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Non-Aggression Principle (NAP)


...the “non-aggression principle” (NAP). This is the idea that everyone is free to live however they want to, as long as it does not impede the right for others to do the same.

Self-interest forms the base of an Azadist society. It is through this that trade can occur, where two or more parties can reach an agreement for exchange in which each party considers their own self-interest. If something is not mutually beneficial, then that transaction would not occur. What someone considers as beneficial for them is completely subjective, as everyone will have their own unique needs and wants to satisfy. Even this varies as the increased consumption of a particular good may reduce the desire or utility of an additional unit of that good. The market is a flurry of these transactions done out of self-interest; this is the reason why there is no need for any central planning. By only tending to their own needs, each individual satisfies the needs of society as a whole. No one part must understand the whole in order to make a decision, the same way a lion doesn’t consult an ecologist before hunting its prey. Yet nature rebalances as required.
These concepts will be expanded upon in the next section, however where the line is drawn is when someone’s self-interest negatively impacts the self-interest of others. For example, if someone subjectively finds it beneficial to them to pollute a river used by farmers for irrigation, then since this affects the farmer's own self-interest in being able to grow their crops to sell for a profit, or the consumers who will have to eat that food, the government’s role is to step in and rectify the situation
. This introduces the main principle on which an Azadist nation must abide by and in which the rest of the system relies upon - the “non-aggression principle” (NAP). This is the idea that everyone is free to live however they want to, as long as it does not impede the right for others to do the same. The sole basis on which the government can act is to maintain the NAP. To rephrase this in terms of interest, it is the freedom to pursue one’s own self-interest as long as it doesn’t harm the right for others to do the same. It would be illegal under an Azadist government to force anyone to engage in a transaction they deny, and this is the government’s responsibility to enforce this law. The above is a clear example of the NAP being broken, and this is where the government’s role is realised. If self-interest is the sand and gravel, the NAP is the cement which forms the concrete foundations of an Azadist economy.

To reiterate, this system does not need to rely on the morality of its participants. However, just because the foundation includes self-interest, it does not mean that the rest of the structure must conform to this standard. There is ample room for spiritual pursuit, where people are more than free to sacrifice their own self-interest for the betterment of others. In fact, if what benefits someone the most is to increase the quality of life of others, an Azadist citizen is free to pursue how best to satisfy this legitimate interest as long as it does not violate the NAP. This can take the form of private charity, religious institutions, and civil society in general, as will be explored further in the fourth section. Therefore, Azadism is built from the bottom up in terms of ethics, meaning that instead of assuming everyone is already enlightened and altruistic, it channels greed in a way that even by pursuing it, society does not suffer. And those who abandon greed for compassion, then society naturally benefits from this also. The importance is stressed upon the freedom to choose, constrained only by a non-aggression principle.


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Bunga Azaadi — Institute for Azadist Studies

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