Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Michael W. Dean has coined a new phrase “THE AGGRESSION PRINCIPLE” for an old concept. Neema and Michael try to figure out who first said the old concept. “THE AGGRESSION PRINCIPLE” drives all government. It is the opposite of the Non-Aggression Principle. It is this:

“All laws and taxes are enforced by the threat of a gun: If you refuse to pay a tax, men will come to your house. If you send them away, they’ll return with men with guns. If you tell those men to go away, they’ll kick in your door, put a gun to your head, and take you away to a cage or kill you.”


Share Button


  1. Claire Wolfe
    Well, what do you expect from government?
    The aggression principle
    September 19th, 2013

    You’ve heard of the non-aggression principle, otherwise known as the ZAP or the NAP. A lot of freedomistas regard it as the golden rule for a free society.

    Well, Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi have now coined a phrase to define its opposite: The aggression principle. That’s the rule behind all government, of every type, everywhere. We all know what it is. We’ve been talking about it for a long time. Why hasn’t anybody ever named it?
    – – – – –

    Responses to “The aggression principle”
    Jim Klein Says:
    I’d say it has been named all along—govern-ment. How can any person govern another except with physical aggression?

    Pat Says:
    While the Aggression Principle may drive government, it doesn’t follow that ONLY government uses it. Bullies, management (at all levels), education, religion, science, all frequently employ _some degree_ of the Aggression Principle to get their way and direct the thought process to the “correct” conclusion.

    A lot of good stuff in there, a lot to absorb. I sort of got lost with NAP 2, and will have to re-listen for better understanding.

    In discussing the Catholic Church’s influence (about 1:04 hrs), it was stated that “the Church acted more like the State at that time”. I think the State had _less_ influence at that time, the Church WAS the State. Possibly the States brought the Church’s _modus operandi_ into the modern world as they started to divvy up the land globally.

    (BTW, the Catholic Church wasn’t any harder on radical thinking than some of the Protestant churches. While racks and thumbscrews are torturous and barbaric, pillaring, dunking, and burning are no better.)

    jcard21 Says:
    Great! Government is based on The Aggression Principle!
    Maybe that’s why everything government does is a “War on ___” (poverty, drugs, terror, guns, etc).
    – – – – –

    Collectivism and the Aggression Principle
    – – – – –

    Aggression: The opiate of the masses and the cornerstone of libertarianism

    Murray N. Rothbard notes that libertarianism or the libertarian creed, “rests upon one central axiom: that no man or group of men may aggress against the person or property of anyone else.” If no man can aggress against any other, then all violence, all devolution of rights and liberties ceases to exist. This ideal creates a superior world in which all violence, physical or mental, fades into the socially unacceptable act.

    Just because one believes that aggression or violence (for the sake of simplicity and brevity these terms will often be interchangeable in this context) may not be okay, or may not be accepted does not mean that it will not happen. Violence in inherent to all of mankind; it is a tenant of our predisposed position, a law of nature if you will.

    Abraham Maslow hypothesized that all humankind followed a sort of hierarchy in which basic needs have to be fulfilled before more complex desires can be met. Let us look at man in nature or in the wild to see that his or her physiological needs will be met by the self with an inherent inclination towards aggression. Seeking shelter, the man or woman will destroy a tree or evict an animal from a cave. Then they will need to satisfy their need for food by slaughtering an animal of destroying another plant. Violence is going to be the central tendency for humans.

    If “no man or group of man may aggress against the person or property of anyone else” and yet man is inclined towards aggression as a tool then there is an ideological and pragmatic impasse. Thus another solution exists. All people may aggress against any other person and their property. This violent sounding ideology immediately conjures a world in which violence rules and the strong dominate the weak, a world in which the only rule is the rule of violence and aggression. However, just because people may aggress against one another does not mean that they should or they will.

    Rothbard’s first principle of non-aggression is, in his eyes, the only way to justify the rest of libertarianism and the tenants on which it lies. The aggression principle also allows the other tenets to stand, albeit with a different logical progression.

    Because all people are aggressive and may aggress against one another, all people are essentially equal. Thomas Hobbes said that all men were equal because all men had the same susceptibility and fear of painful death. While the brute may be physically superior, the mentally inclined will create a weapon or work in social group to counteract the brute’s aggression with their own.

    It is that common fear and that equality which has lead humankind to its current state. Aggression is acceptable and people may aggress against other people, but in turn will be aggressed upon. This deterrence has lead humankind to its current state. Libertarianism (in its simplest form) is the idea that the government should be severely restricted in its ability to interfere with the individual’s rights and liberties. A person or group of people may be able to aggress even though they shouldn’t.

    Why shouldn’t’ they? For fear of more aggression. If the individual is left alone and given safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self actualization they tend to not aggress against others. Aggression begets aggression and the fear of it can lead to a libertarian society in which aggression between people is minimalized to the greatest possible extent.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here