The Freedom Line

Big FREEDOM! Stuff => The Philosophy of Freedom/Libertarianism/Doctrine of free will => Topic started by: Owl on June 19, 2016, 12:48:23 AM

Title: Moral Theory of Non-aggression
Post by: Owl on June 19, 2016, 12:48:23 AM
Hello there. Libertarianism is a movement based on an ideological principle, namely the Non-aggression Principle (NAP). I decided that the NAP could be expanded from a moral principle into a full-fledged moral theory in order to make it more robust and less ambiguous. Maybe it's not necessary, but I think it does help to break the NAP down into more direct, simple components. I'd like to show you all what I've come up with and ask for your opinions. And I would also like to hear your thoughts on defining property from the perspective of moral philosophy.

Non-aggression Principle: It is immoral to initiate force upon a person without consent.



Moral Theory of Non-aggression

An action is morally wrong if:
The Moral Theory of Non-aggression (MTNA) only describes what is morally wrong to do. That is to say that if an action may be described by MTNA, it is immoral, and all other actions, which cannot be described by MTNA, are either permissible or morally right. MTNA assumes impartiality so that no person is implicitly better or worse than others, and each person’s interests weigh equally. I wish to stress that MTNA does not prescribe any obligatory actions which must be committed for this is not its purpose. Essentially, MTNA only describes immorality and does not define what is morally right, nor does it make any attempt.

Thanks for any suggestions or criticisms.
Title: Re: Moral Theory of Non-aggression
Post by: Mike26 on June 19, 2016, 10:49:53 AM
I think you have some semantic obstructions in this. Labeling your theory Moral... But then describing that it doesn't speak to what is moral seems contradictory. If instead you incorporated the word Morality into the naming it would alleviate this contradiction.

Also the scope of the theory in incredibly small. How it currently reads, the four points listed are the only immoral actions on earth. What about neglect/ negligence? A person neglects their property (land and natural resources) by negligently dumping/ polluting them. Their waste and pollution then pollutes, destroys, contaminates, and informs the neighboring resources and or population... Just a few thoughts.
Title: Re: Moral Theory of Non-aggression
Post by: Owl on June 19, 2016, 03:27:43 PM
Neglect would be permissible here for the same reason destroying your own property is permissible, though polluting your own property so badly that it begins to obstruct your neighbor's ability to access and use their own property is considered morally wrong. Though it should be noted that it's the adverse affects of the pollution suffered by the neighbor which would make the act immoral.

The neglect of a child would be different. The child is considered the property of the parents via the consequence of their actions (sex), is also a human being, and is totally dependent on others for survival. So the parents essentially own a fully dependent human being and choosing to neglect it would inflict harm upon it, which violates the theory. The only reason the parents are required to act in this case is because this odd combination of dependency and human ownership causes a moral obligation. This is how paternalism in government policies imposes obligations on tax payers. The difference here is that a sound argument can be made for a parent owning their dependent child, while no decent argument can be made for a community owning an adult.

As for the name, I was wondering about that. The theory only describes action that is wrong. So would it be better to call it an "Immoral Theory?"
Title: Re: Moral Theory of Non-aggression
Post by: Mike26 on June 19, 2016, 04:12:55 PM
Or the theory of non aggression and morality. I disagree parents have ownership of their children. They have responsibility for the child, but not ownership of him/her.
Title: Re: Moral Theory of Non-aggression
Post by: Magnaniman on June 20, 2016, 09:44:34 PM
The concept of property is derived from ownership of yourself.  If you own yourself, then you also own the products of your time and labor unless agreeing otherwise.

I completely disagree with you about ownership of children.  In fact, I think it's quite the opposite.  If anyone owns anyone, it is children who own some measure of their parents' productivity and attention.  Having children creates an obligation to care for those children because everyone is responsible for their own actions, not because of de facto ownership and dependency.

