Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Robert Nozick vs. The U.S. Congress

Maybe it's because I was a debater or just because I was a philosophy major and think that spending the rest of my life reading, writing, and speaking about philosophy would be a dream come true, but in any case, I found the following Forbes article, Robert Nozick Vs. The U.S. Congress, by Richard Epstein, enthralling. The article explains how the U.S. Congress adopted what Nozick called a patterned principle of justice concerning home ownership, and used state power to help reach the pattern they wanted. However, Epstein points out:
The grand objectives articulated by Congress--and to be fair, by Republicans who preach the virtues of the "ownership society"--are not freebies that can be satisfied at no real cost. Quite the contrary. Once Congress set in place a destructive lending policy
This article does a great job of illustrating the importance of philosophy for real-world political activities. Theory is not enough. Reality must be taken into account to determine what constitutes a good theory. At the same time, it raises an important question to consider: would we be in a better position if Congress adopted a historical or procedurally-based principle of justice rather than trying to pattern society?

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