On the Voluntary Principle

The difference between voluntaryism and libertarianism is the voluntary principle, that all human relations should happen voluntarily, or not at all. In other words, where libertarianism is concerned with non-aggression toward individually-owned property, voluntaryism is concerned with non-coercion toward other individuals. As Carl Watner wrote, the voluntary principle is “a means, an end, and an insight.” If our end is a society that champions voluntary relations, then our means must be consistently voluntary. Coercion, whether through physical or non-physical threats or actions, is inconsistent with a voluntary society. Threats and violence are antithetical to peace. As such, they are primary tools for individuals and organizations that benefit from war (of all kinds). Just because we disagree on what constitutes property, that doesn’t mean we can’t adhere to the voluntary principle in our interactions with each other. And that’s today’s two cents.