If the guiding principle shaping a society was “Thou Shalt Not Steal” (TSNS), what kind of government, legal, and social systems would the society have?
Before we begin to answer that question, we need to review one important aspect of TSNS. If you ‘own’ something, it means that you have total control over it. If someone takes away some or all of your control, then because they are taking away your ownership, they are stealing from you.
That means that if someone takes any control over your life, they are taking some ownership of your life. Taking ownership without permission is stealing.
People living by TSNS, then, would not make rules, or laws, to control others’ behavior. That would be stealing.
People living by TSNS would make rules as to the acceptable use of their own property and the acceptable behavior of visitors on their property. And people living by TSNS may defend their property from unacceptable aggression by others. None of those things would take away others’ full ownership of their own lives and property.
If a society based on TSNS would make no laws to control, mandate, or prohibit anyone’s actions, then it would have no need for a government. In fact, any form of government, including democracy, would be incompatible with a TSNS-based society.
For a whole society to live by “Thou Shalt Not Steal” as a guiding principle requires a totally voluntaryist social structure – one with no government at all.
Can we get an Amen?!