Search This Blog


Monday, February 28, 2011

Voluntarism - The Non-Violence Principle

Of all the ways to accomplish a goal, every one of them fits into one of two categories: to achieve by violent means, or to achieve by voluntary means. To get what you want in life, you can either work towards peacefully soliciting the voluntary cooperation of other people, or you can use violence and coercion to take what you want from other people without respect to their wishes.

In a voluntary agreement between two people, each person desires to enter into that agreement, so both participants benefit from the agreement. Contrary to that, when one person forces another through violence or the threat of violence, only one person benefits from that while the victim always ends up hurting. After all, if the victim wanted to enter into the agreement, then there would be no need for coercion or violence.

In a voluntary agreement, things known as property rights and human rights can exist. But when someone steals from you, they are both denying your property rights while attempting to uphold their own right to own property, at the same time. No thief can preach the virtues of property rights without being a hypocrite, and without turning an absolute moral rule into an arbitrary subjective moral rule. While different countries have varying laws, philosophical morality works differently.

A moral rule which can change depending on your age, gender, race, location, time period, or religion is known as an arbitrary relative rule - these kinds of rules are of no logical use whatsoever. The reason why murder is bad is not "because it occurs within a particular geographical border", or "because I am of a particular religion", or "because the law here says so", rather, murder is bad because it is the supreme violation of the non-aggression principle - it is the worst kind of harm you can do to someone. Murder isn't "harmful if within the US, but great if it is within Iraq," or "harmful on the local streets, but great in an offensive overseas warzone." Real moral rules are universal - they are not arbitrary.

If you still say that morality is relative/arbitrary, that doesn't mean that it is - it just means that you have chosen to abandon objectivity in favor of subjectivity. While you are free to do that, you can't then turn around and claim that your arbitrary opinion is rational. Rational moral rules are blind to time, location, gender, age, etc. For an amazing presentation on the universality of moral rules, check out the following video by Stephan Molyneux:

So, what are the excuses that the state uses in order to try and package their threats of violence as moral actions? Keep in mind that the state uses nothing but the threat of violence in order to achieve its ends.
"The ends justify the means," or so they claim. But what does this really entail? The state says that in order to achieve good ends like feeding the hungry and housing the homeless, we have to hold guns to each others' heads and threaten each other with violence for non-payment. Or in other words, the state is 'helping you' by holding that gun to your head. This can never be true. Anyone who is willing to shoot your brains out in order to take your money is not working in your interest, but against it. This is such a no-brainer that I can't understand why it is so easy for people to deny.

The social contract? Well, where is it, and where did you sign it? There is no social contract. The state simply included you in their law schemes when you were born, without consulting you about whether you wanted to participate in 'government protection'. Well, what happens if later on in life you decide that you don't want to pay top dollar for the scraps of privileges handed out to you by the state?
In any contract which respects the voluntary agreement of its signees, someone who reaches the age of decision and decides against participation will have a way out of the contractual obligations (because that is the definition of a contract - voluntary agreement between two or more parties) - but not when it comes to government and citizens. If you decide not to pay into a ponzi scheme like social security, if you decide to no longer be obligated to follow the various illegal statutes, if you decide to begin using your liberty - your only options are to leave the country or to go to jail. Those aren't really options, they are barriers to achieving your liberty.

If I knocked on your door and told you that, because you live on this block, you MUST buy a car from me, what would you say? You would be outraged and you would refuse to buy that car, correct? What, then, if I said, "Well that's fine, if you don't want to buy a car from me, you can either move off this block or go to jail." Would you consider that a voluntary agreement? Certainly not!

Those who use the threat of violence in order to achieve their ends can never truthfully be called "voluntarists", but rather should be called what they are - "slavedrivers". Because slavery destroys progress and productivity, and because the incentives provided by the free market of voluntary interaction always produce new wealth and end up creating so many things, the society of the future will not require slavedrivers. Inevitably societies will evolve into 100% voluntary interactions between their constituents.

As one of the elite once said, "the future does not need us."


  1. This was actually a good read, thanks!

  2. interesting post. still reading tho

  3. Ya know, I never really thought about it that way but its so true...we either take what we want by force or we do it peacefully.

  4. I would love to watch that video but I don't have time for something that long right now.

    >"In any contract which respects the voluntary agreement of its signees, someone who reaches the age of decision and decides against participation will have a way out"

    I think they do have a way out but most people give tacit agreement to their so called "contracts" by failure to timely revoke consent to be governed...I think there is a way out, it's just well hidden in the law. Then again, I haven't been able to make use of it and I've been trying to figure it out for like 6 years or so...

    I'm tempted to argue more points just because I always learn something when I debate your logic, but it's 4 in the morning so nevermind.

  5. Very interesting...

  6. Great read. I try my best to live to my own rule of never hurting anyone. Sometimes living in this country though i find my actions may unintentionally hurt others with products i buy.

  7. very interesting, thx for the post

  8. @anonymouse I wouldn't be surprised if it were hidden somewhere in the law, just like motor vehicles being only commercial vehicles, taxes being charged only to corporations, etc. But in the end they will never respect their own law. You remember what I went through trying to get them to respect their own motor vehicle laws, and I failed.

  9. Very insightful post, looking forward to the next one.

  10. Very good read. But not everybody benefits from peaceful solutions -- there's something called passive-aggressive.

  11. @parasites But, would you say that the best way to deal with a passive-aggressive family member would be to employ the use of violence against them?

  12. no justice, no peace
    Fuck the Police

  13. Peace isn't always the best way. Ideally, yes, but there's no way to make people listen to you if you refuse to defend your laws as a country. Who wouldn't steal, if there wasn't the threat of jail?

  14. @Carl I think that the only time one absolutely must -make- someone listen is when that someone is trying to use violence and you must defend yourself. Otherwise, if you're not defending yourself, then the force you are applying is an initiation of force.

    Stopping thieves with violence would be self-defense - a valid role for the state to play. However I still think that non-violent means can be more effective at stopping thieves. Social ostracism, as Stephan Molyneux says, is a far more effective tool than the threat of jail. Like, if someone is caught stealing and does not rectify the crime, the power company can cut off their electricity, the water company can cut off their water, the garbage company can stop taking their garbage away, etc.

  15. Also, the way the state is currently setup to work... there are laws which forbid theft and threaten violence against those proven guilty of theft (self defense), yes. However, how does this function get achieved? Taxes are collected to pay for self-defense against thieves. And a tax is theft. So the action of the state, while aimed at producing a positive result, is immoral from the beginning due to the initiation of violence which is used in order to fund the whole project. "In order to protect you from theft, we must steal from you first."