I have recently been enjoying good conversation with some friends who describe themselves as “anarchists” and “voluntaryists.” Although I am new to exploring the meaning of these labels, my friends have explained them to me by returning to certain philosophical cornerstones: the non-aggression principle, respect for boundaries, and the avoidance of the use of force. From what I have gathered, a summation of their point of view, be it political or economic or simply interpersonal, is that all human interchange and interaction should be voluntary: that is, that no one should be forced to do anything by anyone or should practice force on others. Perhaps one could restate it by saying that no one should be aggressive toward others or cross others’ boundaries. This, they explain—assuming I have understood it correctly—is the basis of morality.
Although I don’t consider myself an anarchist, perhaps because I haven’t yet considered the word’s meaning enough to realize that I might already be one, I admit to liking this conception of morality. Interestingly, my main professional work thus far has been in the field of psychiatry, and a main tenet of my viewpoint there, if not the main tenet, is that psychiatry and the whole mental health system would improve dramatically if it stopped forcing people to do things. In short: no more force! Respect people, no matter what their problems or situations, enough to provide them the choice to do what they feel is best for their lives. Don’t force them to take psychiatric drugs, don’t force hospitalization on them, and don’t force them to participate in any type of treatment. Instead, provide them with options and viable alternatives and transparent information so that they can be in the driver’s seat regarding the key decisions affecting their lives. I practiced this intensely as a therapist and saw its value every day, and for that reason was able to tolerate working for so many years in such an otherwise backward field. So perhaps I am a sort of psychiatric anarchist. I actually rather like the label.
As regards this essay, my attraction to the subject of voluntaryism comes because I see some holes in the arguments of my anarchist friends. One came last night when I was reading them a prototype of an essay I wrote on the subject of how to solve the world’s overpopulation epidemic, an epidemic which I see as underpinning the planetary ecological catastrophe we are facing. Some of the options I proposed—in a wave of rather uncritical brainstorming—included requiring all parents to qualify for a license to procreate, creating a lottery which would choose which couples can breed and which cannot, heavily taxing those who procreate, providing financial incentives for people who don’t breed, and, as rotten as it sounds, even sterilizing people after they’ve produced one child. Although I find the sterilization option bordering on evil, my friends pointed out that all the options I provided failed their moral test of voluntaryism, because every one reeked of force. So this left me thinking: am I a wolf in sheep’s clothing—a non-force person who, secretly, in my private moments, wishes to bend the world to my will? Am I really a person who lacks an ability even to brainstorm realistic, non-force options?
I thought about it before falling asleep, and have returned to my computer this morning to type out my reply. Here it is. Interestingly, I realized that my anarchist friends themselves had, some conversations earlier, given me the philosophical connections to construct my argument. The first key point they’d shared is that there is a basic, seeming exception to their no-force principle: the self-defense clause. In self-defense you can use what looks like force to stop someone else from practicing force on you. Translation: if someone is attacking you—violating you or behaving aggressively toward you in any number of ways—you have the right to repel them through self-defense. And this might even entail hurting them physically—if that is what is required to get them to respect those of your boundaries they are violating.
I also considered my friends’ second key point: that there’s such a thing as self-defense by proxy, that is, that it’s okay to defend vulnerable others who can’t defend themselves. So, for example, if I see an adult attacking a child, it’s morally okay for me to step in and defend the child. Fundamentally, according to them, we can use our empathy and compassion and wisdom to guide us in siding with children as if these children were ourselves. Interestingly, this has been a key theme of my writings for years: that it is our responsibility as mature beings to side with the child, on a psychological and literal level. No matter what.
So these two caveats have guided my defense of my essay on population control: that although it seems like I’m pro-force, I’m actually not. My reasons: first, bringing more children into the world violates our already vulnerable planet, and second, when parents procreate, they, to the degree that they have not resolved their own traumas from childhood, force trauma on their child. Although the first reason is easy to see, for those, that is, who feel a connection to nature and empathize with the non-human living world, the second, for many, seems to be harder. Denial of childhood trauma and its effects is profound. From what I’ve observed, however, all parents commit this second violation; traumatizing children, especially mildly, is so ubiquitous that we consider it normal and even healthy. Either of these reasons, however, is enough to justify my point of view, yet put together they even more strongly highlight the larger theme: that we as individuals and a species have a responsibility to do something about this destruction. What is this if not self-defense by proxy? Yet, when it comes to defending nature, perhaps it is not even entirely self-defense by proxy. After all, our fragile planet’s ecosystems are not something apart from us: they are us. We are a part of them. An attack on them is an attack on us.
