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← 14. Rights as Side Constraints and the Minimal State

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Showing Revision 1 created 09/16/2013 by Amara Bot.

  1. Prof: So you'll recall
    from our discussion on Monday we
  2. were working our way through
    Nozick's hypothetical social
  3. contract story.
  4. The thought experiment he asks
    us to engage in as a way of
  5. thinking about the social
    contract idea as a basis for
  6. political legitimacy.
  7. And he asks us,
    in effect, to suspend disbelief
  8. and work through this story with
    him holding out the promise that
  9. he's going to show how the state
    can be legitimate.
  10. And so he said,
    "Imagine a hypothetical
  11. state of nature,
    not consisting of pre-political
  12. people,
    but of people like you and me
  13. in a condition where there was
    no government,"
  14. and we would find that to be
    very inconvenient and
  15. inefficient because as Locke
  16. every single person would have
    to be an enforcer of the law of
  17. nature.
  18. Everybody would have to look
    after their own property.
  19. It would be highly inefficient.
  20. That, in turn,
    would lead to the creation of
  21. kind of block watch
  22. mutual protective associations.
  23. They would also,
    though, not be particularly
  24. efficient because we all know
    from reading Adam Smith that the
  25. thing that really increases
    efficiency is division of labor.
  26. And so some people would go
    into the protection business and
  27. sell protection full time,
    but because coercive force is a
  28. natural monopoly,
    and we know from the discussion
  29. last time Nozick agrees with
    Glenn Beck that it's the only
  30. natural monopoly,
    eventually one of these groups
  31. would become dominant.
  32. And that he calls the--one of
    his slogans is,
  33. that's the "ultra-minimal
  34. Now I will just pause here.
  35. You might say, "Hmm,
    well if that was true,
  36. if coercive force is a natural
    monopoly why don't we have a
  37. world government?"
  38. I mean, if we went from
    militias to nations,
  39. why aren't nations just
    militias in the world?
  40. It stands to reason, right?
  41. It's just the same thing on a
    bigger scale.
  42. Does anyone wonder what Nozick
    might say?
  43. Anyone got any idea what Nozick
    might say in response to that?
  44. Otherwise it doesn't seem very
  45. Either coercive force is a
    natural monopoly or it isn't.
  46. No?
  47. Am I missing something here?
  48. What might Nozick say?
  49. He doesn't confront this.
  50. It's not anywhere in the book,
    but it seems like a natural
  51. question to ask,
  52. No?
  53. Anyone want to try this?
  54. Yeah?
  55. Student: He might argue
    that because of kind of natural
  56. boundaries or even artificial
    boundaries that have been
  57. created that the two protection
    agencies are sort of separated.
  58. Prof: Yeah, brilliant.
  59. I think you hit the nail on the
  60. I think he would say it's
    conditioned by available
  61. technologies of force.
  62. So if it becomes possible to
    project force all over the world
  63. then we might get to the
    situation where we will have a
  64. world government that indeed
    countries are just like bigger
  65. militias within a country.
  66. And if there were the available
    coercive force to create a world
  67. government, it would be done.
  68. The famous pacifist
    philosopher, Bertrand Russell,
  69. had a kind of Nozickian view of
  70. He had opposed World War II.
  71. He had opposed the creation of
    nuclear weapons,
  72. but as soon as we dropped the
    bomb on Hiroshima in 1947,
  73. Russell came out and said,
    "America should
  74. immediately declare a world
  75. So he was Nozickian in his
    thinking, but what he lacked was
  76. the knowledge of a social
  77. He bought the clear-headedness
    of a philosopher,
  78. but it wasn't constrained by
    the knowledge of a social
  79. scientist,
    because the mere fact that you
  80. have the capacity to destroy the
    world doesn't mean you have the
  81. capacity to enforce obedience on
    the ground.
  82. This is a lesson we learned in
    Iraq after 2003.
  83. Yes, we could obliterate the
    Iraqi Army,
  84. but that's something quite
    different from actually being
  85. able to enforce the rule of law
    within Iraq on the ground,
  86. right?
