I would say that this is the newest of my life principles but in truth I have lived my life this way pretty much for most of it. I have never understood the logic of people who think they can force people to be good or do good things. The Non-Aggression Principle (NAP) is stated many ways but the basic gist of it is a combination of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and “love your neighbor as yourself”. Yeah, stuff we were all supposed to learn in Sunday School and Kindergarten.
My way of stating it is that the only proper use of aggression is to protect one’s rights or the rights of others. Aggression is further defined as the use of physical force, threatening the use of force or fraud. This is not pacifism as the use of force or even the threat of force is allowable in actions that involve self-defense or the defense of others. There are other types of force but the NAP is about physical force, threat of physical force or fraud.
This means a lot of other areas where things are about influence, politics and other types of force are not necessarily covered by the NAP. However, if one thinks on this that means that much of what government does is a violation of this principle. This really limits how much the government should do and puts it clear focus on the government as the force that protects the rights of its citizens not threaten them with force or trick people out of them through fraud.
On a personal level, this means that if I were to act in a violent manner that means the one who I am acting on has made a decision to violate my rights or the rights of another person. Other than that it is never right for me to initiate violence and it is certainly never right for me to engage in fraud. This part is actually more challenging in many ways than gripping about government. One must always be first concerned that you are following the NAP before you judge others on their following it. It is more a philosophy of personal responsibility than anything else.