Stefan Molyneux should NAP more

Many years ago, I was impressed with some of Stefan Molyneux’s anarchist writings and videos. As time went by, however, I stopped paying attention and what little I did see or read made me go, “What happened? How did he turn into an anti-immigrant Trump supporter?” I noticed that he was recently on The Tom Woods Show and thought I’d hear him out.

Because I hadn’t been following Molyneux, I can’t comment to what degree he has become “alt-right” or a white nationalist. I will instead, take him at his word that he still believes in what is called the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP), the basis of most libertarian thought. One version says simply “Aggression is inherently illegitimate.” This includes aggression by government; a government shouldn’t be allowed to do to individuals what they wouldn’t be allowed to do to each other.

These days, however, Molyneux is, in his mind, trying to be realistic. In the real world, we have different nation-states with different cultures. To Molyneux, it’s justified to restrict immigration so that poor, low-IQ people from collectivist cultures don’t come in, drain taxpayer resources on social services, and vote for collectivist political parties.

Molyneux appeals to the (taken out of context) observation by the late economist Milton Friedman that open immigration is incompatible with the welfare state. Molyneux says that the defense of freedom and the goal of a free society requires the use of “triage” in applying the Non-Aggression Principle.

Molyneux, it seems, has a vision of what a “free” society should look like and how we should get there. Sometimes that means a little less NAP and a little more social engineering to keep out those he thinks are undesirable.

And I just don’t see eye to eye with Molyneux. If immigration prohibition is justified because of the expense of the Welfare State, would Drug Prohibition also be justified? As Jacob Hornberger has noted,

One might argue that we libertarians should join up with conservatives and liberals and support drug prohibition until Medicaid is abolished. The idea is that if we were to legalize drugs today, many drug addicts could use Medicaid to support their drug habit or rehab program, which would mean higher taxes for the rest of us. I hold that libertarians must continue hewing to principle and calling for the immediate end to the drug war, even if the potential exists for higher taxes.

If a drug user commits theft to support his habit, he should be brought to justice for the theft. If he neglects his children due to his addiction, rescue the children. If his medical bills are at the expense of the taxpayers, that’s a separate issue that can be addressed. But if he’s only hurting himself, why should taxes pay for cops, courts, and prisons to arrest him and punish him? He’s already punishing himself.

Then there’s the possibility that the drug is helping him in some way. Would you be willing to be the cop who arrests him? Why? What did he ever do to you, or to others?

I just can’t see myself being that cop.

I also can’t see myself as an immigration cop. Is it my concern that the person on the street, the guest in your neighbor’s home, or the employee in a nearby business, is from another town? Then why would it be my concern if she’s from another country?

One reason I support the Non-Aggression Principle is the sheer cruelty of initiating or threatening violence against people who aren’t hurting anyone. It’s a matter of conscience.

NAP isn’t a means to particular political or social ends, to be sacrificed out of fear of immigrants or anyone or anything else. It is itself the end: it is justice; it is liberty. It is to be lived and expressed. It is how you can assert your freedom in an unfree world, by treating others justly and by opposing unjust laws.

You can’t control political outcomes, you can only control yourself and your integrity. If you want a free society, that won’t happen by supporting more government controls, or by hiring more ICE agents. The freedom begins with you.


James Leroy Wilson writes from Nebraska. He is the author of Ron Paul is a Nut (And So am I). Follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Support through Paypal is greatly appreciated.