Examine the role of conscience in Libertarianism (30 marks)
Conscience can be defined as our belief on what is right and what is wrong. Butler stated that there is a principle working inside of us, it helps us “disprove or approve of actions... this principle in man is conscience”. This suggests that conscience is a final moral decision maker.
In Libertarianism it is explained that we have complete freedom to act morally therefore we are morally responsible for our action. It is argued that conscience is the only true influence inside of us over our actions and that we should act with integrity and in a way that fits our principles and beliefs. Because it is a principle that works inside of us it is still us making the decisions making us accountable praise or blame. C.A Campbell explained that the way we decide whether to “put forth or withhold the moral effort required for moral responsibility” shows our freedom as we are going through a decision making process. Even after making decisions we evaluate them, we criticise, regret or question whether we did the right thing. This demonstrates the concept of the conscience working inside of us.
It is the central feature to human dignity meaning we should not be forced to do things that we genuinely believe to be wrong as our free will is then removed which is wrong. For example, if I hold the view that killing is wrong then I cannot be expected to fight in a war as it would undermine my views and conscience. This view is also universally recognised in Libertarianism, so much so that if a doctor is asked to carry out an abortion they are completely entitled to deny it if it goes against their own individual conscience. John Stuart Mill is an influential figure in Libertarianism and argued that the erosion of conscience from state or social pressure is wrong. If we are crushed by the majority then our free will is taken away. For instance, Mill argued that the way the government mislead and mistreated its...