An interesting perspective on the NAP

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An interesting perspective on the NAP

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  • Max Hill

    Reposted from here: http://www.reddit.com/r/Anarcho_Capitalism/comments/23ot6g/the_nap_is_a_silly_needless_distraction_i_dont/

     

    The NAP is a silly, needless distraction. I don’t care about it and neither should you.

     

    There are too many Ancaps who think they need to reconcile every single issue with the NAP. They think we need the NAP to base an ancap legal system on. They run through all the possible problems they can think of, and come up with ‘solutions’ based on the NAP. “Abortion? Well… it’s trespass, therefore violates the NAP, so you can kick the baby out.” etc

    But whats the point? There is no need to think about every issue and it’s “solution”. The market will do that on its own. To me, the NAP is just the seed of the state. It’s just a remnant of the ancient hierarchical wetware that humans seem to be born with. A weird need for some measure of top-down central planning, even in a society based on bottom-up market solutions. In a true ancap society, there will be no single overriding rule that’s imposed on everyone. There would be, instead, a polycentric legal system like the one described in David Friedman’s Machinery of Freedom (http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Libertarian/Machinery_of_Freedom/MofF_Chapter_29.html).

    Stop looking for easy, black and white answers… we just need to find a way to get around or remove the monopoly on violence, let people start choosing their legal system based on market mechanisms instead of “democratic” voting, and everything else will fall into place.

    More: –http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Libertarian/Machinery_of_Freedom/MofF_Chapter_41.html

    http://www.libertarianism.org/blog/six-reasons-libertarians-should-reject-non-aggression-principle

    http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2013/04/against-the-non-aggression-principle-as-a-foundational-principle-of-justice/

    EDIT: Here is my point, in a more direct way. Talking about the NAP is about as useful as talking about a “Best Price Principle”. Lets say there is a principle that says “in a free market, people selling goods should offer them at a price mutually agreeable to both the buyer and seller”. You don’t need a principle for that… it just happens with competition. What I’m getting at is… there is no need for the NAP. There is no culture in the world where people think murder and theft are good things. So when you put human beings together in groups without any monopoly on violence, and the checks and balances of the free market operate without any influence of a monopoly on law or violence… then the will of the people, ie being generally nice to people and not murdering or stealing, will prevail. There is no need for it to be “a thing”. You don’t have to set up rules or principles. Human interaction is a complex adaptive system, it works from the bottom-up. Prices are set, bad behavior is punished. It just happens. This is why the NAP is useless. It’s like saying “for optimal health, human beings should have a beating heart.”

    EDIT PART 2: so what I’m hearing from NAP advocates is that its not something that would be forced on anyone… it’s not a law… it’s just a ‘principle’ describing how one SHOULD live. Thought experiment. Imagine 2 ancap societies… one without any mention of anything called the NAP, one where the NAP is a widespread ‘principle’. Do you honestly think the non-NAP society would be rife with murders and theft simply because the people there didn’t know they shouldn’t do that?

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  • Malcolm Heights

    Max Hill asked:

    “Do you honestly think the non-NAP society would be rife with murders and theft simply because the people there didn’t know they shouldn’t do that?”

    That’s what we have now. It’s called the State and most people don’t realize they are supporting violence and coercion.

    In order for “the market to do it on it’s own” their needs to be a definition of what property is and what the boundaries of human conduct are in regards to property and people.

    Property in natural rights theory trace a line of equipoise balancing the individuals right to property against the duties individuals owe others out of respect for their Liberty which is like wise legitimately held in the sovereignty of the individual. It is this balance and its relationship to the use of force that NAP addresses.

    This is a moral position based on a humanistic ethic. The idea that the individual is responsible for the ethical consequences of their human decisions in relation to property and persons.

    This is the opposite of collectivism or group think where individual rights may be violated for the betterment of the whole.

    Libertarian/anarchism narrowly interprets the NAP as a standard for defining what constitutes aggression and  designates when defensive force is moral. Any moral value added beyond that is drawn from different philosophical concepts.This allows for polycentric legal systems as different communities may have differing religious/philosophical world views.

    Every decision we make is a choice and a persons ethical world view determines the risk or rewards of those choices. Some of those choices may involve breaking rules and disobeying laws. In order for those choices to be ethical they need to be rooted in an understanding of how aggression and the pursuit of life, liberty and property intersect. A person has a right to pursue their happiness free from third party coercion and it this inalienable right that natural law protects.

    You may feel that NAP is not needed. I’m showing you how I have worked NAP into my world view and how it strengthens my ethics. Philosophically I’m anarchist, politically libertarian and spiritually humanist.

     

     

     

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    Micah Christensen

    I would imagine the anarchist society rarely mentions NAP as, at that point, it has become common sense and an unusual occasion; it would come up when the NAP is violated.  E.g. when an individual makes a racist comment, he is reminded that people generally disapprove of this behavior; however, we generally don’t run around telling people to stop being racist whether they are or aren’t.

