Justice and political authority in left-libertarianism

Politics, Philosophy and Economics 14 (3):316-339 (2015)
Authors
Fabian Wendt
Chapman University
Abstract
From a left-libertarian perspective, it seems almost impossible for states to acquire political authority. For that reason, left-libertarians like Peter Vallentyne understandably hope that states without political authority could nonetheless implement left-libertarian justice. Vallentyne has argued that one can indeed assess a state’s justness without assessing its political authority. Against Vallentyne, I try to show that states without political authority have to be judged unjust even if they successfully promote justice. The reason is that institutions can be unjust independently from what they achieve or do: they can be ‘intrinsically unjust’. Institutions, I argue, are intrinsically unjust when they have legal liberties and powers without having the corresponding moral liberties and powers. States without political authority are intrinsically unjust in that sense. Hence the issues of a state’s justness and a state’s political authority cannot be dealt with separately. This is a problem not only for left-libertarians but for ‘philosophical anarchism’ more generally.
Keywords Left-Libertarianism  Libertarianism  Political Authority  Legitimacy  Philosophical Anarchism
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DOI 10.1177/1470594X14539698
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References found in this work BETA

Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1977 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 7 (1):187-201.
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