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People of my ilk — us wacky libertarians — tend to fall into two groups, if I were to simplify it in that way. Those that think the non-aggression principle (NAP) goes far enough and those that don’t think it’s enough. The NAP is essentially, if you’re not harming anyone, then I don’t care what you say or do, even to your own body, from a legal standpoint.

Those in the latter group that think the NAP doesn’t go far enough, probably agree for the most part with the above in a legal sense, but there’s this whole other area beyond what’s legal and what’s not which concerns them and to which the NAP doesn’t reach toward, i.e. morality, culture, intellectualism and generally what I would refer to as the marketplace of ideas.

I’m with the side that doesn’t think the NAP goes far enough. I care far more about what’s right and wrong (moral) than what’s legal and not. In short, something illegal could be moral and something legal could be immoral, thus morality bears more importance. Moreover, it’s important to the health of a society if we engage in the marketplace of ideas and in the cases I most think about, when we counteract shitty ideas and more pointedly, bigotry of any kind.

See, the NAP has nothing to say about bigotry. Blah blah, yes, you’re free to be an asshole or a racist or a misogynist. Go for it to your heart’s content. But that doesn’t preclude others from challenging your bigotry.

The reason I think this is important and supersedes the law, is that, yes, there are many areas where we could improve oppressive laws against blacks, lesbians, gays, transgenders, women, Muslims, and so on. But it’s the marketplace of ideas that buoy the compliance and the acceptance and the forging of those laws.

So, the way I see it, if you want a better society, which I do, the place to start isn’t at the legislative level, but at the grassroots level with the marketplace of ideas. It’s about getting people to see the “other” as a fellow human being worthy of dignity and respect. As it’s in this space where change really happens. The legislation always lags behind in response to what’s already happened in that realm.

Let me offer an example. “I believe homosexuals should have the full rights under the law as heterosexuals. They can do whatever they want provided they aren’t harming me, but it is pretty gross to stick your dick in another dude’s ass.”

All of that sounded good until you get to that last sentence. That last sentence doesn’t violate the NAP, but it violates a good moral compass and valuing other people’s humanness because you’re automatically putting those people below you, i.e., what I do is normal and what they do is gross.

All of this is with the caveat, especially with the recent permeation of the Jenner issue, that nobody can expect society to just change on a dime and understand transgender issues. The can be hard and they can be confusing and I can respect those that are ignorant and/or confused.

What I can’t respect is those that within their ignorance, lash out with hate. And while the NAP can’t address that hate and the law shouldn’t address that hate, human decency and morality sure can.

2 thoughts on “Where the Non-Aggression Principle Fails: Bigotry

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