One position that I am highly unlikely to change, and one that defines the overarching theme of this blog, is my singular rule of morality:

It is wrong to use violence to solve nonviolent problems.

I do not limit the meaning of “violence” to physical aggression, nor do I extend it to include commotion or even injury, but rather I use the word in a more principled way: “violence,” as in violating another’s individual sovereignty. For example, two boxers in a ring may be hitting each other, but they are both participating voluntarily and consent to the conditions of a boxing match – neither are being violated. Rape, theft, fraud, vandalism, or murder, however, are violent actions against an unwilling recipient. Violence may be ethically used (within limitations, and even then it is not always wise) to nullify the violent act of another (self-defense, for example), but never against someone who did not initiate violence.

This is a principle that I try to apply practically to all aspects of my life, and to all viewpoints that I hold, from the largest human interactions such as the role and legitimacy of government, to the domestic such as the treatment of children.

It is a principle that compels those who adhere to it to recognize violence where it is not always obvious. For example, an apolitical man who owns a hundred guns but has never brandished one against another person is likely more peaceful than a pacifist vegetarian who refuses to touch a gun and preaches peace daily yet advocates the use of the law to wield guns on his behalf, pointed at the innocent in order to force his favored government programs and policies upon them.

Instead, the truly peaceful man will abhor the violent solutions, even in the absence of alternatives, and seek out those answers that may not come intuitively or naturally, yet are ethically consistent and often yield more desirable results for a civilized society that is built on voluntarism, negotiation, cooperation, and respect for individual rights. This blog is, in part, a tool for me to explore those solutions.

“If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”

~James Madison, The Federalist Papers, #51