Tuesday, December 11, 2007

#35 - Anarchy, State, and Utopia by Robert Nozick

Hey guys,

In order to better explain the principles of Liberty and the problems with Collectivism in the world I will be doing research on many political schools of thought and coming back and explaining it a bit. Today I want to talk about Distributive Justice which be read about in Robert Nozicks book, "Anarchy, State, and Utopia".

This book poses a very strongly Libertarian viewpoint on minimal government while also going into why complete Anarchy is not viable, great stuff. One of the most important things I felt I got out of this was the idea of Distributive Justice, which is heavily based on the Kantian ideas of the Individual being an ends, not a means.

The way I take this logic is that person A can take from person B, to give to Person C. To do this would reduce person B to a mere means to an end, which is morally wrong according to Kant, this is using people. So essentially if I tax the rich to give to the poor I am denying the rights the rich have as individuals and using them as a means. So a utilitarian redistribution of wealth by this means would not be justified in world with Liberty.

Nozwick then goes on to say as long as you attain your property by just means, and exchange them through voluntary actions, the state has no right over your property and it's distribution since you are NOT a means to their ends. Although if I read correctly, if at any point the acquisition or rectification of property is not just the state can redistribute the goods.


a) unjust acquisition - I steal a painting from a museum, I now have acquired this painting in an unjust manner. If I am caught, this property can be redistributed back to it's rightful owner.

b) unjust rectification - I signed a contract that I will give someone 5$ which I have justly acquired through labor. If i decide to keep the 5 dollars that I have agreed in contract to hand over, I'm holding on to this property unjustly and the state can honor the contract and redistribute the property ($5) to rightful owner.

Only in these two examples does Nozwick Justify state intervention in the redistribution of property. This is the only model that is compatible with liberty, since all other models would violate liberty by involuntarily taking your justly acquired/rectified property.

Some Political Philosophy to keep in mind, Vote Ron Paul in 2008, probably the only candidate who seems to know how to read a book.

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