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Author Topic: What's so special about the NAP?  (Read 18483 times)
fergalish
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June 21, 2012, 09:01:24 AM
 #121

Yes, there are people who can or will not defend themselves. That's fine, since it opens up a market opportunity. Since there's a need for people to defend those people, someone will show up to provide that service. If they can't pay, and there are people who care about people who can't pay for their defense, then there will be a charity to pay for it.
You seem so convinced about this business of charity. Given our society as we know it, what basis do you have for such a... such a.... such a belief in human philanthropy? (I scorn belief. Present your evidence, and I will accordingly accept or reject your hypothesis.)

The moral structure of the NAP is in the wording of the NAP: No person has the right to initiate force or fraud on another person.
Saying the NAP's morality is in it's own wording is like saying the bible is a sacred book because the bible says so. If you agree with the NAP, great, then you are morally obliged to agree with it. If you *don't* agree with the NAP, then there is no moral obligation to do so. What I'm asking you for is: on what grounds should people *choose* to adhere to the NAP? Why should no person have the right, a priori, to initiate force or fraud against another?  Again, in both directions - a society that abrogates all but one law, can freely choose to abrogate also the NAP, just as an anarchic society that chooses to create one law, can freely choose to create also others. Why stop at just one law? If NAP's morality is only self-referential, then there is no reason to initially select it. As in the thread title, I ask again: "What's so special about the NAP?", though given that it's only enforcement is self defence, then I could also ask "What's so useful about the NAP?".
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June 21, 2012, 09:33:00 AM
 #122

Yes, there are people who can or will not defend themselves. That's fine, since it opens up a market opportunity. Since there's a need for people to defend those people, someone will show up to provide that service. If they can't pay, and there are people who care about people who can't pay for their defense, then there will be a charity to pay for it.
You seem so convinced about this business of charity. Given our society as we know it, what basis do you have for such a... such a.... such a belief in human philanthropy? (I scorn belief. Present your evidence, and I will accordingly accept or reject your hypothesis.)

My evidence: http://www.buzzfeed.com/expresident/pictures-that-will-restore-your-faith-in-humanity

But again, note that I said "[if] there are people who care about people who can't pay for their defense, then there will be a charity to pay for it." So if there are not people who care, then there will not be a charity. But if you care, then there are at least two.

I'd also like to point out that even with the tax burden, there are plenty of private charities now. I see no reason that they would evaporate without the State.

The moral structure of the NAP is in the wording of the NAP: No person has the right to initiate force or fraud on another person.
Saying the NAP's morality is in it's own wording is like saying the bible is a sacred book because the bible says so. If you agree with the NAP, great, then you are morally obliged to agree with it. If you *don't* agree with the NAP, then there is no moral obligation to do so. What I'm asking you for is: on what grounds should people *choose* to adhere to the NAP? Why should no person have the right, a priori, to initiate force or fraud against another?  Again, in both directions - a society that abrogates all but one law, can freely choose to abrogate also the NAP, just as an anarchic society that chooses to create one law, can freely choose to create also others. Why stop at just one law? If NAP's morality is only self-referential, then there is no reason to initially select it. As in the thread title, I ask again: "What's so special about the NAP?", though given that it's only enforcement is self defence, then I could also ask "What's so useful about the NAP?".

Honestly, nybble said it best:
This is a natural law in the domain of logic, as opposed to physics. It is a natural law for the simple reason that if you can justify initiating force against someone else without provocation, they can use the same argument to justify initiating force against you, regardless of whether you're claiming that it is right to initiate force, or that it was wrong but you should be able to get away with it anyway, or that the rules are not necessarily universal... whatever argument you use can be turned back against you. No matter how you argue, the fact remains that you initiated force against a non-aggressor, and if you can justify it, so can they. If you can't justify it, then you effectively admit that you deserve the punishment.

see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axiom

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fergalish
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June 21, 2012, 11:24:44 AM
 #123

Interesting replies.

