The misconception about the role of the government.

In his online article Peter A. Corning explains his position about social justice. His argument is fallacious, though logical in some parts, for just one thing: his basic misconception about the role of governments so common that only a few people are aware of it.

He lists examples how courts ruled against private and for public interests which he calls “public trust doctrine [that] was used in a total of 284 judicial decisions, including 34 federal cases and 250 in the states.” He interprets this observation as proof that governments care for public interests, but he did not realize that such an interpretation contradicts his own arguments. A few paragraphs before he quotes Locke: “Locke insisted, governments exist to protect these [property] rights.”

So what? If the government is the one and only institution to protect property rights, in those rulings quoted above they simply refused protect the property rights.

If you see it from that angle, all his arguments turn upside down. Social inequality is no longer explicable by a government’s inaction to distribute but on the contrary by a government’s vigorous enforcement.


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