Book Review: Kindergarten Rules (SNaP Module #1: 2010)

Understanding the first principles of nonaggressionLiberation Technology User's Guide: Module #1: Kindergarten Rules
by Brian Wright

The Kindergarten Rules is the first installment of a series of seven that describe and advocate the Sacred Nonaggression Principle (SNaP)—my book advocating that we hold the nonaggression principle (banning the initiation of physical force) as the highest standard in social systems.

Audience of Book

This particular book—which is actually a 28-page, easy-to-read booklet—is an introduction to the fundamentals of liberty… another word for the nonaggression principle. The module illustrates the simplicity of the nonaggression idea-thru the “Kindergarten Rules.” Then the nonaggression principle is shown to be not only the highest ideal in society but to lie at the root of all our core values. The module also establishes the premise that man’s natural inclination is to live without aggressing upon others.

Publishing Method and Context

The Kindergarten Rules represents some new thinking for how to bring the core ideas of the Sacred Nonaggression Principle to the marketplace. I made the decision to break the SNaP book—published via Lulu—into seven distinct “modules…” for the younger, who do not like to read long stuff, and for the older, who find it difficult to read long stuff. These are the seven standalone modules, each approximately 28 pages:

  1. The Kindergarten Rules—“Don’t hit, don’t steal, don’t lie.” The nonaggression principle comes from simple truths, core values.
  2. Nonaggression 101—The fundamental rule of live and let live, and why it needs to be sacred.
  3. The Roots of Nonaggression—Psychological qualities that promote a society without coercion, the sine qua non of enlightenment.
  4. The Barrier Cloud (this book)—Addresses main causes of obstacles to movement along the Nonaggression Vector.
  5. Breakthru Strategy—Grand and petite strategies for busting the Barrier Cloud.
  6. Productive Action—Taking it to the streets: undoing the state and asserting our natural freedom to live our lives.
  7. Nonaggression Faith—Useful techniques for assessing progress and encouraging the SNaP in our lives. Religion and references.

The book size is now 5.5″ by 8.5″ (vs. std. ‘paperback’ 4.250 x 6.875) and text size was also increased to 13 point Times Roman, with plenty of spacing. Then, in keeping with the whole goal of approachability and usability, I conceived of the set of documents as a series of stepped- learning training manuals, each addressing a fundamental area of understanding and/or action about the SNaP. Hence, the tongue-in-cheek title for the series: Liberation Technology User’s Guide. Finally, I changed publishers from Lulu to Amazon’s Createspace, to take advantage of automated ISBN assignment and much wider sales distribution.

The “Rules”

The first module of the SNaP or Liberation Tech series starts with what may appear to be an overly long foreword and prologue. Please understand that these preparation sections set up the full SNaP book and its message. The reader may proceed directly to the beginning of the initial “Kindergarten Rules” section itself, which is actually only ten pages. Ten pages worth of dense-packed concepts, starting with the Rules. To summarize:

The Kindergarten Rules are simple “axioms of proper behavior that hail from the concepts most humans learn from our earliest days: 1) Don’t hit, 2) Don’t steal, 3) Be honest. Let us respect, even worship, these ideas as adults.”

After defining the nonaggression principle then providing some transition wording, I go on to develop the key observation of the first book in the SNaP series:

What is aggression? I’ve found that the best starting point comes from a marvelous book by Mr. Robert Fulghum entitled All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten. The book is a collection of some of his life experiences, from which he usually distills a moral. Fulghum, in the cover story, asserts that kindergarten taught him the following:

Kindergarten Rules:
Don’t hit
Don’t steal
Be honest (don’t lie)

So where did “the Rules” come from, and what makes them so special? I write from an American context, and my possibly parochial judgment is that the Kindergarten Rules are a distillation, for children, of the fundamental truths embedded in the country’s founding: the Inalienable Rights of Man and equality before the law.

Module #1 of the series proceeds to connect more rigorously the Kindergarten Rules to the adult practice of the nonaggression principle. And that principle is a biggie, lying at the foundation of what we often refer to as the American Core Values, such as:

  • Rule of law
  • Equality of rights
  • Life, liberty, and property
  • Popular sovereignty
  • Separation of powers
  • Sanctity of family
  • Home as a castle
  • Justice as impartial
  • No legal privileges
  • Respecting (valid) authority
  • Honoring (deserving) elders

And so on. The logical path from the behavioral axioms of childhood-the Kindergarten SunFLOWerRules-leads thru religious tenets and core values to the prescription for the Big Universal Problem (BUP), i.e. tyranny. That prescription or cure for the BUP is, indeed, the simple nonaggression principle.

Next Installment: SNaP #2, Nonaggression 101

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