NIP verses NAP
I have no desire to coin a new term, as so many political theorists and activists do. My use of the acronym, NIP, is only a rhetorical device to contrast the true moral relationship between individuals to the very narrow and morally baseless concept libertarians call NAP.
In my article, “What’s Wrong With NAP,” I defined NAP as “… the acronym for the, “non-aggression principle,” the view that the initiation of force or threat thereof (aggression) against any other individual or individual’s wealth is immoral and is incompatible with civil society.” Of course any libertarian could expand on that definition indefinitely, and they frequently do.
The basic point of that article is that NAP is not a moral principle at all, because moral principles are those an individual uses as a guide to living, that is, what one must do to live happily and successfully in this world. NAP has nothing at all to say about how a human being must live to be successful, it addresses one area of prohibition and nothing else. If NAP were the ultimate moral principle a worthless bum who never produced or achieved a thing of value, but never used force or threat against anyone, would be just as, “moral,” as an ambitious hard-working producer whose work enriched both himself and all those whom his work benefitted.
Though NAP is not a moral principle, it does identify one form of immorality, the use of force as a means of influencing others. In fact it is seldom identified in moral terms at all. It is almost always identified as a social or, “political,” evil.
What Is NIP?
NIP stands for the “non-irrationalism principle.” It is awkward and in truth no more a principle than NAP, but it does identify the only true moral relationship between human beings.
There are many ways that human beings can interact but the basis for all moral interaction between human beings is reason—rationally guided intercourse based on rational understanding offering value for value. Every other kind of human interaction is immoral.
When dealing with another human being one either appeals to their rational understanding or one appeals to some irrational aspect of their nature such their ignorance, their fears, their feelings, their desires, their sentiments, their vanity, their superstitions, or their illusions; which are all immoral because they attempt to influence the behavior of others in defiance or evasion of their own best reason.
What NAP addresses is only that specific irrationality that attempts to use fear as the means of influencing others, fear induced by means of threats of physical force. It is also the means of all terrorism as well. But terrorism, force, and threats are not the only uses of fear in attempting to influence others. Endless false threats emanating from governments, universities, and the media, like epidemics, pending disaster, famines, global warming, or even divine punishment are used to frighten people into believing in and supporting policies that sound reason could never induce them to accept.
Irrational Appeals More Dangerous Than Force
While NAP recognizes one form of irrationality, the much broader, common, and dangerous forms of irrationality in human relations are totally ignored. I described some of that danger my my article, “Sentimental Journey,” this way:
The most common example of the irrational being used in human relations is when an individual is attempting to persuade others.
There is only one moral method of persuasion and that is by appealing to another’s ability to think and reason. No matter what the objective, convincing a prospective customer to purchase your product or use your service, convincing another to take some action or abstain from that action, encouraging others to support your cause or view, the only moral way to convince someone else is to demonstrate by clear reason why your product or service is to their advantage, why the action or inaction you advocate is morally or practically right, or why your cause or view is objectively correct in a way that can be rationally understood.
Any other method is both deceptive and immoral. Any attempt to persuade someone with appeals to anything other than their ability to reason, such as appeals to feelings, emotions, sentiments, desires, fears, superstitions, gullibility, or ignorance, are appeals to the irrational. It is an attempt to bypass reason and to produce an emotional response, rather than an objective rational choice.
These are the methods most employed by advertisers, religionists, various scam artists, advocates of political ideologies, revolutionists, promoters of various diets, health and psychology fads, and a million other popular movements that have no objective rational basis.
While the use of force is evil, the use of persuasion that appeals to the irrational in men is much more evil and the most common means by which men are convinced of the lie that force is necessary in some cases and are persuaded to use it.
What Irrationalism Does
It is how young men are persuaded to go to war. It would be almost impossible to convince most young men that it was in their interest to kill people and destroy their property knowing they will be in constant danger of being killed or permanently incapacited themselves without appealing to their “patriotic” sentiments or immature gullibility. You cannot convince someone to become a professional murderer and vandal by logical argument because there is no such logical argument.
It is how Nazism, fascism, and communism have always been put over. Though in practice they are all tyrannical and cruelly oppressive, it is not by means of threats of physical force the great masses of individuals who embrace these ideologies are convinced, but by promises of prosperity, by appeals to their patriotic sentiments and “national pride,” and by arousing their irrational fear of others, especially those who oppose their ideologies.
It is how democracy, the view that whatever a majority of individuals choose may be forcefuly imposed on all others, is always justified, not by any appeal to reason, but appeals to a sense of, “fairness,” “equality,” “community,” or, “the good of all,” which are all based on feelings, not reason.
It is how all forms of racism and irrational prejudices are promoted, and it is how the identification of truly significant differences are obfuscated. It is not reason that convinces people of the lie of diversity which emphasizes nonessential differences in people, like skin color, ethnic background, gender, cultural preferences, and sexual practices and obfuscates essential differences in people such as integrity, character, competence, honesty, decency, and achievement. Such perversions can only be put over by appealing to feelings, irrational desires, and hubris.
“All religions and all views must be respected,” is the kind of discernment destroying lie put over by appeals to the irrational in man. It is only by an appeal to a false sense of tolerance that makes possible the absurd view that a religion that teaches its adherents to be honest, productive, and decent must be accepted on the same level as a religion that teaches its adherents to lie, kill, and rape unbelievers. It is easily put over because those who embrace that, “love everybody,” sentiment feel their “indiscriminate tolerance” makes them morally superior.
So long as men believe the only threat to freedom and civilization is the threat of force, the worst threats are never identified. Of course the use of force is evil, but the use of force would be almost impossible if the use of irrational influence were identified.
Most of the evil in this world is made possible by irrational influences in the lives and thinking of people. Without the deception the irrational makes possible, most of the evils attributed to force would never be tolerated, and would not exist.
To the moral individual, NAP is an insult. It would never occur to a free individual to resort to the use of force when dealing with other individuals. The moral individual’s view of social relations is NIP and will never deal with or attempt to influence another individual except by means of reason.
"The creator is the man who disagrees." -- Ayn Rand