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Collective NAP

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Andris Birkmanis Posted: Thu, Dec 6 2012 11:35 PM

I am a bit puzzled by how NAP applies to armies. The soldiers of the defending side cannot be sure they are shooting at a soldier who already violated NAP, especially if the defender counter-attacks. Thus, the defenders can easily break NAP, too.

Does this mean NAP does not differentiate between an attacking and defending side in case of the massive conflict?

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Anenome replied on Fri, Dec 7 2012 12:22 AM
 
 

Hmm, well a declaration of war constitues aggression, the threat of imminent harm, and the uniform of that aggression is the military uniform. Can we consider someone wearing that uniform to automatically be an aggressor?

I suppose the doctrine of common purpose could come in here. If a man drives bank-robbers to and from the crime, he too can be considered complicit in the robbery and charged with robbery himself.

It's awful that there's such a thing as an organization that trains to kill, trains innocent kids, and then thrusts them into situation where it's kill or be killed generally. And they're often too young to take a principled stand against aggressive violence, not to mention that war is glorified in intellectual and cultural circles, inculcated into youth.

But I'm assuming a war of aggression there, such as most American wars in recent memory have been.

What about if Americans [or insert your country here] were the ones being invaded by an aggressive army killing and destroying everything in sight? And your very life was threatened. The NAP would sanction killing to defend yourself and your neighbors in the face of the threat of death.

Maybe applying the NAP to groups can't work ethically in any non-fuzzy and oversimplified way.

 
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As Anenome pointed out, soldiers can be complicit in crimes. If one side is guilty of aggression, then the soldiers that fight for that side are complicit in the crimes. Not all soldiers would have to directly aggress in order for them to be complicit in aggression. So the question is who is complicit? That is a trickier question. Depending on the circumstances, medics could be complicit in the crimes.

  • Just imagine that A is trying to invade your house, and then you shoot him. B rushes out to heal A so that A may continue his assault. In that particular scenario, B is complicit to the invasion of your house.
  • However, we could also imagine that A is trying to invade your house, and B tries to heal A because he doesn't want to see anyone die. In that particular case, he is not complicit.

We should be more interested in the causes, but sometimes we do have to take motivations into account. A getaway driver is complicit to the bank robbery, but if the robbers get on the bus, the bus driver does not magically become complicit just because he is driving the robbers away.

Having said all that, defenders can certainly be aggressors and maybe even against the initial aggressors. I'm going to have to think on that. They can certainly aggress against nonaggressors, but if the invading army hasn't yet actually murdered the defenders, then they have certainly threatened them with lethal force. So at first glance it seems that the defenders cannot aggress against the invaders, but I am going to sleep on this.

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As a real life scenario, consider allied troops killing the newly recruited German youths days before the capitulation in WW2.

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Anenome replied on Fri, Dec 7 2012 3:31 AM

Is that a famous incident? Got more details?

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I would not say it's famous, I thought it's more of an obvious (i.e., a priori). When the veterans are killed and the enemy is counter-attacking, any government switches to recruiting youths/elder/women, before finally capitulating.

Having said that, there are empirical sources as well: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitler_Youth:

By 1945, the Volkssturm was commonly drafting 12-year-old Hitler Youth members into its ranks. During the Battle of Berlin, Axmann's Hitler Youth formed a major part of the last line of German defense, and were reportedly among the fiercest fighters. Although the city commander, General Helmuth Weidling, ordered Axmann to disband the Hitler Youth combat formations; in the confusion, this order was never carried out. The remnants of the youth brigade were "mowed down" by the advancing Russian forces; only two survivors remained.

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hashem replied on Fri, Dec 7 2012 8:32 AM

The NAP is for individuals, that's the whole point of it. The idea that the NAP justifies violence against you for a crime you didn't commit was attacked by Rothbard et al. In other words, the NAP doesn't say anything about armies, though it says something about individual seperately in an army.

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I realize NAP is about individuals, that's the whole point of this thread.

Is a soldier of French army violating NAP when killing a soldier of the invading German army? The German soldier had not attacked the French soldier.

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Here's what I have to say:

This is a decent example of the debate between me and Walter Block. He wrote this article:

http://www.lewrockwell.com/block/block26.html

Where he discusses the situation of the flag pole hanger and the starving man in the woods.

I disagree with his conclusions, and I explain that whether the person is allowed to use force is related to what the reasonable amount of force to use to protect one's property is. Please message me if interested in seeing the text of my argument. It's actually central to resolving the problem of armies, in my opinion.

What I can say without posting the article here is that appearing in an enemy army constitutes a reasonable cause to use deadly force (unfortunately). Imagine happening upon a guy in a sky mask wielding a knife in your living room. In theory, he could have been abducted by someone else and put in that bad situation. You would still be within the law to use deadly force against him. Same goes for armies.

It's not a nice answer, but remember that the NAP cannot be a panacea. At one point, we meet the boundaries of reality, beyond which we cannot extend justice. We can't automatically know who is an abducted guy in your living room and who is an actual murderer.

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I can see your point, and I definitely agree that NAP is not über alles. What would you say about German boys being killed by the allies' soldiers during the battle for Berlin? You may or may not have different answers depending on whether the boys were wearing the German uniform, or were just protecting their homes from invasion (and their families from rape).