  87. And it turns out,
    we'll go into this in more
  88. detail a bit later,
    but although there is one
  89. respect in which coercive force
    is a natural monopoly in that,
  90. for it to be a good,
    it has to be enforced over a
  91. given territory,
    otherwise you just have the
  92. sort of situations we were
    talking about on Monday.
  93. Nonetheless,
    there are various economies of
  94. smallness in enforcement,
    and the community policing
  95. literature discovered this in
    urban context.
  96. So it's not as simple as it
  97. but I think just from the point
    of view of what we need to
  98. complete the thought experiment
    here is that Nozick would indeed
  99. say that the reason we don't
    have a world government is
  100. simply that the available
    technologies of coercion have
  101. not yet evolved.
  102. And so when it takes Hannibal's
    elephants to get over the Alps
  103. they are a natural boundary in a
    way that they are not when you
  104. can lob missiles over the Alps.
  105. And so we should always think
    when he says "a natural
  106. monopoly over a given
  107. to some extent what counts as a
    given territory is going to be
  108. affected by available
    technologies at force.
  109. And we could play this out if
    you think about the transition
  110. from the Italian city-states to
    modern Italy,
  111. a subversion of that,
    the changing technologies of
  112. force leads to the creation of
    larger units.
  113. But as the points I've just
    made suggest,
  114. this isn't entirely
    straightforward and uniform,
  115. but it is one basic dynamic.
  116. So that's, I think,
    what he would have said if
  117. somebody had raised that
  118. And so you get a single
    dominant protective association
  119. within a given territory,
    although we're agreeing that
  120. the notion of what counts as a
    territory is somewhat in flux
  121. and conditioned by technologies
    of force.
  122. That is, the dominant
    protective association has
  123. co-opted or marginalized all the
  124. and then you have a dominant
    protective association which he
  125. calls the ultra-minimal state.
  126. But then there are these
    people, these independents,
  127. and he gives various colorful
    examples of them.
  128. But as I said, this was 1974.
  129. If we think about it in today's
    world you can think about these
  130. as people who don't recognize
    the legitimacy of the regime.
  131. So they could be people like
    the gent who flew his plane into
  132. a federal building in wherever
    it was, Texas,
  133. I think, a couple of weeks ago.
  134. It could be Timothy McVeigh who
    blew up the Oklahoma Federal
  135. Building, or it could be Osama
    bin Laden.
  136. These people are out there and
    they say,
  137. "Well, you might have your
    dominant protective association,
  138. but we don't care because we
    don't like it,
  139. we don't recognize it,
    and we're not part of it."
  140. And Nozick wants to say,
  141. just because coercive force is
    a natural monopoly,
  142. these protective associations
    can't give their members
  143. protection if they allow the
    Osama bin Ladens and the Timothy
  144. McVeighs to run around out
  145. So what are they going to do?
  146. They're going to force them to
    accept the authority of the
  147. state.
  148. They're going to force them to
  149. They're going to say,
    "This is the deal.
  150. Take it and you can be part of
    the association,
  151. or leave it and you're going to
    be dealt with accordingly.
  152. We're going to lock you up.
  153. We're going to kill you.
  154. We're going to do something to
    you," right?
  155. That's what's going to happen
    because it's the case that these
  156. associations cannot protect
    their members if they don't do
  157. anything else.
  158. I'm going to come back to that
    in a minute.
  159. So it's just,
    at this level,
  160. it's just a claim about what
    would happen,
  161. coercive force being what it
  162. And then you have what he calls
    the minimal state,
  163. AKA the classical night
    watchman state of liberal
  164. theory,
    the thing that Glenn Beck has
  165. in mind when he says,
    "The government should
  166. protect us from the bad guys and
    nothing else."
  167. The government should protect
    us from the bad guys and nothing
  168. else.
  169. The night watchman state
    doesn't do anything else.
  170. In particular it does not
    redistribute wealth.
  171. It does not redistribute income
    and wealth.
  172. It does not go into those
    Pareto un-decidable zones.
  173. Think back to the Pareto
  174. And the reason it doesn't go
    back to those Pareto
  175. un-decidable zones is that we
    have a very robust doctrine of
  176. individual rights,
  177. Now you might say,
    "Well, why should we buy
  178. that?"
