Sunday, June 15, 2014

Aggression isn't the only wrong

The Zero Aggression Principle (ZAP) is essential, but not sufficient.

Theft is a separate wrong from aggression- but of course it often comes hand in hand with aggression.

The ZAP deals with a violation of your person and theft deals with a violation of your property. There are more violations of your property than just theft- there is trespassing or damage to your property, or even just preventing you from using your property the way you want to use it.

I have seen a lot of people justify fraud by claiming "stupid people deserve what they get", but in my mind, if I don't want it done to me, I won't do it to others. I would feel bad about myself for defrauding others- it would damage me, so I won't do it. I do consider fraud a kind of theft, but one divorced from aggression. But, as I say, aggression isn't the only wrong.

The reason I believe it is right to defend your (non-bodily) property with force is that you "spent" some of your life in acquiring that property- you used up some of you. A person stealing your property is taking a part of your life- part you can't ever get back and could have used in other ways if you had known you were only going to have that part go to waste when it was stolen (or damaged etc.).



  1. Kent,

    Theft is a form of aggression and is therefore encompassed by the ZAP.

    AGGRESS'ION, n. The first attack, or act of hostility; the first act of injury, or first act leading to war or controversy.

    Source -

    1. That's what I used to argue, but a debate on that topic with L. Neil Smith several years ago changed my mind. His point was that aggression = "initiation of force" (or a credible threat thereof) as mentioned in the ZAP, and that "force" means "physical contact" only.

      He pointed out that if one allows "aggression" to start meaning things other than a physical act, people could start claiming that it is "aggression" to not give them what they believe they "deserve"- even socialistic entitlements. His arguments changed my mind (yes, it's possible). It's one of those slippery slope things, and in the years since I have actually seen it argued that way many times.

      So, I am not bothered by having more than one category of wrong to be opposed to. I'm also not bothered by those who wrap theft/fraud into aggression- as long as they keep those "economic aggressions" like not giving people their "entitlements" out of it.