The Republic and the NAP

by Gene Callahan

Having discussed in a previous post the libertarian contention that following the non-aggression principle implies holding libertarian policy views, I wanted to follow up here with an example from The Republic.

Now, let us begin by noting that Socrates, towards the beginning of the work, states a non-aggression principle (NAP) even stronger than the one usually framed by libertarians. It is not merely wrong, he claims, to do injury to one who has not injured you, it is even wrong to do injury to someone who has injured you. The details of the argument need not concern us here; the relevant point is that Socrates endorses a strong version of the NAP.

But then, of course, Socrates (or Plato, if you wish to consider “Socrates” here as a sock puppet) goes on to paint a vision of the just State in many ways far more extensive than anything we even have today in the US, including things like tight State control over art. How can this be? Continue reading