Freedom, Liberty, the Principle of Non-Aggression, what they mean in the context of groups

Now both the dictionary definitions for both the words, freedom and liberty, are similar, and in common parlance, are used interchangeably.


noun 1.the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint: He won his freedom after a retrial.

2.exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.
3.the power to determine action without restraint.
4.political or national independence.
5.personal liberty, as opposed to bondage or slavery: a slave who bought his freedom.


noun, plural lib·er·ties. 1.freedom from arbitrary or despotic government or control.
2.freedom from external or foreign rule; independence.
3.freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice.
4.freedom from captivity, confinement, or physical restraint: The prisoner soon regained his liberty.
5. permission granted to a sailor, especially in the navy, to go ashore.

There are two “manifestations” of freedom from my perspective.

One is described simply like the dictionary definition, and refers to a state where one is not enslaved, in which one can go about his business freely.

The other is more spiritual, more philosophical.

For the more “earthly” one, describing the external conditions under which one lives, it would be a state in which natural individual rights are respected. The best explanatory term for that I’ve seen is the “principle of non-aggression“.

The best description of that is found here. It is an ethical stance regarding a person’s dealings with other human beings:

The non-aggression principle (also called the non-aggression axiom, or the anti-coercion or zero aggression principle or non-initiation of force) is an ethical stance which asserts that “aggression” is inherently illegitimate. “Aggression” is defined as the “initiation” of physical force against persons or property, the threat of such, or fraud upon persons or their property. In contrast to pacifism, the non-aggression principle does not preclude violent self-defense. The principle is a deontological (or rule-based) ethical stance.

That web page also provides a more extensive examination of the principle, and answers the most common objections, and some that are not so common.

So the goal is a culture, or society, that adheres to this principle. It recognizes that any rule By which we guide ourselves involves aggression. Fraud is recognized as a kind of aggression.

Having five tons of gold more than your neighbor or five square miles of real estate more than your neighbor is NOT aggression, unless you STOLE it or got it with theft by FRAUD. (sorry for caps for emphasis)

Here’s another description of the principle, including a definition of aggression to help clarify.

A group with voluntary membership and based on what both parties (or more) agree by contract, however the parties regard such an arrangement as binding, these are “groups” that are perfectly compatible with the NAP (non-aggression principle).

However, when a “group” begins to enforce actions upon one or more members that was not of mutual prior agreement, this is aggression. A code enforcement officer comes to your house and tells you there’s a new law, and your house is painted a prohibited color, so you have to paint it. (This is an actual law in my municipality). If you don’t paint your house a different color, you get a fine. If you don’t pay the fine and don’t pay the house, you eventually lose your entire house. This is a taking. This is theft. This is aggression. Non-aggression is better.

But WHO IS any such “group” anyway? It’s a “collection” of individuals who think that theft of THEIR stuff by force is NOT okay but if they get together a great big gang and call it a “government”, then it’s okay because there is more of them than you.

That’s why groupthink is dangerous. You had Jim Crow in the Old South because there was more of “us” than “them”. But even so we had to make laws to make “some of us”

BUT even in areas where there was more of “them” than “us”, it was already the “law of the land”, the dictatorship of the majority became the dictatorship of the minority, and the ones that would “do the right thing” were prohibited by law from doing it. By the force of a gun and illegal activities protected by law.

Such is the end of all groupthink collectives.

Individuals are what count. Culture has influence, but individuals have changed culture over and over again in history.

In fact, it is through individuals that God has wrought spectacular advances throughout history. Guttenberg, Isaac Newton, Roger Bacon, Michael Faraday, and so on. Nicolas Tesla was a loner.

Eguene Mallove broke free from thinking what was best for his “collective” and quit so he could blast MIT for lying about the success they had seen with the low-cost high-energy processes like the ones announced by Fleishmann and Pons. So he founded the Infinite Energy Foundation and a Magazine to promote the new technology.

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2 Responses to “Freedom, Liberty, the Principle of Non-Aggression, what they mean in the context of groups”

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