Free to Choose

Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do? Episode 03: "FREE TO CHOOSE"

Part One 

Michael Sandel introduces the libertarian conception of individual rights, according to which only a minimal state is justified. Libertarians argue that government shouldn't have the power to enact laws that 1) protect people from themselves, such as seat belt laws, 2) impose some peoples moral values on society as a whole, or 3) redistribute income from the rich to the poor. Sandel explains the libertarian notion that redistributive taxation is akin to forced labor with references to Bill Gates and Michael Jordan.

Part two

Libertarian philosopher Robert Nozick makes the case that taxing the wealthy—to pay for housing, health care, and education for the poor—is a form of coercion. Students first discuss the arguments behind redistributive taxation. Don't most poor people need the social services they receive in order to survive? If you live in a society that has a system of progressive taxation, aren't you obligated to pay your taxes? Don't many rich people often acquire their wealth through sheer luck or family fortune? A group of students dubbed Team Libertarian volunteers to defend the libertarian philosophy against these objections.

The Libertarianism being discussed here has not mentioned the fact that the wealth of the rich is in fact stolen from the poor. Further to this argument, it is a capitalist principal that capital must be acquired at any cost to the extent of the wars initiated by the US. However we do not own ourselves, under democracy we in effect own each other, and we have a duty to co-operate with the collective to the extent that we contribute to or work to change the laws of the land.
Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?

Harvard University.
The book, Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do? by Michael Sandel.
Two Treatises of Government and A Letter Concerning Toleration. By John Locke
Two Treatises of Government (Everyman S.) Peter Laslett's edition of Locke's "Two Treatises of Government" is widely recognised as one of the classic pieces of recent scholarship in the history of ideas, and has been read and used by students of political theory throughout the world.


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