  179. And I think what Nozick would
    say is, he would come back with
  180. the doctrine of deep pluralism
    of values.
  181. There's deep pluralism of
  182. We don't agree.
  183. Some of us think we should have
    a welfare state.
  184. Some of us think we shouldn't.
  185. Some of us think we should have
    universal healthcare,
  186. some of us don't.
  187. We don't agree about these
  188. And because we don't agree
    about these things there's not
  189. going to be the pressure to
    produce a redistributive state.
  190. We're going to look at it,
    you know, one of his slogans is
  191. "rights as side-constraints
    on our actions."
  192. We think of rights as
    side-constraints on what we can
  193. do to other people.
  194. We can't elbow them as we go on
    our way to maximize our own
  195. utility.
  196. Rights are side-constraints.
  197. They're not end-states.
  198. They're not goals.
  199. So I don't want to give you
    unnecessary jargon,
  200. but I guess I'll give it to you
  201. I should have put it on a slide.
  202. So the philosophical lingo for
    the difference between Nozick
  203. and Rawls,
    as we'll see later,
  204. on the one hand and
  205. at least in Bentham's variance,
    on the other hand is
  206. deontological versus
  207. d-e-o-n-t-o logical,
  208. versus teleological,
    t-e-l-e-o logical.
  209. And what is
  210. is a word that comes from the
    philosopher Immanuel Kant.
  211. We'll talk more about him in
    connection with Rawls.
  212. I mentioned to you on Monday
    the basic notion here is affirm
  213. principles that you would be
    happy with no matter how they
  214. affected you.
  215. They're not hypothetical
  216. They're not,
    "I'll support private
  217. property if it makes me
  218. They're rather,
    "If I support private
  219. property I'll support it
    regardless of whether it makes
  220. me rich or poor,"
  221. It's not dependent on any
    particular empirical conditions.
  222. You would affirm it no matter
  223. And Kant's famous example of a
    categorical imperative is the
  224. thing Nozick appeals to.
  225. "Respect people's
  226. Don't treat them simply as
    means to your own ends,
  227. but as ends in themselves.
  228. And he's saying, "Well,
    if we want to respect people's
  229. autonomy (this is just a very
    strong version of Mill's harm
  230. principle)--
    if we want to respect people's
  231. autonomy we can't impose
    conditions on them that they
  232. don't agree with."
  233. And given this empirical fact
    of deep pluralism of values
  234. you're not going to get a
    redistributive state out of my
  235. Robert Nozick's little story.
  236. So that's where it's going to
  237. Now you could say,
    "Okay, what is really
  238. being established here?
  239. Why is Nozick walking us
    through this zigzag?
  240. I mean it's,
    okay, it's one way to spend a
  241. Monday and Wednesday morning
    between 10:30 and 11:30,
  242. but what is the point?
  243. What really comes out of this?
  244. Why is he doing this?"
  245. And I think that we need to go
    back through it a little bit
  246. more carefully now and see.
  247. One of the things that he says
    is he's telling us both an
  248. explanatory story and a
    normative story.
  249. What I said here is basically
    the explanatory story.
  250. He's saying,
    "If you took people like
  251. us and you said,
    'What would happen if there
  252. wasn't a state?'
  253. they would create a minimal
    state and they wouldn't create
  254. anything more."
  255. There's nothing normative in
    that yet, at least not obviously
  256. so.
  257. They would create Glenn Beck's
    utopia and that's all that they
  258. would do.
  259. You could argue about whether
    or not he's right about that and
  260. I'll come back to that in a
    minute, but that's not really
  261. Nozick's whole agenda.
  262. His real agenda is normative.
  263. What he wants to say is,
    "They would do this and
  264. this is the only legitimate
  265. He wants to convince you that
    this kind of a state,
  266. the classical night watchman
    state of liberal theory,
  267. liberal in the
    nineteenth-century sense of the
  268. term,
    libertarian we might think of
  269. it, I think,
    today, is the only legitimate
  270. state.
  271. Now, if you said,
    "Well, why?
  272. What makes it legitimate?"
  273. the answer is that long and
    rather difficult to decipher
  274. chapter on compensation.
