Living Morally

The Practical Application Of Moral Principles

Self Defense

[All the Living Morally articles are: "Must Choose," "Own Mind," "Must Learn," "Must Think," "Be One's Best," "Must Work," "Be Free," "Right Relationships," "Mind Own Business," "Self Defense." Links will be added as articles are published.]

This article continues the discussion of the practical application of the ten moral principles described in the article, Principles to every day life and the advantages of living by those principles.

Moral Principles Are Practical

Moral principles are reality based. They are determined by the reality of physical existence and our own natures as human beings. The purpose of those principles is to guide our choices and actions to achieve success as human beings and to be all we can be. The ultimate purpose of moral principle is the enjoyment of our lives.

Self Defense

It is immoral to allow another individual to interfere in one's own life by any means. Rational discourse is not interference—everything else is. It is morally necessary to protect oneself, and ones property from such interference, by the most rational and economic method possible, including force to any degree when no other method is possible.

If one is to live morally, freely learning, thinking, choosing, and working to be and achieve all they can they must be free from anything that would limit their ability to do those things and to enjoy the product of their efforts. The only real threat to their freedom is other individuals or agencies of human beings which the moral individual must defend themselves from if they are to live moral successful lives.

Morally, you must defend yourself against all possible threats to your person, your loved ones, and your wealth against those who would threaten them. The only question is, what is the morally right way for you to defend yourself.

Self Defense Means Defending Oneself

Most people believe self defense is moral, but very few believe it is a moral obligation. Most believe they can and should pass that responsibility to some agency (like a government), but self-defense is like any other moral necessity, it is the responsibility of the individual, just as it is the individual's responsibility to provide their own food, clothing, education, and health care. Expecting someone or something else to provide your defense for you is a terrible mistake.

No one else, not even a government and law enforcement can defend you against real threats to your person or property. There are crimes of murder, rape, theft, and other violence every day in this country with the most extensive system of laws and most expensive and powerful law enforcement agencies in the world.

To rely on any agency for your personal self-defence is an evasion of your own responsibility to defend yourself. If you really believe that some other agency is going to protect you, it will make you careless about your own self-defense.

[NOTE: Hiring an individual or agency to provide some specific protection, such body guards, security guards, or security agencies, is providing your own self-defense.]

The First Rule Of Self Defense

Like every other aspect of life, there are no guarantees, and no measures one takes to provide for their self-defense ensure no threat will ever occur. Very much like disease and accident, one takes all reasonable precautions to avoid situations of high risk. One avoids consuming possible infected food and water or takes measure to avoid mosquitoes where malaria or yellow fever are prevalent.

Oddly, many people who take all reasonable measures against other dangers and threats are quite cavalier and irresponsible about protecting their persons and property against threats. Maybe it is because they really do not believe there is any real danger, after all the police are there to protect them. It is what almost everyone who is a victim of harm believed.

The first rule of self-defense is:    Don't be there when it happens.

The obvious meaning is, do not put yourself in situations where threats of violence are likely. When such situations are not easy to avoid, one must take special precautions to protect themselves if a threat does occur. Threats of violence are possible, of course, but they are much more likely in some places than others. No one needs to be perpetually paranoid about being a victim of violence, just as no one needs to be perpetually paranoid about disease or accident, but one does need to always be aware of which situations increase one's risk of such dangers.

The broader meaning is to avoid all things that increase the risk of having your person or property threatened. Don't flaunt your wealth, keep your doors and windows locked, don't leave the keys in the car, don't tell everyone your business, especially things that convince others that you or your property is vulnerable, like, "we'll be away on vacation in the Bahamas all next week?"

It does not mean not doing what you like, or expressing yourself as you like, but you do have to honestly access the risk against what you think you want. "Shouldn't one have a right to go anywhere they like without being threatened?" That might be ideal but a "right" to something has nothing to do with reality. You have a "right" to cross the road when the traffic light says, "walk," but your "right" will do you no good if you fail to see the car coming that cannot possibly stop.

Force Is Not The Only Defense Against Force

In the article, "Moral Defense And The Use Of Force", I describe five methods of defense that are better than force, because they are both more effective and less costly.

[NOTE: In an earlier article, "About Force," I described this as a principle: "Force is perfectly legitimate in defense, but there is almost always another way, and any way that accomplishes the same defense without the use of force is better than force. There is a corollary: any way that accomplishes the same defense with less force is better than one using greater force." There are some other non-force methods of defense discussed in that article.]

The reason force must morally be evaded if possible has nothing to do with pacifism or non-violence. Force ought to be avoided because nothing can be gained by using of force and it is very costly in terms of one's time, effort, and emotional trauma. The moral individual has no use for using force against any other human being, but will not hesitate to use any method to defend himself and his own against any threat, including force to any degree, ruthlessly and without limit, when no other less costly method is possible.

It's your life, your wealth, your family which you are morally required to defend if you are determined to live happily and successfully.