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Individual rights over the common good

Murray, Dale 15. "Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy." Internet

Encyclopedia of Philosophy. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 July 2015.

An important related strand that runs in various ways throughout all of

Anarchy, State and Utopia is the separateness of persons.
As noted earlier, Nozick

used Kant as an inspiration and borrowed Kants idea that individuals are ends in themselves. But, in order to be different ends-in-themselves, Kant observed that people must be separate entities.
The idea is the each of us is a distinct individual, each mattering from a moral point of view. This view that individuals, like distinct atoms, are self-contained entities in some ways evokes Hobbes

An implication of the notion that individuals matter

morally is that benefits to some supposed larger entity, such as the
greater society, cannot be used as a justification for violating
individuals as persons. Consider what is often called the common
good. Nozick challenged the idea that any such entity could really
While it is true that
some individuals might make sacrifices of some of their interests in
order to gain benefits for some other of their interests, society can
never be justified in sacrificing the interests of some individuals for
the sake of others.
metaphysical picture of human existence.

In his view, there are merely individuals, and the common good can only really be the good of these individuals added together.

Right to life and property

Mey Ken 15 Schoolland is an Associate Professor of Economics at Hawaii Pacific

University. 1989 Schoolland, Ken. "The Philosophy of Liberty." The Philosophy of Liberty. N.p.,
n.d. Web. 16 July 2015.

You own your life.

No other person, or group of persons, owns your life nor
do you own the lives of others.
to lose the
product of your life and liberty is to lose the portion of your past that
produced it.
A product of your life and liberty is your property. Property is the fruit
of your labour, the product of your time, energy, and talents.
Philosophy is based on the principle of self-ownership.

To deny this is to imply that another person has a

higher claim on your life than you do.

You exist in time: future, present, and past. This is manifest in life, liberty, and the product of your life and

liberty. The exercise of choices over life and liberty is your prosperity. To lose your life is to lose your future. To lose your liberty is to lose your present. And

It is that part of nature that

you turn to valuable use. And it is the property of others that is given to you by voluntary exchange and mutual consent. Two people who exchange property voluntarily are both better off or they
wouldn't do it. Only they may rightfully make that decision for themselves.

At times some people use force or fraud to take from others without wilful, voluntary consent. Normally, the initiation of

to take property is theft. It is the

same whether these actions are done by one person acting alone, by
the many acting against a few, or even by officials with fine hats and
You have the right to protect your own life, liberty, and justly acquired
property from the forceful aggression of others
. you have no right to designate some
person to initiate force against others on your behalf.
force to take life is murder, to take liberty is slavery, and


. So you may rightfully ask others to help protect you. But you do

not have a right to initiate force against the life, liberty, or property of others