Short Notes on the Meaning of Libertarian-Minimal State

Robert Nozick has in his work ‘Anarchy, State and Utopia’ (1974) expressed his deep reservations regarding a State that is allowed to intervene and in fact to the whole quest for equality.

Nozick is of the view that it is only the minimal State that can be morally justified, being limited by rights bearing individuals. Nozick challenged both anarchic visions of statelessness as well as welfare oriented interventionism.

Nozick repudiated the claims of any State to ‘forbid capitalist acts between consenting adults’. He argues that a State that does anything more than provide services will necessarily violate people’s rights and so cannot be morally legitimate.

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He argues primarily against the view that a major function of the State is to achieve distributive justice on the basis of some conception of the right pattern of distribution. Nozick therefore argues that a State which is more extensive than the minimal State is bound to be non-neutral by increasing the scope for manipulations.

The position that Nozick took led him to become one of most invoked philosophers of the New Right, who were arguing through the 1980s for the rolling out of the State from the society.

Nozick’s prescription for a minimal State seemed to fulfill these requirements and thus gave an intellectual basis for the rapid withdrawal of the State from many key areas in England, Europe and America.

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