To register for the 2015 course, visit https://www.edx.org/course/justice-harvardx-er22-1x-0.
ART ONE: FREE TO CHOOSE
Sandel introduces the libertarian conception of individual rights, according to which only a minimal state is justified. Libertarians argue that government shouldnt have the power to enact laws that 1) protect people from themselves, such as seat belt laws, 2) impose some peoples moral values on society as a whole, or 3) redistribute income from the rich to the poor. Sandel explains the libertarian notion that redistributive taxation is akin to forced labor with references to Bill Gates and Michael Jordan.
PART TWO: WHO OWNS ME?
Libertarian philosopher Robert Nozick makes the case that taxing the wealthy—to pay for housing, health care, and education for the poor—is a form of coercion. Students first discuss the arguments behind redistributive taxation. Dont most poor people need the social services they receive in order to survive? If you live in a society that has a system of progressive taxation, arent you obligated to pay your taxes? Dont many rich people often acquire their wealth through sheer luck or family fortune? A group of students dubbed Team Libertarian volunteers to defend the libertarian philosophy against these objections.
Original video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qw4l1w0rkjs&list=PL30C13C91CFFEFEA6&index=3
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