Philosophy

Philosopher Matt Zwolinski on "Bleeding-Heart Libertarians," The Poor, and Social Justice

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"Libertarians … when they try to convince people of libertarianism, they do it by talking about the way in which free markets make life better for the poor," says Matt Zwolinski, a philosopher at the University of San Diego and a creator of the web site Bleeding Heart Libertarians.

While the notion of "social justice" has long been anathema to some libertarians, Zwolinski says that a bleeding-heart libertarian realizes that an abiding concern for the most vulnerable in society is an essential part of any moral political system.

"But, simply being committed to social justice does not mean that you have to be committed to the view that government must directly try to promote the well-being of the poor and vulnerable members of society," says Zwolinski. Instead, the bleeding-heart libertarian looks at the empirical evidence and accepts that small government and free markets are the best methods by which to provide for the poor.

Interview by Zach Weissmueller. Shot by Paul Feine. Edited by Weissmueller. Approximately 10 minutes.

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