Our colleague Jason Waller, who teaches philosophy at Eastern Illinois University, provides a detailed description of and step-by-step guide to Robert Nozick’s influential “taxation is forced labor” argument in this fascinating book by Michael Bruce and Steven Barbone, editors, Just the arguments: 100 of the most important arguments in Western philosophy, Wiley-Blackwell (1st edition, 2011), pp. 242-243. (We reproduce Professor Waller’s reformulation of Nozick’s reasoning below.) Is the chain of Nozick’s reasoning plausible, or do you reject any of Nozick’s seven premises? For my part, Premise #6 looks debatable, but even if that premise were false, would Nozick’s overall conclusion still be sound? More generally, when is state coercion or public paternalism ever justified?
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