  275. I'll give you the bumper
    sticker version first and then
  276. I'll go back and walk through
  277. And you might think it's
    tendentious, but philosophers'
  278. examples often give philosophy a
    bad name.
  279. They create highly artificial
    examples that abstract massively
  280. from the real world,
    and people generally are not
  281. impressed when they try to
    connect it to real problems.
  282. My priors are to be suspicious
    of philosopher's examples,
  283. but Nozick is an exception.
  284. He really was a brilliant guy,
    and he doesn't do these things
  285. gratuitously.
  286. There are some interesting and
    consequential points that come
  287. out of this.
  288. So here's what he wants to say.
  289. This is the crucial set of
    moves, this one and this one.
  290. How is it crucial?
  291. What he wants to say is this:
    we know that this is going to
  292. happen, what could make it
  293. We know it's going to happen
    because coercive force is a
  294. natural monopoly.
  295. In fact, being hardheaded
    realists about power,
  296. no minimal or ultra-minimal
    state is going to permit the bin
  297. Laden's and the McVeighs to run
    around threatening them.
  298. So they're going to force them
    to join.
  299. What could make it legitimate
    for them to do that since these
  300. independents haven't agreed to
    join, right?
  301. And Nozick does want to say
    agreement, consent,
  302. is the basis of all legitimacy.
  303. Seems like a contradiction.
  304. So he says, "What if we
    put it in the following terms?
  305. What if we say to the
    independent out there,
  306. 'You know what,
    you don't recognize the
  307. legitimacy of our operation,
    but it's too bad because there
  308. are a lot more of us than there
    are of you,
  309. and we're going to force you
    to, we're going to force you to
  310. participate,
    but here's the thing.
  311. We understand that violates
    your rights,
  312. you as an independent are
    having your rights violated,
  313. but we as members are having
    our rights violated by our fear
  314. that you may blow us up.
  315. Maybe you won't.
  316. Maybe you're just a
    philosophical anarchist that
  317. wanders around the fields
    talking to horses and wants to
  318. be left alone,
    but we don't know that for sure.
  319. We don't really know that,
    and there are some people who
  320. want to blow us up out there.
  321. We know that.
  322. So everybody in our society,
    in our ultra-minimal state,
  323. is experiencing a decline of
    utility because you're out there
  324. and you might blow us up.
  325. Fear, we're experiencing fear.
  326. Now we understand that you,
    if you're forced to join,
  327. you're going to experience a
    rights violation,
  328. that's true,
    but what if we could compensate
  329. you for it?
  330. We're going to force you to
  331. What if we could compensate you
    for it and still be better off
  332. than we were not having
    compensated you and experiencing
  333. the fear?'"
    So it's a somewhat muddled
  334. discussion in the chapter.
  335. When people start reading what
    he says about compensation,
  336. they think he's talking about
    the members being compensated
  337. rather than the independents,
    but the idea is the members
  338. could compensate the
    independents and still be better
  339. off.
  340. Now it doesn't mean the members
    actually compensate the
  341. independents.
  342. Then there would be an obvious
    moral hazard problem,
  343. right?
  344. If my choice was to be a member
    and pay taxes or to be an
  345. independent and get compensated
    for being forced to join,
  346. nobody's going to be a member.
  347. We might as well be
    independents and get
  348. compensated.
  349. So he's not talking about
    actual compensation.
  350. Rather he's saying,
    "I'm going to violate your
  351. rights;
    if in principle I could pay you
  352. enough to make you whole and
    still be better off than before
  353. I violated your rights then
    everything's hunky-dory.
  354. We're both better off in a
    Pareto sense."
  355. So what he does in that chapter
    is he works his way through
  356. various ways this might happen,
    and they all fail.
  357. They all run into problems.
  358. How would you figure the price,
    etcetera, etcetera,
  359. right?
  360. And then he says, "Well,
    it doesn't really matter that I
  361. haven't given a watertight
    account of compensation,
  362. but just let's assume that some
    such account could be given,
  363. then we'd have solved the
  364. And he's alluding here to about
    forty years of welfare economics
  365. that revolved around this idea
    of hypothetical compensation
  366. tests.
  367. Those of you who are interested
    the famous people were Kaldor,
  368. Hicks, Scitovsky,
    Samuelson, and many others.
