Moral Foundation for Liberal Egalitarian Politics
Left-libertarianism is a promising englobement of the values that define liberal egalitarian politics. In this essay I will argue that left-libertarianism does in fact provide a compelling moral foundation for liberal egalitarian politics. Furthermore, throughout the essay I will bring in discussion certain elements that I believe are critical in support of a liberal egalitarian view. Moreover, I will also define and talk a little about what a left-libertarian view means and what it specifically entails in contrast to a right-libertarian. This will be useful in order to see why left-libertarianism is a more proper and suitable moral foundation for liberal egalitarian politics.
Left-libertarianism is concisely described as “a theory of justice that is committed to full self-ownership and to an egalitarian sharing value of natural resources”. Even though the term “justice” is applied in many ways in a left-libertarian view it is commonly understood as the “moral duties that we owe each other”. Defining what justice means in the libertarian view is important in developing the arguments I will make. Furthermore, according to Peter V. justice is concerned with five major sectors which are material equality, liberty, security, accountability for choices and promotion of individual prosperity.
I want to shed light on these sectors because they are some of the main foundations that lie behind liberal egalitarian politics. As it was said above left-libertarianism is constructed from a theory of justice which in itself is comprised of sectors such as material equality and liberty, two of the main stand points of liberal egalitarian politics. Material equality is concerned with things such as equal wellbeing or the condition of equality. In addition, it is also concerned with equality of resources, this is one of the main points related to equality that I will focus on.
The equality of resources has been discussed by philosophers such as Nozick R. and Locke J. I would like to bring into discussion the egalitarian proviso of Otsuka M. The egalitarian proviso of Otsuka M states that “you may acquire previously unowned worldly resources if and only if you leave enough so that everyone else can acquire an equally advantageous share of unowned worldly resources”. This egalitarian proviso maintains its high probability because nobody is left at a disadvantage or in Locke’s words “there is no prejudice to any others”. Disadvantage here is understood as leaving some with a less equal or unable to obtain an even share of resources.
I believe Otsuka’s egalitarian proviso to be highly valuable to the liberal egalitarian view. I say this because in contrast to Nozick’s regards to resources which states that “you may acquire previously unowned land (and its fruits) if and only if you make nobody else worse off than she would have been in a state of nature in which no land is privately held but each is free to gather and consume food and water from the land and make use of it”. This proviso in my opinion is too weak to maintain an egalitarian value because it prioritizes the idea of “first grabbing” in which the first person that acquire a certain resource can monopolize all the opportunities for others to acquire for themselves.
For example if one acquires land and employs people to work on said land with an equal wage they will in theory be better off than they would be in a state of nature. Even though this according to Nozick will still mean that others are also benefiting from the said resources it still does not give and equal perspective, because you are left with one person who owns and others who are employed. In an egalitarian view and situation everybody can be the owner of their own resources which are distributed evenly.
It is because of this that I believe that Otsuka’s view on equality of resources is of high value to egalitarian politics because it corrects the flaws that exist in Nozick’s view on the distribution of resources. Furthermore, the contrast between the less egalitarian view of Nozick and the more egalitarian view of Otsuka emphasizes why I believe that left-libertarian view as a moral foundation for liberal egalitarian politics.
Another important element that I want to talk about in the continuation of this essay is libertarianism and its importance to liberal politics. Earlier in this essay I talked about the value of left-libertarianism and the appropriation of natural resources in an egalitarian manner. Now I want to bring forward the left-libertarian approach to full self-ownership. To start out I want to mention that every libertarian agrees that self-ownership is a fundamental right. The common idea of full self-ownership is that of having “all the moral rights over oneself that an owner of an inanimate thing has over it under the strongest form of private ownership of inanimate things”.
Vallentyne also mentions that a “full self-owner morally has all the rights over herself that a slave-owner legally has over a slave under the strongest possible legal form of private slave-ownership”. In a libertarian view full self-ownership is defined as a set of five rules out of which I believe that “control rights”, “security rights” and “transfer rights” are the ones that stand out the most and also carry the most weight. First, the right and control to do as one pleases with a certain entity whether it is oneself or an object is known as “control rights”. In a liberal view the right to use an object whenever one wants and also the right to claim that object as to not let anyone else use it is a fundamental liberty-right. Second, “security rights” are part of the claim rights which oppose
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