Left-Libertarianism and Private Discrimination
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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San Diego Law Review 43:981-994 (2006)
Left-libertarianism, like the more familiar right-libertarianism, holds that agents initially fully own themselves. Unlike right-libertarianism, however, it views natural resources as belonging to everyone in some egalitarian manner. Left-libertarianism is thus a form of liberal egalitarianism. In this article, I shall lay out the reasons why (1) left-libertarianism holds that (a) private discrimination is not intrinsically unjust and (b) it is intrinsically unjust for the state to prohibit private discrimination, and (2) that, nonetheless, a plausible version of left-libertarianism holds that it is unjust for the state (and many private individuals) to take no steps to offset the negative effects of systematic private discrimination. The basic line is not new. It is simply that there is nothing unjust in principle with private discrimination, but there is (at least typically) something unjust about doing nothing to promote equal life prospects.
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