L. Neil Smith's
Number 293, October 17, 2004

The Triumph Of Mediocrity

What is a Libertarian?
by Ron Beatty

Exclusive to TLE

Recently, I put out a call for article ideas on a Yahoo group message board. I did this not because I don't have ideas of my own, but because I want to know what people want to hear about, what things are of most concern to them.

There were many very good suggestions, and you will probably see some of them later on, but there is one thing that I wanted to go over first.

At the top of the front page of TLE is a link that answers this question, to a degree, by addressing the fundamentals of the Non-Agression Principle (or Zero Aggression Principle, as some call it), and this is a very good start. However, this does not answer all the question. The other part of the answer is the Covenant of Unanimous Consent.

Let's look closely at these two concepts, and see just what they mean.

Zero Aggression Principle:

No human being has the right, under any circumstances, to initiate force against another human being, nor to threaten or delegate its initiation. Seems simple enough, doesn't it? In reality, it's not quite as simple as it seems, but close. The ZAP simply says that you don't initiate force, or delegate someone to initiate it for you. It does not mean that you can't use force under any circumstances. For example, if you were attacked by someone, you have every right to use whatever force is necessary to terminate that attack as quickly as possible.

However, what is force? It is not just violence, it is any sort of coercion, no matter how cloaked or disguised. Blackmail, extortion, taxation (is there any difference between this and the first two?), anything that would compel a person to act in a manner that he or she otherwise wouldn't is initiated force.

I could actually make a pretty good case here that the ZAP/NAP, the Golden Rule of modern Christianity and the Wiccan Rede, when combined together make an almost perfect moral code, but would probably get burned at the stake by all three camps, plus the atheists!

And this leads into the Covenant of Unamimous Consent, which in its basic form is just that, a combination of the three above principles, but amplified and explained.

The Covenant of Unanimous Consent is a very short document, having only six relevant clauses, which are impossible to misunderstand by any sane human being.

The first clause/article states very simply that each individual is the sole proprietor and owner of his own body and existence, and all the products which derive from that, and that no obligation is valid except those which are voluntarily entered into by the person.

The second clause/article is basically the ZAP, with the addition that each individual has the right to resist coercion by whatever means are necessary in their sole judgement.

The third clause/article concerns relationships. Any voluntary relationship between sovereign individuals is inviolable, any non-voluntary relationship is null and void.

The fourth clause/article is about rights. Rights are neither collective nor are they additive. Groups have no more rights than the individual members of the group do.

The fifth clause/article is about equality... and enforcement. This clause states that the principles embodied in the Covenant of Unanimous Consent apply to everybody, no matter what race, nationality, gender, age, sexual preference or religion. It also states, quite clearly, that any entity or association which attempts to violate these rights and principles by force or threat of force has forfeited it's right to exist.

The last clause/article states that if all members of an association or territory agree to sign and live by this covenant, it then supercedes all other governmental acts which are contrary to the letter and spirit of thie Covenant, and that the covenant cannot be interpreted except by those who have agreed to live by it.

I could probably write a very long series of articles explaining each and every aspect of all of these principles, but I really don't think it is necessary. If you can't understand the above, as written, then you are quite probably either unsane or delusional, and no amount of explanation will do the job of healing you.


Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

Wiccan Rede: An it harm none, do as ye will.*

*And yes, I know there is more to the Rede that that, but that is the basic precept!


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