Sunday, August 09, 2009

Understanding ZAP and initiating force anyway

Understanding ZAP and initiating force anyway

I get quite a few comments from people who are just certain there must be good reasons for initiating force, in violation of the Zero Aggression Principle. Fair enough. I am willing to look into just about any aspect of freedom.

So what if you feel you MUST initiate force? It could happen, even with the most ethical person. Let's look at some situations, think them through to see if they are good enough reasons and real exceptions, and examine the fallout in a free society with private arbitration instead of government "laws".

Yesterday I mentioned the scenario of pushing an old woman out of the path of a bus. Almost anyone would forgive this breach, as it is obvious that the alternative is worse. Still, it is possible that you could cause some real injury in the process. My thought is you act on your best instincts and deal with any consequences as they arise. Maybe the woman was trying to commit suicide. You may not agree with that decision, but it is hers to choose. She, of course, would have been violating the rights of the bus driver if she chose to use him for her own demise. In such a case there is probably no arbitration that would penalize you for your initiation of force. Even if she did not intentionally step in front of the bus, perhaps she thinks you were too rough, or thinks the bus would have missed her without your intervention. Once again, probably no private arbitration would penalize you, or if they did, the circumstances would cause the penalties to cancel one another. On the other hand, if you hear of people being punished for doing similar "good deeds", you could make up your mind to never repeat their mistakes. It is your choice. It is obvious to me that this is the situation in which we find ourselves today, living under government as we do.

A slightly less clear example would be tracking down and killing someone who raped your sister years ago. We are assuming he survived to walk away, and was not subsequently killed in another such assault later. This would probably be the most common outcome of aggression in a universally armed, POLITE, society as we are discussing here. Since the attack is not in progress, this would fall under "revenge" rather than "self-defense" or "rescue". Are you 100% positive you have the right man? Are you prepared to die in the attempt to kill him? Are you willing to pay any penalty imposed by arbitration between his survivors and you? Are you willing to open your family up to the possibility of an ongoing blood-feud between his family and yours? If you still feel you must track him down to teach him a lesson, do so with your eyes open, and don't whine about the results.

What about breaking into someone's home for food or medicine in an emergency? It is still wrong, but could easily be made right by paying restitution and an "apology fee" as soon as the crisis passed. Are you willing to take the necessary steps and accept responsibility? Then do what you feel you must.

What if you really believe you will be attacked in the future if you do not strike first? How sure are you? Could you be misreading or exaggerating the situation? Does the person simply bluster when they get mad? Are you willing to accept the consequences if no one else believes the person was a real threat to you? If your choice is between being harmed in the future, or paying restitution today for your first-strike, are you positive it is worth it? If you are sure, what are you waiting for?

I am not claiming that all aggression would be eliminated in a free society. What I am saying is that it would be better understood, and it would be dealt with more appropriately if we had private, competing, arbitration instead of government which gets its power through "punishment"- which it absurdly calls "justice".

'Zero Aggression' is a foundation of ethical behavior

'Zero Aggression' is a foundation of ethical behavior

It is a fundamental truth that is is never OK to attack others, nor to take their property away from them against their will. You can not act in this manner and still fulfill your obligation of right conduct. This is "aggression" and is a completely separate matter from "self defense" which is responding to aggression. It matters not if you are doing this strictly on your own, or if you are doing it on behalf of an organization that claims to have the consent of its victims. It doesn't matter if you are wearing jeans and a T-shirt, or a business suit and tie, or a uniform of any kind. It is still absolutely wrong. This is what the ZAP is all about- it illustrates that there is a level playing field and if it is wrong for you to do in this instance, it is also wrong for me to do. There are no extenuating circumstances.

You can not make a subjective estimate of whether it is OK to attack an innocent person or to steal from them. Well, you can try, but you would still be wrong even if you decided it was OK today or under "these circumstances". This is where statists go wrong. Acts that harm the innocent are excused as long as it is "them" who are harmed. And of course, to the statist, being "them" makes a person guilty anyway. This is absurd and contradictory.

It is not a subjective estimate if it harms someone who does not deserve to be harmed right now. It is objectively wrong.

Does this mean that you will always do the right thing? Of course not. Does it mean that you and I will never cause any harm? No. If an action is that important to you, just do it and then attempt to convince others that it was necessary at the time. Imagine tackling an old woman to get her out of the path of a bus. You would probably cause harm to her in the desire to protect her from potentially greater harm. Ask her forgiveness, and if she refuses to give it, make it right or seek arbitration. Do what you feel you must, and if you cause harm, face the music like an adult.