– Tisha Casida
Most of us have grown up with some type of moral or ethical code that guides our decision-making. One of these well-known mantras of good behavior is “The Golden Rule”, also known as the “ethic of reciprocity”. I am paraphrasing here: ‘Treat others as you would like to be treated’ or ‘Don’t treat others as you would not like to be treated’.
This is a way for most people, historically, to make judgements about good and bad behavior. As the human race, most of us enjoy or dislike similar things. We enjoy having an ability to act freely, and we dislike being detained or made slaves. We enjoy accumulating forms of property and wealth, and we dislike having our things taken away from us.
As a member of the so-called “Millenial” generation that is watching our country move in various directions politically, economically, and socially, it reminds me of the importance of embracing a moral and ethical code in decision-making, especially when it comes to government action and the use of our country’s resources to be a “player” on the global economic stage.
The Non-Aggression Principle is another maxim, like the Golden Rule, that projects that one should not use aggression against another human being unless it is in self-defense. Simple enough, right? Why would I be aggressive towards another person, unless that other person is trying to harm me? Well, unfortunately, with the bureaucracy we face as individuals, entrepreneurs, small-business owners, farmers, producers, etc., it is easy to get caught up in the aggression and use of force by government – and this aggression towards us – may be a bad and dangerous use of force.
Let’s take the example of federal income taxes. Income taxes, specifically at the federal level of government, are a way for the federal government to tax your labor (arguably your property), and then use this money to fund various pet projects – many times and most often not directly benefiting the person being taxed. If someone doesn’t pay their federal income taxes, they can be fined or jailed. The government uses force and aggression to collect these taxes in the name of “the greater good and general welfare”. However, since around only half of Americans pay federal income taxes, this leaves a greater burden on those who are working and paying for the “general welfare” of all people (and corporations) in the United States.
Government can use force and aggression to extort money from individuals who have committed a “crime” with no victim. Is this a good and beneficial use of aggression and force? Using the non-aggression principle, one would come to the conclusion that if the taxpayer is not outwardly hurting others by paying taxes and fees levied in their own State instead of giving their hard-earned money to the federal government (which can then take those funds and use them for other States, for creating and perpetuating wars, and to fund a Health Care system that is generally not any more affordable or transparent than the mess we have now), that they should not be hurt for their actions. I am not saying you shouldn’t pay taxes – I am saying, why aren’t we paying taxes to our State instead of the federal government? Wouldn’t this be a more efficient and effective use of our money – keeping it closer to home, where there is more transparency and accountability for what is done with this money?
Have you seen uses of force and aggression by government agencies on people who have not been aggressive or forceful to the government? If I am a soap-maker, and I want to sell my soap with eucalyptus oil and call it “Breathe Better”, is it right and just that I could be attacked by the Food and Drug Association (FDA) for making this claim? Is it right and just that I have to follow the same rules and regulations that Pfizer has to follow in bringing a drug to market? Is it a good use of force to have government agencies aggressing individuals, entrepreneurs, small business owners, farmers, ranchers, and producers with these requirements that then stymie and crush the ability of people to be free in what they produce and what they bring to market?
I believe that there is a time and place for the use of aggression and force by the government. However, I think that most of what the federal government is doing, through these agencies that purport to “protect” the American public, actually hurts the ability of people to be healthy, to be creative, and to be free. This use of aggression and force by the government goes against the non-aggression principle. If I am not hurting anyone with the tomato that I grow, the soap I make, the cookie that I bake – then why on earth would anyone try and hurt me? Especially my government that I fund as a taxpayer and give permission to – to create our infrastructure, engage in defense, and administer a justice system.
I urge you to take a look at the ideas of the non-aggression principle, and how using this for decision-making could change the way we allow our government to use aggression and force on us, as well as on other countries. I believe in peace, and I believe that using this as a model, we can make more sustainable decisions about how we operate as communities and States in America.
This article was published in the 2015 New Year Edition of That’s Natural! You can view and purchase a subscription at www.ThatsNatural911.com.