The Non-Aggression Principle (NAP) is the idea that individuals have the right to make their own choices in life so long as those choices do not involve the initiation of force or fraud against others.
Applying the Non-Aggression Principle leads libertarians to argue that actions or policies such as murder, enslavement, kidnapping, theft, and fraud are illegitimate whether practiced by individuals, or by institutions such as government. When applied to governments, the NAP is seen as meaning that policies including taxation, drug prohibition, militarized borders, the military draft, and non-defensive state wars, are illegitimate and should be ended. Anarchists argue that it calls for abolition of the state itself.
The United States Libertarian Party has a version of the Non-Aggression Principle as its membership pledge. The principle has been derived by various philosophical approaches, including natural law and Objectivism. Murray Rothbard, an influential early member of the Libertarian Party, derived the principle from self-ownership, while Ayn Rand derived it from the right to life. The principle of non-aggression exists in various forms in the faith traditions of Jain Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as well as Eastern philosophies such as Confucianism. It holds that aggression, which is defined as the initiation of physical force, the threat of such, or fraud upon persons or their property, is inherently wrong. In contrast to pacifism, the Non-Aggression Principle does not preclude self-defense or the defense of others.