For instance, if you injured someone in, say, a car accident, you are obligated to make amends by making sure any medical treatment is taken care of and that their needs are taken care of while they heal.  It is the same with children.  You have created a situation in which someone is helpless and unable to take care of themselves, therefore you are obligated to make sure that their needs are met.  Child-rearing is not a loophole that allows someone to create slaves for themselves.
Title: Re: Moral Theory of Non-aggression
Post by: Mike26 on June 20, 2016, 10:26:32 PM
Magnanimous, I agree with everything u just said except for the use of the word obligated. If instead we use the word responsible for, I believe that would be honest. Obligation implies a demand is being imposed. If a demand is being imposed, then there is a threat of punishment if the demand isn't met satisfactorily.
Title: Re: Moral Theory of Non-aggression
Post by: Magnaniman on June 21, 2016, 01:41:01 AM
If my neighbor is intentionally and malevolently starving his or her kids, I will do something about it.  Obligation is the right word.

This is the sort of situation that really puts the NAP to the test.  When people address concerns like this by talking about police alternatives, like dispute resolution businesses, it's a cop out (pun intended).  What will those groups actually do when faced with a genuinely horrible situation?

There are always going to be awful people.  I believe in anarchy largely because I don't want awful people to wield more power than anyone else.  I think that, by building a healthy society, we can decrease the amount of awful people quite significantly, but, to be clear, there are situations where a group of people has to go regulate by busting down some doors, maybe shooting someone, and then setting things right.

Granted, the way that our government is doing that now is quite heinous.  However, when a SWAT team busts into some dude's house and releases half a dozen imprisoned pre-teen girls who have been subjected to unspeakable horrors, I'm totally okay with that.  I recognize that not all police actions are that noble, that there are many grey areas, and that they don't do a good job of finding non-violent solutions, but some people must simply be stopped from doing what they're doing.  Then, what do you do with those awful people once they've been caught?

I recognize the threat, there, of succumbing to mob justice and the possibility of sliding into some sort of Salem-style witch hunt.  I think that the way of life we're talking about decreases the likelihood of situations like that from occurring, but there are times when inaction and pacifism are unconscionable.

In discussions about the NAP, we talk about self defense a lot, but very rarely do we talk about what should be done when we find out that someone else has violated the NAP in the past.  To live by this principle, after its acceptance to the degree that we live in a voluntary society, there is an obligation to adhere to the NAP.  Some transgressions are minor, but, for grievous offenses, there need to be stronger measures than an embargo.
Title: Re: Moral Theory of Non-aggression
Post by: Owl on June 21, 2016, 02:56:51 AM
I disagree parents have ownership of their children. They have responsibility for the child, but not ownership of him/her.

Yeah, admittedly it's a little weird. My dilemma here is that I don't really think there are positive rights. By that I mean that no person has the moral right to the goods or services of another person. To say that a child has a right to the resources of the parents would be opening up that philosophical can of worms because this would acknowledge the presence of at least one such positive right, which in turn might validate paternalistic government policies and the whole nine yards.

The NAP implies that there are no positive rights, so we are tasked with describing why it is we must care for our children without a positive right on the part of the child.

Libertarian ethics is founded in the notion of self-ownership and the property rights which follow, so I'm trying to explain parental responsibility through libertarian property theory rather than by just claiming that the child has a positive right. Ultimately, I'm saying that since the child is literally the product of the parents, it belongs to them; it is their child. Since the child is a human being, it has all the negative rights described by the above moral theory. However, it's complete and utter dependency means that if someone doesn't care for it, it will die. Therefore, neglect would result in a violation of the moral theory and the responsibility simply falls on the parents because they created the child in the first place.

Also because of the way this works, the responsibility of the parents to provide for the child diminishes as the child becomes more independent. You can see how children are difficult to fit into a theory with no positive rights.
Title: Re: Moral Theory of Non-aggression
Post by: Owl on June 21, 2016, 03:05:21 AM
Obligation implies a demand is being imposed. If a demand is being imposed, then there is a threat of punishment if the demand isn't met satisfactorily.

