THE LIVE AND LET LIVE GLOBAL PEACE MOVEMENT
The world’s most important endeavor is underway right now and you are invited to join. The Live and Let Live Global Peace Movement is a serious effort undertaken by people worldwide who desire to live together in freedom and peace. We are united by a commitment to oppose all forms of aggression whether instituted by any person, group, organization, or government, and to inspire people to be good humans. We must succeed.
Despite good-faith disagreements on many issues, if we unite around one fundamental principle, we could achieve and maintain freedom and peace in a way that optimizes human happiness and well-being better than ever previously achieved in human history.
Utopia is not a reasonable goal. We should recognize and accept life will never be perfect. However, it could be improved dramatically for the vast majority of people. There is no need to check your ethics, common sense, or reasonable skepticism at the door. If you are open-minded, reasonable, and willing to consider a new paradigm for how we govern ourselves, you may be inspired to join the global effort to achieve freedom and peace.
We each have different opinions, ideas, and beliefs about the world. We also have different interests, aptitudes, goals, and desires. We value things differently. I am happy to offer you my advice about how you should live your life, but because we define our personal happiness differently, I do not know for sure what is in your long-term best interest. As adults, neither of us has any valid claim to be in charge of the other. In that way, we are equal. I absolutely respect your right to be in charge of your life.
Simply recognizing these obvious points defines me as a “live and let live” type of guy. The phrase, “live and let live” best captures the essence of what should be our basic fundamental principle governing how we interact with each other. Imagine a world based on the idea that, instead of attempting to impose our views and our will on each other, we each simply agree to live and let live. It may initially seem too simple a phrase, but we can actually and effectively organize around this phrase, and the important principle it represents, to justly and dramatically optimize human happiness.
What does it mean to simply live and let live? There are actually two distinct, and equally important, imperatives to the principle: 1. “Live” and 2. “Let Live.” The principle’s first imperative seems obvious: Live your life! You are lucky enough to be alive, conscious, and on the planet right now. As with all things, this too will eventually come to an end. Seize the day!
As a competent adult owner of your life, you should be in charge of creating, directing, and organizing your life. You have the right to decide for yourself how best to live your life. That means you alone have the right to both define and peacefully pursue your happiness. You are the rightful owner of your body, all your peacefully acquired property, money, and all your time. As such, you have the right to be the unapologetic iron-fisted dictator of these things.
As the competent adult iron-fisted dictator of your body, property, money, and time, you should be permitted to do anything you want with these with no restrictions at all except for one: the second imperative. To “Let Live” means to simply allow others the same right to be the competent adult iron-fisted dictators of their bodies, property, money, and time. As a prerequisite to achieving freedom and peace, you must allow other competent adults the identical and reciprocal right to live their lives as they see fit with the same one important restriction.
Concerning the “live and let live” principle, some say the devil is in the details. Indeed, we need to decide where to draw the critically important line between living your life and interfering with the equal rights of other competent adults to live their lives. Therefore, we need rules governing how we interact with each other such that we can each live our lives while allowing others to live their lives. Given the infinite number of different types of interactions we can have with each other, we will undoubtedly need lots of rules defining where to draw that critically important line.
There are two hugely different categories of rules: one category comes with a formal sanction for violations and the other does not. For example, the rule prohibiting murder comes with a very serious formal sanction for those properly shown to have violated it. However, the rule requiring youngsters to show respect to their elders does not. While there may be social consequences for failing to respect one’s elders, violating this category of rules properly carries no formal consequence. Viewed differently, some rules, like the rule against murder, we are required to comply with. Other rules, like the rule to respect one’s elders, we are not.
Rules we are required to comply with are generally called legal rules. We use the term “legal” to simply identify the category of rules that carry a formal consequence for violations. The rule prohibiting murder is therefore a legal rule. Legal rules define the mandatory minimum standards of how we must, or must not, act when we interact with each other.
If we are serious about implementing the “live and let live” principle, the law ought to include all the rules necessary to implement both aspects of the principle. Said another way, the law ought to permit competent adults to “live” by being the iron-fisted dictators of their bodies, property, money, and time while also mandating that they allow others to do the same. All laws should be in harmony with the live and let live principle.
How do we determine which rules ought to be legal rules? The rule against murder is properly a legal rule precisely because if you act as the iron-fisted dictator over another person’s body or life, then you have violated the right of that person to be the iron-fisted dictator of their body and life. The rule to respect your elders is not properly a legal rule precisely because if you disrespect an elder person, you have not violated that person’s right to be the iron-fisted dictator of their life. Nobody properly has a legal right to be respected by others. We could identify this type of non-legal rule as a moral rule. In short, legal rules govern how we must act, and moral rules properly govern how we should act. Understanding this critically important difference between the two categories of rules is the key to dramatically improving life on Earth for the vast majority of people.
