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A Dilemma for Libertarianism
Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (2009)
  • Karl Widerquist, University of Reading
This article presents a dilemma for libertarianism. It argues that libertarian principles of acquisition and transfer without regard for the pattern of inequality do not support a minimal state, but can lead just as well to a monarchy with full the full power of taxation without violation of self-ownership. The article considers and rejects several ways in which libertarianism might try to argue against a monarchy. Once the government ownership of property is shown to be consistent with just acquisition and transfer of property rights, monarchy, socialism, or state-managed capitalism can be seen as patterns of the distribution of property rights. Libertarian advocacy of a minimal state is simply a preference for one pattern of the distribution of property rights over another. Thus, libertarians must choose between the principles and the state they advocate.
  • Libertarianism,
  • property rights,
  • social justice,
  • taxation,
  • government
Publication Date
February, 2009
Citation Information
Karl Widerquist. "A Dilemma for Libertarianism" Politics, Philosophy, and Economics Vol. 8 Iss. 1 (2009)
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