Max Weber famously defined government as an organization with a geographic monopoly on legitimate coercion. Libertarianism puts severe limits on morally permissible government action. If one takes its strictures seriously, does libertarianism require the abolition of government, logically reducing the position to anarchism? Robert Nozick effectively captures the dilemma: “Individuals have rights, and there are things no person or group may do to them (without violating their rights). So strong and far-reaching are these rights that they raise the question of what, if anything, the state and its officials may do.”

Libertarian political philosophers have extensively debated this question, and many conclude that the answer is “Nothing.” Even a libertarian minimal state is morally prohibited from (a) imposing taxes, or (b) granting itself a legal monopoly. ...

  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles