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L19 - Libertarianism

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Daniel Kofman

April 1, 2014 • Liberalism treats liberty as a central value • Political restrictions on liberty (laws) must be justified by those who wish to put in place such laws o Critics (communitarians, perfectionists, and intuitionists) - it overemphasis liberty at the expense of other values o Liberal ideology is itself fractured • Political obligation < (duty to obey the laws) is a problem for liberalism. The state’s laws are coercive. Freedom and autonomy conflict with coercion • Coercion implies the interference of other human beings upon your liberty • Negative Liberty: liberty is the absence of interferences • Positive Liberty: autonomy based liberty (freedom) • Republican Liberty: liberty-protecting government ensures that no agent, including itself, has arbitrary power over citizens – equal disbursement of power -the mere possibility of interference is seen as a limitation on liberty • Classic liberalism – private property and individual liberty are directly intertwined -people are free to negotiate contracts and sell their labor as they see fit -private property is the only effective means of protecting liberty - Contract tradition tries to make authority/legitimacy depend on consent. - Rousseau adds identification with laws - pre-political unanimity - Positive liberty; should be called liberty, wanted to restrict to negative liberty. Positive liberty is seen as coercion. - positive freedom is when you divide the self into two or more different parts - like Plato had - 3 parts - general will, empirical self, real self 3. For some, democracy is the solution to the puzzle - no obligation to obey laws of a dictatorship, but in democracy people rule so not a problem. - for some democracy, there is no solution: the fact that the state is democratic, doesn’t resolve the issue 3.1 Premise: individuals are free, autonomous (moral claim - right) 3.2 Premise: since individuals are free and autonomous (self-legislating), they should not be coerced (unless they threaten someone else’s equal freedom). 3.3 Premise: States, by definition, rule by coercion 3.4 People have right (and moral duty) to exercise their own autonomy 3.4 Conclusion (1-4): Therefore individuals do not have duties to obey states, and all state authority is illegitimate 3.5 Premise: majority rule democracies coerce minorities 3.6: Conclusion: (from 4-5) Individuals (in a minority) do not have duties to obey democratic majorities, or the laws of democratic states 4. Robert Paul Wolff, inventor of the doctrine of ‘philosophical anarchism’, makes these points together: 4.1 individuals have basic rights to autonomy 4.2 One may not forfeit one’s moral autonomy: it is inalienable. (Liberal tradition: one cannot sell oneself into slavery). 4.3 Just as promising to be a slave cannot (morally) make you a slave, promising to obey the laws of a
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