This is exactly why it is dangerous to grant positive rights to anyone, including children. We must find a way to describe the moral responsibility of parents to care for their children without calling on "obligatory action." The way I have described it, parents are only obligated to provide because it is the only way to avoid harming a person who is helplessly dependent on them. Making excuses for positive rights, moral duties, and obligatory action can be a slippery slope.
Title: Re: Moral Theory of Non-aggression
Post by: Mike26 on June 21, 2016, 09:21:23 AM
People don't grant other people rights, positive or negative. All people innately have all the same rights. And morality is a facade. Check out Adam's link on NVC in another post.
Title: Re: Moral Theory of Non-aggression
Post by: Magnaniman on June 21, 2016, 11:11:23 AM
I don't think it's possible to define morality in a way that everyone can adhere to under all circumstances.  Your theory must be able to account for ways it can be violated in response to being violated, or it is useless. 

As I said before, having children is not a loophole that allows slavery.  For the same reason that you own property, you are also responsible for your actions that result in harm, as well.  That responsibility creates an obligation that must be enforceable through some means.  Government exists because of the legitimate need for determining responsibility and enforcing the resultant obligation.  Voluntarism/anarchy are about finding alternatives to government dictatorship to accomplish these ends, not denying the need for them.

Maybe you're talking about some aspect of philosophy that's just going over my head, but it's clear to me that whatever you're suggesting is absolutely flawed if it asserts that people are born into slavery and frees them from responsibility in the event of wrong-doing.

I said this once before, somewhere on here, and elsewhere:  The only true morality is survival.  That's nature.  Any way of life that places anything else above survival will, eventually or immediately, directly result in the death of that way of life, making those beliefs pointless.  Survival must be the cornerstone of your assertion of morality from which the rest may follow.
Title: Re: Moral Theory of Non-aggression
Post by: Owl on June 21, 2016, 05:06:49 PM
Mike26: If people do have innate rights as you say, then morality and ethics is not a facade. What I'm trying to do is use the non-aggression principle to identify these innate rights.

Magnaniman: It is impossible to create a moral theory of positive rights and obligations which may account for all situations, but I think it's possible to create a moral theory of negative rights which may describe those actions which one person must never take against another person. This is ultimately the point of the NAP. It doesn't prescribe correct action in any given situation, it only restricts what action is permissible in any given situation.

The reason I brought up the "starving your own child" counter-argument to the NAP and my own moral theory is because it does present the issue of the obvious obligation of a parent to care for the child within the framework of a moral philosophy which actively denounces positive rights. Any help in this area from libertarian philosophers would be very much appreciated.

Also, morality and ethics are restraints on guttural instincts which allow us to live good lives (where good is defined by adherence to a given moral theory). I disagree that the only true morality is survival because acting only in the interest of personal survival removes any ethical constraints from our actions. The NAP is an example of an ethical code which restricts certain actions from all interactions as a universal principle. As such, the foundation of Libertarian ethics is not based on survival but based on mutual respect for self-ownership.

(sorry for typos, I wrote this and immediately had to leave before checking for spelling)
Title: Re: Moral Theory of Non-aggression
Post by: Mike26 on June 21, 2016, 05:38:24 PM
Morality is a belief that there is such things as right and wrong/ good and evil. Holding this belief says you are the judge of what is right and wrong, in essence claiming your own unimpeachable authority/ deity.

Saying that survival is the only morality... Are you saying continuing to live is good and discontinuing life is bad? Don't the changing of the seasons debunk this theory? Our planet and it's ecosystems work cyclically with times of birth, growth, production, reproduction, death, and rebirth.

When we assert that we can judge what is good and bad, what makes our judgements more valid than another person's. Even the suggested theory of survival morality fails to be universal as many people and cultures celebrate when things and people die.

As far as trying to enforce responsibilities, that's government by definition. We can try and dress it up nice and put lipstick on it, but it's still a pig.
Title: Re: Moral Theory of Non-aggression
Post by: FreedomIsOurDestiny on June 21, 2016, 06:55:59 PM

Also, morality and ethics are restraints on guttural instincts which allow us to live good lives (where good is defined by adherence to a given moral theory). I disagree that the only true morality is survival because acting only in the interest of personal survival removes any ethical constraints from our actions. The NAP is an example of an ethical code which restricts certain actions from all interactions as a universal principle. As such, the foundation of Libertarian ethics is not based on survival but based on mutual respect for self-ownership.


