I came across a nice paper by John Simmons a while back on why libertarians should be actual consent theorists and decided that I could combine his argument with something derived from an argument I’ve got coming out in the American Philosophical Quarterly to show that libertarians (who accept the following assumptions) should be welfare liberals. I’ve got the link to a draft of the paper on my website (http://www.hss.cmu.edu/philosophy/hassoun/papers.php) but thought I’d post the argument here, just to see if any one has any thoughts on it. The assumptions that follow block some obvious objections.
1. Assumption: Libertarians agree that any existing states must be legitimate and some states should exist.
2. Assumption: Libertarians hold that for any existing states to be legitimate they must only exercise coercive force over (rights respecting) individuals to protect these individuals’ liberty.
3. From Simmons’ argument in “Consent theory for libertarians”: Libertarians should agree that for state to be legitimate, they must secure their subjects’ autonomous consent.
4. For states to secure their subjects autonomous consent, they must do what they can to enable their subjects to secure sufficient autonomy to autonomously consent to its rules.
5. To secure this autonomy most people (in all states) must be able to secure some minimal amount of healthcare, food, water, and shelter.
6. So, states must do what they can to enable most of their subjects to secure some minimal amount of healthcare, food, water, and shelter.
7. Implicit premise: If libertarians must agree that states must do what they can to enable most of their subjects to secure some minimal amount of healthcare, food, water, and shelter, they must be (some kind of) welfare liberals.
8. So libertarians should be (some kind of) welfare liberals.