As regards realistically solving human overpopulation, I remain befuddled. So I explore options. Not options of force, but options that deny people their non-right to go on abusing others and abusing our planet home.
I appreciate your musings on your own anarchic leanings. I would like to add to the analysis of a couple of others. I am an agricultural scientist, anarchist, and father of 5. I would be one of those you might force sterilize, and that, to me, is very concerning.
First, to your point about such policies being “self-defense”. I think a very important component of legitimate self-defense is that the danger of harm must be imminent and real. As an agricultural scientist, I can envision several realistic scenarios in which Earth’s carrying capacity, in regards to human life, could be expanded without substantial harm to the “natural environment”, thus eliminating the imminence of the threat. For instance, if food were realistically priced (i.e. government subsidies were eliminated), there would likely be a marked increase in home food production and waste reduction and recycling. This is already happening all over the US and is arguably a net gain for “nature”; and, it has the potential to ameliorate, at least some of, the problems caused by overpopulation.
You said, “We are different from the rest of nature — in terms of our intelligence, our consciousness, our capacity for self-reflection — yet also we are part of nature. Nature feeds us. We evolved in it. Our intelligence and consciousness to me are both a privilege and a responsibility — and I believe we need to live up to that responsibility and care about things over whom we have more power. My idea remains: minimal intrusion into the world — and clean up after ourselves.”
I see exactly where you are coming from, but must disagree with your underlying premise. “Minimal intrusion into the world” says to me that you distinguish our place as being apart from the world. We are not JUST a “part of nature.” We are inextricably part of nature. Our intelligence may allow us to separate ourselves from wild places, at least mentally, but does not exempt us from the biological and ecological realities of our lives. Just like every other species on the planet, we are in a life and death race for resources. Our particular struggle, however, has been augmented by technology and resembles very little the struggles of other species. But, the reality remains, we are natural.
With that said, I think you are missing a very vital component to your over-population analysis. Others have talked about prices, economics, and such. The anarcho-capitalists favorite tool is the market for fixing everything. And, as a general rule, it works in theory (we really do not get to see it play out for very long in reality since the state spoils all of our fun). I will point you to another thought. That is, evolutionary biology may help us out.
It is true that human activity has resulted in a rapid increase in species extinctions and environmental degradation. Some would argue that human activity has accelerated such faster than evolution and other natural processes can keep up, and that unless we check ourselves, we will, ultimately, be the authors of our own extinction. However, this argument fails to look at the lifeforms which evolve the quickest (i.e. bacteria, virus, etc.). Many of the microbes that might prove detrimental to human health are kept in check by those that are beneficial or, at least, benign. Some of the state’s short-sighted do-goodery is doing its best to eliminate those defenses. Look at the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). FSMA looks good on the surface. The benevolent state is trying to keep us healthy by increasing the hygienic standards our fresh foods must meet. Nevermind that it is really meant to reduce competition in the marketplace. But, that is beside the point. The majority of the microbes we are regulating off of our food are of the beneficial and benign variety, all for the sake of reducing the risk of the few harmful ones. However, our guts are then deprived of the natural defense the beneficial and benign microbes provide. If a food item is then contaminated and consumed, our systems are less able to combat the infection. Eventually, the state’s addiction to mandated hygiene will create a scenario where an as-of-yet-unimportant pathogen will wipe out large swaths of the population because we’ve 1) eliminated our own natural (symbiotic) defenses and 2) stuffed too many people into a geographic region helping such an epidemic do its worst.
Again, we are not separate from, above, beneath, exempt from, or in any other way do we exist outside of the nature. And, as the anarcho-agrarian Guy McPherson says, “Nature bats last.” Social engineering never seems to work out the way we plan for it. We might as well spend our time trying to figure out ways to get along with one another instead of trying to find ways to force our ideals on each other. In the end we all die. Until then, I add my voice to those saying “Live, and let live.”
Daniel, I discovered you recently through Amy Child’s podcast, who I discovered through her unschooling podcast, which I discovered from an unschooling group on Facebook, which I joined a ways back after discovering unschooling, which I found when researching homeschooling, which I discovered after committing to not using force or threats with my children (to go to school, or punishments), which I decided was more in line with my socio-political beliefs, which are voluntaryism and anarchism (no rulers). (I run http://www.everything-voluntary.com, where I write a weekly column, blog, and podcast.)