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hashem replied on Fri, Dec 7 2012 2:29 PM

Andris Birkmanis:
Is a soldier of French army violating NAP when killing a soldier of the invading German army? The German soldier had not attacked the French soldier.

NAP: "no man or group of men may aggress against the person or property of anyone else"

Is a cashier violating NAP when killing a street sweeper? The street sweeper hadn't attacked the cashier.

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Malachi replied on Sat, Dec 8 2012 9:33 AM
If people join a team of aggressors they become aggressors. Just like the getaway driver is (usually) liable for the bank robbery. But it also does depend on the individual's acts. For example, would anyone say that Hans Munch should have been convicted at auschwitz? (he was not).

this is kind of an older issue, as more and more combatants are deciding that uniforms are unsuitable. As it stands now, the normal rules of engagement given to infantry troops are similar to what one would derive from the NAP (if one didnt think foreign occupying troops were trespassers, or if one believed that they could have legitimate police powers). Meaning you cant shoot someone in the performance of your official duties unless they demonstrate hostile actions or hostile intent, and you have positively identified them.

let me ask you something, if the crips put a death threat on your door at noon, and at midnight you saw a guy in your front yard wearing a blue hoodie and a blue bandanna, and holding an ak-47 would you shoot him, ask him to leave your property, or what?

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Eugene replied on Sat, Dec 8 2012 9:56 AM

During a war, a person wearing a uniform of the enemy army, in fact threatens you with violence. He can either say "I will kill you", show you a gesture that signifies the intent to kill you, or wear a uniform. In all these cases a clear message is given. So you can definitely defend yourself against people who wear uniform, especially since it is widely known that soldiers commit attrocities and are a real threat to civilians and their property.

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Malachi replied on Sat, Dec 8 2012 10:03 AM
What if he has a white flag?
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Eugene replied on Sat, Dec 8 2012 10:35 AM

Then you obviously can't attack him because he conveys another kind of message. If it will become common to use white flags in order to trap people, then you'll have the legitimacy to kill even those who hold white flags. People use language, verbal or nor, to interact. If you close a deal and the other person thinks that when you say "Yes" it actually means "No", then its his fault, not yours. There has to be some standard way to convey messages, verbally or not.

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hashem replied on Sat, Dec 8 2012 11:17 AM

You guys are talking about when you feel violence is justified. That has nothing to do with the NAP, which says, "No man may aggress against the person or property of another." By definition, someone who fails to aggress is not in violation of the NAP.

It's unfortunate that taking something as straightforward as this and twisting it seems to be popular around here.

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Malachi replied on Sat, Dec 8 2012 11:34 AM
Then you obviously can't attack him because he conveys another kind of message. If it will become common to use white flags in order to trap people, then you'll have the legitimacy to kill even those who hold white flags. People use language, verbal or nor, to interact. If you close a deal and the other person thinks that when you say "Yes" it actually means "No", then its his fault, not yours. There has to be some standard way to convey messages, verbally or not.
if people are in conflict then they may not actually agree to the standard.
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Malachi replied on Sat, Dec 8 2012 11:35 AM
hashem:

You guys are talking about when you feel violence is justified. That has nothing to do with the NAP, which says, "No man may aggress against the person or property of another." By definition, someone who fails to aggress is not in violation of the NAP.

It's unfortunate that taking something as straightforward as this and twisting it seems to be popular around here.

Do you recognize such a thing as defensive violence?
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Eugene replied on Sat, Dec 8 2012 12:19 PM

You have to agree to the standard, otherwise there is no way to know what happens in the interaction. If pointing a piece of gun at someone is considered generally a threat, and for you it means something else, like a show of sympathy, you still can't point the gun at someone. You must concur to the standard or face the consequences of ignoring it.

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Anenome replied on Sat, Dec 8 2012 2:28 PM

"What I can say without posting the article here is that appearing in an enemy army constitutes a reasonable cause to use deadly force (unfortunately)."

I agree. Aggression is about force or the reasonable threat of force.

Wearing the enemy uniform and holding a weapon is reasonable threat of force if you're in the country they declared war against, IMO.

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Ok, let's return to the real-life scenario - were the allied soldiers justified in killing the German youths (who were probably wearing German uniform, though I am not sure if Volkssturm actually did during the battle for Berlin)?

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I simply don't know. I'm also not a judicial scholar in a libertarian legal system :P

It would take quite some time to work this one out, I think.

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Anenome replied on Sat, Dec 8 2012 3:22 PM

Yeah, it's a complex issue but not unsolvable. I'll bet it would be a good topic for a book, applying the NAP to WWII and seeing what results. Would be many things to consider there.

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Malachi replied on Sat, Dec 8 2012 3:27 PM
Andris Birkmanis:

Ok, let's return to the real-life scenario - were the allied soldiers justified in killing the German youths (who were probably wearing German uniform, though I am not sure if Volkssturm actually did during the battle for Berlin)?

I forgive them. Although the opinion of a veteran of OIF and OEF may not be worth much to some people, at least in this respect.
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Yeah, but I think you'd need a fleet of libertarian US historians to resolve that one :P

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Anenome replied on Sat, Dec 8 2012 3:46 PM

Wheylous:

Yeah, but I think you'd need a fleet of libertarian US historians to resolve that one :P

Or one Rothbard :P

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