The Sacred Nonaggression Principle
The holy grail of what we learn from kindergarten

The following description is a summary of the upcoming book, The Sacred Nonaggression Principle, by site proprietor, Brian Wright.


This is my summary document for the Sacred Nonaggression Principle (SNaP), a book about an idea I've had for four or five years.  I previously wrote a short article on the SNaP and submitted it to Liberty Magazine, but they declined to publish.[1]  Nonetheless, I did post it on my site under the Articles section; the idea I believe is a potential "Gordian Knot cutter" in the fight for freedom.

I have this image of struggling together with my freedom people and, day after day, pounding with our fists on this massive door that separates us from our destiny in the stars... becoming increasingly frustrated. Then one bright spring morning, we're all preparing, like Sisyphus, once again to roll the boulder up the mountain in what seems so hopeless a task. We start with the routine quarreling, "We need to make three blows on this side," "No, you dummy, it's hinged over here, we need to get at those hinges," and so on.  Then a little boy strides up to the door, inserts a key, turns it, and the door opens to the lightest touch.

With the SNaP, I feel like the little boy, this kid connected to the freedom people as extended family, who's wandering around in the woods one day looking for something else and finds this key.  Then thru a dream or a revelation or a "what-the-heck" attitude, the kid has an "Ah ha" moment and checks out the barrier door they've been bitching about, like, forever.  

My actual intellectual history on the SNaP comes from wondering about the libertarian verbal expression "the nonaggression principle." Ironically, Bill Bradford the late editor/publisher of Liberty Magazine seemed to use this phrase more than anyone.  It's common usage in the 'libertarian industry.'

Then I had the "what if" thought:  

I remembered during high school, senior year, I had an excellent American Government teacher—I truly learned the nuts and bolts of America's peculiar state-ness like nobody's business—who was nonetheless a complete idealistic socialist.  Having worked as a youth volunteer on the Goldwater campaign and read pretty widely in the then-budding intellectual conservative oeuvre, I knew he was wrong... but I could never win the arguments.  Until I read Ayn Rand and learned that the moral premise of socialism, altruism,[2] is messed up.  When I denied the altruistic premise, insisting on rational egoism instead, I started winning our little debates.

This "moral jujitsu" was a huge revelation for me at the time:

Then when I considered the similar plight of so many of us in the freedom community, we seemed to come up short in the hearts of the masses.  For some reason we were typically on the defensive.  So "what if" the main reason people insist on initiating force is "for the good of the whole" (an altruistic argument)?  Then "what if" we counter that the good of humankind cannot be achieved by violating the highest moral concept possible to humankind—the (sacred) nonaggression principle?  

Nothing can be good for us if it amounts to sacrilege.

This sort of "argument" takes a direct path to the gut, it takes us out of the abstract, reactive-mind point and counterpoint.  It connects us with real people by means of a common deep feeling that only one in a hundred will deny: we, qua human beings, do not aggress.  Those who advocate it, much more practice it, are malefactors of humankind... needing to be properly sanctioned or stopped to the degree they actually do initiate force.

By moving toward morality and spirituality—it's kind of a trick, truthfully, to make an appeal to the religious sentimentality of the people—I believe the nonaggression principle can "run the table."  The nastiest dominators of the power-elite, the would-be puppet masters, and their whole edifice of blindly obedient Guardian types come crashing down to earth... like the mighty Triffids when Howard Keel sprays 'em with sea water or the giant walking gunships in War of the Worlds succumbing to a sore throat bug.

That's the essence of my appeal to the SNaP.  Here's the book summation:


Some specifications of the book in progress, in list format:

  • Author: Brian Wright (BSME) is a freedom activist, former leader in the Libertarian Party, part of Free State movement.  Proprietor of his editing/writing company, BWrightWorks.

  • Audience: Ragtag army of “We1” misfits and the “colloquial We” who can move to freedom.

  • Definition: SNaP: systematic, conscious elevation of the simple nonaggression principle to the highest (sacred) moral sentiment for human beings… to accelerate freedom in society.