One conclusion that voluntaryism (the voluntary principle, the non-aggression or zero-aggression principle) will lead you to, is the competitive provision of law and order, or in other words, the competitive provision of governmental services. Voluntaryism, then, is necessarily anti-state, the state being the institution in a given territorial boundary that illegitimately monopolizes (historically and morally) the provision of law and order, or put another way, the legal use of force.
Without the state, without a central authority to decide what is and what is not law, law then must be discovered and developed through a market-based process. When two or more people have a dispute, they either resolve it themselves (peacefully, or with violence, which is much more costly in many different ways, from direct harm to market reputation) or take it before an impartial third party. As disputes are resolved, norms, conventions, customs, et cetera, develop and propagate outward in a given society. I recommend Bruce Benson’s “The Enterprise of Law” for both an historical and a theoretical look at this process. http://amzn.to/1uoHIam
What this amounts to, is that if you believe that aggression is occurring, say against nature, it’s up to you to convince others to the point that such aggression with become a violation of the norms, convention, and customs, of a given society. This can be accomplished through either force or persuasion. Wisdom will dictate which is more likely to change hearts and minds, therefore furthering your cause. Same goes for things like drug abuse and abortion.
In any event, what voluntaryism absolutely opposes for many different reasons is the centralization, or concentration, of government power into the hands of a few, which process is likely to attract and benefit the most sociopathic among us, and lead to much greater horrors than what you (and I) currently lament (think Stalin, Hitler, Mao, you get the picture). See Murray Rothbard’s essay in my book primer on voluntaryism: http://www.everything-voluntary.com/2012/05/everything-voluntary-chapter-4.html
Expecting the state (a panoply of individuals with their own special interests) to have not only genuine concern for what you consider to be aggressive acts, but also the ability and power to combat them without thereby unleashing a host of new horrors among society, is to expect what never was and, in my opinion, what never will be. The state is simply not the way to go about aligning society to your ideals. You will have much success, a higher return on investment, doing what you’re currently doing. My website, http://www.everything-voluntary.com, has more on voluntaryism. I invite you to explore it.
thanks. i look forward to checking out your work. daniel
Hi Daniel, nice to see you exploring the ideas on Anarchism/Voluntarism 🙂
To reply a bit to the topic at hand, first of all, in case you never heard of it, the idea that there will be overpopulation (and/or that it will be a big problem) is not as airtight as some people make it out to be and some even go as far as saying the problem we got coming is a demographic winter (underpopulation) rather than overpopulation at the moment. (I’ll give you some links at the end).
But let’s assume for a moment that the overpopulation position is true. Even then it can easily be shown that it’s not a problem that will not solve itself without force. Because the bigger the population the scarcer food and housing opportunities will be. But of course, the scarcer food and housing is the more costly it becomes, simple supply and demand. The more costly it becomes the less are people able to afford yet another child, thus simply not having them. At some point we’ll reach some stable population as a result of that (assuming no catastrophies or some way to produce a lot more food within the same area).
Basically, when you can’t afford to feed/house another child you’re not gonna have another child, simple as that in my opinion.
A bigger problem is, that, in order to get the information we need about food prices and housing, we can not have a group of people forcibly interfering with by lowering prices artificially. So IF anything will lead to overpopulation it’ll be all the farmers subsidies that make food artificially cheap and all the housing subsidies that makes homes and appartments artificially cheap (thus encouraging and enabling people to have more children than they otherwise could afford to have).
Thus, as usual, continued use and interference of force in one area will lead to problems in other areas (a principle that certainly also works in psychology), as such if we accept that overpopulation might become a problem, it’s even more important to not have gangs with guns (i.e. governments) interfere.
I hope that makes some sense and I’m curious to hear what you think.
p.s. here the promised links in regards to some critical views on the idea of overpopulation
You wrote: “–the idea that there will be overpopulation (and/or that it will be a big problem) is not as airtight as some people make it out–”
My reply: Well — I see it as here already. And it’s already been here for a while! And I am glad you are willing, for the sake of assumption, to consider that overpopulation is an issue — and I like what you have to say about it — but your words on it again focus just on its effects on humans — not the rest of the environment — animals, plants, etc. To me they have a right to be too, and to be as minimally disrupted by us as possible. That is a cornerstone of my perspective — and it seems to be largely at odds with that held by most anarchists/voluntarists.