Owl, I agree that the ethics can only be placed on the mutual respect for self-ownership.  If it were based on survival, one would be forced to stop a community that voluntarily chose to stop procreation.  This would be an obvious infringement on their rights as individuals.  Mutual respect would allow for you to speak with them and try to persuade them as long as they were willing to communicate with you.

As far as children, I think calling them property of the parents, even just in infancy, would be a direct violation of the NAP.  I think as humans, we have a large capacity for compassion and we understand that we all begin and likely end our lives in a state of dependency on others.  I do think it is the parents' right to assume responsibility for the caregiving of their child, but if found in a situation where the parents are incapable or unwilling to provide for the child, they would forfeit that right based on the idea that they have put another human in harm's way.  Ideally, another family member, or close friend would be able to assume the responsibilty and in more complicated cases something such as a dispute resolution firm specializing in these matters may be called upon.

Title: Re: Moral Theory of Non-aggression
Post by: Magnaniman on June 21, 2016, 07:22:45 PM
I didn't say "personal survival."  I said "survival."  That can encompass many things.  It may be the survival of your genetics through your children.  It might be the survival of your beliefs.  It could just mean the survival of the species.  It depends, largely, upon how a person defines the essence of their being.

Also, it does not preclude principled, non-aggressive behavior.  In fact, it encourages it through a process called "enlightened self interest."  While it may be immediately more advantageous for a person to steal, murder, etc., those sorts of behaviors create a large degree of resentment among others that dramatically threaten the perpetrator's well-being in the long run.  So, in the interest of survival, of any sort, the Golden Rule, or some variation upon it (like the NAP), becomes wholly necessary in order to prevent most aggression against oneself.

This way of thinking promotes adaptability, not stagnation.  Yes, the seasons change, so people must learn to change with the seasons in order to survive and perpetuate whatever aspects of themselves that they believe are most important.  If these defining elements of being do not include defending them, they will die, which, ultimately, makes them irrelevant, in practical terms, to the living.

This is why enforcement of responsibilities is necessary.  That is not government, it is survival.  For instance, if someone murders my family when I'm not there to defend them, I will immediately reject any sort of principle or moral theory that asserts that they are ethically protected from any sort of reprisal or punishment.  I'm not saying that anything I would want to do to that person is necessarily justified, but, in general, the idea that "immoral" actions can only be opposed when they are actively in progress is critically flawed.

The methods of determining and enforcing responsibility are entirely up for debate, but, without some sort of mechanism for justice, there is no possible way for this belief system to sustain itself.
Title: Re: Moral Theory of Non-aggression
Post by: Mike26 on June 21, 2016, 09:31:56 PM
"People have long used punishment as an excuse to violate others in order to control them. When someone seeks punishment, they are not seeking justice. Punishment is merely violence with a bad excuse. The threat of punishment is governments’ primary motivator. Governments cannot threaten us with justice. The purpose of punishment is to induce suffering so the threat of suffering can be used to control us."

Adam Kokesh in his book Freedom

Title: Re: Moral Theory of Non-aggression
Post by: Magnaniman on June 21, 2016, 11:21:17 PM
Yes, those seeking power exploit legitimate needs in order to gain that power.  However, that does not refute anything I said.

Say that you're living in a completely free society where people generally try to adhere to the NAP as closely as possible.  One day, a cold-blooded murder is committed and the victim was unable to successfully defend him or herself.  What happens next?

One day, a drunk driver hits another car with a family in it, kills the father and one of the kids, the other kid is paralyzed from the waist down, and the other father (it's a gay family) loses an eye.  All video evidence shows that it was the drunk driver's fault, by any objective standard.  The drunk driver refuses to voluntarily help the survivors in any way.  What happens next?
Title: Re: Moral Theory of Non-aggression
Post by: FreedomIsOurDestiny on June 22, 2016, 09:29:51 AM
Yes, those seeking power exploit legitimate needs in order to gain that power.  However, that does not refute anything I said.

