Sheldon Richman on Libertarianism's Need for More Than Non-Aggression



To the question "Why do we owe it to others not to aggress against them," one might respond along these lines: because we individually should treat other persons respectfully, that is, as ends in themselves and not merely as means to our own ends. But some libertarians would reject that as too broad because it seems to obligate us to more than just nonaggression. They might answer the question this way: "Because one may use force against another only in defense or retaliation against someone who initiated the use of force." But this can't be sufficient because it amounts to a circular argument, writes Sheldon Richman, who details why libertarians have an obligation broadly to treat other persons as ends and not merely as means.