The libertarian principle that no person should initiate force against another

The non-aggression principle (or NAP; also called the non-aggression axiom, the anti-coercion principle, zero aggression principle or non-initiation of force) is an ethical stance asserting that aggression is inherently wrong. In this context, "aggression" is defined as initiating or threatening any forcible interference with an individual or individual's property. In contrast to pacifism, it does not forbid forceful defense. The NAP is considered by some to be a defining principle of natural-rights libertarianism. It is also a prominent idea in anarcho-capitalism, (classical) liberalism, libertarianism and minarchism.


And now, a word from our founder, by Raymond C. Hoiles, The Orange County Register, 29 May 2006
Statement of editorial policies that "should be followed in order to make the newspapers controlled by Freedom Newspapers Inc. better serve the community, the state and the nation", written in the 1960s by the Freedom Communications, Inc. founder
"That starting point is that no individual, no group has a right to initiate force or use coercion against another individual or group to get part of his life energy. It seems to us that this principle is embodied in the commandments 'Thou shalt not murder,' 'Thou shalt not steal' and 'Thou shalt not covet anything that belongs to a fellow countryman,' and that it is also included in the Golden Rule and the Declaration of Independence."
Related Topics: Government, Taxation
Book Review: Individuals And Their Rights by Tibor R. Machan, by David M. Brown, The Freeman, Jun 1990
Review of Tibor Machan's 1989 book Individuals and Their Rights
"... let us suppose that everybody agrees to follow what has been called the 'nonaggression axiom,' a principle which some libertarians insist would be sufficient, all by itself, to secure and sustain a politically just society. The nonaggression axiom says: Nobody has the right to initiate the use of force. Simple reference to this principle, it is said, enables us to recognize where the justice lies in any political conflict or in social conflicts involving violence or coercion. But this approach founders if we ask, for example, what in fact constitutes aggression? What is the realm which may not be aggressed against?"
Related Topics: Tibor Machan, Philosophy, Rights
Conscience on the Battlefield, by Leonard Read, 1981
Pamphlet written in 1951, during the Korean War, updated with prologue in 1981; Read recalls the 1918 incident when the troopship he was on was sunk by a German submarine and wonders about his thoughts if he were dying (in 1951) on a Korean battlefield
"[Young man:] Why do you say it is wrong to kill, and then imply that it is proper to kill, if necessary, to defend one's life?
[Conscience:] The answer becomes clear if we think in terms of who initiates violence. It is evil for any person or set of persons to initiate violence against another. But, if another initiates violence against you, and if he dies in the process of your protecting your life, does he not, in reality, suffer death at his own hand, as in suicide?"
How Star Wars Can Lead America Off the Dark Path, by Dan Sanchez, 4 May 2017
Examines the first two Star Wars trilogies, drawing parallels to 20th and 21st century U.S. and world history, and draws lessons from the films that could help the United States from "giving in to the dark side"
"Yoda's references to 'aggression' and 'attack,' as opposed to 'defense' invite a libertarian interpretation of what the dark side of the Force is. Indeed a fundamental libertarian concept is the 'Non-Aggression Principle' (NAP). According to the NAP, violence is unjust (crosses over to the dark side) when it is aggression: that is, violence initiated against another. Violence, as Yoda would say, is only justified in defense against aggression (which, according to libertarians, includes violence to reclaim stolen property or restitution)."
Property and Force: A Reply to Matt Bruenig, by Sheldon Richman, 22 Nov 2013
Responds to blogger Bruenig's criticism of the essay "One Moral Standard for All"; with quotes or examples from Roderick Long, Murray Rothbard, Gary Chartier, David Hume and Karl Hess
"Aggression and its synonyms are terms of art that apply to a large range of actions, from the trivial to the lethal, and these terms do not imply that violence or deadly force may be used in response to any and all violations. ... the sole permissible objective of defense is to terminate the invasion and obtain compensation for damages (if any occur), one may use only the minimum force required to accomplish those goals. Any greater use constitutes aggression in itself."
Related Topic: Property
Rothbard's For a New Liberty, by Sheldon Richman, 16 May 2014