You wrote: “–if we accept that overpopulation might become a problem, it’s even more important to not have gangs with guns (i.e. governments) interfere.”
My reply: You bring up an interesting point for me with part of your sentence here. In effect, this states that “gangs with guns” are governments. And that is one of the big problems I have with private ownership of land — and also of parents, who essentially nowadays have ownership over their children. To me this is government. They have the power over that which is in their jurisdiction — and to me that jurisdiction is artificial.
I guess what I’m aiming at in this essay is trying to figure out if doing what is best for all, especially for the most vulnerable (children, the non-human environment) does warrant what would otherwise be considered force against those who are doing the damage?
Thanks for the links. I guess my idea of overpopulation is different from theirs. I just think there are already far far too many of us on this planet to live sustainably in a healthier balance with the natural environment — and that we’ve already been experiencing global overpopulation probably for the last few hundred years, if not longer.
you write: “I guess what I’m aiming at in this essay is trying to figure out if doing what is best for all, especially for the most vulnerable (children, the non-human environment) does warrant what would otherwise be considered force against those who are doing the damage?”
My reply: I think the core part here is “best for all”. I’m don’t see how there is one thing that can be considered best for all in the first place, especially since “best” is relative to one’s own values and preferences.
For most of nature the question of “best” doesn’t even apply though. A rock, for instance, doesn’t really care about anything, so there’s nothing that’s best for it. Likewise a plant or a virus is incapable of having preferences, so there’s no best relative to what plants and viruses want.
Animals are more tricky I guess, do you grant them full rights as if they’re human? Do you treat them as mere organic machines with no consideration for their well-being?
I think technically, it doesn’t make much sense to give them any rights, as a tiger doesn’t grant his prey any rights and we wouldn’t say the tiger is immoral for eating other animals either. I do think though if parenting wasn’t so abusive everywhere, people in general had a lot more empathy for animals and would want them be treated better than we do now (ofc part of the massframing comes back to subsidies again, at least in certain parts of the world, so without government interference animals would already be treated a whole lot better probably)
So personally, I don’t grant nature any rights and (except for animals) don’t care that much about it, safe for what I want and can get out from nature, because nature doesn’t care about my existence and well-being either. (Plus that’s also how every other animals treats it’s environment so I wouldn’t see reason why human beings should have to carry this additional burden, just cause we were the most sucesful so far)
On the remark of landownership being artificial: Yes absolutely! In fact a lot of the problems we have with non-sustainable practices directly stem from the process of government simply claiming ownership and then renting the land to others, who then have no incentive to farm it sustainably, cause they don’t actualy own it.
So in the absence of the state, no one can just go and own land arbitrarily anyway. Historically this was done by homesteading, so unless you use the land to produce something (like having a farm and planting crops and such) the land wouldn’t be considered yours (or at least from what I understand).
And the same goes for people who want to protect nature. They’re free to set up protected areas, that they maintain and own, where they then have the right to stop everyone else from interfering.
Lastly, I full-heartedly agree that children need the most protection. And an anarchist society certainly has every incentive to protect children.
p.s. I remember Stefan Molyneux having quite a few podcast on the topic of Volunarism and Environmentalism also with some historical examples of how people have solved certain problems with sustainability voluntarily.
I just have a quick moment, so here goes!
“best for all”: best for ecosystems, for the health of the greater balance of the world biodiversity and ecosystems — better health in terms of less pollution, less intrusions on the historical ecosystems. And all this, I believe, is also better for us. Certainly for our sustainable future. Now that is seriously in question.
You wrote: “So personally, I don’t grant nature any rights and (except for animals) don’t care that much about it, safe for what I want and can get out from nature, because nature doesn’t care about my existence and well-being either.”
My reply: That strikes me as a statement expressing something I hinted at in the essay: a disconnect with nature. We are different from the rest of nature — in terms of our intelligence, our consciousness, our capacity for self-reflection — yet also we are part of nature. Nature feeds us. We evolved in it. Our intelligence and consciousness to me are both a privilege and a responsibility — and I believe we need to live up to that responsibility and care about things over whom we have more power. My idea remains: minimal intrusion into the world — and clean up after ourselves.
