The Need for Basic Rights

A Critique of Nozick’s Entitlement Theory

Keywords: Nozick’s Entitlement Theory, Libertarianism, entitlement theory


Although the Libertarian Party has gained traction as the third biggest political party in the United States, the philosophical grounding of the party, which is exemplified by Robert Nozick’s entitlement theory, is inherently flawed. Libertarianism’s emphasis on a free market leads to gross inequalities since it has no regard for sacred rights other than one’s right to freedom from interference from the government beyond what is essential for societal functioning. I argue that Nozick’s entitlement theory leads to indirect injustice and is therefore an unfitting philosophical theory, which means that the Libertarian Party’s platform is flawed.


Nozick, R. (1974). Anarchy, State, Utopia. New York: Basic Books.
Shue, H. (1980). Basic Rights: Subsistence, Affluence, and U.S. Foreign Policy. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
The Need for Basic Rights: A Critique of Nozick’s Entitlement Theory
How to Cite
Rentmeester, C. (2014). The Need for Basic Rights. SOCRATES, 2(3), 18-26. Retrieved from