You seem so convinced about this business of charity. Given our society as we know it, what basis do you have for such a... such a.... such a belief in human philanthropy? (I scorn belief. Present your evidence, and I will accordingly accept or reject your hypothesis.)
My evidence: http://www.buzzfeed.com/expresident/pictures-that-will-restore-your-faith-in-humanity
But again, note that I said "[if] there are people who care about people who can't pay for their defense, then there will be a charity to pay for it." ... I see no reason that they would evaporate without the State.
You call this bunch of pictures "evidence"? 21 instances of kindness are evidence that people worldwide are willing to help stop the suffering of the poor and weak? Heck, even 21 million wouldn't be enough. Anyway, this is more like appeal-to-emotion than a rational argument. I'm far too lazy to actually look, but I'm pretty sure I could spend a couple of hours and find a equally convincing bunch of pictures that would destroy anyone's faith in humanity.
It's not obvious to me that when you give people back their tax but take away their new expenses (private police, private health care, road construction etc), that people will have more money available for charity. A NAP society is, by definition, each-man-for-himself, and companies will pay minimum wages in order to compete in the market, so I somehow doubt that private charity will increase; but that's just my subjective experience.

This is a natural law in the domain of logic, as opposed to physics. It is a natural law for the simple reason that if you can justify initiating force against someone else without provocation, they can use the same argument to justify initiating force against you, regardless of whether you're claiming that it is right to initiate force, or that it was wrong but you should be able to get away with it anyway, or that the rules are not necessarily universal... whatever argument you use can be turned back against you. No matter how you argue, the fact remains that you initiated force against a non-aggressor, and if you can justify it, so can they. If you can't justify it, then you effectively admit that you deserve the punishment.
nybble41 is wrong. There are two justifications I can give for me to initiate violence against others while they cannot against me.  First, I am stronger. It is only necessary for me to also be clever about never fighting stronger opponents than me, and so I can morally justify being a tyrannical dictator. Second, because I'm hungry, a justification surely inaccessible to the rich capitalist. If nybble41's argument required justification for initiation of violence to be symmetrical between two parties, then it fails.

Quote from: wikipedia
In other words, an axiom is a logical statement that is assumed to be true.
Ah, so therefore there is no basis for the NAP? It is merely an axiom? Well, it's validity is certainly not obvious to me nor, I suspect, to many other forum members. It cannot therefore be an axiom.

Fancy conducting a poll to establish if the NAP could be an axiom? Let's debate how to propose the poll to our mutual satisfaction. We could agree that if some minimum threshold of replies indicate it is not an axiom then, by definition, it is not an axiom. I would suggest a threshold of 5% or so (for an axiom to be an axiom, it must be obvious to all people). The question might be:

"The only rule in a libertarian society is the Non Agression Pact, NAP, which states: "Do not initiate violence or fraud." Should we try to justify this on logical, economic, moral or ethical grounds (or other grounds, comment below), or is it so obviously valid and practical that it requires no a priori justification? (practical in the sense that it could work in a modern, large, multi-cultural, highly mobile society)."  The options might be:

1. The NAP requires no justification. It is obviously a valid and practical principle by which humanity could live contentedly.
2. I have doubts about the validity of the NAP. It is not obviously a valid and practical principle by which humanity could live contentedly.
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June 21, 2012, 11:36:11 AM
 #124

From what people are saying here, the NAP is fine if you are dealing with nice people who follow the NAP.  IF you live in an area where people are more prone to aggression, for example parts of Ireland, the NAP is a consoling thought as you are being slaughtered for having the wrong religion.  At least morally, you are on the right side even if you do end up dead.

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June 21, 2012, 12:29:11 PM
 #125

The NAP is a sort of like the Golden Rule.  Yes - its nice but if you come against an organisation that doesn't believe in it, its worthless.
This doen't change whether you have one or a million laws, does it?

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June 21, 2012, 12:35:21 PM
 #126

The NAP either is enforced, in which case it's useful, but not just the NAP, or it's not enforced, in which case it is truly the NAP, but useless.

I'm not sure how you think the NAP is not enforceable. It's not pacifism, it's just not initiation of force. If you initiate force upon someone, they're perfectly justified in returning that force right back at you.

So? How does that accomplish anything? It basically says: "Hey, I can fight and injure you and steal from you, or I can choose not to, and you can return the favor, or not."

Wow. That's profound.

And yet... It's taken this long for people to come to that realization. Funny, huh?

As I said, it accomplishes nothing. If it accomplishes nothing, then it has no significance, and is the absence of any type of thing at all. At least you realize that.
Do a million laws accomplish anything other than an overly expensive legal system with overpaid lawyers benefiting from everyone's misfortune? In the end the judgement goes just one way or the other in general. Does it somehow incite some magic social glue to have an incoherent set of legislation that only a few can understand?   

It was a cunning plan to have the funny man be the money fan of the punning clan.
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June 21, 2012, 12:45:07 PM
 #127

So, in your opinion, the problem with NAP is due to income inequality. On the other hand, the poor also have less to defend than the rich so there is less incentive for roving gangs to plunder the poor.... which isn't to say it is not a problem. OK.