You wrote: “And the same goes for people who want to protect nature. They’re free to set up protected areas, that they maintain and own, where they then have the right to stop everyone else from interfering.”
My reply: that again suggests a disconnect from nature — and from the realities of it. Protected areas are a joke in the modern era. Everything needs to be a protected area. If one person pollutes the water in their area it pollutes all the water. Same thing with the air and the land. We’re much more connected than any model of private ownership can respect.
Meanwhile, thank you for this dialogue. I appreciate it. Hope I don’t come across as too harsh.
I don’t experience you as coming across harsh at all, so don’t worry 🙂
I do have to say, that I find it increasingly difficult to reply. Partly because there’s so much stuff that I could reply to but also, because I find it very difficult to understand what you mean at times, as the terms you use are quite broad and vague sometimes.
Like for instance, when you write:”“best for all”: best for ecosystems, for the health of the greater balance of the world biodiversity and ecosystems — better health in terms of less pollution, less intrusions on the historical ecosystems. And all this, I believe, is also better for us. Certainly for our sustainable future.”
If i were in a position to have total control over all the worlds recources and laws (say some sort of Dictator or whatnot) and you’d give me these instructions, I literally wouldn’t know what to do or even at what time I’ve achieved the goal or even how exactly to measure it.
Also how do you know when the right balance is found.?And why would that be the right one and not any other one? And how would that be more healthy? And “healthy” by what standard (and why is this the standard chosen)?
Another thing is, that you anthropomorphize nature quite a bit. On the one hand as a benevolent motherfigure and on the other hand as a damsel in distress that’s getting brutalized by big mean thugs.
Neither if which I think is very accurate and certainly something I would want to ask about, if we were in a verbal conversation.
I mean, if we were in a cafe talking I don’t think 4 hours would suffice for us to really explore these ideas, so I think it’s practically impossible to get much further using only text in my exprience.
So I think I’ll head out here and thank you for the exchange.
p.s. I do have skype, if you have the time and interest to continue our dialogue though.(I live in Switzerland though, so there’s the time difference)
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. They definitely resonate with me, as I’ve been concerned about the sustainability of a number of global trends. That worry was actually a major motivator for me to consider moving to Latin America. (Eventually I didn’t move permanently, but since 2011 I have spend about 10 months in Chile and Argentina.)
My main worries about the environment have been and are:
– overpopulation / depletion of fossile fuels
– soil erosion
– nuclear contamination
– EMP induced electric grid meltdowns
So how should we deal with these issues? By central planning or by market forces? Should we become politicians or entrepreneurs?
A first thing to do, imo, is to remain humble by reminding ourselves of how little we know and can know about the future.
In 2012 I met with Patrick Geryl in Antwerp, a man who believed a strong solar storm would cause a Carrington Event induced apocalypse later that year. Here’s a news report on his prediction: http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=5301284. Since his prediction, a couple of very strong solar storms did take place, but none of them were directed towards earth.
Geryl is but one in a line of many. As long as man existed, there have been “end of the world” theories. And so far none of them has come true. That’s not to say none of them will, but it is a reminder for us to be humble about what we can know about the future.
The same thing with the issue of world population. Yes, fossile fuels are a finite source of energy, and yes, modern agriculture depletes soils and puts pressure on fresh water supplies.
But that does not mean that there are no possible solutions to these problems:
– Progress is being made in making renewable energy sources more cost effective (solar, grafene, thorium, low energy nuclear reactors, … )
– Soil friendly agriculture, from what I can see, can be equally if not more productive per surface area than traditional monocrop agriculture. The challenge in the harvest. With the fast improvements we’re seeing in robotics, batteries, AI, and sensors, I can imagine rodent-like harvesting robots profitably being deployed in permaculture farms within two or three decades — a trend that would reverse erosion everywhere it’s put into practice.
– Ceteris paribus, growing populations will push up the cost of living, which in turn will financially reward smaller families.
I’m not saying that all this will happen, but at least they are possible outcomes.
So we have a few major problems, and imperfect knowledge about how they are going to evolve going forward. That’s our given situation.
Second point I think is important to consider is to compare the track record of private initiative versus governments in creating beneficial change for society.
Take nuclear power & contamination for example. Because of the extreme proportions of its damage if something goes wrong, uranium/plutonium nuclear power plants are literally uninsurable by the free market. Without government privilege and guarantees, they simply would not be built.