Say that you're living in a completely free society where people generally try to adhere to the NAP as closely as possible.  One day, a cold-blooded murder is committed and the victim was unable to successfully defend him or herself.  What happens next?

One day, a drunk driver hits another car with a family in it, kills the father and one of the kids, the other kid is paralyzed from the waist down, and the other father (it's a gay family) loses an eye.  All video evidence shows that it was the drunk driver's fault, by any objective standard.  The drunk driver refuses to voluntarily help the survivors in any way.  What happens next?

I love the questions you pose and points you bring up.  It really gets me to step back and think critically.  At this stage in our evolution I do not think we have the wisdom to be able to answer that.  I believe we will gain that wisdom allowing us to handle these situations according to NAP.  Anything that we say now would be more theory.  This doesn't mean I am copping out, I will offer a theory and accept that it may be flawed.

The victim's rights were infringed upon, and as such has the right to be made whole.  Violence and incarceration would not make the victim whole, it would just create another victim.  Since these offenders are not voluntarily following with the appropriate actions to make their victims whole, they are still infringing on the victim's rights.  The victim(s) are justified in taking action to be made whole and/or compensated.  The next step would be to determine what would be proper compensation to the victim. 

I think this would be the stage where the two hypotheticals would begin.  The local community would be very aware of what had happened and cease trade and communication with and deny right of passage on their property to the offender.  This would not be obligated, but in not doing so may be deemed a violation of the victim's rights, thus bringing a potential claim against them.  Essentially, the offender would be ostracized and any attempt to leave their property would be considered an act of aggression.  Of course, if the offender is totally self sufficient, it could remain at this state for the rest of their life.  Total social isolation is crippling to a human and I don't see that happening, but if it did the victim or victim's heirs would still have the right to compensation which would come from the property left behind by the offender. 

That was very difficult to write because there are so many possibilities in regards to different courses of action the involved parties could take, but at every point the NAP would need to be adhered to.  Anytime that principle is violated, a victim would have a claim to be made whole.  By claiming the right to own yourself, you must respect that right in everyone else in order for the first clause to be true.
Title: Re: Moral Theory of Non-aggression
Post by: Magnaniman on June 22, 2016, 12:12:50 PM
Yes, these are very difficult questions to answer.  It's all well and good to talk about how things might work when everything is operating perfectly, but the real test comes when dealing with non-ideal situations.

Really, though, this is an extreme tangent.  I've been trying to make the point that people are responsible for their actions, both good, like in the case of acquiring property, and bad, such as harming someone else.  You simply cannot allow people to freely benefit from all of the positive aspects of personal independence while not holding them accountable for the negative repercussions of their actions as well.  Of course, this was all to make the point that having children, which is an act that makes someone helpless, creates an obligation to those children on the grounds that you are responsible for their helpless state.  Apparently, though, I have to prove that personal accountability is a necessary aspect of personal freedom and that some degree of enforcement is necessary for those that refuse accountability for their actions.

When someone breaches a contract and refuses to abide by the terms stipulated in the event of a breach, it can be pretty simple.  Like Freedestiny said, others may continue to do business with the breacher or not, depending on whether they thought the contract was fair to begin with.  Perhaps they'll continue to do business with that person, but add a premium that will go towards compensating the victim of the breach.  Easy.  There are lots of measures that can be taken.

It becomes more difficult when talking about about more egregious offenses.  Some of the same types of measures that work with contract violations might work in some cases, but, in others, they simply won't work.  In the case of murder, refusing to take action afterwards just encourages vigilantism and more murder.  Person A murders someone, most of the rest of the community feels that the NAP prevents them from taking action, so Person B, the victim's sister, murders Person A.  Since the community doesn't do anything about murder, nothing happens to her, either.  So Person C, Person A's uncle, murders Person B...  and so it goes.