Income inequality is one of the many problems with a NAP i would say.

LOL! Income equality would improve under NAP as poor people would have not only more incentive, but more opportunity to increase their wealth and income. In addition, big companies wouldn't be able to use the force of government to reduce competition and get special favors, so they wouldn't be as big.

And BTW, I haven't paid U.S. federal income taxes since 2006. It is possible to not pay them. (I'm still working on not paying property tax, but that'll take more work. I haven't paid them directly since 2009 though.)
Applause! You go guy!! +1  Smiley

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June 21, 2012, 01:53:08 PM
 #128

The NAP either is enforced, in which case it's useful, but not just the NAP, or it's not enforced, in which case it is truly the NAP, but useless.

I'm not sure how you think the NAP is not enforceable. It's not pacifism, it's just not initiation of force. If you initiate force upon someone, they're perfectly justified in returning that force right back at you.

So? How does that accomplish anything? It basically says: "Hey, I can fight and injure you and steal from you, or I can choose not to, and you can return the favor, or not."

Wow. That's profound.

And yet... It's taken this long for people to come to that realization. Funny, huh?

As I said, it accomplishes nothing. If it accomplishes nothing, then it has no significance, and is the absence of any type of thing at all. At least you realize that.
Do a million laws accomplish anything other than an overly expensive legal system with overpaid lawyers benefiting from everyone's misfortune? In the end the judgement goes just one way or the other in general. Does it somehow incite some magic social glue to have an incoherent set of legislation that only a few can understand?   

If Myrkul's explanation of the NAP is correct, a guy who has his own militia can take possession of an empty house.  For example, your house when you are at work.  When you come home, instead of calling of the police, you invite him to "arbitration."  If he refuses, you tell all your friends that he is not a nice guy.

Not a great system.  I prefer the million laws starting with the ones against breaking and entering.

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June 21, 2012, 07:07:04 PM
 #129

If Myrkul's explanation of the NAP is correct, a guy who has his own militia can take possession of an empty house.  For example, your house when you are at work.  When you come home, instead of calling of the police, you invite him to "arbitration."  If he refuses, you tell all your friends that he is not a nice guy.

Not a great system.  I prefer the million laws starting with the ones against breaking and entering.

Ahh... but he has harmed you. That was your house he broke into and took possession of. You are justified in evicting him by force, since he attempted to evict you by force.

Interesting replies.

I find it much more interesting what you cut out.... But that aside. You seem to want a rational basis for the NAP as a moral code. I suggest you read or listen to Universally Preferable Behavior, by Stefan Molyneux. You can find it, and his other books, for free here: www.freedomainradio.com/FreeBooks.aspx

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June 21, 2012, 07:15:43 PM
 #130

Ahh... but he has harmed you. That was your house he broke into and took possession of. You are justified in evicting him by force, since he attempted to evict you by force.

Both parties are justified in doing what they do based upon their own moral code. It would appear that one of the parties is not a believer of the NAP, and thus he is unlikely to hire an arbitration firm that is a believer of the NAP. Thus we have NAPs and NOT-NAPs. That sort of renders the NAP to be non-universal in belief and application.
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June 21, 2012, 08:18:49 PM
 #131

If Myrkul's explanation of the NAP is correct, a guy who has his own militia can take possession of an empty house.  For example, your house when you are at work.  When you come home, instead of calling of the police, you invite him to "arbitration."  If he refuses, you tell all your friends that he is not a nice guy.

Not a great system.  I prefer the million laws starting with the ones against breaking and entering.

Ahh... but he has harmed you. That was your house he broke into and took possession of. You are justified in evicting him by force, since he attempted to evict you by force.

...snip...

You can't.  He has more fire-power.  All he has to do is refuse arbitration and what was yours is now his.

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June 21, 2012, 08:24:16 PM
 #132

<snip>
You seem to want a rational basis for the NAP as a moral code. I suggest you read or listen to Universally Preferable Behavior, by Stefan Molyneux. You can find it, and his other books, for free here: www.freedomainradio.com/FreeBooks.aspx
I'd love nothing better than to have the time to read this, but I don't. I downloaded it, but do you think you could summarise the critical points?

