Essay Preview: Libertarians
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Libertarians believe that they as individuals should be free to do whatever they want with themselves and their property as long as it does not affect the everyday life of those who surround them. Libertarian theories believe that people own themselves fully and owe no service to others except through voluntary action. Libertarians favor an ethic of self-responsibility and strongly disagree with a organized group helping an individual because they believe forcing someone to provide aid to others is ethically wrong. Libertarians argue that rights rest originally in individuals and never in groups such as nations, races, religions, classes, or cultures, and distinguish between a wrong done to individual members of a group and the group itself.
In the article Income Distribution by John Isbister there can be many points viewed in a variety of ways. Here are a few examples of how a Libertarian would view the issues discussed. The article says “A good way of looking at the income distribution in a country is to compare the portion of the total national income going to the poorest 20 percent of the population with the portion going to the richest 20 percent. Each group of 20 percent is called a quintile.” It also says “The average pay of a CEO in a major corporation was $11.9 million in 2000. The latest estimates are that the poverty line is about $20,000 for a family of four in the United States, and almost 17 percent fall below that threshold.” These two quotes taken from the article are very informative to the human eye, but for a libertarian these figures do not mean a thing. The libertarian would say that everyones destiny is in their own hands. It is up to the individual to put forth the effort to become someone. The libertarian would be content with the situation and would not help those who may be in need because it is not up to him, but up to that person themselves.
This theory continues when the book talks about Platos Colony. Giving everyone an equal amount of land would not suite the libertarian well. It may be a great idea for the community because some may not be able to afford as much land as others, but the libertarian would believe that it should be every man for themselves. If someone can afford to own 100 acres as opposed to another persons 10 acres, why set a boundary. The person who can afford more has obviously done more for himself to earn that privilege. If everyone were given everything equally there would be no incentive to work harder. A good example would be someone who has a college education verses someone who is coming out of high school. There is a great deal of difference in the knowledge of the college graduate compared to that of the high school graduate. What it comes down to is the drive of oneself to further his career. The libertarian would agree that it has to be taken upon you, and not waited on by others. Look at it from this perspective, someone who has gone to graduate school may have 5 years less to work than the high school graduate, but his return in earnings may be ten times as much.
A second point the text gives is “many people need the prospect of higher earnings, or the fear if lower earnings, as an incentive to work hard and effectively.” If everyone were paid equally than there would be no reason