Moral rules are certainly important. We are not likely to ever achieve peace until we inspire others to act morally to some extent. Unfortunately, we do not all agree, nor are we likely to agree, on morality anytime soon. Fortunately, the consequences of our failure to agree in this area are entirely manageable. We are each free to associate with the friends and business acquaintances we prefer. Disagreements about how we should treat each other are manageable because people, as the iron-fisted dictators of themselves, may act immorally with their own bodies, property, money, or time so long as they do not interfere with the equal rights of other iron-fisted dictators to manage themselves.
To be precise, legal rules are indeed drawn from moral principles. While we do not all agree on the entirety of morality, we can identify a least common denominator of morality that all reasonable people can agree upon that could and should, serve as our legal principle upon which to calibrate all our laws. Regardless of whatever moral code you subscribe to, I suspect your moral code holds acts such as murder, assault, rape, fraud, and theft are wrong. This is so because all reasonable people agree aggression against other people, or their property is wrong. There is no reasonable dispute on this point. As such, we can divide the general live and let live principle into two distinct sub-principles, a legal principle, and a moral principle.
The Live and Let Live Legal Principle
To aggress against another person or their property is to violate another person’s right to control their body, property, money, or time. Such a violation always trespasses against a person’s right to live their life. It follows that the law ought to absolutely prohibit all acts of aggression whether committed by any person or any group of people however large. No person, group, organization, corporation, or government should be legally permitted to engage in any form of aggression. In essence, the Live and Let Live Legal Principle (“3L Legal Principle”) could be accurately described with the simple statement, “Don’t be an aggressor!” To properly implement live and let live, all acts of aggression, whether committed by any person or group, should always be illegal.
What is aggression? Aggression certainly includes initiating force against another person or their property, fraud, coercion, as well as doing anything that creates a substantial risk or threat of harm to another person or their property. The 3L Legal Principle, and the laws implementing it, therefore should always absolutely prohibit any of these acts in all cases. We may personally conclude what competent adults do with their bodies, property, money, or time is immoral, unhealthy, unwise, or unwarranted — but, unless the 3L Legal Principle is violated, their conduct should be legal. On the other hand, if the conduct violates the 3L Legal Principle, it ought to always be illegal.
Another way to more generally describe the 3L Legal Principle is to simply say all voluntary interactions between competent adults ought to be legal, and all involuntary interactions ought to be illegal. Any interaction between people involving unconsented aggression is always involuntary and should therefore always be illegal. Conversely, any interaction between consenting adults not involving aggression is always voluntary and therefore ought to always be legal. Calibrating all our laws to be in harmony with the 3L Legal Principle is the only way we can truly live and let live.
The Live and Let Live Moral Principle
Simply calibrating all our laws to be in harmony with the 3L Legal Principle will result in freedom because all acts of aggression will be outlawed. However, it is possible to refrain from engaging in acts of aggression while still acting in ways that do not foster peace. As an example, neighbors who shout ugly insults at each other from their own property do not violate the 3L Legal Principle because offensive words do not amount to aggression, but they are certainly not living in peace.
To achieve peace, we must inspire others to act in moral ways that foster peace. The Live and Let Live Moral Principle (“3L Moral Principle”) can be accurately described with the simple statement, “Be a good human.” Unlike a legal rule, a moral rule can be totally ignored without any formal consequence. Indeed, as discussed previously, this is the essence of the difference between legal rules and moral rules. Said another way, people ought to be legally permitted to ignore the 3L Moral Principle so long as they comply with the 3L Legal Principle. However, because Live and Let Live is a peace movement, and not merely a freedom movement, we should do our best to inspire people to adhere to the 3L Moral Principle.
What is a good human? While being a good human certainly requires that a person not aggress against others, it also includes aspirational values such as tolerance, open-mindedness, voluntary kindness, civility towards others, a commitment to truth, facts, justice, and rational thought. These aspirational values, and others, are necessary to achieve the overall goals of achieving peace while optimizing human happiness and decreasing human suffering.
The price we must pay to achieve freedom and peace is that we remove even our own moral views from the law. Instead of imposing our morals, we should inspire others to act morally. The law should simply prohibit all forms of aggression by all individuals and groups. When enough people commit their hearts and minds to live and let live, we will actually achieve and maintain a free and peaceful world. Join us and be part of the solution!