I see the non-aggression axiom as pretty much the essence of Libertarianism. The way I see it is sort of like a tepee, you know, with sticks, and there are little bits of sticks pointing above the tent and then there’s where all the sticks come together, and then the sticks go down to the grown at the bottom of the tepee. And right where all the sticks come together is the non-aggression axiom. And that’s the essence of Libertarianism.
And the non-aggression axiom says that there’s only — well, it says, in fact, that there are only — you have a wonderful pink tie, Lew, and I’ve been admiring your pink tie. And there are two ways that I can get that pink tie from you. One, I can do it compatibly with the non-aggression axiom, and the other, I can do it incompatibly. Well, what would be compatible? Well, one way, I’d say, “Lew, I’ll give you five bucks for the tie.” And you say no. And I say, “How about 10, 20, 50″? Or I can say, “I’ll be your best friend forever if you give me the tie or I’ll give you my watch for your tie.” Any of these ways would be the voluntary way. And this is compatible with Libertarianism. But then what I could do is grab the tie and pull it and run away with it, or I could pull a gun and say, “Unless you give me the tie, I’m going to shoot you,” or something like that. And that would violate the non-aggressive axiom ..
Now, when you tell most people that, and you say that’s all Libertarianism says, most people say, “Well, I’m a Libertarian; I don’t believe in grabbing your tie.” The difference between Libertarians and most people who give lip service to the non-aggression axiom is that we really mean it. We’re rabid. We make deductions from it. And you know in sports they say the way to success is to keep your eye on the ball? Well, in political economy, the way to be successful, from a Libertarian perspective in any case, is to keep your eye on the non-aggression axiom; never violate it no matter what.