When it comes to principles, I can really only speak for myself, but I suspect what I’m about to discuss is something that holds true for most people. We naturally hold having principles to be higher, that is to say morally superior, to not having principles, or to violating them arbitrarily. However, this can lead to absurdities such as guilt-ridden, suicidal cultures (see: most of the West right now).
Most people, I imagine, would agree that non-aggression is generally a good principle. Indeed, Libertarians and Anarcho-Capitalists have this enshrined as a core principle. Violence can only be used on someone who, in turn, has violated the non-aggression principle. This sounds well and good on the surface, but is subject to complexities. Imagine for a moment that you are sure – absolutely sure – that someone is about to commit murder. But he has not made his intentions to do so clear to others, nor has he actually done it yet. By the non-aggression principle, are you allowed to preemptively deal with him accordingly? Or must you wait until the violence has been committed?
Must, for example, a society of Libertarians allow hordes of Communists into their borders? Communists, I might add, who express a desire to kill them and take their property for redistribution, should they obtain sufficient numbers. Taken to its logical endpoint, strict adherence to the principle may well result in the extinction, both of the society in question, and adherence to the principle itself.
It goes much deeper. Pacifists would appear to favor peace as a principle. However, many of them take the principle to absurd lengths, such as not even fighting back when said murderer starts killing people. Without restraint on murderers, without defensive action against them, soon there are many such murderers. Violence increases when pacifism is used, for the violent are no longer restrained by fear that they may suffer consequences for their actions.
Pacifists are moral cowards. If their principles incline them toward peace they, seemingly-paradoxically, must be willing to fight for that peace.
Libertarians, I suspect, are not this bad. I think many of them have merely failed to understand how virulent Marxists really are, how easily they infiltrate and subvert whole societies. They haven’t articulated a principle that will satisfy their disdain for unjust violence, that can simultaneously protect them from the unjust violence of those who are willing to game the system for their benefit. Some say that if you eliminate the welfare state, the impetus for Marxists to come will end. That is true on an individual level, but it fails on a meta level. Conquest, you see, is a motivation all on its own.
Yet nonetheless, principles still carry with them greater moral weight, and a lack of principles – being completely arbitrary, in other words – results in the very same tyranny we seek to avoid. Marxists are quite arbitrary in the application of their own beliefs. A rapist may be excused if his politics are correct. A murderer may be pardoned if he is useful to the Party. Their only real principle is a constant striving for power. Power is good, with them. Nothing else really matters.
When one group adheres to principles – or at least tries to – and another does not, the one that does not is often granted political advantage. This is something we have seen with the Left (though sometimes on the Right, too) for many years. It has created a House advantage, so to speak, for the Left. Consider how every close election that resulted in a recount almost invariably resulted in mysterious piles of Democrat ballots being discovered. Or how Hillary won every coin toss against Bernie Sanders.
The principle for them is power. No more or less than that.
I don’t argue for us to abandon principles, however, for then we become like our enemy. The challenge, rather, is to articulate them – to ensure that they do not become a noose around our necks. For like pacifists leading to more violence, so too will poorly articulated principles ensure the extinction of our own principles.
One current example is when Rightists come out and champion the censorship campaigns of Facebook, Twitter, et al. The usual principle given as justification for this view is that private companies may censor speech on their property as much as they like. Having discovered that Rightists will often adhere to this principle even against their own obvious interests, Leftists have concentrated much of their recent efforts on subverting the Right from within businesses. Every day, more businesses declare open support for the Left, and disdain for the Right. Indeed, Nike’s use of Colin Kaepernick’s face in their advertisements has been boiling over the airwaves today. Papa Johns recently declared their affiliation with Social Justice. And the position of Starbucks on guns is known well enough. Most companies have a decidedly Leftist bent, these days. Exceptions exist, but not that many – at least not at the large company level.
Leftists realized that the Right would fight to the death if the government was openly used to suppress the Right (see the IRS scandal), but the Right would stand by passively if the same was done through businesses, due to strict adherence to the principles of private property. This is being used as a weapon against us.
I don’t have a specific fix for this problem in mind, though some ideas have come to mind (one may or may not involve helicopters – I plead the Fifth on that). In actuality, I would ask my readers how they would solve the principle problem here. This cannot be permitted to continue, or else we become moral cowards – and soon, not even that much, for the weapon will be bludgeoned over our heads until we are broken.
And let’s not kid ourselves. If this weapon is defeated, the Left will find another. They have no moral restrictions on what they may use against us, for their only principle is power. All else falls before that.