“So I offer the board: are there any principles or codes for which you would sacrifice your life to defend?”
~Lady Tiamat, Honor
A “principle” in what sense? There are fundamental “truths” or propositions based on experience, observation, and inferences, which are ever-shifting and evolving, and there are simply rules and beliefs intended to govern ones behavior, which says nothing as to what basis they have in real-world or firsthand experience, nor whether they’re practical or even the product of independent thought.
To me, your question applies to the latter more than to the former. A fundamental ‘truth’ I subscribe to for example is “survival of the fittest”, which is a principle one can observe, embrace, and exploit awareness of maybe, but one that hardly needs defending. And if someone disagrees with it, simple disagreement with it does not make ‘the fit survive and the unfit perish’.
The latter sense is, to me, a less visceral meaning of “principle”, more abstract and conceptualized apart from firsthand experience, in which case it can be imposed or broken by the principles actually at play in reality (as opposed to whatever they might be in the lala land of delusions and bullshit they reside in). Would I give my life to defend rules or beliefs though? I guess I’d have to say it depends on where they come from and what they’re based on, although, if the objective of my beliefs and rules is for survival, than my answer would probably be (and probably is) a definitive “no”.
I might risk my life, but I doubt I’ll ever go into something with the intent of not coming out alive, or commit suicide (i.e. walk into something I know is going to get me killed knowingly) just because of a belief or a rule. Those are always far less important than my well-being, or even my successes or achievements.
On the other hand though, I suppose in theory I might give my life if what I desired required or necessitated me to die, and that desire was strong enough to over-ride my own sense of self-preservation.
I’m not afraid to die for what I believe in, but what I believe in isn’t rules, or honor, or governance of behavior, or morals. What I believe in is living, fulfillment, thrill, violence, conflict, satisfaction, achievement, connections, emotional investment… and a lot of other shit that seems to follow with being (at bottom) a simple (albeit clever, sophisticated) animal. A lot of that could get me killed, but I’m not afraid to die for living.