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The non-initiation of force...Posted on: July 19th 2020
By: UK Liberty Party, Kevin Bruns
The non-initiation of force...
Some libertarians hold the non-initiation of force principle as an axiom or like a golden rule. They refer to this principle as the NAP, or the non-aggression principle. Since they hold the NAP as an axiom, they believe that any action that initiates physical force on someone else is immoral, and any action that does not, is moral. Thus they believe that any action that is taken with consent is moral.
Ethics, however, is supposed to be a code of values that guides a human’s actions. That is not much of a guide if you simply say that all actions are moral unless you are initiating force on someone. Is hedonism moral and good for me? Should I be productive or lazy? Prostitution, cannibalism, homosexuality, are they good or bad for me? Holding the NAP as a golden rule, will not give you answers to any of these questions. The NAP will simply tell you that as long as you are not initiating physical force on someone, you are acting morally.
But why is the initiation of force bad for humans? The NAP itself needs to be explained and proved. What is bad and good for humans in Objectivism is derived from facts of the reality of human nature. What a human is, is what a human ought to be. A human is a rational animal, it lives its life through the use of its own rationality. Denying this fact is irrational and thus immoral. Using force to cancel someone’s ability to use their own rationality denies them their life and thus is considered the most immoral thing you can do, and justifies the use of force in defense.
However, there is plenty of irrational things you can do, that do not initiate force, thus initiation of force is not the only guide for morality. I will briefly explain using the following three examples, homosexuality, prostitution, and cannibalism.
Should I be straight or gay, what would be the moral thing to do? Since we already said, that a human should be what a human is, the answer is rather simple, you should be what you are. If you are gay, it is moral for you to have sex with, marry and love a partner of the same sex. If you are straight it is moral for you to do the same with a partner of the opposite sex. However, if you are gay, and for some reason are forcing your self to be straight, that would be bad for you, and you would be acting irrationally and unethically.
Prostitution is regarded immoral for trying to fake self confidence. A person seeking sex for the exchange of money is seeking to gain temporarily affection he has not earned through the proper means.
Cannibalism is regarded as immoral because it ignores and denies the fact that humans are above animals. Cannibalism holds that human meat is the same as pork, beef, or chicken. This equates humans to the status of pigs, cows, and chickens. This ignores facts of reality, that humans are a rational animal, a species above all other animals that lives and interacts in a completely different way.
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