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So the whole positive/negative rights dichotomy--never quite liked it myself--is one of the major themes present in libertarianism and Objectivism. It exists in the wider field of political science, but it's not raised much as an issue. Most people, even if they're political junkies, probably haven't heard of it. "Positive rights" are the prevailing problem libertarians and O'ists face, as you know, because it involves, as they see it, expansion of government power. Negative right: A duty imposed on others to refrain from acting. Positive right: A duty imposed on others to act. A "right to food" is a "positive right". A "right to life" is a "negative right". The "right to food" requires others act to provide someone with food...or does it? The reason I ask this is because there are certain commands in the Bible that in effect say "under certain conditions, this stuff that you think belongs to you actually belongs to the worse off". Note that I'm not endorsing this, merely pointing out what I think is a potentially serious problem. An example of stuff that might belong to the poor: the scraps from a crop harvest. In this case, this isn't necessarily a "positive right". Because these scraps would belong to the poor, it means that these scraps are their property, and therefore there is a negative right in them. I think that the implications of this are that looking at this situation in terms of negative rights versus positive rights mistakes the point. Any thoughts on this?
I will start school next month as a freshman. My financial aid package comes from the federal government, the state government, and the Army. I'm conflicted with the morality of accepting government aid, and I would prefer to only use private loans, but the current market just isn't set up for this kind of loan shopping. Every single student who attends university will use some form of government-subsidized financial aid (unless the student attends a private university and pays all tuition and fees personally). Is it moral to accept government-subsidized financial aid as a student? It seems literally impossible to pay for school without it, since students are *expected* to either pay for everything out of their pockets or accept government aid. I don't want to have to accept government aid, but it seems like the only available option whether I had more money or not.