    Likewise, the reason why the NAP is brought up so often is due to the fact that it is violated equally as often.  It reminds people what their action usually is–peaceful voluntary association–and reminds them what their non-action does.  The state is not a physical being that needs conquering; it is a belief.  When you assassinate the king, the people demand a new one, because they believe a king is necessary before society collapses on itself.  To desire the anarchist society is not a matter of direct action, because the state is an intangible idea with relative physical manifestations which continually rise as each one prior is vanquished, e.g. a hydra.  Ideas can be battled only by ideas, and any advancement made in the real world which does not effect the mental state of the majority of the world will always return us to the point we were at before.  We are fighting nothing but the customs of the long deceased.  If there is a better tool than the NAP to wage this fight, I think we should consider it, but if you’re against the usage of concepts such as the NAP all together, then I think you should reconsider where the state finds its strength.

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    Max Hill

    Malcolm, I wasn’t the author of the article and I didn’t post it because I necessarily agree with everything in it. I thought it was an interesting perspective and posted it to generate discussion.

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    Roger Browne

    In order for a free society to come into existence, the ideas behind it must be accepted by a critical mass of the population. (Some people think that the critical mass for a new idea is as low as 10%, by the way).

    The NAP crystallises the distinction between a state-ruled society and a free one, in a way that can be adopted by “ordinary people” as a new idea.

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    Max Hill

    Do you have sources for the 10% figure? I’d love to read more about it.

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    Roger Browne

    Max, here is a source for the 10% figure:

    <div id=”r1PostCPBlock”>Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have found that when just 10 percent of the population holds an unshakable belief, their belief will always be adopted by the majority of the society.
    http://scienceblog.com/46622/minority-rules-scientists-discover-tipping-point-for-the-spread-of-ideas/</div>

    <div>The original paper is here:</div>

    <div>Social consensus through the influence of committed minorities
    by Xie, Sreenivasan, Korniss, Zhang, Lim and Szymanski
    http://journals.aps.org/pre/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevE.84.011130</div>

    <div>This guy claims 20%:</div>

    <div>”How many of us is “enough”? Five people in a hundred is all it takes! Stanford University studies tell us that when just 5% of a society accepts a new idea, it becomes “embedded.” When 20% adopt the idea, it is “unstoppable.” The study also shows that it normally requires 50% of the population to be “aware” of the idea in order to reach the 5% who will adopt it.”
    http://traubman.igc.org/change.htm</div>

    <div>Also of interest:</div>

    <div>”[Mark Penn’s] book, <i>Microtrends</i> … examines how small ideas can catch fire and lead to big changes. For example, Penn shows how a mere one percent of the American public, or 3 million people, can create a “microtrend” capable of launching a major business or even a new cultural movement, changing commercial, political and social landscapes.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Penn#Microtrends</div>

    <div></div>

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    Stephen Davis

    I think this person is making several good points, but also missing the point.

    Yes, a free society can’t be planned in advance; people will come up with things we couldn’t have imagined. Yes, there are not black and white answers to everything; in any particular dispute, specific details matter. Yes, the essence of the market is its voluntary nature; if we focus on pointing out violence and advocating voluntary relationships, this intuitively appeals to people and will advance the cause of liberty.

    These are all good points. However, none of this means that the NAP is silly or needless. That said, the most fundamental libertarian principle is self-ownership, not the NAP. Self-ownership is necessary to acquire property in external things, and the libertarian view on this is also more fundamental than the NAP, for property rights need to be established in order to determine what constitutes aggression (see Stephan Kinsella’s article, “What Libertarianism Is”: http://mises.org/daily/3660).

    So, instead of talking about why the NAP is not silly or needless, I’m talking about why fundamental principles that form the basis of the libertarian theory of justice are not silly or needless.

    This person is advocating a capitalist society. Well, capitalism requires the avoidance of conflict over scarce resources, which means that property norms have to be developed. Libertarian norms are the only ones that can be argumentatively justified, the only ones that are potentially acceptable to all, grounded in the nature of things, and universalizable, and which permit conflict-free use of resources.

    So, the society this person advocates literally cannot come about without a widespread acceptance of the libertarian theory of property rights. Yes, many people intuitively accept the libertarian theory, but the argumentative justification for this theory shouldn’t be dismissed as silly or needless just because it’s not the way that everyone comes to accept its conclusions.

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    Ben Noble

    In an An-Cap society the importance of developing, spreading, and using a principle like NAP might not be of great importance, but I think that it is very useful for us in the society we have now. NAP might describe a natural state like the writer says, but most people around us don’t even know it exists. We need defined ideas and principles like NAP to help people understand the basic rules we want society to be built on.

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