The Sacred Nonaggression Principle
eBook (PDF), 199 Pages
The Sacred Nonaggression Principle (SNaP) is the simple nonaggression principle--meaning that we do not initiate force against one another--considered as the ultimate moral ideal in our political systems. By removing systematic aggression from human society, we will achieve spiritual enlightenment, peace, and abundance.
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May 21, 2010Great stuff. Basically I agree with 1/3, disagree with 1/3, and find the remaining 1/3 to be interesting fodder for the continuing discussion of how to get from here to there. Persuasion is indeed the libertarian problem. We increasingly recognize it, but we still suck at it. For example, incessant "catastrophizing" not only gets us ignored as gloomy--it gets us dismissed as lunatics. If it continues on its current path, the US faces not a Mad Max-style holocaust but a long, slow decline into European irrelevancy. I'm in total agreement on the need to elevate the NAP to something like the 0th Commandment, and on the suitability of something Buddhism-related, e.g. Falun Dafa. Statist do-gooders are receptive to the message of non-violence. Like Wright I'm also big on The Singularity, but instead of Kurzweil I've read books by Vernor Vinge (highly recommended). They suggest a transcendent future based on a network of human brains. Such a network could be peer-to-peer... More > (libertarian) or hierarchical (The Borg). Chapter 5 had 5 strategies and 5 tactics for "breaking through", pentads like the 5 Boxes of Liberty: http://www.nolanchart.com/article5030.html I disagree that people are naturally non-violent, and that the only barrier is the irrational Barrier Cloud. There are quite rational (i.e. adaptive) reasons to be violent. Dominance is similarly rational, not pathological. The typical libertarian considers himself so obviously right that anyone who disagrees is obviously evil or brainwashed. This underestimates freedom’s opponents, dismissing their motives, their very real concerns and their intellectual abilities. Wright says that only 0.1% of people are violent criminals, so there is no reason to fear and control our fellow citizens. In my experience, left-statists support violence *not* to stop criminal behavior but to coerce positive behavior, whether of the nanny variety (e.g. seat belts) or the charity variety (redistribution to support the weak and unfortunate). They rightly believe that free people will contribute less than the optimal amount to charity and other collective-action problems. However, there are non-coercive methods to elicit charitable contributions, and we libertarians need to promote and demonstrate them: http://freestateproject.org/community/essays/collective_migration_problem I found interesting Wright’s discussion of the limbic system, with which I was unfamiliar. However, the discussion of psychology would benefit from a mention of Evolutionary Psychology. I highly recommend Robert Wright's "The Moral Animal", an extremely well-written and enjoyable introduction. The human animal has hard-wired instincts, e.g. the "counter-dominant instinct", that lead to redistributionism: http://www.hedweb.com/bgcharlton/evolpsych.html Simply put, Brian Wright's "The Sacred Nonaggression Principle" is an important contribution to the ongoing discussion of how to spread the message of liberty.< Less
Aug 12, 2009"Thought provoking book describing an alternative culture." Brian lays out a powerful alternative to the current economic and political system. His book is an expose of the elaborate rouse that exists today, which has certain powerful individuals and large institutions acquiring and enjoying undeserved wealth at the expense of others. His descriptions of how the corporate and political classes, who produce little of real value, steal from the productive class are dead on. Put simply, the robber barons are at it again. He begins by graphically explaining the primitive psychology behind the current system in which greed, personal ego, a lust for power, a lack of intelligence, misinformation, lying, dishonesty and legalized stealing predominates. He then makes the case that this very system is counterproductive to human happiness because it discourages abundance, which lowers the human condition. His description of a new enlightened alternative is equally good; a system by... More > which average people can keep the fruits of their own labor instead of carrying the corporate and political classes around on their backs. The resulting abundance can then lift the human condition, reduce conflict and eliminate the need for war. As evidence mounts daily that the current system doesn’t work and is not sustainable, it is clear that a new alternative way of human behavior is necessary. What’s needed is a paradigm shift. Hopefully Brian, and others that think like him, are in the process of beginning that shift.< Less
