I must preface this critique with my most sincere thanks for your ongoing work in securing liberty and property through the bitshares platform, I think you’re doing an excellent job.
I Recently came across your Golden Principle post on your blog and noticed that there is a mistake made with your logic which renders the argument invalid. You have fallen into the trap that most people tend to when dealing with principles – in particular the non-aggression principle(NAP), the application of a principle that defines an action that takes place in the physical world to a concept instead of something that exists in the physical world.
This is incredibly common, and this propensity for most people to not differentiate between concepts and physical objects when thinking critically is (in my humble opinion) one of the things that allows the inexorable slide into tyranny, recognizing abstract human conceived concepts for what they are and correct application of principles is the only way to ensure we arrive at a result that is accurate and repeatable over time and applicable to all individuals.
It is the same neuropathway that allows a quick fight or flight response that gives humans a propensity toward this – as we evolved we needed to be able to very quickly judge whether a physical object is dangerous or not, the fastest way for us to do this is to attribute intentions(as opposed to higher level logical reasoning) to it, whether it is a rock or a predator. This is also why young children are angry at rocks when they stub their toes, their brains haven’t outgrown this duality born out of Darwinian necessity. I think it is this phenomena that causes most people to make the mistake of applying principles to abstract concepts.
It is empirically and logically impossible that the NAP or any principle that relies on taking(or not taking) physical action to be applied to a concept, it must be applied to something physical if it is to be logically consistent and repeatable. In reality, me attacking the “government” is the intellectual equivalent of me trying to squash Christianity with a large bowl of porridge. Objectively what I would really be doing, would be violating the NAP against a group of individuals I have subjectively determined to be “the government”.
Any principle based on “doing” which must occur in the physical universe, cannot possibly provide universally consistent results if people allow it to be applied to abstract or subjective concepts, it is for this reason that your golden principle is flawed as it is based in subjectivity not objectivity and therefore allows more ambiguity than the NAP it should replace. I agree wholeheartedly that the principles we build society on must be universal, however without objectivity the result of your principle will change depending on the interpretation at an individual level. This subjectivity is what we must strive against as it is by this mechanism we allow the same descent into collective delusion and tyranny that we are currently striving to prevent.
For example, you may want to be Taxed because you think it is right and just, you may want to delegate your rights to others if you feel insecure in your ability to secure them, you may even want others to hurt you because it’s what you know and what you’re used to, You may even want to die… These preferences are not at all uncommon, in fact these preferences(with the exception of masochism and the last tragic example) are considered normal in western society. This does not mean that any of these things should constitute an ethically and morally just viewpoint as it is just an individual’s opinion. If it is validated by the golden principle then to universalize some of these actions as morally valid is to commit atrocious acts of evil.
This is a fundamental failure of the principle to uphold the freedoms It is intended to protect.