The first time I heard of the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP) was during Ron Paul's presidential run, specifically the 2012 cycle. It was constantly brought up by his fans, who were...hard to get along with if you don't agree with them. At the time, I used to hate the Non-Aggression Principle. I should probably explain why.
Most people have a hatred for war, and there is a good reason for hating war. But I have great loathing for pacifism. I hated getting into trouble for fighting back against my attacker. I hated being told that if I hit back the bully, then I become the bully. I hated the insinuation that if I kill in self-defense, I am no different than a murderer. I hate the constant misinterpretation of Jesus's "turn the other cheek" command. And I hated the concept of the victim being passive and disarmed in the face of an evil person, who has every intention of causing death or serious bodily harm.
During my younger years in government school, when I was constantly bullied, learning to fight was discouraged by my family and teachers. I regretted listening to them. It infuriated me that I was picked on and I could not do anything to stop them.
So, assuming that the NAP was a pacifist philosophy, I grew to hate it and wanted nothing to do with it. It wasn't until I read a My Little Pony fanfiction called "Earning Freedom" by Daxisle. (1)
The basic plot is that a red stallion named Big Mac was illegally arrested, without even being told what the charges were. He was able to escape with the help of this mysterious stallion name Sin, whose philosophy changed Big Mac's outlook in life and challenged the status quo of the story. The philosophy in question was the Non-Aggression Principle. With nothing else to do at the time, and with my mind open to new ideas, I read over 900,000 words of this fic. I learned...a lot. Sin was a character that was off-putting and challenged my worldview on more than a few occasions. His cynicism did not help matters when it came to likability. Still...I grew to admire him, both in his mental faculties and in how he carried himself in combat. It may be childish to look up to a fictional character who can fight and see them as a role model, but doing so helped me to pay attention to the fighter's worldview and see where he was coming from.
Through a compelling plot and interesting characters, the author helped explain what the Non-Aggression Principle really is and how it can consistently be applied in all matters of life, both private and public. Here's how I understand the NAP to be:
The individual is free to do what he/she wants with his/her body and private property, as long as those decisions does not violate the right to life, liberty and property of another innocent individual. If you violate the Non-Aggression Principle, you are in the wrong and must be punished. If you steal, you must pay back twice what you stole. If you cause property damage of another person, you must compensate for it. If you kidnap and hold someone against their will for a period of time, you must be stripped of your liberty for twice as long. If someone hits you, you hit back. If they try to beat you up, you do whatever is necessary to incapacitate them. If an aggressor tries to take your life, lethal force becomes a valid defensive option. All associations and interactions should be voluntary, not coerced. The only time coercion can be used is against the aggressor, who must be punished in proportion to the offense committed.
The more I contemplated the NAP and how the characters follow it, the more I grew to love it and considered adopting it. The philosophy can consistently be applied in all matters of life, bringing me sanity and a peace of mind. And as one who loves liberty...the Non-Aggression Principle is the epitome of what it means to be good and free.
There was one more obstacle I needed to get over: is the Non-Aggression Principle compatible with Christianity? I ask myself this, because if the philosophy contradicts or opposes the Kings of kings, I will have nothing to do with it. If Jesus Christ is not welcomed, then I will see myself out. Plain and simple. Thankfully, I did not have to look far for answers.
I remember back during the Ron Paul Revolution, I had...not-so-boring conversations with a fellow, whom I will refer to as "Stubborn Luis." In our talks, I remember him mentioning a historian name Tom Woods, who had his own podcast and had strongly supported Paul's Presidential Run. After reading "Earning Freedom," and knowing that Woods is a NAP follower, I decided to listen to a few of his episodes and see what he had to say. It helped to kill time during my...lazy and dark days. Woods then exposed me to an organization that would give me the answers I was looking for. The Christian Libertarian Institute.
For the next few days, I absorbed all of the relevant information I wanted from their website, including two lectures that are worth mentioning:
"Libertarian Impulses in Early Christianity and Contemporary theology" by Dr. Jamin Hubner. (2)
"Is God of the Bible a tyrant?" by Dr. Robert Murphy. (3)
Among everything I learned, there were two fundamental factors that helped me to reconcile Christianity and the Non-Aggression Principle:
1. The many scriptural verses that echoed the NAP, voluntarism, private property rights and economic freedom.
2. In the first three hundred years of Christian history, in addition to being more Holy Spirit led, the church was surprisingly more anarchist than I originally thought. It was when the church and state had an unholy matrimony that everything went to hell.
There is more to my story, but around early 2017, when I gathered all of the answers I wanted and needed, I made a series of life changing decisions. One of them being that I adopted the Non-Aggression Principle. With this new worldview and new course of action, my life has been getting better. My story is not over yet, but I see a happy ending down the road.
1) Daxisle. "Earning Freedom." fimfiction.net. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Fanfiction, Aug. 2012. Web Access. 10 Mar. 2019. https://www.fimfiction.net/story/41655/earning-freedom
2) Hubner, Jamin. "Libertarian Impulses in Early Christianity & Contemporary Theology." youtube.com. Libertarian Christian Institute on Youtube, Sep. 2016. Web Access. 10 Mar. 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4f0ruGZflc&t=6s
3) Murphy, Robert. "Is God of the Bible a tyrant?" youtube.com. Libertarian Christian Institute on Youtube, Oct. 2016. Web Access. 10 Mar. 2019 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWXerr3oBZU&t=6s