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8 Libertarian Papers 1 (2016)

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LIBERTARIAN PAPERS


        THE POSSIBILITY OF THICK LIBERTARIANISM


                              BILLY  CHRISTMAS*



Introduction

      THE   CENTRAL   COMMITMENT of libertarianism is the Non-Aggression
Principle' (henceforth   NAP):   the prescription  that no  one  initiate force
against  the  person   or  property  of  another   (Rothbard,   2006,  27-53).2
Aggression  is defined as the initiation of force or nonconsensual crossing of a
property  boundary.3  Therefore, if a boundary  crossing  is consented to, it is
not aggressive. Likewise, if a boundary crossing is defensive, then it does not
constitute an  initiation of force, and it is therefore legitimate since it is not
aggressive. There are no precontractual  enforceable obligations in addition to



    *Billy Christmas is a PhD candidate in politics at the University of Manchester. The
author wishes to thank two anonymous referees for their thoughtful comments on an
earlier draft of this paper.
    CITATION  INFORMATION  FOR THIS ARTICLE:
    Billy Christmas. 2016. The Possibility of Thick Libertarianism. Libertaran Papers. 8
(1): 1-21. ONLINE AT:  libertarianpapers.org. THIS ARTICLE IS subject to a Creative
Commons   Attribution 3.0 License (creativecommons.org/licenses).
    1 This is true, at least, of Austro-libertarianism: other approaches to libertarian
political philosophy may emphasize different principles or claim different principles to be
more foundational.
    2 In libertarian legal theory, the NAP may be viewed not as a moral constraint on
individual action but as a constraint on law. The NAP being a restraint on individual
action entails that it is also a restraint on law, but the entailment does not go the other
way around. For the purposes of this paper I will refer to the NAP as a constraint on
individual action, and therefore employ the language of moral and political philosophy
rather than jurisprudence, in relation to the NAP.
       Vhere  legitimate property rights are acquired by original appropriation or
consensual transfer.


1


VOL.  8, No. 1 (2016)

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