  • Origin: ‘Sanctification’ idea arose in early migration to NH via Free State Project ca. 2004/2005.

  • References: Two books by author give context to the SNaP: New Pilgrim Chronicles—diary of the Free State experience—and There Must Be Some Mistake—a personal drug-war story. 

  • Status: In early stages of composition, anticipated publication June 2009, with an advance "field manual" due for the Free State Liberty Forum in early March.

Steps—Walking through the chapters

From the prologue “we” sense a growing anxiety about control and domination; more important, how it interferes with our libertarian destiny. Who senses this?  The "We" (ref. below).

  1. The Big Universal Problem (BUP): What and/or “who” is behind “our” sensing of a threat to our beings?  Fundamentally, the BUP is tyranny and caused by a human subset functioning on a primitive —though ingeniously parasitical—psychological level: the “they”.

  2. The “We”: A subdomain of humanity that functions with psychological independence—“we” think for ourselves, deal with reality first hand.  Further divided into We1 and We2. We1 = those who care about politics (Keirsey-Bates personality type: Rationals) and We2 = mainly the remaining personality types: Idealists, Artisans, and (few) Guardians.  The “Balance” contains the vast majority of people; included in the book discussion of the We.

  3. The “They”: Antipode of the We and source of the BUP.  Distinguished by having little biological affinity for simple nonaggression principle and favoring the absolutism of power vs. creative energy—“They1” currently dominates Western Civilization in politics via massive deception.  Categories include They1 (= the Rationals, Kleptocon elites) and They2 (= criminals, mobsters, small-time hoods/tyrants, occasionally Kleptocon wannabes).  Despise and fear freedom.  Vestigial bicameral mind.

  4. The Spiritual Dimension: An axis of consciousness also expressing our human potential.  Spiritual enlightenment—achieving full being, presence, peace of mind—correlates with psychological independence. Some achieve knowledge/independence thru spiritual realization; some vice-versa.  Note: religion is a control tool from the They side.

  5. Kindergarten Rules: Children’s lessons: a) don’t hit, b) don’t steal, c) keep promises.  Naturally, tenets come from emerging awareness as humans climbed from the tribal caves of the mind into full equality of self-awareness… then taught their children what nature taught them: e.g. “Thou shalt not steal.”  Basis of nonaggression principle.

  6. Nonaggression Principle: Other formulations: Natural Rights, the Rights of Man, Individual Rights, codified into social systems thanks to the Enlightenment.  It is a more general tenet than “thou shalt not steal,” but survival as a living organism is economic root of the idea.

  7. Adding the Sacred: How did aggression—primarily legal initiatory force and threat of force—become characteristic of modern societies?  Deception from They1, esp. moral sentiments enabling plunder via central state.  Intellect is insufficient to counter: too many succumb to sentiment.  Kindergarten idea/sentiment trumps They1 deception.

  8. Overcoming SNaP Objections: We can make a long checklist of what is aggression and for many popular legal compulsions (e.g. government schools) either people a) do not regard the item as aggression or b) regard the item as a necessary exception to the aggression prohibition.  We run thru the list of common exceptions and overcome them (via SNaP).

  9. The SNaP Strategy: The SNaP strategy is to short-circuit resistance to the nonaggression principle.  We claim it as a moral imperative, such as a religious ideal or a social custom.  The SNaP works to undermine the moral authority, especially in mind-control media,  of those who coerce others.  Gandhi-like shaming for aggressors.

  10. Implementation Priorities and Ideas: SNaP tactics.  For example, running a political campaign or a pressure group that urges political figures to sign a “Public Official Nonaggression Pledge.”  This chapter is intended as a brainstorming kernel.