  369. All were trying to figure out a
    compensation test that was
  370. compatible with the Pareto
    system as you know it.
  371. So a way of thinking about it
    is we go back to our Pareto
  372. diagram and what we were doing
    when we were talking about
  373. neoclassical utilitarianism.
  374. Remember we said let's suppose
    X is the status quo.
  375. We know this is Pareto superior.
  376. We know this is Pareto
    inferior, and we can't say
  377. anything about the
  378. right?
  379. So the question is,
    is Y better than X for society.
  380. There's no answer to that
    question, and Nozick's endorsing
  381. that, right?
  382. He saying, "B will think Y
    is better.
  383. A will think X is better.
  384. Who are we to adjudicate
    between them?
  385. There's no way to do it."
  386. But the people who are worrying
    about compensation were thinking
  387. about a different question.
  388. They were saying,
    "Well okay,
  389. we know we can't say that Y is
    better than X for society,
  390. but couldn't we say that Z is
    better than X.
  391. Although Z is Pareto
  392. it's on the possibility
  393. Remember the possibility
    frontier was the locus of points
  394. where it's not possible to
    improve, right?
  395. So the compensation theorists
    were actually interested in
  396. these two parts of the Pareto
  397. They were saying,
    "Can't we come up with
  398. some way to say that Z is a
    social improvement on X even
  399. though it's Pareto un-decidable
    because it's on the possibility
  400. frontier?
  401. Isn't there some way to say if
    you move from off the
  402. possibility frontier to on the
    possibility frontier you can say
  403. it's a social improvement?"
  404. So in the lingo of welfare
    economics that was the project
  405. from Kaldor and Hicks,
    Scitovsky, Samuelson,
  406. and all of the others.
  407. They were looking for a way to
    do that that did not involve
  408. interpersonal comparisons of
  409. really important that it not
    involve interpersonal
  410. comparisons of utility because
    if you make interpersonal
  411. comparisons of utility you're
    violating consent,
  412. right?
  413. If you say, "Well,
    Z is better than X,
  414. but A doesn't agree,"
    you're violating A's rights.
  415. So is there some way to do that?
  416. And we see this all the time in
    eminent domain cases when the
  417. city buys up property forcibly
    against somebody's will to build
  418. a road.
  419. There's this endless to-ing and
    fro-ing about what is the value
  420. of the house,
    and the question is,
  421. can you figure that out without
    doing interpersonal comparisons
  422. of utility?
  423. And the problem with what
    Nozick is doing is that the
  424. answer is no.
  425. The answer is every
    compensation test that's ever
  426. been devised involves coming up
    with a common metric,
  427. namely money,
    in terms of which you do the
  428. compensation,
    and because of that,
  429. you're implicitly making
    interpersonal comparisons of
  430. utility.
  431. So the project of finding a
    compensation test that didn't
  432. violate the interpersonal
    comparisons criterion failed,
  433. and you can't actually do what
    Nozick wanted us to do.
  434. Now you could say--here's,
    again, an example of--
  435. the whole architectonic theory
    doesn't work,
  436. but there still might be
    important insights that survive
  437. its failure.
  438. So you could say,
    for instance,
  439. "Okay,
    once we're aware of that,
  440. we can say that even in the
    creation of a minimal state,
  441. there are some interpersonal
    comparisons of utility,
  442. namely those involved in
    judging whether or not it's
  443. legitimate to incorporate the
  444. And Nozick might make the
    following defense of what he's
  445. done.
  446. He might say,
    "Well okay,
  447. it was a nice try,
    but still what's left of my
  448. argument is the following."
  449. Another Kantian dictum is,
    "Ought entails can."
  450. Anyone want to tell us what
    that means?
  451. What does it mean to say,
    "Ought entails can?"
  452. Anyone know?
  453. When we say,
    "Ought entails can,"
  454. anyone want to guess?
  455. Yeah?
  456. Student: The normative
    statements that we may make may
  457. create bright lines by which we
    can determine whether an action
  458. is or is not acceptable,
    and that's like--by saying that
  459. we should or should not do
    something we create this bright
  460. line where on one side we should
    and on the other side we can.
