Critique of Libertarianism


‘Yet many critics (e.g., G.A. Cohen) have argued that great wealth can be a weapon of considerable power in society. First, it can give people superior access to political officeholders, enabling their views on issues to have greater influence; second, it can put them in a position where they can more readily secure the satisfaction of their interests; and third, it can allow them to control other people who do not have anything like their share of wealth…Rousseau, Mill, Aristotle, and Marx would all wonder why Nozick [a libertarian theorist] and other libertarians are so keen to protect individual liberty from intrusion by the state, would “forget” to protect it from intrusions by the rich or by firms with far greater assets than the individual. Just as political power can be used to threaten, coerce, and master people in a society, so, too, can superior wealth’ (152-3) in “Political Philosophy” by Jean Hampton.

I was thinking this the entire time I was watching the New Hampshire Republican debate.


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