There must be a mechanism for dealing with egregious violations of the NAP, most especially when the violation is carried out successfully and your community is dealing with the aftermath.  Every community might choose to deal with them in different ways, but the fact remains that they must be dealt with or you will be fostering an environment conducive to cyclical systems of reprisal violence.  It would be akin to South Park where people just scream "It's coming right for me!" before they kill whomever they please.

EDIT:  I have some ideas here, but, first, we need to agree that they are necessary.  If I don't have everyone on board, I can come up with more, increasingly heinous situations...

EDIT 2:  I don't think that creating an embargo around a murder's house, waiting for him to try to leave so that you can shoot him is very constructive.  If that's the plan, you might as well just shoot him in the first place and save everyone some time.  Coming up with some ridiculous justification so that you can try to frame a reprisal killing as self defense is entirely self-defeating and wastes resources.
Title: Re: Moral Theory of Non-aggression
Post by: FreedomIsOurDestiny on June 23, 2016, 10:56:47 AM
Regarding edit 2, I agree that if the goal were to just shoot him why not just do it at the onset - which would be an obvious violation of nap.  I think it would be a good exercise to address each hypothetical in order to create a guidebook to help people follow in the future, which would be added to as actual cases are recorded (as factually possible). There are so many variables involved including who the actors in the original act were, as well as the extended community.  The embargo may only be for a temporary house arrest situation to get an active dispute resolution team in place.  Retribution can be forced property seizure and the murderer may be deemed to dangerous for society.

Essentially, we would need to attempt to put together hypothetical guidelines to help each other apply to the numerous situations that could potentially rise, which would probably be multiple sources.  I do feel that when people collaborate when all have a strong conviction to following NAP, group think will not devolve to lynching, but rather find a reasonable resolution to any problem that arises.
Title: Re: Moral Theory of Non-aggression
Post by: Magnaniman on June 23, 2016, 05:19:59 PM
The problem I'm pointing out is the difficulty of finding ways to deal with people that refuse to live by the NAP when you are restricting your own actions by it.  If someone messes up and takes responsibility for their actions, there's no problem.  However, dealing with, say, a serial killer or serial rapist is something fundamentally different.  That's not the sort of person that you can just leave alone to live freely in your midst.

Calling in a "dispute resolution team" to solve the issue is not an answer.  What would they actually do?  If they're expected to make decisions and do things that other people aren't free to do, they're no different than police.

The way I see it, there are three general ways that communities can deal with violations of the NAP.  The first is forgiveness, the preferred method that would be used most often.  In the case that a person understands that they did something wrong and works to make amends, they should be welcomed back into the community.  The omission of forgiveness is the fundamental problem with our current system of crime punishment.  It's a permanent mark that creates an oftentimes insurmountable hurdle into reintegration of offenders, which creates resentment and and inability to participate in healthy interactions which drives a person back into destructive behaviors.  With forgiveness, we open a path to healing, reform, and, perhaps, honest compensation for the wrongs committed.

Second is sanctions of some sort.  In the case that a person refuses to admit fault, but their violations are minor, sanctions can be used as a sort of material peer pressure to induce compensation.  This can include embargoes, increased fees for goods/services rendered, or other passive aggressive non-aggressive methods.  For whatever reason, this seems to be the preferred method of NAP proponents for any and all offenses.  For society to function in a healthy manner, this should be an alternative option for repeated violations or more egregious violations in which the perpetrator does not take responsibility, not a go-to solution for everything.  It creates resentment and desperation, which, as I said before, increases the likelihood of further violations.  I cannot stress the importance of forgiveness enough in dealing with most problems.

Last is removal of the perpetrator from the community.  This would be used in the case of a person who refuses to live by the NAP, violates it flagrantly, and whose continued presence or existence is a clear danger to other individuals.  Make no mistake, "removal" means either exile or death.  Imprisonment is just a form of slavery, so it's not an option.  Obviously, any way you carry this out, it is a violation of the NAP.  However, it is completely necessary for the sustainability of any society.  This should be a measure of last resort, but to deny it completely and simply wait for an opportunity for self defense, hoping that it will be successful, is insane.  In a best case scenario, the outcome is the same as just executing someone, while in a worst case scenario, there are more victims and a greater potential exists for the dissolution of the community because, obviously, it doesn't protect people from violent murderers, rapists, et al.

