Tuesday, October 6, 2015

NAP or ZAP? — Nah, the NSP!

In answer to my last post about the NAP/ZAP [link], I got this reaction from a reader. He makes something clear that I've been trying to formulate a way of describing. I've put it this way: Differing cultures have differing ideas about what constitutes aggression, so if you could ever have an effective NAP, it couldn't be in a multicultural country, which of course is what open-borders libertarians (as well as open-borders everybody else) are advocating for, whether they realize it or not.

But the reader goes further and deeper, demonstrating that even within a homogeneous culture, or even between two family members, (anybody with kids can confirm this — hell, anybody from a family can confirm this), there can be enormous disagreement over whether a given act is aggressive or not. From the reader:

...As far as how to argue against the NAP, I prefer to take it from its most fundamental logical foundation. Non-aggression policy. So what is aggression?

There are innumerable definitions for aggression, but they all come down to one thing - the assumption that aggression is an objective quality. NAP with a subjective definition of aggression is useless. It's like having the NUP, the Non-ugliness principle, banning all art that is not beautiful.

The problem becomes immediately clear: What is beautiful to one person may not necessarily be beautiful to another. In order for the statement " is aggression" to be truth-apt, aggression must be defined in such a way that it is -independent- of individual perception. If it just comes down to the point of view, then there is no singular right answer as to whether something is or isn't aggression, and no decisions can be made as to the proper course of action.

There is no possible way to define aggression in a way that avoids individual perception. Aggression depends upon perception and intent. Aggression MUST be a subjective quality, as perception and intent are subjective qualities. Let's say you're walking down the street and see what appears to be a rape occurring in an alley. Who's to say whether or not it's rape? She may just have a rape fetish and is in fact enjoying herself immensely. It comes down to the victim's perspective. If she likes it, it isn't rape/aggression. If she doesn't like it, it is rape/aggression.

Here's another example: Bob trips and falls into Adam, pushing him to the ground. From Adam's point of view, he was smashed into by Bob, an aggressive act. He then retaliates against Bob, to defend himself, because he perceived Bob's actions as aggressive and felt threatened, so he socks Bob in the jaw. From Bob's point of view, he did absolutely nothing aggressive, and suddenly here's Adam, aggressing upon him. Bob doesn't believe he was aggressive, so he defends himself against Adam. We have two individuals, both believe they were aggressed upon by the other and are 100% justified in retaliating. Who is right and who is wrong comes down to a determination of intent. We could say that Bob didn't mean to hit Adam, but how is that at all able to be determined? It can't be.

All the necessary qualities in the determination of aggression are subjective - intent, perception, consent.

No evidence can exist that any third party can observe to determine whether or not the 'victim' is enjoying herself. Aggression is purely a subjective quality, and cannot be objective. There is absolutely zero way for the NAP to work, even if we were all 'immortal Greek philosophers without spouses or children'. We'd have to prove that everybody perceives the same thing the same way, and that's impossible to do.

Another aspect of the NAP is this consideration of 'proportional force'. After all, no NAPist will say it's legitimate to bomb a store that used a little dishonest selling tactics to move product. Defense/punishment against aggression must be proportional to the magnitude of aggression. Having an objective measurement of the magnitude of aggression flies in the face of the subjective theory of value. The only person who can determine the amount of disutility suffered is the individual who felt it in the first place, and there's nothing stopping them from believing that it is in fact 100% justified to bomb a store that pushed a product just a little too hard.

Often, NAPists will do their damnedest to come up with an objective definition of aggression. Sometimes it's fun to poke holes in their flimsy definitions, but really what works is to do a necessarily-follows. Just give it to them, and say "Ok, let's say there IS an objective definition of aggression, what must follow given this being true?"

And what it comes down to, is the victim is able to be -wrong-. That is to say, a NAPcop comes across some aggression, detains the aggressor, and punishment is decided. What if the victim believes it is not aggression? In an objective definition of aggression, the victim is flat-out wrong. Comes out meaning that even a voluntary transaction between two consenting parties can be declared involuntary and aggressive, completely disregarding what the individuals in question say, because if aggression is objective, then there is only one right answer as to whether or not something is aggression or not, and it -cannot- hinge on perception of the victim.

tl;dr - aggression is subjective, rendering the NAP meaningless, and an objective definition of aggression leads to the ability for a NAP court to pass ruling on situations, disregarding the beliefs of the party involved. 

Quibcag: I found the logical girl on the net here: http://www.anispace.net/gallery.html?view=199591&pid=1345219629

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