Sunday, 21 April 2013

NAP is one of many strategies

For some people NAP is an universal and objective ethical requirement.

For example NAP is the foundation of Stefan Molyneux's argument from morality. His logic is that any ethical theory must be NAP-compliant for it to be possible to be universally successfully applied (or at least this is how I understand his theory of Universally Preferable Behaviour). But a theory saying "it is good to have as many of my needs met as as possible" also can be universally accepted and yet result in initiation of violence by some.

Ayn Rand also thought that initiation of aggression was universally immoral. Her objection to violence was that violence contradicts reason. But I do not think that by initiating aggression a person necessarily gives up their reason. 

Here are a few examples where NAP does not apply:
  • Price Harry lives off the system of state violence and he probably gets his needs met fine. Because the same applies to other members of the political class, he is not an isolated case.
  • If anyone close to me was starving, for whatever reason, I would steal food to feed them. I would not consider it immoral. This is a rare "lifeboat situation", but still it counts.

So maybe NAP is just one strategy for getting your life needs met. I think it is a deep and good one and it works 99% of the time. But I do not think it is the only one.

Brainwashing and threatening people is a working strategy for some.

Being a skilful thief can also work for some situations. Especially if you know how not to get caught.

This is just not something people like to talk about, because it is a bit creepy. But I gave two examples above to prove that what I say is true.

What are some other strategies? How to choose which one to use? I do not know. I am not sure if it is worth figuring this out for me at this moment. But on the other hand, it is interesting... Perhaps it depends on the person and their situation? Did our rulers discover the answers to these questions?

Perhaps Leonard Cohen features this dilemma in "Story of Isaac". Obviously I have no idea what he really meant. Who the fuck knows such things anyway?

And if you call me brother now, 
Forgive me if I inquire, 
"just according to whose plan?"

 [preference for NAP strategy]
When it all comes down to dust
I will kill you if I must, 
I will help you if I can. 

 [preference for other strategies]
When it all comes down to dust 
I will help you if I must, 
I will kill you if I can.

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