Health Care, Natural Law, and the American Commons: Locke and Libertarianism

Document Type



This article makes a moral argument for universal access to health care and for the legitimate function of government to guarantee that access. Constructed as a reply to the libertarian argument against universal access, this article utilizes the moral and political theory of John Locke, favored by libertarianism, to develop a Lockean argument for a view contrary to the libertarian philosophy. In particular, the argument here shows how libertarianism’s neglect of a crucial element of the natural-law tradition, to which Locke adhered, not only undercuts the libertarian objection to universal access to health care but also underwrites an alternative argument in favor of such.

Publication Date

Fall 2013