Nozick’s Account of the Minimal State Essay

Nozick’s Account of the Minimal State Essay

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In our readings of Anarchy, State, and Utopia we learned of Nozick’s account of the minimal state. The minimal state is one whose only function is to protect its citizens from being hurt by force as well as protecting it from fraud and the breaking of any contracts it makes with other citizens in the state. Nozick believes that this is the only state that is justified. Any state that does more in its actions than the minimal state that Nozick describes invariably violates the rights of the people. In this paper I will first briefly explain how Nozick derives the minimal state from the original Lockean state of nature before I examine a few of the difficulties and problems that I believe arise from how Nozick forms his argument for the minimal state. These problems include non-clients to the dominant protection agency possibly having their natural rights infringed upon; non-clients abusing the system paying clients of the dominant protection agency into gaining more than just protection, and the dominant protection agency automatically having rights over other smaller agencies.
Nozick describes several different stages that come between the original Lockean state of nature and his own idea of the minimal state. The only stage that is important here however is the stage between the ultra-minimal state and the minimal state. Once people leave the original Lockean state of nature they begin the formation of protection agencies. After a while, one agency becomes dominant and, with the consent of the people that are governed, it becomes a state. Nozick states that a dominant protection agency can only be a state if it fulfills two conditions: (1) it operates a monopoly of force in its territory, not allowing any individuals to take c...


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... multiple protection agencies who have no legal or peaceful obligation to follow the larger protection agency all in the same area there can be a high chance of internal fighting and anarchy which is exactly what Nozick is trying to get away from with the creation of his Libertarian paradise.
In conclusion, even though the arguments make sense on the surface, they fail to take into account for how unpredictable the non-clients of the protection agency can be. In Nozick’s perfect Libertarian world, everyone would subscribe to one protection agency that would protect the rights of everyone. Unfortunately with everyone being free to do as they please in the state of nature, conflict is almost sure to arise. This isn’t necessarily a problem in the current state that we live in but for Nozick’s overall idea of a dominant protection agency these problems seem significant.

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