I want to share this short section from an essay I wrote for college on Nozick’s ‘entitlement theory’. It justifies, I think, the best response to the tedious rationalism of libertarians everywhere: “Fuck off, I don’t care.”
Let us say, for the sake of argument, that no rational objection against Nozick’s philosophy can be sustained. What status, then, are we to give the horror we feel at the suffering and inequality in the world, and the sense of the absurdity of the notion that such suffering could result from a situation that would be called just? What status, further, are we to give our own refusals to be condemned to misery and alienation and indignity? By what force can a philosophy compel our fidelity to its precepts? If it is proven somewhere that a rationally-derived morality compels our inaction in the face of another’s suffering, or declares our own suffering just, then so much the worse for rationality and morality, surely? This is, I admit, a nihilist objection, but it is surely a superior nihilism to that which would repress caring impulses, sever solidarities, and resign us to inaction in the face of suffering in the name of Reason.