NAP Problems

I read a comment by a friend on Facebook recently about the NAP and it kicked off the conversation described and editorialized below. This continues my belief that the NAP is a weak grounding for economic analysis or derived normative claims relative to de facto property rights. Section II lists some articles on the site related to de facto property rights.

I changed his or her name to DR for this post.

  • DR
    • “The NAP? I never signed that social contract?” So what? Being bound by the NAP doesn’t require your consent.
  • Me
    • Being bound by the NAP doesn’t require your consent? haha yes it does [DR]. And that garbage you posted earlier about mental abuse is as bad as physical is garbage too
    • Now, de facto property rights, those exist with or without your consent.
    • Thus de facto property rights are a far better grounding for Ancaps and libertarianism compared to the NAP
  • DR
    • I have to consent to not murder you? Why?
  • Me
    • to be bound by the NAP means that initiation of force is morally wrong and/or economically inefficient, which is simply not always the case
  • DR
    • No, it means that the only thing which should be against the law are that which violate another persons or property. It may be morally okay in certain cases to break the law.
  • Me
    • so you have gone and redefined the NAP. nbd, everyone does it. And that’s half the problem. NAP is so ubiquitously redefined that it is meaningless.
    • Moreover, why pass a law it’s OK to break? A law should be morally grounded, so ultimately, if you are making a legal case, it goes back to my point about morality: It’s simply not the case that the NAP is a good moral rule
  • DR
    • I have not redefined anything. The NAP is a legal, not moral code. It says what the law should be. You can decide for yourself in each case, based on your personal values whether you want to follow the law (or which one) or not.
  • Me
    • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-aggression_principle.
    • First sentance: “The non-aggression principle (or NAP; also called the non-aggression axiom, the anti-coercion, zero aggression principle or non-initiation of force) is an ethical stance which asserts that “aggression” is inherently illegitimate.”
    • Facts
  • DR
    • wikipedia is wrong*
  • Me
    • Dude you are the personification of a redefinition to the NAP. You’re making every predictable move made by internet libertarians.
    • I propose this alternative: Abandon libertarianism and become an intellectually consistent AnCap using defacto property rights.
    • Better yet, convert to Christianity while you’re at it lol
  • DR
    • AnCap is a subset of libertarianism.
  • Me
    • Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
    • Friedmanian Anarcho-Capitalism depends on the PDA, a private defense agency. These agencies break NAP by construction
    • Don’t go for the Rothbard flavor it’s no good. Like Walmart store brand chocolate ice cream
  • DR
    • Really? Because Rothbard used them interchangeably, and he coined the term anarcho-capitalism.
  • Me
    • yes, he coined it, I’ll give credit where it’s due. Rothbard was a brilliant coiner of words
    • [DR gives a laughing face react to this comment]
  • DR
    • And why would I be a Christian? I don’t believe it’s true, and I can’t foresee a utilitarian reason for it.
  • Me
    • I know I was just throwing out useful concepts to which you predictably won’t subscribe any time soon
  • DR
    • I know that

*DR edited this entry after our exchange to say “Illegitimate means unlawful, not immoral,” and I disagree with that as well.

 

Section II – Some articles describing my preferred concept of property rights, de facto property rights

  1. Non-Market Decision Making Reading Notes Section 3.6, March 2017
  2. The Military Singularity, Oct 2016
  3. Some Quick Bullets on Property Rights, Sept 2016
  4. Ontological Morality, June 2016
  5. Larken’s 5 Questions, May 2015
  6. Austin Peterson is a Neocon, May 2015
  7. The Free Market is the Democratic Republic, Dec 2014
  8. Founding Fathers as Proto-Anarchists, Dec 2014

Let me add to the above links to emphasize a key point of difference between myself and some other thinkers on property rights: I do not consider property rights as an identifiable set of rules to be supported, developed, or defended. Some thinkers argue that the market depends on the existence of well-defined property rights, and may argue further that we need a State to defend these rights.

That is emphatically not the case in my view. Instead, we see the market operate perfectly well when property rights are arbitrarily well defined or not defined well at all, and the market is adaptive to improve the resolution of the definition as needed. In fact, this process of market-based property rights adaptation forms the landmark paper on what property rights are in the economics literature, Demsetz’ Toward a Theory of Property Rights (1974).

Rather, I see de facto property rights as a description of what is already there when an individual protects his own property. If an individual claims he has a de facto right to some property and yet that property is taken from him, clearly he had no such right in the de facto sense. De facto property rights ultimately derive from individual power of various kinds including physical power, social influence, and so on. I think this concept, while perhaps underdeveloped for use, is theoretically much more explanatory than the typical description of property rights. For example, it seems to explain why a legal concept of property rights is inequitably, and indeed systemically inequitably, applied.

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