The basic relationships are described in the following diagram called a SNaPStrip:

The SNaPStrip

A brief description of the SNaPStrip diagram:

As stated above, the variables are defined as follows (note, I can't figure out how to make my html editor do subscripts; if anyone knows please contact me):

  • We = Psychologically independent, individualistic, political-freedom oriented
  • We1 = The politically aware/interested subdomain of We, i.e. "Rationals"
  • We2 = The less politically concerned: 'Artisans,' 'Idealists,' (few) 'Guardians'
  • Bal = the Balance, great mass of humanity, which flows to one side or the other
  • They = The authoritarian, collectivist, tyranny oriented side; masters/slaves
  • They1 = The Rationals of the They: locus of power-elite
  • They2 = Small-time, nonintellectual authoritarians, ordinary criminals and tribal thug types, third-world dictators, commissars and non-mainstream potentates
  • WeC = The colloquial We, broadly the audience of the SNaP book, anyone who has a natural affinity for the nonaggression principle and can be reached by reason or common humanitarian sentiment

The SNaPStrip is an important concept in the presentation of the SNaP, because it enables us to see who we are and where we want to go... at least in terms of our psychological/political independence and spirituality.  Further we can plot groupings for types of people we know, which is a fun little exercise you can do with your friends, and which I display some of my own impressions in the book.  [I call them SNaPShots; cute, eh?]

Winding up the case for the SNaP

Libertarians, i.e. advocates of the nonaggression principle, have always had the intellectual arguments and the facts of reality on our side: a society based the nonaggression principle—based on the individual rights of life, liberty and property—is prosperous and benevolent beyond all previous experience.  In any area—education, welfare, drug policy, transportation, health care, you name it—coercive systems manifestly impoverish the body, mind, and spirit; yet we have kept getting more coercive systems.

By appealing to the moral argument, more precisely to the highest moral argument, we win. We stop the coercive systems dead in their tracks, roll them back.  

For example, consider state legislatures in days past: The average politico seeking more power puts on his unctuous face and offers the moral sentiment that "we," the government, need to provide the education of all the little children. And what happens back then... in the mid-19th century? The people cave in to a defective system that serves to further the mind-control ends, not to mention the wealth-transfer ends, of the Oligarchy.  

Nobody then could come up with a moral counter to "education" and "children" in the same sentence.  Honest people were disarmed, stuck; and we've been stuck... until now.  Now honest people can trump the ordinary moral sentiment/argument of a "feel good do nice" compulsory government system (i.e. that uses force) with the ultimate moral sentiment/argument: the highest, holiest, most sacrosanct, immaculate, wondrous, inviolable Sacred Nonaggression Principle. Case closed: the kindergarten noncoercion principle absolutely requires that whatever "we" do we do voluntarily.


Practical, immediate things to do

Just a paragraph with some ideas along these lines.  

In my previous article I suggested that during a political campaign that the libertarian candidate make a point of signing the "Public Official Nonaggression Pledge:" that "...I shall take no part in any act of force upon persons who have not used force..."  So we put the would-be bad cops and prosecutors and judges and legislators on the defensive: the nonaggression principle becomes a de facto social convention; you don't get elected without paying homage to it... and executing it.  Other ideas: Fill out a checklist of priorities for repealing rules that violate the SNaP.  Hold seminars for recovering wealth lost (to others) via government aggression.  

And if there's money in it, they will come.

Please share your thoughts with me about the SNaP on the CC forum.


[1] The situation with Liberty is rather disappointing. It used to like to publish my work, and even played my article on the Free State Project in conjunction with the first Porcupine Festival in 2004.  I knew Bill Bradford quite well, but since his death the whole organization is giving me the cold shoulder when it comes to getting anything published.  It's all gratis, anyway.  But the new editor, Stephen Cox I believe, informs me they do not publish anything that is posted on the Web.  Wow.  Hey, I wish them well.

[2] Altruism does have a meaning as simply being kind to others, but the classical philosophical meaning—per Auguste Comte and others—is something quite deeper and contrary to the self-interest of everyone. This sinister meaning is to sacrifice one's own values to the values of others, and one's higher values to lower values.  This is the moral premise of totalitarian collectivist systems that grind people into dust.  Rand is completely correct in her analysis of it.

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