Apr 13, 2009"Re: Choir" Thanks, L., I see where you're coming from, and I guess I may consider your comments "praising with faint damns." :) I won't try to counter the objections in my reply, other than to assert that I believe many if not most readers will see why I used "sacred," they will get a different understanding of the architecture and engineering of the premises leading to the SNaP, and realize some of the several ancillary benefits of the SNaP 'discovery' that fall out of the process: http://brianrwright.com/Assets/Files/Key_SNaP_Ideas.pdf. I endeavored to keep the SNaP book short and sweet, yes, to be able to have something for Liberty Forum, but also for the longer term to have a succinct treatment on the level where most people live. I'm not sure further nonfictional elaboration, even if collaborative, will be helpful, because it seems to exacerbate the intellectualism that I have sensed distracts and detracts from what we nonaggressors are really... More > after at heart. Finally, I purposefully tried to not preach to the choir, more or less dividing my book into two sections: the first the elaboration of the underlying scheme of understanding for the benefit of individuals already devoted to liberty, and the second for teachers and public servants and other citizens for whom the nonaggression principle is not yet natural. If there's a choir out there, it's a new one... and I'm not hearing a lot of singing yet. Hopefully, when some of the original ideas grounding the SNaP have some time to sink in, we'll see how morally elevating the simple nonaggression principle to "sacred ~= the highest moral principle" can be effective in undermining the anthropologically primitive--tho still highly destructive--authoritarian control mechanisms in society. And I appreciate any help I can get in spreading the "killer" meme. Regards.< Less
Apr 12, 2009"Prison Song" The Sacred Nonaggression Principle is a refreshingly irreverent and brutally honest investigation of the political/psychological/moral state of the world today, with a hopeful glimpse of a future where all IS as it SHOULD be. The Sacred Nonaggression Principle (SNaP) is a necessary and sufficient condition for the advent of this new world. Although the book may not be an exhaustive proof of the need for the SNaP (hence "field manual"), Brian does an excellent job of showing how our failure to apply the principle has cost us terribly, and how applying it could remedy the situation. While some may criticize the usage of the term "sacred" applied to a secular concept, the fact that no unelected group of octogenarians in shiny clothes and strange hats has signed off on a concept does not in any way make the concept invalid. Organized religion has hijacked the term "sacred" to delineate unquestionable dogma (to "protect"... More > such concepts from Reason); Brian is simply using the term as it should have been used all along: to describe a self-evident, fundamental truth that supersedes any arbitrary set of superstitions. While Brian does not exhaustively go through every minute detail of how the SNaP should be implemented, to steal a quote from the book (in the words of Preston Tucker): "The idea is all that counts, the rest is just machinery." For instance, it's not terribly complicated to derive that torture is absolutely inconceivable in any form; exceptions do not exist. Stealing a little bit is still stealing, and violating a person's civil liberties "just a little" or "just this once" is a violation of their civil liberties nonetheless! It is a 0/1, True/False type proposition, and any nuances introduced are convoluted and irrelevant. In any case, these more specific principles (although not explicitly stated) are fully integrated into the more general and broad-sweeping SNaP. The Sacred Nonaggression Principle is an articulate and concise treatise on what individuals must do to bring in a world of sustainable peace, without exception or qualification.< Less
Apr 11, 2009"Choir" * I agree with the non-aggression principle and the idea expressed in this book that no one has the right to initiate force against others in general. I think the exceptions should have been pointed out, such as using only maximally harmless and non-stress-inducing force as far as possible on those who are not adults or who are mentally incompetent in special cases, in which they appear to endanger themselves or others. * I don't see the point of calling the non-aggression principle "sacred", since the book doesn't seem to make much appeal to religious people, and I imagine non-religious people would largely consider the term "sacred" as meaningless or irrational. My online books are attempts to persuade Christians about non-authoritarianism, i.e. the non-aggression principle. Maybe Brian would like to collaborate. * The best part of the book is probably the Q&A tables, although I think some of the answers there could have been somewhat more... More > thorough. The entire book could have been Q&A's. The rest of it seems to be preaching to the choir. * Brian seems to have felt pressure to get the book out before upcoming events in New Hampshire occur, which is likely why it seems less thorough than it probably should be. If he'd collaborate with more folks, I think the book would be improved thereby and he could still meet the deadline. * Good Luck< Less
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- Brian Wright (Standard Copyright License)
- Second Edition
- Brian Wright
- October 1, 2011
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