Thanks to Robert Wenzel, today I came across this dandy of a post, entitled “Six Reasons Libertarians Should Reject the Non-Aggression Principle, by Matt Zwolinski.
Matt Zwolinski is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of San Diego, and co-director of USD’s Institute for Law and Philosophy. He has published numerous articles at the intersection of politics, law, economics, with a special focus on issues of exploitation and political libertarianism. He is the editor of Arguing About Political Philosophy (Routledge, 2009), and is currently writing two books: Exploitation, Capitalism, and the State and, with John Tomasi, Libertarianism: A Bleeding Heart History. The latter is under contract with Princeton University Press. Matt Zwolinski is the founder of and a regular contributor to the blog Bleeding Heart Libertarians.
Not a mere child, at least not chronologically. On to Associate Professor Zwolinski:
Many libertarians believe that the whole of their political philosophy can be summed up in a single, simple principle. This principle—the “non-aggression principle” or “non-aggression axiom” (hereafter “NAP”)—holds that aggression against the person or property of others is always wrong, where aggression is defined narrowly in terms of the use or threat of physical violence.
Technically, I would add the term “initiation” somewhere in the definition; otherwise, Matt pretty much nails it.
From this principle, many libertarians believe, the rest of libertarianism can be deduced as a matter of mere logic.
“Mere” logic…as if logic on this subject comes so easily to thick libertarians.
On its face, the NAP’s prohibition of aggression falls nicely in line with common sense…. But the NAP’s plausibility is superficial.
In the remainder of this essay, I want to present six reasons why libertarians should reject the NAP.
Interesting; Professor Matt doesn’t suggest that libertarians add on a bunch of garbage to libertarianism to make it more palatable, hip, mainstream, or cool. He suggests libertarians should reject that which is the heart of libertarianism. And this is published at a site called Libertarianism.org.
Matt offers his six reasons:
· Prohibits All Pollution
· Prohibits Small Harms for Large Benefits
· All-or-Nothing Attitude Toward Risk
· No Prohibition of Fraud
· Parasitic on a Theory of Property
· What About the Children???
I find no need to go through each in detail. The founder of the blog Bleeding Heart Libertarians (who would name his blog for a term that has no definition?) believes he has stumped advocates of NAP with statements such as:
As I noted in my last post, Rothbard himself…
Murray Rothbard, who ploughed virgin soil with virtually everything he wrote regarding libertarian theory and the NAP, somehow didn’t resolve every single issue – at least in the eyes of Professor Z. Shame on Murray – you failed as a central planner.