This morning I spent over an hour searching for the exact wording of the “Non-Agression Principle”. I found many, none of which qualify as “IT”.
This source of the following is Wikipedia — never exactly reliable, but…
|300’s BC||Epicurus||“Natural justice is a symbol or expression of usefullness, to prevent one person from harming or being harmed by another.”|
|0 – 36||Jesus||“Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” Jesus of Nazareth advocated, and is closely associated with, the Golden Rule, otherwise known as “the ethic of reciprocity.”|
|900’s||Abu Mansur Maturidi, Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya, Averroes||These Islamic theologians and philosophers wrote that man could rationally know that man had a right to life and property.|
|early 1200s||Ibn Tufail||In Hayy ibn Yaqdhan the Moorish philosopher discussed the life story of a baby living alone without prior knowledge who discovered natural law, and natural rights, which obliged man not to coerce against another’s life or property. Ibn Tufail influenced Locke’s notion of Tabula rasa.|
|1682||Samuel von Pufendorf||In On the Duty of Man and Citizen he wrote “Among the absolute duties, i.e., of anybody to anybody, the first place belongs to this one: let no one injure another. For this is the broadest of all duties, embracing all men as such.”|
|1689||John Locke||In Second Treatise on Government he wrote “Being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.”|
|1722||William Wollaston||In The Religion of Nature Delineated he formulated “No man can have a right to begin to interrupt the happiness of another.” This formulation emphasized “begin” to distinguish aggressive disturbances from those in self-defense (“…yet every man has a right to defend himself and his against violence, to recover what is taken by force from him, and even to make reprisals, by all the means that truth and prudence permit.”)|
|1790||Mary Wollstonecraft||In “A Vindication of the Rights of Men” Mary Wollstonecraft states: “The birthright of man … is such a degree of liberty, civil and religious, as is compatible with the liberty of every other individual with whom he is united in a social compact, and the continued existence of that compact.”|
|1816||Thomas Jefferson||“No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him.” (Thomas Jefferson to Francis Gilmer, 1816)|
|1851||Herbert Spencer||In Social Statics, he proposed the law of equal freedom – “Every man has freedom to do all that he wills, provided he infringes not the equal freedom of any other man.” – as the best political arrangement to promote social progress. This being the implication of his theory of human social evolution he developed from Lamarckian use-inheritance.|
|1859||John Stuart Mill||The harm principle formulated in On Liberty, states that “the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.”|
|1961||Ayn Rand||In an essay called “Man’s Rights” in the book “The Virtue of Selfishness” she formulated “The precondition of a civilized society is the barring of physical force from social relationships. … In a civilized society, force may be used only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use.”|
|1963||Murray Rothbard||“No one may threaten or commit violence (‘aggress’) against another man’s person or property. Violence may be employed only against the man who commits such violence; that is, only defensively against the aggressive violence of another. In short, no violence may be employed against a nonaggressor. Here is the fundamental rule from which can be deduced the entire corpus of libertarian theory.” Cited from “War, Peace, and the State” (1963) which appeared in Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature and Other Essays|
Natural law theorist Murray Rothbard traces the non-aggression principle to natural law theorist St. Thomas Aquinas and the early Thomist scholastics of the Salamanca school. This, in turn, may be seen in relation to Aquinas’ view on greed, “a sin against God, just as all mortal sins, in as much as man condemns things eternal for the sake of temporal things”, and on envy, which be defined as “sorrow for another’s good” (cf. Seven deadly sins).
Early formulations that use terms such as “harm” or “injury,” such as those of Epicurus and Mill above, are today generally considered imprecise. “Harm” and “injury” are too subjective; one man’s harm may be another man’s benefit. For example, a squatter may make “improvements” that the owner considers detrimental. Modern formulations avoid such subjectivity by formulating the NAP in terms of individual rights or observable conduct (initiation of force/violence).
In modern social-political culture advocating civil liberties, laissez-faire markets, and limited government, i.e. by the US Libertarian Party (US LP) and by Young Americans for Liberty (YAL), similar formulations of NAP are commonplace (see the libertarian pledge).
I feel I must add this from the Libertarian Platform:
“We hold that all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose.”
In this alone we find why it is necessary to replace the Force of governments with a Voluntary System.