Thursday, October 29, 2009

'Do no harm'

'Do no harm'

In a recent comment, "Mike" suggested that the operating principle for life, rather than being the Zero Aggression Principle (with my addendum of the "Principle of Zero Initiated Deceit") might be simplified to "Do no harm".

"Do no harm". If "do" is interpreted to include actions in self-defense, which it might be, then I am not on-board. After all, if someone attacks you, I defend your absolute human right to do harm to your attacker to make him stop. We'll assume for a moment that "Do no Harm" is understood in this way- "Do" as in "cause an action"; "initiate". Initiate no harm. If "Mike" disagrees, I hope he will speak up.

What about "harm"? Harm may still happen that you are not able to prevent, but that is not your fault. If you are able to prevent harm, yet you refuse to act, I might question your integrity and courage, but I would not blame you for the harm as long as you didn't "do"it. I shouldn't second-guess your choices in this case. I can't be inside your head and have access to all the information and values you possess. Weigh your decisions and learn from your experiences and perhaps next time you will be ready, willing, and able to reach out and prevent harm to some innocent person in your sphere.

My other concern about expressing our principles as "Do no harm" is how many people consider it "doing harm" to mind your own business and not meddle in the affairs of others. After all, you have to remember how many people foolishly feel that it is "doing harm" to not force others, at gunpoint ultimately, to provide and pay for health care for people who are not providing it for themselves for one reason or another. Or look at all the people who say that private, non-coercive "drug" use is "harming society" in some way.

Still, "do no harm" is a suggestion I have made before on my blog, especially where government is concerned. In the case of "the state" I would much rather "suffer" harm from something that happens due to "extralegal" freedom than to suffer harm from something that some short-sighted imbecile wrote into law.

I say again: It is better for bad things to happen due to a lack of action than to cause bad things to happen due to your actions. In other words, it is less wrong to watch a mugging occur without helping the victim than it is to be doing the mugging. It is sad when a person is harmed because harm wasn't prevented, but it is positively evil when something bad happens to an innocent person because the harm was enabled or made inevitable by the passage of a "law". When you pass "laws" to "help" people you are becoming the mugger.

Bad things, harm, will always happen. That is the stark reality. No amount of law pollution will ever be able to change that. No saturation of cameras watching our every more; no RFIDs in our skin; no stronger "law" could ever prevent all harm from ever occurring to us.

Use the term "Do no harm", but be prepared to respond to those whose ideas of "do" and "harm" are based upon irrational emotionalism rather than truth.