The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism by Ronald Hamowy download in ePub, pdf, iPad
Some American libertarians, such as Lysander Spooner and Murray Rothbard, have opposed all forms of government. And trying to organize a society along these lines would lead to disaster.
None of this is to say that libertarians are not concerned with outcomes at all. At this point, left-libertarians often claim intuitive support for an egalitarian proviso. Libertarians take a skeptical view of government authority.
For this reason, libertarians typically require something like voluntary consent or acceptance for legitimate state authority. They believe that natural resources are originally unowned and therefore private parties may appropriate them at will without the consent of, or owing to, others.
Indeed, libertarians believe that the primary purpose of government is to protect citizens from the illegitimate use of force. At the same time, full self-ownership does can out other moral considerations, including ones that are often thought relevant to justice. On this view, when people labor they quite literally extend their claims of self-ownership over external objects, thus drawing them into their rights-protected sphere.
At one end of the spectrum sits the maximally permissive view of original appropriation. It wrongs an individual to subject her to non-consensual and unprovoked killing, maiming, enslavement, or forcible manipulation. In addition to voter ignorance, many libertarians fear the more general dynamics of state power.
Once we start trading off the idea against other considerations, those considerations are thereby admitted into the libertarian moral universe. John Tomasi argues that strong rights over our bodies are required by the ideal of democratic legitimacy. Some libertarians hold that people enjoy full self-ownership. Accordingly, governments may not use force against their own citizens unless doing so is necessary to prevent the illegitimate use of force by one individual or group against another. Such a theory does not live up to libertarian ideals very well.
This latter process is simply beyond our capabilities. In these cases, and in these cases alone, Locke sees appropriation as taking what belongs to others. Indeed, it seems like it is rational for people to remain ignorant about politics. Obviously, full self-ownership offers the strongest possible version of the benefits of self-ownership more generally. Or one can b endorse the enforcement of certain distributions.
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