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Monday, August 18, 2008

The Non-Aggression Principle

The non-aggression principle says that it is unacceptable to initiate violence against someone else. Violence is only acceptable in self-defense. Someone who believes the non-aggression principle is not a complete pacifist; if you're a complete pacifist, you're letting other people take advantage of you. You may use violence to defend yourself or your property.

Of course, a sensible person only uses violence in self-defense when they have good odds of winning. For example, the State demands property taxes (rent/tribute) in exchange for permission to occupy land. When the State collects property taxes, this is a violation of the non-aggression principle. The right to own land is an intrinsic natural right, and taxation is theft. If you refuse to pay property taxes, then eventually people with guns and shiny badges will show up to kick you off your land. A believer in the non-aggression principle would use violence to prevent illegitimate State police from kicking them off their land. A practical person would realize that such a confrontation is pointless; the State police have superior resources and would win a direct confrontation. In the present, the most practical option is to move to an area with low property taxes and pay the taxes/tribute. However, once free market police protection is a viable business, then the State won't be able to collect property taxes.

Some people suggest actively disrupting the State, by destroying State property, disrupting traffic, or harassing/assassinating State employees. Such actions are a waste of time, because they're focused on destroying wealth instead of creating wealth. Such actions create sympathy for the State, rather than portraying the State as evil. Further, most State employees aren't consciously aware that they're participants in a massive crime. Also, many red market and pink market workers are State employees as much as someone who works directly for the State; CEOs, investment bankers, hedge fund managers, accountants, lawyers, and doctors are State employees as much as a politician or policeman.

Damaging State property or assaulting State employees is a violation of the non-aggression principle; technically, all property is owned by the State and everyone is a State employee!

This is an important distinction. Destroying random State property is a violation of the non-aggression principle. Defending yourself when illegitimate State police attempt to steal your property, kidnap you, or assault you, is *NOT* a violation of the non-aggression principle. You may only validly use violence to defend yourself when you personally are the direct victim of State violence. In the present, State police have superior resources; when faced with State violence, your best strategy is to surrender peacefully, defend yourself sui juris, and hope for an acquittal in a trial. Even though the judge will probably be biased against you, you may be able to find some sympathetic jury members and get an acquittal. However, you still won't recover the time and expense spent on the trial. If the State seizes your property as part of its assault on you, you probably won't be able to recover it. Asset forfeiture laws are biased against individuals much more than a criminal trial; in many cases, the State no longer needs a jury trial to seize and sell your property.

When the collapse of the State draws near, it may be practical for private police forces to shut it down as a criminal conspiracy. However, at that point, everyone's going to be ignoring the State's laws anyway. Once private security forces are competitive with the State, that's the end of the government. The State demands 50%+ of my productivity directly via taxes, and 95%-99.9%+ via indirect hidden taxes. That leaves a lot of room for private security businesses to offer protection at a cheaper price.

Another important concept is economic aggression. Economic aggression is ultimately backed by violence, because otherwise people would just ignore it. However, there's a subtle distinction. If you resist economic aggression, and you're clever about it, then it's hard for State enforcers to discover what you're doing. If you find yourself the victim in a State trial, you may be able to plausibly convince the jury "I didn't injure anyone; therefore, I didn't commit a crime.". In other words, use a "jury nullification" defense.

An important example of economic aggression is fiat debt-based money. Money supply inflation is a form of economic aggression. Policemen don't have to physically seize your property. Your savings are eroded via inflation. There are many State restrictions on using sound money. These restrictions are ultimately backed by State police raids on people who use sound money. State police can seize the assets of e-Gold vendors; the Liberty Dollar raid is a noteworthy example. State police can raid people who form free market gold/silver barter groups with their friends. A criminal trial is risky, because in many ways a corrupt State trial has random outcomes, and the procedural rules favor the State. Once illegitimate State police seize your property, it's very hard to recover it. You might be acquitted, but lose your gold or silver savings.

As another example, there are many State restrictions on various free market businesses. If you run a "gypsy cab" service without a license from the State, you may be the victim of State violence. If you attempt to cook and sell food out of your home, you may be the victim of State violence. If you attempt to work as a free market doctor, without a license from the State, you may be the victim of state violence. If your trading partners are trustworthy, then your risk should be low. For example, if you run a gypsy cab service and pick up random customers off the street, you will probably be the victim of State violence. If your customers call you on your cell phone, then you probably have very low risk; there's plausible deniability that "I was just giving my friend a ride." if anyone harasses you. The more regulated an industry is, the more profit there is for an agorist. It's incredibly risky to be a free market doctor, but it's also incredibly lucrative.

Agorism is the only strategy for resisting the State that doesn't violate the non-aggression principle. Superficially, voting appears to be nonviolent. However, when you vote, you're saying "I have the right to steal from my fellow humans; I am delegating this right to the State, who will steal from other people and give some of the proceeds to me." For most people, the amount the State steals from them is greater than any benefits they receive. Even welfare recipients are net victims of State violence; the amount they could earn in a free market, even working part-time, would be far greater than any welfare benefit received. Elections are fixed, and voting is irrelevant. I don't object when other people vote; I object when other people pay taxes, because the proceeds are used to aggress against me.

2 comments:

Liberty Student said...

Bravissimo! Heroic post!

But I may have a tactic that is better than Agorism for resisting the state. Still doing research on it, but I'm pretty excited.

scineram said...

Like most anti-voting anarchist in the last paraagraph you concede too much to the statists with that legitimacy bs.

This Blog Has Moved!

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