  461. Prof: You're in the
    right direction.
  462. You're making it more
    complicated than it needs to be.
  463. The basic idea is we can't have
    a moral obligation to do
  464. something that's impossible.
  465. We can't have a moral
    obligation to do something
  466. that's impossible,
    that's the way in which
  467. "ought entails can"
    is usually interpreted.
  468. Now some people say we
    shouldn't interpret Kant that
  469. way.
  470. We should interpret Kant to
    mean when he says,
  471. "Ought entails can,"
    that if we ought to do
  472. something,
    we should find a way.
  473. I once had a graduate student
    who wrote a dissertation in
  474. which he said,
    "'Ought entails can' means
  475. that,
    'Ought entails must try as hard
  476. as possible.'"
  477. that's one way you could go
    with this,
  478. but that's not what I have in
    mind here.
  479. What I have in mind here,
    that Nozick,
  480. I think, would say when
    confronted with the failure of
  481. the compensation tests to work
    without interpersonal
  482. comparisons,
    I think Nozick would say,
  483. "Well,
    'ought entails can' in the
  484. conventional sense.
  485. We can't expect people to do
    something that's impossible,
  486. and for that reason what drives
  487. really, is the natural monopoly
    of force argument."
  488. Another way you could see this,
    you could say,
  489. "Well, so the problem with
    the compensation argument,
  490. compensating the independents
    is, we could equally say if the
  491. independents could compensate
    the members for their fear and
  492. still be better off that would
    be just as good,
  493. right?"
  494. Nozick's saying the members
    experience the fear,
  495. they force the independents to
  496. and if they could compensate
    them and still be as well-off
  497. then it's legitimate,
    but you could do the exact
  498. opposite.
  499. You could say,
    "If the independents could
  500. compensate everybody,
    pay everybody a certain amount
  501. so that they stop experiencing
    fear and still be better
  502. off."
  503. In effect Osama bin Laden did
    this when Al-Qaeda made a
  504. deal in the 1980s.
  505. They promised the Saudis that
    they wouldn't do any terrorism
  506. in Saudi Arabia,
    and then the Saudi government
  507. left them alone.
  508. I mean, that eventually
  509. but so essentially you could
    say that was a version of
  510. compensating the Saudi
    population for the fear and
  511. still being better off.
  512. So Nozick would have to be
    indifferent between those two
  513. things if all that's driving it
    is the compensation.
  514. I think what he would say is,
  515. in principle,
    yes, but in practice,
  516. because of the natural monopoly
    of force,
  517. it's the independents who are
    going to lose.
  518. It's the independents who are
    going to lose.
  519. There are fewer of them,"
  520. And in the event,
    just pursuing this example,
  521. in the event since both the
    Saudis and everybody else knew
  522. that Al-Qaeda's ultimate
    objective is regime change in
  523. Saudi Arabia,
    it wasn't a very credible
  524. promise, and indeed there were
    Al-Qaeda operations in Saudi
  525. Arabia in the late 1990s.
  526. So it wasn't a very credible
  527. and eventually after 9/11 the
    Saudis smelled the coffee and
  528. got onboard with the operation
    to try and stomp out Al-Qaeda.
  529. So yes, in principle,
    if the independents could
  530. compensate blab-de-blah,
    and just be as well-off,
  531. we would be indifferent,
    in practice,
  532. because of the natural monopoly
    of force,
  533. the independents are going to
  534. So ought entails can.
  535. It's not possible to imagine a
    state of affairs in which the
  536. independents are tolerated,
    so we'll accept that that is
  537. legitimate.
  538. In other words,
    the violation of rights in
  539. unavoidable, and therefore it's
    not illegitimate.
  540. That would be the claim.
  541. Now Nozick would then say,
    "So my argument survives.
  542. My argument survives,
    because we've now supplemented
  543. the natural monopoly of force
    with ought entails can.
  544. There's no way not to have the
    ultra-minimal state become the
  545. minimal state,
    so its legitimacy can't be
  546. criticized for the violation of
    the rights of the
  547. independents."
