The Non-aggression Principle
The non-aggression principle is a moral stance which asserts that aggression is illegitimate.
Also called the non-aggression axiom, the anti-coercion principle, the zero aggression principle ZAP, the non-initiation of force, or NAP for short.
Aggression is defined as the initiation or threat of non-consensual physical force against the person or property of another. Aggression is understood to include indirect force such as theft by stealth and fraud. Unlike pacifism, the non-aggression principle does not preclude violence used in self-defense or the defense of others.
The meaning and scope of the NAP is debated. Here are some of the interpretations:
A legal principle about enforceable law.
Legal definition (Walter Block)
A fundamental moral principle that applies to the civilized society moral environment (but perhaps not to survival situations or for self-actualization.)
Modal ethics definition (Hogeye Bill)
An ethical guideline, one of many heuristic principles for determining norms.
A fundamental moral principle applying everywhere.
Unqualified definition and perhaps most common (L. Neil Smith)
A fundamental moral principle applying everywhere except emergencies.
Objectivist definition (Rand, Rothbard, and many others.)
A moral heuristic saying that any aggression must be justified.
Intuitionist definition (Michael Huemer)
Hogeye Bill: I like 1, 2, and 6. I use my own modal ethics (#2) the most. Note that what constitutes aggression is dependent on some underlying property system. E.g. In a sticky property system the squatter is the aggressor, while in a possession property system the person who attempts to evict the squatter is the aggressor.
- Jonah Goldberg and the Libertarian Axiom on Non-Aggression by Walter Block.
- Shall We Abandon the Non-Aggression Principle? by Laurence M. Vance
- Nonaggression Axiom - The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism
- Six Reasons Libertarians Should Reject the Non-Aggression Principle by Matt Zwolinski
- Defending the Non-Aggression Principle: A Reply to Matt Zwolinski by George H. Smith
- Non-Aggression and Billiards by Jason Kuznicki
- Plausible Libertarianism: Philosophy, Social Science, and Huemer by Bryan Caplan
- Relation of the State to the Individual. by Benjamin Tucker
- Huemer’s Common Sense Defense of Libertarianism - Michael Huemer speaks at Porcfest.
- Lew Rockwell interviews Walter Block about the NAP (audio podcast)