Thursday, June 23, 2011

Nozick’s Tale of the Slave

While on the subject of Robert Nozick, we might note that he’s been written up this week in Slate, in an article by Stephen Metcalf.  It’s a pretty feeble piece – gratuitously snotty, philosophically shallow, and lame even as mere journalism insofar as its central “hook” is just wrong.  Contrary to what Metcalf supposes, Nozick did not renounce libertarianism.  In fact he explicitly denied doing so in an interview with Julian Sanchez given not long before Nozick’s death in 2002 (as Sanchez reminds us in responding to Metcalf).  Like too many critics of Nozick, Metcalf also focuses exclusively on his famous “Wilt Chamberlain argument” (and, as Sanchez notes, badly misses the point of it).  That argument is indeed important, but Nozick gave other arguments too, some of them no less interesting.  Consider, for instance, the argument implicit in his thought experiment “The Tale of the Slave.”

You can find the thought experiment on pp. 290-92 of Anarchy, State, and Utopia.  You can also find it online here.  It’s brief – give it a read, then come back. 

Now, let’s consider Nozick’s closing question: Which transition in the series of cases Nozick describes makes it no longer the tale of a slave?  Nozick’s own apparent implicit answer is that none of them does, and that the situation in the last case constitutes a kind of slavery, even if a mild sort.  And since that situation is more or less the sort all of us find ourselves in in modern democratic societies, the implication is that such societies constitute slave states, at least to the extent that they make demands of their citizens (in the form of taxation, regulation, and the like) that go beyond the functions of Nozick’s “minimal state” (police, national defense, and courts of law).  Naturally, this would also entail that non-democratic governments that make such demands also constitute slave states, presumably even more so. 

In my libertarian days I agreed with this judgment, though I no longer do.  The usual disclaimer applies: That does not by any means entail that I now think that “anything goes.”  Much that modern governments demand of us is unjust, and some of it (such as saddling their citizens with crushing debt) may fairly be described as in some respects comparable to slavery.  The point is just that I now believe, on natural law grounds, that it is false to say that requiring citizens to support any functions beyond the minimal state is inherently unjust or comparable to slavery.  Some such demands can be justifiable, even if the demands socialists and egalitarian liberals would make are (I agree) not justifiable.  (Which demands are justifiable, and under what conditions?  There is no glib, one-line answer to that question of the sort a Rand- or Rothbard-style libertarian always seems to want, because the relevant moral considerations are more complicated than they suppose.   See my Social Philosophy and Policy article “Classical Natural Law Theory, Property Rights, and Taxation” for the way traditional Thomistic natural law theory would approach the issue.) 

But then, where exactly does Nozick’s Tale of the Slave go wrong?  The problem with it is that it is underdescribed.  In particular, the end result seems like “slavery” only because Nozick leaves out certain crucial moral facts.  To see how, let’s first alter the thought experiment a little bit by supposing that the “10,000-headed master” emancipates you, but that, for whatever reason, you go on voluntarily to sign an employment contract with this group of people.  Specifically, you agree to be on call at all hours of the night, over the course of a year – perhaps to do errands for various members of the group, or to deal with various overnight emergencies, or whatever.  Suppose further that after a few weeks of this you get sick of being awakened in the middle of the night and in other ways start to hate the job.  You wish you could quit but given the terms of your contract you cannot.  Still, the group has come to rely on you and would be seriously inconvenienced if you didn’t do your job, and after all, you did agree to do it.  Now, are you a slave?  Nozick would say that in this case, you aren’t a slave, even though you hate your job as much as a slave might. 

Why aren’t you a slave?  The reason, of course, is that in this case you consented to the job, consented to be on call, for one year, to your 10,000-headed employer; and for the libertarian, consent suffices to make the situation something other than slavery.  (Whether agreeing to surrender complete control over yourself for life would generate an enforceable obligation is something libertarians disagree over, but that issue does not affect the present point.)  

But notice that this cannot be a complete answer, for two reasons.  First of all, while you might have consented initially, you might also come to regret this.  You might say “I want more than anything else to be free of this job!  It’s so horrible – I feel as if I were a slave!  Oh how I wish I had never signed that contract!”  All the same, Nozick would say, you are obligated to do the job.  And this shows that, whatever it means to say that you are obligated to do what you consent to doing, it does not mean that you have to be in any way willing to do it at the time you have to do it.  “Consent” in that sense is not required.  Hence Nozick and like-minded libertarians would seem to be committed to the following proposition: 

1. A person can be obligated to do something even if, at the time he has to do it, he does not want to do it and feels as if he were being treated like a slave. 

