Rights and territories: A reply to Nine, Miller, and Stilz

A. John Simmons
University of Virginia
‘Rights and Territories: A Reply to Nine, Miller, and Stilz’ defends the Lockean theory of states’ territorial rights against the critiques of Nine, Miller, and Stilz. In response to Nine’s concern that such a Lockean theory cannot justify the right of legitimate states to exclude aliens, it is argued that a consent-based theory like the Lockean one is flexible enough to justify a wide range of possible incidents of territorial rights – importantly including, though not necessarily including, the sort of right to exclude aliens that is familiar from actual political practice. Miller’s criticisms are more wide-ranging. In response, the article argues that Lockean labor-based property rights are both stronger and more enduring than Miller suggests and that nationalism’s resources for dealing with concerns about rights-supersession and trapped minorities are importantly overstated by Miller. Against Stilz’s Kantian, ‘presentist’ account of states’ authority over persons and territories, it is argued that the rectification of past wrongs remains morally crucial even in the context of otherwise-just societies and that Stilz’s Kantian/rawlsian position unconvincingly privileges the rights to autonomy of territorially concentrated groups over those of dissenting individuals or wrongfully dispersed groups.
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DOI 10.1177/1470594x19889419
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