Abstract: In a recent essay, “Forcing Nozick Beyond the Minimal State: The Lockean Proviso and Compensatory Welfare,” I argue that Nozick’s own reading of the Lockean Proviso commits him to a welfare state. In a forceful response, Jan Narveson calls my argument into question by arguing for an especially austere reading of the Lockean Proviso as a mere extension of the principle of liberty. In this reply to Narveson, I argue that any proviso derived from the principle of liberty will require compensatory welfare for the contemporary poor. This is because liberty only has value if it can be used and many people lack the resources to do so in any substantive way. The only way Narveson can avoid this argument is to retreat to an anemic sort of liberty, but this would abandon what makes classical liberalism attractive in the first place: the preservation of substantive personal liberty.
Keywords: Jan Narveson, Lockean proviso, welfare state, wealth redistribution