Nozick's Reply to the Anarchist

TitleNozick's Reply to the Anarchist
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsVarden, H
JournalLaw and Philosophy

Central to Nozick’{}s Anarchy, State and Utopia is a defense of the legitimacy of the minimal state’{}s use of coercion against anarchist objections. Individuals acting within their natural rights can establish the state without committing wrongdoing against those who disagree. Nozick attempts to show that even with a natural executive right, individuals need not actually consent to incur political obligations. Nozick’{}s argument relies on an account of compensation to remedy the infringement of the non-consenters’ procedural rights. Compensation, however, cannot remedy the infringement, for either it is superfluous to Nozick’{}s account of procedural rights, or it is made to play a role inconsistent with Nozick’{}s liberal voluntarist commitments. Nevertheless, Nozick’{}s account of procedural rights contains clues for how to solve the problem. Since procedural rights are incompatible with a natural executive right, Nozickeans can argue that only the state can enforce individuals’ rights without wronging anyone, thus refuting the anarchist.