But notice that even your having initially consented cannot be the whole story either.  For why is it that you are obligated in the first place to do what you have consented to doing?  The answer cannot be “Because I consented to do whatever I consent to doing”, on pain of infinite regress.  Consent can generate obligations only if we are already obligated, for other reasons, to do what we consent to doing.  Consent cannot itself be the ground of all obligation.  Certainly the Nozickian libertarian cannot think so:  In Nozick’s view, it is because of a Kantian respect for persons as “ends in themselves” that we are obligated not to make slaves of them, even if we have never consented to regarding them as ends in themselves.  They just are ends in themselves and that’s that.  In that case, though, Nozick and like-minded libertarians are also committed to a further proposition: 

2. A person can have enforceable obligations to others that he did not at any time consent to having. 

Now the circumstance described in 2 is itself something a person might come to dislike intensely.  In the situation I’ve described, where you have consented to be the midnight errand boy for your 10,000-headed employer, you might think to yourself “I hate it, just hate it, that the world is set up in such a way that I have obligations I never consented to putting myself under – for example, obligations like the obligation to honor contracts that I freely consented to signing!”  Yet the Nozickian libertarian would say: “Too bad.  That’s the way the world is.  Deal with it.”  More to the point, the Nozickian libertarian would have to say that having obligations like this does not by itself suffice to make you a slave.  That is to say, the Nozickian libertarian is committed to a third proposition: 

3. It is possible for a person who is not a slave nevertheless to have enforceable obligations to others that he never consented to having and that he finds deeply odious.  

Notice further that these obligations may not be merely of a negative sort, but even of a positive sort.  In the scenario I’ve described, you are obligated not merely to refrain from harming your 10,000-headed employer, but also to carry out certain acts as your employer demands, given the terms of your contract.  It is true that you consented to this, but you did not consent to being obligated to do whatever you’ve consented to doing.  And in this sense, your consent is only partial.  That means that the Nozickian libertarian is committed also to: 

4. It is possible for a person who is not a slave nevertheless to have enforceable positive obligations to others that he never fully consented to having and that he finds deeply odious. 

Now, keep in mind that none of what has been said so far rests on any moral premises of my own, natural law or otherwise.  All I have been doing is drawing out what is implicit in Nozick’s own position.  But look what happens when we return to the original Tale of the Slave and apply to it the points we have made.  Nozick, it seems, expects us to regard case 9 – the case that parallels a modern democratic society – as tantamount to a mild form of slavery.  But why should we so regard it?  The answer cannot be “Because it involves our having obligations to others that we find odious and that we never consented to having.”  For given 3, there is nothing necessarily wrong or slavery-like with that.  

Note also that Nozick does not tell us in his Tale of the Slave whether the “10,000-headed master” gives the purported slave a right of exit – that is, a right to emigrate from the territory over which the 10,000-headed master rules.  (This is one respect in which Nozick’s thought experiment is, as I have said, underdescribed.)  But he will have to add such a right to the story if he wants the example to be relevantly parallel to a modern democratic society, since such societies do allow their citizens to emigrate.  Now, a right of exit entails that anyone who dislikes the positive obligations a 10,000-headed master (or some government) imposes on him could always escape them by emigrating.  Of course, exercising this option might be burdensome, but if a person could still take it and yet refrains from doing so, then his being subject to the positive obligations in question involves at least partial consent, even if not full consent.  But in that case, if we ask why we should regard Nozick’s case 9 as tantamount to slavery, the answer cannot be “Because it involves our having positive obligations to others that we find odious and that we never fully consented to having.”  For given 4, there can be nothing necessarily wrong or slavery-like with that either.     

So, whatever it is about case 9 that is supposed to amount to slavery, it cannot – by Nozick’s own lights cannot – be merely that it involves obligations to others that we find odious and that we never consented to, nor even that it involves positive obligations to others that we never fully consented to.  For given 3 and 4, which Nozick himself is committed to, these circumstances simply do not suffice to make a situation tantamount to slavery.  

I submit that these points entirely undermine the force of Nozick’s thought experiment.  Probably most people who find the Tale of the Slave an impressive piece of libertarian argumentation do so because they are implicitly reasoning in one of two ways.  First, they might be reasoning as follows: 

Major premise: Slavery is odious and non-consensual. 

Minor premise: The demands imposed on us by democratic and other governments (or at least those that go beyond the functions of the minimal state) are also (sometimes) odious and non-consensual. 

Conclusion: So demands of this sort amount to slavery.  

But this argument is invalid, for (as anyone who has taken a basic logic course can see) it commits the fallacy of the undistributed middle term.  Alternatively, we might replace the major premise with its converse, giving us the following valid argument: 

Major premise: Any demands made on us that are odious and non-consensual amount to slavery. 

