Why Libertarians Should Reject Positive Rights
by Joshua Katz (Texas A&M)
In “Why Libertarians Should Believe in Positive Rights” (presented at the Austrian Scholars Conference 2006) Nico Maloberti offers a reformulation of libertarianism that does not preclude the possibility, in principle, of a legitimate state. This is done through the introduction of “Samaritan rights,” the right to be saved from a dire situation when
someone is able to do so at a minimal cost to himself. The purpose of the present paper is argue that Samaritan rights should, at the very least, not be accepted as enforceable rights, and therefore do not justify the existence of a state. It will then follow, of course, that Maloberti has not shown that a state is, in fact, justified in principle. With this in mind, I will focus my attention on part 2 of Maloberti’s paper, in which he develops Samaritan rights.