The Consequences of a Broader Theory of Natural Rights
If we were to apply this expanded theory of natural rights given in this chapter, we would end up with a somewhat modified libertarian society. We would have most of the classical freedoms that libertarians defend, along with some land set aside for preserving some of the right of Pristine Nature and the Walkabout, some government action to preserve those species not protected by private property rights, and a small dividend to all (which is of the most benefit to the poor) to compensate for the inequalities in the distribution of natural resource ownership.
Some libertarian implications:
- Victimless crime laws would be repealed.
- Where possible, criminal punishment would be based on victim compensation. When not possible, punishment would be somehow proportional to the damages done.
- Taxes on labor (including the income taxes) would be eliminated. People own the products of their labor. The same would go for consumption taxes on items whose primary values is on their labor content. Taxation would be based on fee for essential services such as national defense and a justice system, and for paying the aforementioned dividend.
Some egalitarian implications:
- The dividend that would go to those who own less than their fair share of the Earth’s inherent resources due to their choice of parents.
- The end to labor taxation.
- The end to subsidies, grandfathering, most occupational licenses, and other legal practices that directly favor old money.
- The end of certain indirect subsidies to the established interests which are not obvious. I will write about these in detail in later chapters.
Some green implications:
- The practice of setting aside part of the land to be used in a primitive fashion would continue.
- Protection of endangered species would continue to be justified.
- Polluters would have to pay full damages, either directly to the victims for concentrated pollution or into the general dividend fund for dispersed pollutants. No grandfathering!
Note that I have not proven that we ought to do these things. I have only proven that such things would be consistent with an expanded theory of natural rights. I have not proven that any theory of natural rights ought to be followed in any definitive philosophical sense. However, it is useful to have such a theory that does not depend purely on tradition or prevailing religion; it provides a moral foundation for a useful government that does not grow out of control. (And as I have already touched upon, such a natural rights theory is largely backed up by the Bible, which is at least supposedly the foundation for the prevailing religions of the U.S.)