What is the non-aggression principle? Simply put, it means that you never initiate force, threats, or violence against another person or their property. If everyone lives by this simple rule, then you have a brand new world. Great things will happen and the babies, puppies, kittens, and rainbows will flourish.
It DOES NOT mean that you can’t use force to protect yourself or your property. Non-aggression and property rights are often considered the two fundamental principles of libertarianism, with some argument about which one is the real foundation. At this stage of your journey, assuming you are new to both philosophies, I don’t think you need to sweat the details or be too concerned about the difference between libertarians and anarchists.
While the term “libertarian” sounds like a much nicer word than “anarchist”, there are many similarities. Anarchy has taken a beating from propaganda, so I don’t care which label you choose as long as you continue down this path. Because of the similarities, it is easy for libertarians to understand and often migrate towards anarchism. Some refer to “pure” libertarianism as anarchism. You will also see terms like “anarcho-libertarian” and “minarchism”, but don’t get caught up in the small stuff. Understand and live by the non-aggression principle and let’s get the ball rolling.
First I think you should read The Relation Between the Non-Aggression Principle and Property Rights. You don’t need to worry about understanding the quotes of Rothbard and Ayn Rand right now. After you take a few more steps you’ll find yourself seeking out both.
Animated and easy to understand even if it is a little bit corny.
This video is a response to “Why the Non-Aggression Principle is useless as a moral guideline”.
If you aren’t familiar with Ayn Rand then this is a simple introduction:
The mini version of John Galt’s speech – “Force is the great evil that has no place in a rational world“.