  548. In a way it's a bit reminiscent
    of Locke's argument about
  549. majority rule that we're going
    to talk about when we get to the
  550. last part of the course in more
  551. What you know already about
    Locke from what I've told you in
  552. the past is that Locke says when
    there are disagreements about
  553. what natural law entails there
    is no earthly authority who's
  554. allowed to settle them.
  555. Remember we went through this,
  556. So each person,
    in effect, has the right to
  557. enforce the law of nature,
    and indeed the responsibility
  558. to enforce the law of nature.
  559. God speaks to us all
    individually when we read the
  560. scriptures,
    and if you read them one way
  561. and I read them the other way,
    there's no pope,
  562. there's no king,
    there's no magistrate who can
  563. tell us who is right.
  564. It's one of the sources of
    Locke's egalitarianism.
  565. Another thing that Locke says,
    that I haven't talked about yet
  566. but will get into more detail,
    is, so what actually happens in
  567. practice when people disagree?
  568. He says, "If you think the
    state is violating natural law
  569. not only do you have a right,
    you actually have an obligation
  570. to resist,
    but if nobody else agrees with
  571. you what's going to happen?
  572. You're going to be out of luck,
  573. As Locke puts it he says,
    "You should look for your
  574. reward in heaven,"
  575. if you take the view that the
    government is not legitimate,
  576. and you're going to resist it,
    and nobody else agrees with
  577. you,
    you're going to wind up being
  578. tried for treason and executed.
  579. That's what's going to happen,
    but this life is short and the
  580. next one's eternal,
    so why worry,
  581. right?
  582. It's essentially Locke's view
    of the matter,
  583. right?
  584. So the Nozickian independent is
    in the same position as a
  585. Lockean person who reads the
    scriptures to say that they must
  586. resist the state and very few
    others agree with them.
  587. They're just going to get their
    reward in the next life.
  588. So be it.
  589. But if lots of people agree
    with you then you're going to
  590. have 1688, then you're going to
    have a revolution.
  591. You're going to get rid of the
    monarch, right?
  592. So you can't know for sure that
    people are going to agree with
  593. you, but that's what's going to
  594. And in a way,
    that is exactly the same point
  595. Nozick is making.
  596. He's saying,
    "There are a lot more
  597. people in the ultra-minimal
    state than there are in
  598. independent,
    so it's going to go that
  599. way."
  600. There it is.
  601. It's the nature of power,
    the nature of coercive force,
  602. and ought entails can,
  603. What about that?
  604. How many people find that
  605. Nobody?
  606. Nobody's convinced?
  607. How many people find it
  608. Nobody.
  609. There are zero convinced,
    two unconvinced,
  610. and 136 undecided,
    like Massachusetts voters,
  611. you people.
  612. What's wrong with it?
  613. Anyone want to...?
  614. Student: Well,
    it seems that forcing the
  615. independents to submit to the
    minimalist state directly
  616. contradicts the pluralistic
    deontological values that it's
  617. espousing,
    so it undermines the state at
  618. its very core.
  619. Professor Ian Shapiro:
    And what does it contradict,
  620. the value of consent?
  621. Student: Excuse me?
  622. Professor Ian Shapiro:
    You say it directly contradicts
  623. the intellectual values he's
    espousing--which value,
  624. the value of consent?
  625. Student: The value of consent
    and how you said it should be
  626. minimalist because he believes
    in pluralism and because you
  627. can't force someone,
    and like the Pareto thing,
  628. you don't know.
  629. Professor Ian Shapiro:
    Right, but his answer is ought
  630. entails can.
  631. It would be lovely if we could
    get everybody's consent,
  632. but there's no way to get
    everybody's consent.
  633. Student: Well then from that
    follows that the government
  634. should be able to enact other
    kinds of policies where ought
  635. may entail can and they can
    force people to do things.
  636. Professor Ian Shapiro:
    So what would be an example?
  637. They would have to just
    tolerate these independents out
  638. there, yeah?
  639. There's a little book I used to
    teach in this course sometimes
  640. by a philosopher called Robert
    Paul Wolff called In Defense
  641. of Anarchism,
    and he basically goes the way
  642. you were going.
  643. He says, "Consent is the
    wellspring of legitimacy.
