Glossary of Terms

Aggression

The initiation or escalation of coercion against others.

Coercion

Force, threats of force or fraud.

Freedom

Living as you wish as long as it does not violate NAP (Non-Aggression Principle)

Free society

A culture in which…

  1. The vast majority of participants voluntarily and consistently use NAP as a guide for living their own lives and for judging the actions of others.
  2. The vast majority of participants are effectively able to shield themselves from both internal and external sources of aggression using voluntary means.

The result is a culture in which the vast majority of individuals are free to live as they wish, neither aggressing against others nor being aggressed against. In other words, a peaceful society.
Further Explanation and FAQ’s

Homesteading

Putting to use, or mixing one’s labor with unowned resources in order to increase their value to human beings.

Government

An organization that differs from others due to the aggression committed by some and accepted by many.
Further explanation

NAP (Non-Aggression Principle)

One should not commit aggression.
Further explanation.

Non-violence

A philosophy of avoiding, preventing and reducing violence as much as possible.
Why non-violence is crucial for achieving freedom

Property

Physical items acquired legitimately in one of the following ways…

  • Homesteading resources that have never been used or permanently abandoned by other human beings (thus becoming the rightful owner.)
  • Mutually voluntary exchange with the rightful owner (thus becoming the new rightful owner).
  • Mutually voluntary gift from the rightful owner (thus becoming the new rightful owner).

Rights

The word “rights” is interpreted in many different contradicting ways. For this reason, it tends to cause confusion. Use at your own peril 😉

The following is based on the non-aggression principle (NAP). If you don’t support NAP, you’ll probably disagree.

When people use the word “rights” they’re usually referring to one or more of the following…

Legal rights:
A claim or title that is “legal” according to existing laws. Legal rights are written or typed by humans in a document. If that document is a mutually voluntary contract involving no aggression toward others, then the legal rights expressed are ethically sound. But if that document is a piece of government legislation, then those legal rights tend to come from the aggression used to enforce those laws, which of course is not ethically sound.

Natural rights:
A claim or title that is supported by deductive logic from first principles and/or observations of nature. As such these rights come from both nature and the human ability to reason. I personally have trouble bridging the is-ought gap, unless I add my own personal values into the equation, which one could argue is an observation of nature.

God given rights:
A claim or title that is given to you by one or more deities, either by some heavenly decree or based on the natural world the deity has created. A religious person would say, these rights come from God. A non-religious person would say these rights come from a human claiming to know the mind of God.

Ethical rights:
A claim related to what you should be able to do based on ethical principles. To develop a system of ethics, I believe one should begin by defining his or her core values. Then to decide what humans should and should not do to each other based on those values. If fairness is one of those values, then you should use the same ethical rules to judge the actions of all human beings in a consistent manner. Ethical rights come from your ability to reason as well as observations of the natural world.

Positive rights:
A claim related to what you can do or must do to others based on legal and/or ethical principles. The only ethical positive rights that could legitimately exist, are those one aggrees to in a mutually voluntary contract. But even then, there’s typically an option to opt out and face the consequences as described in the contract. Where as ethical positive rights are relatively limited, legal positive rights are numerous… annoyingly so!

Negative rights:
A claim related to what others cannot do to you, or what you must not do to others, based on legal or ethical principles. I’m a big fan of negative rights! Basically I believe one should not commit aggression against others. So living without aggression is an ethical negative right.

For an explanation of where positive and negative rights come from, see the explanation for “Legal rights” and “Ethical rights” above.

Violence

The use of physical force to inflict harm or damage on others, including their body or property.

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