Ahh... but he has harmed you. That was your house he broke into and took possession of. You are justified in evicting him by force, since he attempted to evict you by force.
Suppose he thinks its his house? Wouldn't it simply be better to ignore the NAP so at least there's no confusion - possession would equal ownership? Or alternatively introduce a complex legal system with a land registry where the true owner is listed. What exactly does NAP solve in this situation?
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June 21, 2012, 09:01:46 PM
 #133

I'd love nothing better than to have the time to read this, but I don't. I downloaded it, but do you think you could summarise the critical points?

I've already hit on the major points, you honestly need to hear the whole argument. As for the time concern, that was why I suggested the audiobook.

Suppose he thinks its his house? Wouldn't it simply be better to ignore the NAP so at least there's no confusion - possession would equal ownership? Or alternatively introduce a complex legal system with a land registry where the true owner is listed. What exactly does NAP solve in this situation?

AnCap doesn't preclude a land registry. The NAP solves, in this case, who is in the "wrong". If he thinks it is his house, and the original possessor also thinks it is his house, we need only look at who was the aggressor. This will most likely turn out to be the person who moved in.

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June 21, 2012, 09:10:20 PM
 #134

AnCap doesn't preclude a land registry.

Or two or three.
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June 22, 2012, 12:47:31 AM
 #135

The NAP either is enforced, in which case it's useful, but not just the NAP, or it's not enforced, in which case it is truly the NAP, but useless.

I'm not sure how you think the NAP is not enforceable. It's not pacifism, it's just not initiation of force. If you initiate force upon someone, they're perfectly justified in returning that force right back at you.

So? How does that accomplish anything? It basically says: "Hey, I can fight and injure you and steal from you, or I can choose not to, and you can return the favor, or not."

Wow. That's profound.

And yet... It's taken this long for people to come to that realization. Funny, huh?

As I said, it accomplishes nothing. If it accomplishes nothing, then it has no significance, and is the absence of any type of thing at all. At least you realize that.
Do a million laws accomplish anything other than an overly expensive legal system with overpaid lawyers benefiting from everyone's misfortune? In the end the judgement goes just one way or the other in general. Does it somehow incite some magic social glue to have an incoherent set of legislation that only a few can understand?   

If Myrkul's explanation of the NAP is correct, a guy who has his own militia can take possession of an empty house.  For example, your house when you are at work.  When you come home, instead of calling of the police, you invite him to "arbitration."  If he refuses, you tell all your friends that he is not a nice guy.

Not a great system.  I prefer the million laws starting with the ones against breaking and entering.
Aren't there NAP police?

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June 22, 2012, 01:03:41 AM
 #136

Aren't there NAP police?

Not as such, no. But anyone who cares to can enforce the non-aggression principle, simply by stepping up and defending someone they see being aggressed against. Defense agencies would fall under that as well, since they actually get paid to defend those who are being aggressed against.

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June 22, 2012, 01:28:20 AM
 #137

Aren't there NAP police?

Not as such, no. But anyone who cares to can force the non-aggression principle, simply by stepping up and defending someone they see being aggressed against. Defense agencies would fall under that as well, since they actually get paid to defend those who are being aggressed against.

What a joke. Nobody says NAP is the law of the land except those who want to say NAP is the law of the land. Others can and will say that something other than NAP is the law of the land.

Myrkul just doesn't get it. NAP is meaningless.
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June 22, 2012, 06:28:54 AM
 #138

Aren't there NAP police?

Not as such, no. But anyone who cares to can enforce the non-aggression principle, simply by stepping up and defending someone they see being aggressed against. Defense agencies would fall under that as well, since they actually get paid to defend those who are being aggressed against.

We've established in another thread there would only be 1 defence agency.  Please stop using the plural as it implies choice.  In your NAP scenario, that choice would be a very short term thing and you end up with one "defence agency" that makes laws, enforces the laws and adjudicates on itself.  I know you prefer to call this a "defence agency" but the rest of us would call it a government.

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June 22, 2012, 07:15:45 AM
 #139

We've established in another thread there would only be 1 defence agency.

Do you have a mouse in your pocket? 'cause I don't know who the hell "we" is, otherwise.

You making a claim does not equal establishing something.

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June 22, 2012, 07:38:13 AM
 #140

The non-aggression principle is a logical quine.  That's what's so special about it.

There are four options:

1) You agree with it and abide by it;
2) You agree with it and don't abide by it, in which case you have explicitly consented to it being forced upon you;
3) You don't agree with it but do abide by it, which is basically the same as #1;
4) You don't agree with it and don't abide by it, in which case eventually it will be forced upon you, and you will have implicitly consented to it.

So, regardless of which option you choose, the result is that either you abide by the NAP, or you consent to force being used to defend against you.

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