The State Should Enforce Voluntary Slavery

1999 Words Dec 19th, 2016 8 Pages
This essay will examine the question of whether the state should enforce voluntary slavery contracts. I will first explain why Nozick thinks that it’s permissible for the state to allow voluntary slavery. Then, I will discuss Satz’s strongest objection against Nozick’s argument and argue why Satz’s response is ineffective. Finally, I will argue that the state should allow one to voluntarily sell himself into a permanent condition of slavery as the state should respect the slave’s freedom to choose how to live his life. I will also consider one response an egalitarian might pose to my objection and ultimately dismiss that response.
Part 1: A libertarianist’s response for why the state should allow voluntary slavery: In Anarchy, State, and Utopia, Nozick argues that the state should allow one to voluntarily sell himself into slavery on the basis that the individual voluntarily makes the choice himself, and no one has made the choice for another person (Nozick 331). In a free system, each person has inviolable right towards self-ownership. The state shouldn’t violate people’s rights by inhibiting exchanges voluntarily carried out between consenting adults (Nozick 163). Nozick’s notion of voluntary slavery refers to a contract formed between two consenting adults in which a slave has rescinded his self-ownership: the slave has given consent to the owner to use the slave as a means to an end, and the slave has become part of the owner’s property. According to Nozick’s…
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