Locke and libertarian property rights: Reply to Weinberg

Critical Review 12 (3):319-323 (1998)
Abstract In his ?Freedom, Self?Ownership, and Libertarian Philosophical Diaspora, ?Justin Weinberg attempts to show, by using arguments from G.A. Cohen, that philosophical defenses of libertarian natural rights are doomed to failure, because they are either circular (by basing libertarianism on the value of ?freedom") or invalid (by basing libertarianism on a self?ownership premise that actually leads to some form of egalitarianism). In fact, however, a natural?rights libertarianism based on the self?ownership premise is not inconsistent if it holds that the earth is initially unowned, rather than collectively owned by all humanity. Under this thesis, the self?ownership assumption may lead to libertarianism, though other hurdles (such as social?contract theory) stand in the way. Finally, ordinary usage of the term ?freedom? permits its application as a moralized concept to a political philosophy that has been demonstrated true.
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