  644. You can't get unanimous consent
    for any state,
  645. so no state is
  646. at least he's consistent,
  647. You can't get legitimacy for
    any state so no state is
  648. legitimate.
  649. All states are illegitimate,
    finished, end of story.
  650. Here's, I think,
    what Nozick would say.
  651. He would make two points.
  652. He would say,
    "Robert Paul Wolff is an
  653. airhead because he's forgetting
    about the difference between the
  654. philosophical game we're
  655. the thought experiment and the
    real world because in the real
  656. world there are two things that
    are different.
  657. One is the natural monopoly
    force argument we've already
  658. talked about,
    and the ought entails can
  659. limitation that puts on what's
  660. And you might not buy that
    because you might say,
  661. if we had time to go back and
    forth, you might just say,
  662. "I just don't buy that.
  663. States could protect themselves
    from independents without wiping
  664. out the independents.
  665. They could have policies of
  666. I even wrote a book about that.
  667. So we could go back and forth
    about that.
  668. But I think the other thing
    that Nozick might say to Robert
  669. Paul Wolff is this.
  670. It would involve buying the
    critique of the social contract
  671. metaphor.
  672. He would say, "Well,
    we're behaving as though not
  673. having collective action is
    really an option,
  674. but it isn't because it's
    always the case that we have
  675. some collective action
  676. The question is just, which one.
  677. So in any given situation if
    you require unanimity you
  678. privilege the status quo.
  679. We know that, right?
  680. The garbage-in/garbage-out
  681. and if some people want to have
    a state and some people don't
  682. want to have a state,
    if you start with a state then
  683. requiring unanimity to change,
    it harms the people who don't
  684. want a state.
  685. But if you start without a
    state and requiring unanimity to
  686. change it, it harms the people
    with a state.
  687. So in either case you're going
    to be harming somebody's rights,
  688. violating somebody's rights.
  689. So the bottom line is that
  690. even if it existed,
    if we had anarchism,
  691. wouldn't meet Wolff's criterion
    of respecting everybody's
  692. autonomy because there would be
    some people who didn't want
  693. that.
  694. Okay, we've got two minutes
    left so I'm going to leave you
  695. with what's the beginning of a
    deeper puzzle about Nozick that
  696. we'll pick up on Monday with.
  697. You could say,
    "Okay, we'll grant it.
  698. We'll grant everything you're
    saying, Nozick."
  699. But then, what if people start
    to say,
  700. "Okay, we're now a minimal
  701. but a lot of us are afraid of
  702. we see recessions come and go,
    and unemployment can suddenly
  703. shoot up to ten percent.
  704. I could lose my job,
    not be able to pay my
  705. mortgage."
  706. That fear reduces a lot of our
    utility, so we're going to
  707. create unemployment insurance,
    and some people don't like it.
  708. Some people would rather take
    the risk, internalize the risk,
  709. but you know what?
  710. We're going to treat them in
    just the way you treat
  711. independents.
  712. So we're going to say,
  713. we know you don't like funding
    unemployment insurance,
  714. you'd rather internalize the
    risk, but you know what,
  715. there are a lot more of us than
    there are you and we believe we
  716. could compensate you for the
    cost in principle.
  717. "Of course,
    we don't compensate in
  718. practice.
  719. We believe we could compensate
    you in principle for the rights
  720. violation of forcing you who
    doesn't want to pay for
  721. unemployment insurance to pay
    for unemployment insurance and
  722. still be better off.
  723. So tough luck,
    you're going to pay for
  724. unemployment insurance and then
    all of us will be happier
  725. because we'll be back on a
    higher indifference curve than
  726. when we were worrying about what
    might happen if we lose our
  727. job."
  728. And so the trouble with you,
  729. is you're too clever for your
    own good because either your
  730. argument doesn't establish
    enough or it establishes too
  731. much,
    because if we give you this
  732. type of reasoning to get to the
    minimum state we can hijack
  733. exactly the same reasoning to
    get to the welfare state.
  734. We can just put it in this
    idiom of compensation for fear,
  735. and we can justify a more
    extensive state than you want.
  736. And so either your argument
    doesn't get you the minimal
  737. state or it gets you too much of
    a state.
  738. We'll start with that next time.