WGBH Openvault

Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do; Free to Choose; Who Owns Me

05/15/2009

EPISODE THREE Lecture Five: Libertarians believe the ideal state is a society with minimal governmental interference. Sandel introduces Robert Nozick, a libertarian philosopher, who argues that individuals have the fundamental right to choose how they want to live their own lives. Government shouldn’t have the power to enact laws that protect people from themselves (seat belt laws), to enact laws that force a moral value on society, or enact laws that redistribute income from the rich to the poor. Sandel uses the examples of Bill Gates and Michael Jordan to explain Nozick’s theory that redistributive taxation is a form of forced labor. Lecture Six: Libertarian philosopher Robert Nozick makes the case that taxing the wealthy – to pay for housing, health care, and education for the poor – is a form of coercion. Students first discuss the arguments in favor of redistributive taxation. If you live in a society that has a system of progressive taxation, aren’t you obligated to pay your taxes? Don’t the poor need and deserve the social services they receive? And isn’t wealth often achieved through sheer luck or family fortune? In this lecture, a group of students (“Team Libertarianism”) are asked to defend the objections against Libertarianism.


License Clip

More material is available from this program at the WGBH Archive. If you are a researcher interested in accessing the collection at WGBH, please email archive_requests@wgbh.org.

Undigitized item: Request Digitization

Untranscribed item: Request Transcription

Series
Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do
Program
Free to Choose; Who Owns Me
Program Number

103

Series Description

This 12 part series invites viewers to think critically about the fundamental questions of justice, equality, democracy and citizenship. Each week, more than 1,000 students attend the lectures of Harvard University professor and author Michael Sandel, eager to expand their understanding of political and moral philosophy, as well as test long-held beliefs. Students learn about the great philosophers of the past — Aristotle, Kant, Mill, Locke — then apply the lessons to complex and sometimes volatile modern-day issues, including affirmative action, same-sex marriage, patriotism, loyalty and human rights. Sandel's teaching approach involves presenting students with an ethical dilemma — some hypothetical, others actual cases — then asking them to decide "what’s the right thing to do?" He encourages students to stand up and defend their decisions, which leads to a lively and often humorous classroom debate. Sandel then twists the ethical question around, to further test the assumptions behind their different moral choices. The process reveals the often contradictory nature of moral reasoning.

Material co-owned by Harvard and WGBH. Need both consent to reuse for any other purpose. Contact Amy Tonkonogy in Educational Productions. Series release date: 9/20/2009

Program Description

Lecture Five: "Free to Choose" Libertarians believe the ideal state is a society with minimal governmental interference. Sandel introduces Robert Nozick, a libertarian philosopher, who argues that individuals have the fundamental right to choose how they want to live their own lives. Government shouldn't have the power to enact laws that protect people from themselves (seat belt laws), to enact laws that force a moral value on society, or enact laws that redistribute income from the rich to the poor. Sandel uses the examples of Bill Gates and Michael Jordan to explain Nozick's theory that redistributive taxation is a form of forced labor. Lecture Six: "Who Owns Me?" Libertarian philosopher Robert Nozick makes the case that taxing the wealthy -- to pay for housing, health care, and education for the poor -- is a form of coercion. Students first discuss the arguments in favor of redistributive taxation. If you live in a society that has a system of progressive taxation, aren't you obligated to pay your taxes? Don't the poor need and deserve the social services they receive? And isn't wealth often achieved through sheer luck or family fortune? In this lecture, a group of students ("Team Libertarianism") are asked to defend the objections against Libertarianism.

Duration

00:56:46

Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type

Video

Genres
Educational
Topics
Social Issues
Citation
Chicago: “Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do; Free to Choose; Who Owns Me,” 05/15/2009, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed December 9, 2016, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_5C5B57E17D0245A0A8ECF383736FCC63.
MLA: “Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do; Free to Choose; Who Owns Me.” 05/15/2009. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. December 9, 2016. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_5C5B57E17D0245A0A8ECF383736FCC63>.
APA: Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do; Free to Choose; Who Owns Me. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_5C5B57E17D0245A0A8ECF383736FCC63
If you have more information about this item, we want to know! Please contact us, including the URL.