Due: Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Robert Nozick argues for a libertarian form of justice in an excerpt of his work called, “Distributive Justice.” The libertarian view essentially holds that the free market is inherently just and any form of patterned redistribution of wealth is wrong1. Patterned redistribution is the redistribution of wealth according to some societal merit or principle; ex. a person’s contribution and value to a community, or how much a person earns. Nozick’s argument begins with the assertion that people have the right of ownership over their talents. A further assertion is made that because people own their talents, they own the products of their talents—which is also known as their possessions. This premise is the foundation for what we shall call Nozick’s self-ownership argument. I will now present a brief introduction to Nozick’s view followed by a discussion in support of his self-ownership argument against patterned redistribution. This will be accomplished through the examination of the proper entitlement of possessions, the adoption of the moral view that people deserve to be treated as ends in and of themselves, and a discussion of how patterned redistribution is an obstacle to freedom. Nozick argues that in a just society, so long as people are truly entitled to the products of their talents, they have the right to enjoy the product of their talents however they please without any interference from third parties. Nozick does not explicitly state the extent of a persons’ right to enjoyment. I shall therefore assume that such a right is limited only by the extent that a person’s enjoyment does not interfere with the lives of others; as an unlimited right to enjoy any and all possessions would without a doubt result in utter chaos and anarchy (ex. People cannot use guns to kill...