Are Taxes That Fund Public Education Just? Essay

1003 Words Apr 24th, 2016 5 Pages
Are taxes that fund public education just? The United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights declares that education is a fundamental human right and everyone should have access to free, compulsory elementary education (United Nations). On one hand, taxes that fund public education seem just because they aim to provide a better educational system for the community. However, these taxes also seem unjust because taxation itself is a violation of the right to self-ownership. Emmanuel Levinas argues that in order to live ethical lives, we need to care for and take responsibility for the Other. When this idea is applied to the dilemma of public education, Levinas seems to support taxation as it could help improve the lives of other people. However, Robert Nozick writes in direct opposition to taxation, arguing that it violates the freedom of choice and allows the government to effectively steal a portion of money from its people. Although Nozick’s defense of human rights seems compelling, Levinas’s argument for the care of the Other is more appealing when applied to the dilemma of public education as it leads people to care about the wellbeing of others and develop a sense of responsibility towards others, thus creating a more virtuous society. Through Nozick’s framework, one would oppose taxation to fund public schools because taxes deprive people of the right to choose where to spend their money. As Nozick states, “Patterned distributional principles do not give people what…

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