Libertarianism without Inequality

By Michael Otsuka | Go to book overview
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Chapter 6 Left-Libertarianism Versus Liberal Egalitarianism

I

Imagine, for the sake of providing an illustration of the ideal of political societies as voluntary associations to which the Lockean left-libertarian aspires, an enormous archipelago that consists of a superfluity of highly habitable islands of various shapes and sizes. Rapid and inexpensive travel between any two points on this archipelago is possible. It was and remains possible for any group of individuals to stake a claim to an island for the purpose of founding and sustaining a political society while still leaving 'enough and as good' for everyone else—either on her own or in society with others—to improve her situation to the same degree as these founders. An unsettled island is therefore available for anybody who chooses not to join a political society to go off on her own and found a monity. These lone individuals receive full compensation, at little cost to others, for the absence of the benefits of community and hence they are able to thrive to the same degree that others are able to thrive in political society. For those who prefer to live in political society, a sufficiently diverse range of choice of such societies is available so that each has the opportunity to settle in a society which is tailored to her own preferences. Given the diversity and richness of such possibilities, each person has the opportunity to flourish to the same degree as anybody else, either on her own or in society with others. Therefore, any choice to settle in a given political society would constitute free, rational, and informed tacit consent in circumstances of genuine equality. Such circumstances of freedom and equality would serve to liberate the social contract from the confines of the Rawlsian supposition that political society is 'closed' in so far as 'entry into it is only by birth and exit from it is only

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