Or take the issue of population growth. We look at politicians as potential helpers in the fight against the alleged overpopulation, but to what extent aren’t they complicit in causing it?
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we’re seeing enormous population growth in areas of the world that are intrinsically rich in resources, but who suffer under very unpredictable financial policies. That creates a lot of long term insecurity for adults, who then decide to “invest” in children that then later can provide for care and income when they are old.
And so I think global population growth may actually be artificially stimulated by governments, because of their monopoly on money and large parts of money markets.
Conversely, the track record of governments in containing population growth is pretty poor so far.
China is famous for its government directed One Child policy. The success of the policy has been questioned, and reduction in fertility has also been attributed to the modernization of China. Also, it appears there are big problems coming down the road. To wit: “between now and 2050 the Bureau predicts that China will see its working age population plunge by 14% and the elderly age group will soar by 18% assuming the One-Child policy is not relaxed.” In other words, a lot of elderly people will have to lean on an increasingly small group of workers. (Source: http://economicstudents.com/2012/08/why-china-needs-to-change-the-one-child-policy-now/)
In general, government-led population control is the exception rather than the rule (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_population_control) and usually only lasts a few election cycles. Usually, population control is dealt with by the market. The higher the standard of living, the higher the perception of economic security (and, I would argue, the lower the time preference of the population), the smaller the families tend to become.
These are a few of my thoughts in this area.
To summarize: I think the market has a lot more solutions in store for the planetary challenges we are facing than central planners could ever offer.
Plus coercion of individuals under the guise of the good of the collective is imo plain immoral.
Good to read your reply. I like a lot of your points. I’ll reply as best I can!!
You wrote: “A first thing to do, imo, is to remain humble by reminding ourselves of how little we know and can know about the future.”
My reply: Well…i think a lot is pretty clear…a lot of horrible stuff has happened already and it’s not so hard to extrapolate into the near future… You wrote about “end of the world theories.” I don’t think the world is going to end by any means. We don’t have that much power! But we can destroy a lot more than we’ve already done…and make this place far more inhabitable, even for ourselves…
Also, I like what you write about possible technological solutions for us. I’m all for exploring those — and exploring them seriously, even if it’s not happening nearly fast enough…
Also, just to be clear, I’m no ally of the governments of the world. I think they all stink, and stink really bad! I know the solutions I mulled about related to government, but I’m not wedded to government in any strong way, just so you know.
You wrote: “Plus coercion of individuals under the guise of the good of the collective is imo plain immoral.”
My reply: I agree with you here. Coercion of people for the so-called common good is immoral. But, basically, the problem with this statement in relation to my essay is that you didn’t challenge the essay’s main thesis — that maybe it’s actually not coercion to stop people from harming children and the environment. Instead you just disregarded it as incorrect. I still am open to considering that it’s not coercion…
Thanks for the conversation, Tuur!
I appreciate your interest in this, but you still misrepresent the non-aggression principle (NAP) by applying it to “nature”, an extremely vague concept; the NAP or morality applies to humans. If destroying nature meant “attacking” in a moral context, then anyone could use force with the excuse that they are “defending” that which they define as “nature”. For example, I could use force against you if you try to stop anyone from having children, however indirectly, because I think having children is natural.
Similarly, people having children is not a violation of the NAP either; keeping them from having them is. Also, saying there is a likelihood that parents will abuse children does not make a moral case, just like you cannot arrest someone because he is “likely” to rape a woman.
Even if you do not talk about government and such concepts, your argument is fundamentally political (socialist/green) and is not consistent with a rational and objective view of morality and the world.
The reason this is so hard to understand for so many people is in that they implicitly (unconsciously) recognise the ownership of children within the family, which is the background immorality from where all this trauma stems. This is very well explained here: http://childparent.net/articles/disproving-peaceful-parenting/
hi eva. thanks for commenting, however, i think you don’t understand the underpinnings of many of my basic points. granted, i did not, for the sake of brevity, spell them out in as much detail as i could have in this essay——but i think my website does that pretty well. but, given this, it makes sense to me why you reject my conclusions as well. that said, i do see, having now read about the more formal definitions of the non-aggression principle, that i have stretched stretched it——but, i think, for the better! i think my assessment of it is appropriate, and the formal libertarian definition of it too restrictive, and, i would say, denial-based. so i see what i’ve written as much more connected with a “rational and objective view of morality and the world.” –daniel