rhetorical concept espoused by right-libertarianism", as you did in your edit, is not an improvement.
In my view, for whatever it's worth, if there is a direction in which this article should be developing, that direction is not toward eliminating nuances and multiple perspectives by reducing the article's subject to a vague label such as "right-libertarianism" or "capitalism"—for a critique of the widespread problematic usage of the latter term see, for example: Gibson-Graham, J. K. (2006) [1996]. The end of capitalism (as we knew it): a feminist critique of political economy (Reprint ed.). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 0816648050. OCLC 61261295. 
The article should instead be developing toward including a wider range of interpretations of the NAP. I'm reminded of an essay by McKenzie Wark:

If we let go of the oppositional thinking: state–bad/market–good (which of course opposes itself to imaginary opposite doctrines), then we can think about practices of forming heterogeneous institutional forms that have elements of these forms of organisation—and many others as well. None of which is terribly startling. A Humean libertarian philosophy would be practical, sceptical. It's not the only kind of libertarian thought one might want to see flourishing. Its not about opposing cyberlibertarian thought with a single alternative. There's yet another understanding of power, of desire, to be found, for example, in Spinoza. Liberty is a weed that grows in lots of places—perhaps everywhere.

— Wark, McKenzie (18 January 1997). "The liberty tree". Post to the Nettime mailing list. Retrieved 30 August 2017. 
Ideally, this article would show (in an appropriately sourced, scholarly way, of course) how the NAP has been adopted and interpreted by different thinkers through space and time, like "a weed that grows in lots of places". Biogeographist (talk) 19:41, 30 August 2017 (UTC)

This article conflates the non-aggression principle with the harm principle[edit]

The history section of this article conflates two different principles, the harm principle and the non-aggression principle. They are somewhat similar, but not the same. Some differences off the top of my head:

  • The NAP is an ethical stance which lies at the foundation of 20th-century deontological libertarianism. John Stuart Mill's version of the harm principle is a consequentialist result of a utilitarian philosophy that places human utility at its foundation.
  • Economic redistribution violates the NAP, but does not necessarily violate the harm principle—particularly if such redistribution increases overall human utility (e.g. a dollar provides more marginal utility to a poor person than to a rich person).
  • In practice, the NAP prioritizes minimizing the powers of government, while the harm principle prioritizes maximizing the freedoms of citizens.
  • The NAP places significant limits on foreign policy, but the harm principle does not.
  • When pushed to their most extreme points, the NAP and the harm principle lead to different conclusions, primarily because the NAP is more restrictive than the harm principle.

--JHP (talk) 01:15, 10 September 2017 (UTC)

With all of your linked sources being Wikipedia articles and all of your claims being your own opinion statements, it is difficult to seriously consider anything you are claiming. Most notably, the NAP actually has nothing to do with government, and does not have anything specifically against government. The appearance of such is only due to the application of NAP not differentiating a government from any other entity, and that aspect of its application being the focus of many libertarians. I Use Dial (talk) 15:57, 15 November 2017 (UTC)


How well regarded is the NAP among mainstream philosophers? Benjamin (talk) 03:35, 23 September 2017 (UTC)

Maintstream is a bit of a weasel word, but if you are talking about popular personalities whose jobs are dependent on funds originating from involuntary transactions, I suspect they do not like the NAP. Also, Wikipedia talk pages are not discussion forums. I Use Dial (talk) 16:02, 17 November 2017 (UTC)