There are few things libertarians and anarcho-capitalists hold more dearly than the Non- Aggression Principle (NAP) . Those few things may include Ron Paul, Murray Rothbard and…guns? The NAP holds its place as a central tenet in libertarianism for good reason. For those who do not know, the NAP is defined as the following: one may not threaten or exert violence (initiate aggression) against a person or his property. Being that I think the NAP belongs as a central tenet of libertarianism, it will become clear that this blog post is not actually an effort to delegitimize the NAP, as the title suggests. Rather, I wanted to discuss how I think libertarians and anarcho-capitalists misapply the NAP in relation to the State. Of course, in the case of ordinary situations and ordinary citizens, the NAP is an ideal principle to which we should all strive to live by, even if it may not be perfect. With that being said, this article is discussing the NAP in relation to the State, not ordinary people.
More so in 2020 than ever before, we were bombarded with the words ``peaceful protest”. Throughout the United States, we saw mobs of people destroy private property with no remorse. Libertarians and normies alike disavowed these riots and rightly so. I have probably over 1000 big L and small l libertarian friends on Facebook. During the time of the protests and riots, I saw the cries for these “peaceful protests” on my facebook timeline more times than I can count. When it comes to private property, I absolutely agree. What we saw was violence. What we saw was criminal. This isn’t breaking news. Most rational people will agree.
On the other hand, I saw many of those same libertarian friends call for peaceful protests when it came to, and even disavow actions like, burning down police stations. When January 6th happened, the Libertarian Party National twitter account tweeted, “This is not patriotism. This is not protesting. This is reprehensible violence and aggression and needs to stop now…” So, to be clear, the Libertarian Party condemned citizens fighting the State and categorized the citizens’ actions as violence and aggression. If the State is what libertarians claim it to be- a vehicle for theft, violence and coercion- then what happened January 6th was not “reprehensible violence”; it was self- defense. Again, this is libertarians misapplying the NAP. If person X kidnapped person Y and held them at gunpoint while stealing their money, throwing their family and friends in a cage for any arbitrary reason, and shot their dog, all libertarians would support person Y defending themselves by ANY MEANS NECESSARY.
Well, guess what? The State steals the property of “its citizens” every single day. They kidnap and throw innocent people in cages like animals every single day. They will shoot your dog every chance they get. They drop hundreds of thousands of bombs on innocent people every single day. They put the entire country on house arrest for almost two damn years. If an ordinary person did this, we would praise the person who took that monster “out”. The State violently abuses the rights of every individual every single day and has done that since its inception. There is no way around it. If, indeed, the State does commit violence and aggression, then any response to it is not what the LP National described in its horrendous tweet; it’s SELF- DEFENSE. Indeed, the State is a violent gang writ large. Now, this is not an encouragement for everyone to commit another January 6th or go and burn down police stations. We all have families, some have children and others have a life they don’t want to give up. Many of us would rather write blog posts, complain on Facebook etc. I understand that it’s not “smart” to take on the State head to head. With that being said, any response to the cold-blooded violence that the State employs should be unequivocally deemed as righteous self-defense. Your government violated the NAP over 200 years ago when it ran a coup d'etat to install the Constitution and the Union. It violated the NAP when it chained black people up for forced labor. It violated the NAP when it killed Duncen Lemp. It violated the NAP when it forced you to close down your business, lose your income, and stay locked in your home. Libertarians have no obligation to give the State the courtesy of the NAP.