Saturday, October 24, 2009

Question of the week ~ owning myself

If I own myself, does it follow that I should be free to sell myself into slavery if I wish to do so? Answer yes or no, and then please tell us why.

Philosopher John Locke believes that your “unalienable right” to liberty does not include the right to kill yourself. Is he right? What does your liberty entitle you to do with yourself? Where do the limits come from?

John Locke believes that government, once it is set up, should be guided by the principle of majority rule. However, he also believes that the purpose of government is to protect people’s rights, including their “unalienable” right to property. What if these two goals conflict? What if a poor majority wants to tax a rich minority?

1 comment:

June said...

Sell myself into slavery? We do this all the time when we choose to work 25 years at a job that we dislike but provides security/money. Of course we have that's our own life to do with what we will. I think limitations only present themselves when your decisions effect the lives of others. But then...this sort of decision can't help but affect the lives of others...for better or worse. Working as a "slave" will keep food on the table. On the other hand, it may cause emotional harm to myself and/or to others. The bottom line is, no matter what the outcome, it is a choice we make in one form or the other all the time and I believe we have the right to do it.

Our right to kill ourselves becomes a bit more sticky. Certainly, I draw the line if others are physically harmed as you do so. But what of emotional harm? When a son kills himself, he certainly inflicts emotional harm on his parents. Still, I think there is a right to do it. I guess my line is drawn at "physical harm". A more difficult question for me is whether we have the right to kill others. We seem to think so under certain circumstances...war, death penalty, etc.

Poor taxing the rich to achieve their "unalienable right to property"? This is happening now in the sense that our taxes are going to a variety of social services. Where to draw the line? I've not a clue...I'll have to ponder that a bit to see if I can come up with something!

This is a lot of stuff to think about so early in the morning :-)