So, while I don't recommend violating the NAP to enforce the NAP on a regular basis, in some situations it is necessary for personal survival and survival of the community.  Waiting to witness a violation of the NAP by a person who is known to violate the NAP, merely so you can frame punishment as self defense is, like I said, self-defeating and wasteful.  Some concession to necessity must be made within our understanding of the NAP so that it can actually flourish as a way of life, otherwise, we are putting ourselves at a severe disadvantage when dealing with those who mean us harm.  There are some very difficult distinctions to make, but we need to figure them out, or this idea will simply fail and people will, again, clamor for the false platitudes of rulership.
Title: Re: Moral Theory of Non-aggression
Post by: FreedomIsOurDestiny on June 23, 2016, 07:38:26 PM
Very well thought out, Magnaniman.  I agree with each step and agree that forgiveness will be the cornerstone in dealing with violations of NAP.  A dispute resolution team would serve as consultants to the parties involved.  If the offender is not going to make amends they could provide possible courses of action and make a determination on the chosen course of action by the community.  No one would be granted privileges beyond what NAP would provide to anyone.   

I don't see the forced removal of a serial killer, which may very well end up in death during the exile, would violate NAP.  If someone or even a group of people were killing community members they would be terrorizing the remaining citizens.  Causing anyone to live in fear of their life is a violation of NAP and self defense would apply in this case.  Even though a physical act of aggression may not be happening at the moment, creating and sustaining these conditions is still an act of aggression. 

I am still learning the philosophy, but it was like an epiphany when it fully made sense to me.  I have been applying the principles in my interactions with everyone.  I have noticed that I haven't held any judgments against others making these interactions much more pleasant.  I was watching Game of Thrones and watched the violence of an army battle with sadness and disgust wheras I would have seen it as tense and exhilarating before.  The shift in conscious is profound to say the least. 
Title: Re: Moral Theory of Non-aggression
Post by: Magnaniman on June 23, 2016, 08:50:46 PM
Thank you!  Your questions, comments, and suggestions are definitely helping me express these ideas.

You have an interesting way of framing this dilemma within the NAP:  "Causing anyone to live in fear of their life is a violation of NAP."

I can see potential for abuse there, though.  Fear is not something you can control or verify when it exists in others.  Oftentimes, people are afraid of harmless things, like spiders.  I think some clarification is in order.

I would cite, perhaps a history of NAP violations, but a particularly flagrant violation might fit the bill as well...  As I said, there are some difficult distinctions to make here, but, as you pointed out, it's going to depend upon the determination of the community in which the violation took place.  Really, though, that ultimately boils down to a group of people sitting in judgement over another, with that person's freedom to come and go as they please, or even their very life, at stake.  This does still feel like a violation of the NAP or, at least, of the concept of self ownership.
Title: Re: Moral Theory of Non-aggression
Post by: Mike26 on June 23, 2016, 11:10:46 PM
I'm loving the suggested steps with forgiveness and mercy being the cornerstone, not justice. With the extreme cases, how about an "Australia- exile" concept? The resolution teams provide basic survival skills to the offender, and exile him/ her to an island with the tools they need for survival. This could be a colony of exiles eventually if there are enough offenders, and they would be free to live as they please on their island. Thoughts?
Title: Re: Moral Theory of Non-aggression
Post by: FreedomIsOurDestiny on June 24, 2016, 04:02:36 AM
Likewise, Magnaniman  :D.  To narrow down the definition of causing fear: the threat of violence against someone or a group of people.  This could include verbal threats as well as repeated acts of aggression.  Justice would be the basis for determining the next steps.  A serial killer would be handled different than a burglar which would be handled differently than a rapist. 

