Presentation on theme: "The Role of the State. Why should I care? Most debates involve the state taking some new action In many of these debates, people may claim any of the."— Presentation transcript:
The Role of the State
Why should I care? Most debates involve the state taking some new action In many of these debates, people may claim any of the following: The state is morally obliged to take this action This action is morally illegitimate Someone should take this action, but not the state Or even all three of them These claims obviously clash You can win or lose debates by winning this argument – even if a policy has some benefits, you can win by showing that it is an unjust action
Moral Duties These are things that we morally have to do Most people would agree you have a moral duty to not go around murdering children Donating all your money to charity would be a good thing to do but it is not necessarily something you have to do Moral duties might come from philosophical arguments like Utilitarianism The ‘Veil of Ignorance’ argument Intrinsic human rights Etc.
The State’s moral duties Does the state have different moral duties that individuals do not have? Perhaps It is more powerful than individuals (with great power, comes great responsibility) We give up some rights to the state, in exchange it takes care of certain moral duties & looks after us It is a way of avoiding the ‘collective action problem Perhaps not – The state is just a group of individuals, so how can it have duties that they don’t? Do states have moral duties outside of their own borders?
What kind of things are we talking about? Public vs. Private sector Does the government have a special duty to provide free healthcare? Does the government have the right to control access to certain services? Crime & Punishment Do individuals have the right to cause harm to themselves? When does the government have the right to punish people? Human Rights Can the government restrict the rights of some people to make other people better off, or safer?
Who is best at doing it? What kind of stuff is the state good at doing? Police? Justice? What kind of stuff is it bad at doing? Does the state have a special duty to do something just because it can do it the most efficiently? Nationalise banks? Or transport? Should the state force people to use/pay for its services? BBC? State schools? Wars you don’t agree with?