A reply to the blog post "Flaws of Libertarianism, Part 1:NAP" in response to the request to do so by Dalillama in a thread at 'Whose Liberty Are We Talking About?':
First, a warning:
This is going to be long, but I am going to try and address each of your points of contention, so bear with me. The take-away message is simple though, initiation of violence against peaceful people is immoral. If in every situation that is the guiding meta-ethic you are a voluntarist.
The NAP:Libertarians like to talk a lot about what they call the Non Aggression principle, which they define as prohibiting “… the initiation or threatening of violence against a person or legitimately owned property of another. “ --wiki
This is the NAP for a kind of libertarianism, though not the kind I intend to defend as self consistent. The reason is that the above NAP for the Libertarian political stance which uses state enforcement (which you address later), which I do not believe is consistent with voluntarism or even its own NAP. It is also fair to state that there are several competing formulations of the NAP, each with subtle differences. To that end, I would like to provide a few more slightly nuanced NAPs:
The NAP is an “ethical stance which asserts that "aggression" is inherently illegitimate. "Aggression" is defined as the "initiation" of physical force against persons or property, the threat of such, or fraud upon persons or their property.” --von Mises Institute
"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." --Ayn Rand
"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" -- John Stuart Mill
These are some of the NAPs from various subgroups which all consider themselves to be voluntarist, and some of them consider themselves to be libertarians. There are two major constructions here, which look similar but have a fundamental difference. One is a consequentalist construction and the other is the so called deontological construction. Von Mises is using a natural rights (deontological) construction, libertarian thinkers like David Friedman promote the consequentalist construction. I will, for the purposes of this response be using the von Mises NAP. It seems very like the one you provide, with a crucial difference. The word legitimate is loaded, and implies an outside imposition on claims of possession.
Taken as it stands, it will inevitably serve to defend and entrench privilege, while denying the oppressed any ‘legitimate’ recourse.”--from the blog of Dalillama
The idea that a voluntarist community inevitably does anything in particular is somewhat flawed. The idea is that every interaction which does not violate the NAP and which is consensual is allowed. This means for instance polycentric law, and a market for both enforcement and arbitration. What spontaneous order emerges from this is hard to say. It is certainly possible that in pockets of some indefinite size privilege will be entrenched to some degree, though presumably the victimized do have recourse, with more options than are currently available.
“...these types of coercion are enshrined into law, and defended by the full (physical) force of the state and society at large (since private violence is acceptable under the NAP in case of threats to legally owned property)” where these types refers to “Economic and social coercion can be tools of tyranny...” -from the blog of Dalillama
This is again, a half-truth. First, I think we can agree that so long as the right of consenting parties to freely associate is respected that the idea of social pressure can never be removed entirely. If it is not respected, then again social pressure is being abused, but without any recourse. Economic pressure (or coercion) again is a result of respecting the rights of consenting parties to freely enter into contractual agreements. This means that if a contract is not consensual, there has been a violation and the aggrieved party can seek restitution. This can obviously go a few different ways. The mosts preferred route in the case is this: If the one-sided contract is theft for instance, the usual voluntarist recourse is a form of insurance. A person contracts with an insurance company as protection against theft, fraud, etc. In the event that they are victim to these things, they are then given restitution by the insurance company. The insurance company then contracts with (or is also) a Dispute Resolution Organization who attempts neutral third party arbitration between the insurance company (or more directly the aggrieved party) and the person (or persons) who have committed a breach of contract. The DRO and the thief or thief’s insurance company (who are contractually obligated to protect them from claims of theft) negotiate on a court they find mutually acceptable and from that point ‘justice’ proceeds similarly to the way you imagine it does. At every stage of this route, the ‘justice’ was merely a series of executed contractual obligations triggered by the breaking of what is seen as contractual law. The aggrieved received renumeration (or had a DRO enforce the contract which showed renumeration was owed) efficiently and then the problem of what to do with the thief ceased to be his/hers. In the event that the aggrieved catches the theft in progress, and that the item being stolen is in some way physical (has location and is something which can be held in exclusion i.e. not intellectual property) then the aggrieved is within their rights to try and not become the victim of theft. This can (and probably would) include violence, but it might not. In the event that it does include violence, it need only be sufficient to the cause (meaning not necessarily deadly force) and should be proportional to the potential crime. For instance, you own two apples. It is all you own, if someone takes your two apples you will die. Someone comes along and steals one apple. You try and stop that person short of killing them, in the event that they succeed they have not killed you, but they have done you a lot of harm so violence short of killing is almost certainly defensible. If on the other hand the person tries to steal both apples, you would be justified in simply killing them in the attempt (because that is what they tried to do to you). Now, you have killed an apple thief, and the apple thief's wife and children sue you for harm against their family, but you never settle on a court which is mutually acceptable (which means there is no upper threshold that the wife and children consider acceptable to pursue the matter) and ‘justice’ is done, or you go into a court both parties have agreed to and abide by the resolution (again as an execution of contract law).
The company town:
There are a few objections to this, first the precise idea of property rights (for example mineral rights for a piece of land) are not specified in voluntarism and there are actually several schools of thought ranging from there being no such thing as property ownership outside of use, to ownership based upon possession. In the case of ownership based on use, the company town can not exist. In the case that property is based on possession, it can and so in that framework I will respond, though I would point out that both kinds of community can exist (peacefully) within the voluntarist framework without the exclusion of the other. The problem of the company town is solved in the same way it has historically been solved, laborers are free to organize and resist being oppressed and laborers are free to leave when they find the contract of their employment no longer to their benefit. You might think ‘Aha, “just leave” is an invalid argument, the company town might be all that exists’ and in that bizarre hypothetical you would be correct.
“They have no money to leave town, because they’re in debt to the company store. Anyone who offers them shelter or assistance is subject to the same treatment. This means that, practically speaking, the company threatens their lives if they disobey; they will be thrown out to freeze or starve, and there is no recourse for them.” -from the blog of Dalillama
Being destitute is not a phenomenon exclusive to voluntarist societies, and it is handled in a similar fashion. There will be people who are charitable, there will be organizations whose sole mission is charity. Further, the debt to the company store is probably not recognized as legitimate by anyone other than the company, and the dispute would need to go through arbitration like any other contractual dispute. If all of the miners/factory workers etc. are displeased with their jobs there is the very real problem for the employer of retention, since in a free market the employer must be operating close to the margin to compete.