It was back in the sixties when I was pursuing an understanding of the philosophy of freedom, that I realized it was necessary to understand the difference in principles and value judgments.


I had not given the subject much thought until I applied for a scholarship and received a notice a requirement for application was to write a paper on, “The Moral Imperative.” I was working at the time as Executive Director of a Motel Managers School. I came home from work and sat down at the typewriter with no idea where to start, when suddenly it came to me to write about principles and value judgments. I wrote it all out in about three hours, and mailed it the next day.


I was so surprised when I learned that I was one of five who had received distinguished recognition Awards, and my paper won the highest score of any woman, but a young man had won top score.


Since that period, forty years ago, I have come to realize just how important an understanding of the difference in those two things really is.


I probably have a dozen dictionaries and most differ in their definitions on many things. I enjoy my Black’s Law Dictionary and here is how a principle is defined in it: “Principle, A fundamental Truth or Doctrine as of Law. A comprehensive or doctrine which furnishes a basis for legal determination. A Truth or proposition so clear that it cannot be proved or contradicted, unless by a proposition which is still clearer.”


Furthermore, in Black’s Law Dictionary, the word, “value” is described as follows: ” The utility of an object in satisfying directly or indirectly, the needs or desires of human beings, called by economist, “value in use” or its WORTH consisting in the power of purchasing other objects called, “value in exchange.”


So there you have it. Value is what a human being considers worth at any given time in his desires and needs whereas a principle is based upon a fundamental truth of Universal Law.


Accordingly, ones values by their nature fluctuate and change, whereas, principles are undeviating and immutable and never change. The law of gravity is a principle; it never changes, regardless of one’s value judgments of needs or desires.


Let’s say in my value system I desire to have boiled water. In order to have it I must apply two principles, I must contain it and heat it. No other way to have boiled water. Makes no difference where you live on this planet on this universe, the same applies. However my desire or need for boiled water is my value system.


It’s my opinion that much going on in the world today relative to so much un-happiness, disenchantment, aggravation, disappointment, and disagreement stems from a misunderstanding between those two factions, principles and value judgments. An understanding of what is right and what is wrong can be understood with clarity by understanding those two things. What is right and what is wrong can be determined by Universal Principles or Universal Law.


Unfortunately, so many people see the effects of violations of universal laws as the principle when in fact it’s their value judgments about a given subject and not the principle.


In the past several weeks, I have read more than one article about a situation or condition called ZAP, which means Zero Aggression Principle. Arguably, zero aggression does not fit the criteria of a principle.


Again, Black’s Law Dictionary defines aggression as one, “who first employs hostile force,” “The party who first offers violence or offense.”


Creation is — Life is— Truth is — Freedom is — Gravity is.


Seven of the Ten Commandments are negative, and tell us what we should not do. They are not the principle but telling us not to violate the principle of life and ownership which are principles. Principles deal with the Universal Laws of that which is.


Ownership of property is a total concept. Beginning with oneself, there is a responsibility for ownership, beginning with the boundaries of oneself. You can only own that which has a boundary and you can control. Inasmuch as aggression is hostile force it means one person crosses the boundaries of ownership of another, and when they do they violate the Principle of ownership. By crossing the boundaries of another in violation of the will of the owner.


“Thou shall not Steal” is not the principle, but the violation of the principle of ownership by crossing the boundaries of the owner in violation of the will of the owner.


Accordingly, zero aggression is not a principle, but could be described as ones adherence and recognition of the principle of ownership of property.


The understanding of “principle” is such an important one because it is so misleading in its misuse. Much to do and promotion of ideas that state these are the principles of the Republican Party, Democrat party, Libertarian party. Principles of the conservatives, liberals, right wing left wing and on and on ad infinitum. When they are not Principles at all, but human being value judgments disguised as Principles. Value judgments constantly changing, which carry a variety of meanings, depending upon who you listen to? To qualify as a “principle” it cannot have an exception, and is not subject to what one knows, or doesn’t know, likes or dislikes.


Aggression is a human action based upon ones value judgment. The absence of aggression or non-aggression is non compis mentis. It’s a noble attitude for one to embrace by respecting the boundaries of ownership of another but cannot be defined as a principle.


Ones belief and adherence to zero aggression, is an expression of one’s recognition and respect for another’s property boundary lines..A belief it is wrong, because it violates a principle. Not because it is one.


Let Freedom Ring


Just me




The Freedom Lady








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0 Responses to Principles and Value Judgments – The Zero Aggression “Principle” (Issue 212)

  1. I’ll stay out of this one for now, and just observe the debate.

  2. Libby Snipp says:

    Thanks for another great post, Anne.

    I assume the non-aggression principle is the same as the zero-aggression principle, and I understand why you believe that is more of a value judgment than a principle… I also understand why you believe physical “laws” like gravity are a principle.

    But who defines the boundaries you describe above, and why do you view ownership of property as a principle?

    Hear, Hear: Let Freedom Ring!

  3. Hi Libby,
    Thank you for reading my articles and your comments and questions. Who defines the boundaries, you ask. You set the boundaries for your life and property. You decide if there is a tresspass.
    Further you ask why I view ownership of property as a principle? I have written a number of other articles on the subject. If you care to check them out, the answer is probably there. I plan on writing another article on the subject shortly, which may provide some enlightment.
    Thank you for your interest

    Chief Editor

  4. Chrisg288 says:

    Dear Anne,

    I think what you have written here is the best thing I’ve read in a very long time. The principle of ownership extends far beyond physical objects. The confidence that a person feels in their knowledge is dependent on the feeling of ownership of that knowledge, especially when it comes to practical application of that knowledge. Therefore, this principle is at the core of education, learning and belief systems, and subsequently the indoctrination of alternative idea programs… such as the Taliban teaching boys to be suicide bombers.


  5. Hi Chris,

    Thank you for those kind words. I did not invent the principle of ownership,but from the stand-point of observation, practicallity, and experience accept the validity of it.
    If any one has the audacity to doubt the veracity, one only has to observe a child in relation to its toys. That pride of and desire to control that which one owns is expressed in the actions of little children. Their honesty of purpose in the way they deal with that they presume to own.
    I!m very much opposed to parents making theirchildren feel guilty for , “not sharing”.I taught my children if it belonged to them they could do as they chose with it. Discovered by not forcing nor placing guilt, they voluntarily exhibited generosity.
    That pride of ownership is an important facet of our lives.

    Thank you for reading my articles and taking the time to comment
    Anne Cleveland
    Chief Editor

  6. Chrisg288 says:

    Dear Anne,
    I’ve been reading more of your extremely lucid writing, and continue to be impressed. but back to the topic… When I get feeling down sometimes.. I will meditate and evaluate many things in order to get back on track. It amazes me to have glimpses into my value system. Like you, I have spent time trying to identify what is important in life. (I guess thats why your writings resonate so much with me) I have even tried to develop a formula for Value.(see here. I also would get deeply lost if not for my spiritual connectedness.

    It amazes me that we can even feel a sense of ownership over body functions, and yet disgusted at others um outputs. It shows me that all value is created by humans, and the value that a person places on ‘their’ stuff (or that which they desire) has the power of veto over the entire list, regardless of other relative evaluations. (I’m probably not making sense)
    Thank you,

  7. I’d have to play ball with you on this. Which is not something I typically do! I enjoy reading a post that will make people think. Also, thanks for allowing me to speak my mind!

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