chapter  5
14 Pages

Contractarian Education

In part one of The Libertarian Idea, Jan Narveson argues that a general right to liberty as a sole fundamental right will generate rights to private property. This chapter examines the connection between a right to liberty and rights to private property, and argues that the libertarian as described by Narveson is mistaken in the connection that he draws between liberty and private property. It suggests that on the criterion of greater net liberty, at worst exclusive property rights increase the number of interferences with liberty, and at best they simply distribute them differently. A right to self-ownership is the right to dispose of one's body and one's mind as one sees fit. Because a right to self-ownership is a property right, it involves the right to exclude others from use. Thus such a right is frequently taken to prohibit such activities as taxation, insofar as that is regarded as forced use of someone else's labour.