(Original post by Melancholy)
The question might as well be: "If the government has no right to tell people what they can and can't do in the bedroom (insofar as consensual sex is concerned), then why does the government have the right to say what they can and can't do with their own body (e.g. they can't murder somebody)?" The obvious reply is that there must be a morally relevant difference. It comes down to ownership, in this case. People own their bodies and therefore it is immoral to kill somebody because that is taking control of their body - harming their property. When you're saying that people can and can't do what they want in the bedroom, I assume you mean that they can do anything providing that they don't hurt anybody without consent
. In reality, the government does say what you can and can't do in your own bedroom, at home, or in public. Ownership of property seems to be a morally relevant factor here. As soon as you start questioning whether people ought to have full rights over their property (e.g. whether taxation is legitimate), then you can legitimately start accepting arguments that the government does have a right to tell others what they can and can't do with "their own" money (incidentally, calling it "their own money" is question-begging).
But, LIKE I SAID, let's be frank here - saying that the government doesn't intervene to impose its morality upon others is simply a fantasy.
Put briefly, I guess, an easy way of summing up would be to say that Mill's Harm Principle
(woefully vague and inadequate though it is, it is nevertheless usually seen as an intuitively plausible principle) prevents government intervention in the bedroom when no harm occurs, but arguably does not prevent government intervention in property rights/money/ownership if they are seen as harming others.
I don't see how you can submit an answer without understanding what I was saying. The second paragraph was simply saying that the government, political philosophy and so on and so forth all rely on people imposing morals onto other people. Saying that governments should not impose their moral standards onto others is a weak statement because, unless you want to live in a Hobbesian State of Nature (anarchy with no laws), then morality must triumph.
For what it's worth, I don't mind constitutions so long as I don't disagree with them (which is trivially true). Your conception of a decent constitution may differ to mine - and that is where the subjective side of political philosophy becomes problematic. Democracies aren't perfect - I doubt many would argue that a 51% mandate is ever enough to waive intuitively obvious and important rights of minorities - but it's a fairly successful system if we're judging alternative systems on their outcomes.
However, no argument
so far has ever relied on the premiss that democracies are wholly justified as a fair system for deciding upon people's rights. So I fail to see how this is relevant. You introduced it out of nowhere.
I don't think that this theory of entitlement is obviously correct. Empirically, it may make economic sense to adopt this system (and, incidentally, Rawls is not against market-driven systems precisely because of its ability to help humanity and, more importantly, the worst-off [I'm referring to the difference principle]). Morally, however, there's nothing obvious that states that those who fulfill a certain role in a market system ought to have more money. Libertarians base their defence of this entitlement theory upon "'liberty"; but there's nothing free and liberty-granting about a State that will positively use force against you when you step upon a piece of land
. If negative liberty is meant to mean 'freedom from interference' or 'permissibility', then the deontic Libertarian needs to be careful about adopting property rights (and the rest of us need to be careful about adopting property rights without any appeal to a social contract). Property rights are important for decent economies and standards of living; but that doesn't mean they should be accepted without hearing ethical considerations.
Then you should have simply asked that question: what right do people have to other people's money? Well, that's question-begging (is it their
money? you seem to have used knowledge of the libertarian conclusion for knowledge of the libertarian premiss, so it's not persuasive). "What right do people have to resources?" is a far more neutral question. I'd say that such rights must come about through a social contract in which the disadvantaged and property-lacking are taken care of by the advantaged and property-given who benefit the most from carving up the earth's resources and granting State-endorsed property rights. It comes down to what rational agents would agree in order to bring about property rights. The disadvantaged have a certain leverage here.
So the answer to "what right do the poor have to some of the richest people's money?" would be "a right that is derived from a social contract" - and I point towards Rawls' Theory of Justice
in order to provide a rationally-compelling method through which this process can come about.