Hi Mike.  I don't see an island exile as viable considering it would need to be uninhabited at the start.  Maybe there are some livable, uninhabited islands left.  I also don't see the benefit for anyone, including the offenders, to isolate them all together.  If an individual clearly can't live amongst other humans peacefully, why would we expect that they could accomplish that together?  My initial thoughts would be to send them to an "institution" (for lack of a better word) to live with people that specialize in working with someone like this.  There would probably only be 1 violent offender there at a time.  The conditions would have to be such that they are allowed to move about the property freely, but at the same time not allowed to leave which still feels like incarceration to me. 

Title: Re: Moral Theory of Non-aggression
Post by: Owl on June 24, 2016, 09:07:51 PM
I've reconsidered calling dependent children the property of their parents, even if only from a philosophical perspective. The fact they are human beings mean they cannot be the property of any other human being without violating the moral theory above and the NAP. Thank you for driving that point home.

However, because the child's existence is the consequence of the parents' actions and because it is completely dependent on others for survival, I'll just say that the parents are obligated to provide for the child in order to avoid causing harm.
Title: Re: Moral Theory of Non-aggression
Post by: FreedomIsOurDestiny on June 25, 2016, 05:16:12 AM
However, because the child's existence is the consequence of the parents' actions and because it is completely dependent on others for survival, I'll just say that the parents are obligated to provide for the child in order to avoid causing harm.

I would say that the parents have an obligation, but not that they have to provide for the child, but rather they need to assure that the child will be provided for.  I might even go a step further to say it's the obligation of all in contact with that child to make sure their needs are being met and rights upheld. 
Title: Re: Moral Theory of Non-aggression
Post by: SurfManDan280 on June 25, 2016, 02:25:51 PM
However, because the child's existence is the consequence of the parents' actions and because it is completely dependent on others for survival, I'll just say that the parents are obligated to provide for the child in order to avoid causing harm.

I would say that the parents have an obligation, but not that they have to provide for the child, but rather they need to assure that the child will be provided for.  I might even go a step further to say it's the obligation of all in contact with that child to make sure their needs are being met and rights upheld.

I second your sentiments, Freedom. I feel parents have a responsibility to ensure that the child IS cared for, not that they necessarily need to provide the care. This would allow for things like adoption and foster care. It takes a village to raise a child and every person that a child comes into contact with has an impression on their lives. I think that a non-violent community upholding the NAP would be the best society to raise a child in, and most members of that society would be happy to help provide resources for children.
Title: Re: Moral Theory of Non-aggression
Post by: Magnaniman on July 02, 2016, 12:51:12 AM
Now that we all seem to be more or less in agreement, let me stir the pot a bit...

Not to make anyone second guess themselves, but the goal of parenting, it seems to me, is to help a person learn to be a person.  If you have a child that is hellbent on sticking his or her hand into a fire or coins into electrical sockets, how do you handle it?  In some cases, of course, you can let them learn the hard way, but in others there must be some measure of discipline.  For a child's well-being, there needs to be some aspects of decision-making that are outside of the child's control.  This, of course, is most evident with infants, but as a person gets older, it becomes much more questionable.

Every culture I can think of has rites of passage and societal recognition of adulthood.  I think that's an important aspect of life that we've all but lost.  Frankly, using the ages of 18 or 21 is just crazy.  People are capable of decision-making and self-determination much earlier than that.  In fact, I think it damages us to be denied the right to choose for ourselves after we are capable of it; we're creating a bunch of lifelong children.  Look at colleges; they're full of 20-somethings that are referred to and treated like children.  It's awful.

For quite some time, I've said, "If you raise a child, when you're done, you still have a child."  Growing up is all about learning to take responsibility for yourself and being denied that opportunity may be the worst crime that is being perpetrated by our culture.  I think that we can help people to develop and take responsibility by publicly recognizing their accomplishments and growth.

Any ideas of what milestones and rites of passage you guys would like to see in a perfect society?
Title: Re: Moral Theory of Non-aggression
Post by: Pattaxoxo on November 13, 2018, 10:47:46 PM
I think you have some semantic obstructions in this. Labeling your theory Moral... But then describing that it doesn't speak to what is moral seems contradictory. If instead you incorporated the word Morality into the naming it would alleviate this contradiction.


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