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34


THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 34, December 25, 1997

"Thou Shalt Not Commit Aggression"
or
Libertarianism As Morality

By Charles Curley
ccurley@wyoming.com

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

         Libertarianism is ultimately not an economic philosophy, although rigorous economics bears it out. I would still be a Libertarian if Marxian economics were correct. Nor is Libertarianism a political philosophy. That it coincides with the highest law of the land, the Bill of Rights, is nice. But I would be a Libertarian even if the Constitution forbade it.
         "Thou shalt not commit aggression".
         Libertarianism is a moral philosophy. It has one ideal, one rule. If Libertarianism had any truck with commandments, it would have this one: "Thou Shalt Not Commit Aggression." That would be its first commandment, its last commandment, and its only commandment. All else is an exercise for the student.
         "Thou shalt not commit aggression".
         That one commandment, so simple yet so ineluctable, can be derived from so many sources. There are Christian Libertarians, atheist Libertarians, buddhist Libertarians, Crowleyite Libertarians, taoist Libertarians, pagan Libertarians. So it isn't an axiom, just a theorem. A commandment for people who do not suffer commandments.
         "Thou shalt not commit aggression".
         Libertarianism does not arrive at drug legalization because the cost in constitutional rights is not worth the candle, however true that may be. Libertarianism arrives at drug legalization because the alternative, prohibition, is countless thousands of aggressions against the rights, the properties and the lives of millions of people.
         "Thou shalt not commit aggression".
         Libertarianism does not excoriate all gun control because it contravenes a 200-year-old scrap of paper, however true that may be. Libertarianism does not oppose gun control because it concludes that a free people, trained to arms, is the best way to stop aggression, including governmental aggression, however true that may be. Libertarianism opposes gun control because gun control is enforced at gunpoint.
         "Thou shalt not commit aggression".
         It is a universal commandment. It commands the rich, it commands the poor. It commands individuals, it commands groups. No exceptions. Even to that institution which is often defined as a monopoly on the use of force, government, Libertarianism says ...
         "Thou shalt not commit aggression".
         In an instant in time, one image was graven on the hearts and souls of the world. One man, nameless, weaponless, standing against three tanks in a street all others had fled. In that instant, that man, whatever else he has done, whatever else he does in the future, stood forth as Libertarianism in all its glory. That man with his arm upraised told those tank crews:
         "Thou shalt not commit aggression".
         If some group believes that the only way they can do good deeds is first to go out on the highways and rob people at gunpoint, Libertarianism say, however regretfully ...
         "Thou shalt not commit aggression".
         That is what was wrong with Dr. Murray Sabrin's efforts to obtain government funding for his political campaign in New Jersey. Government funding is paid for by taxes, and taxes are the fruits of aggression against the innocent.
         "Thou shalt not commit aggression".
         To accept tax moneys in order to decry big government defines hypocrisy.
         "Thou shalt not commit aggression".
         To accept the means of the enemy before you have even begun to fight him is not a strategy, it is self-inflicted defeat.
         "Thou shalt not commit aggression".
         To accept stolen goods in the name of morality -- well, let us leave that to the Medici popes, to the Peoples' Commissars, and to the Clintons.
         "Thou shalt not commit aggression".


Charles Curley, a producer of fine software and/or web pages may also be reached at http://web.idirect.com/~ccurley


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