Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do?
PART ONE: THIS LAND IS MY LAND
The philosopher John Locke believes
that individuals have certain rights so fundamental that no government
can ever take them away. These rightsâ€”to life, liberty and
propertyâ€”were given to us as human beings in the the state of nature, a
time before government and laws were created. According to Locke, our
natural rights are governed by the law of nature, known by reason,
which says that we can neither give them up nor take them away from
anyone else. Sandel wraps up the lecture by raising a question: what
happens to our natural rights once we enter society and consent to a
system of laws?
PART TWO: CONSENTING ADULTS
If we all have unalienable
rights to life, liberty, and property, how can a government enforce tax
laws passed by the representatives of a mere majority? Doesnt that
amount to taking some peoples property without their consent? Lockes
response is that we give our tacit consent to obey the tax laws passed
by a majority when we choose to live in a society. Therefore, taxation
is legitimate and compatible with individual rights, as long as it
applies to everyone and does not arbitrarily single anyone out.