Review of For a New Liberty with emphasis on Rothbard's discussion of the nonaggression axiom (or principle, or obligation) and natural rights
"Rothbard believed that what he called the 'nonaggression axiom' had to be derived. Although he used the word axiom, rather than principle or maxim or (as I prefer) obligation, he did not mean that the idea of nonaggression was self-evident, a priori, or self-justifying. ... according to Roderick Long: '... it is sometimes suggested that 'non-aggression principle' or 'zero aggression principle' is a more accurate label than “non-aggression axiom.' On the other hand, there is a broader sense of 'axiom' in which a foundational presupposition of a given system of thought counts as an axiom within that system of thought ...'"
Related Topic: Murray Rothbard
The Justice and Prudence of War: Toward A Libertarian Analysis, by Roderick T. Long, Mises Daily, 20 Sep 2006
Examines the ethics of war from a libertarian perspective, considering both deontological and consequentialist claims
"The libertarian 'non-aggression principle' expresses the conviction that forcibly to subordinate the person or property of another to one's own aims is to assume an unjustifiable inequality in authority between oneself and the other. And it is because this equality in authority likewise holds between private citizens and public officials that governments are forbidden to exercise any powers not available to people generally ..."
What Should Libertarians Do?, by Sheldon Richman, 25 Apr 2014
Examines what libertarianism requires of people, e.g., an understanding of economics, and suggests focusing on the liberal insight that "societies run themselves" spontaneously
"Libertarians ... ask little when we preach nonaggression, because most people already practice nonaggression in their own lives. They'd sooner flap their arms to fly to the moon than murder, assault, or rob another person. ... What most people don't understand is that when government officials commit murder, assault, and robbery, these acts have the same moral status as private acts of aggression — or worse, since government officials claim to protect our freedom. We have to get people to see that there is only one code of just conduct applicable to everyone."
What Social Animals Owe Each Other, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Jul 2014
Revised version of TGIF column dated 18 Apr 2014
What Social Animals Owe to Each Other, by Sheldon Richman, 18 Apr 2014
Delves into the meaning and justification for the non-aggression principle, with insights from Roderick Long's "Reason and Value: Aristotle versus Rand"
"Every person owes it to all other persons not to aggress them. This is known as the nonaggression principle, or NAP. ... The NAP is an implication of the obligation to treat persons respectfully, as ends and not merely as means. ... Nonaggression is simply one application of respect. Thus a libertarian society in which people generally thought that nonaggression was all they owed others would be a society that should fear for its future viability qua libertarian society."
What you should know about the Non-Aggression Principle, by Jason Kuznicki, 24 Feb 2017
Discusses the non-aggression principle, stating that it "depends on a valid theory of property ownership" and concludes that such a theory is in conflict with what most people view as the proper role of government
"But there is something about the NAP that is nonetheless politically important, because it serves as an indictment of much government action that is otherwise held to be morally acceptable. The NAP reminds us that theories of property in many of their most common and seemingly inoffensive formulations stand deeply at odds with the justifications for government action ... Thus, the NAP's importance is ... that it points out a conflict: considered as classes, theories of property and theories of government usually don't get along too well."


The Sunset of the State, by Stefan Molyneux, 4 Aug 2010
"The central tenet of all systems of human morality is the nonaggression principle. We all learn it as children: don't hit, don't push, don't hurt, don't steal. We learn that violence and bullying and threats are wrong, immoral, and only make whatever problem you're trying to solve worse."
Related Topic: The State


The Non-Aggression Axiom, by Walter Block, The Lew Rockwell Show, 4 Aug 2008
Rockwell asks Block to explain the non-agression axiom and he goes on to talk about property rights, how Rothbard convinced him that even limited government violates the axiom, and why government cannot be viewed as a club that you join

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Non-aggression principle" as of 26 Oct 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.