Minor premise: The demands imposed on us by democratic and other governments (or at least those that go beyond the functions of the minimal state) are (sometimes) odious and non-consensual. 

Conclusion: So demands of this sort amount to slavery. 

But as we have seen, the Nozickian libertarian is committed to rejecting this alternative major premise, given his commitment to 3 and 4.  Nor would it do the Nozickian libertarian any good to reconsider his commitment to 3 and 4, so as to be avail himself of the proposed alternative major premise.  For one thing, 3 and 4 follow, as we have seen, from Nozick’s basic commitments; to abandon them is just to abandon the foundations of Nozick’s libertarianism.  For another thing, the claim that “Any demands made on us that are odious and non-consensual amount to slavery” simply begs the question against the non-libertarian, who holds precisely that we have certain non-slave-like obligations we did not consent to, even if we find them odious.     

Now, obviously the Nozickian libertarian will insist that, even if not all obligations that are non-consensual and odious amount to slavery, the specific obligations that democratic and other governments impose on us do amount to slavery, at least when they go beyond the functions of the minimal state.  The trouble is that we now need a separate argument for this claim; merely appealing to the odious and non-consensual nature of these obligations will not suffice, for the reasons we’ve seen.  That is another reason I say that Nozick’s thought experiment is underdescribed.  To know whether his case 9 amounts to slavery – and thus to know whether the demands democratic and other governments make of us amount to slavery – we need to know what specifically are the demands that the 10,000-headed master (or such governments) are making of us, and why these specific demands amount to slavery when other odious and non-consensual demands to not.  But in that case the Tale of the Slave itself – with its implied emphasis on the non-consensual and odious nature of the obligations the 10,000-headed master imposes on you, abstracting away from the actual contents of the obligations – drops out as irrelevant, since it would not really be doing any work.  Rather, this separate argument (whatever it is) would be doing all the work.  

So, the implied argument of the Tale of the Slave seems to be either irrelevant, or invalid, or to be committed to a premise which both begs the question against the non-libertarian and which Nozick himself implicitly rejects in any case.  Vivid and interesting though the thought experiment is, it thus fails to provide any support for libertarianism.  Its appeal is entirely rhetorical, and has no actual logical force. 

Again, this does not entail that democratic governments, or any other kind of government, may demand whatever they wish of their citizens without this amounting to slavery.  That a certain argument for a claim fails does not mean that the claim itself is false.  In any event, like Nozick, I reject socialism and egalitarian liberalism.  But the reasons have to do with natural law considerations of the sort outlined in the article of mine linked to above, and not with superficial comparisons to slavery of the sort that the Tale of the Slave rests on. 

Nor do I intend any disrespect toward Nozick or his arguments.  On the contrary, Nozick was a brilliant philosopher, and the arguments he sets out in Anarchy, State and Utopia are important ones that deserve our consideration even if we ultimately reject them.  Certainly they are far more formidable than those of Nozick’s absurdly overrated rival John Rawls, whose main “arguments” are little more than flatulent tautologies.  The contrast between the cringe-making hagiography usually afforded Rawls and the condescension toward Nozick one finds in commentators like Metcalf (and Matthew Yglesias) says more about the commentators than it does about the respective merits of Rawls and Nozick themselves.  Rawls’s arguments are murky, plodding, and (given their ultimate circularity) anticlimactic, but reinforce liberal prejudices.  Nozick’s are clever, clear, and crisp, but challenge those prejudices.  Nothing more need be said.

18 comments:

Daniel Smith said...

I really like the way you dissect arguments and expose logical fallacies Dr. Feser! As an amateur philosopher, it is my goal to some day be proficient enough to do that.

That said, I hope you'll forgive me for crashing this thread but I asked a question in the On Aristotle, Aquinas and Paley thread that got overrun by another discussion and I'm hoping you will answer it here.

It is basically this:
If teleology is inherent in nature (even if God put it there), doesn't it logically follow then that nature could continue to exist even if God ceases to exist?

Thanks in advance!

Jinzang said...

My problem with the extreme libertarianism position, such as Nozick argues for, is that I feel it leads to immoral conclusions. The libertarian considers it more odious to impose a tax to pay for the care of an orphan than to let the orphan starve.

Jinzang said...

After reading Metcalf's article, I agree with his main point, which is that it is pretty audacious to believe that you can derive the rules for a just society by arguing from first principles.

Jinzang said...

Matt Yglesias gives his opinion on the Wilt Chamberlain argument.

Iain said...

"The libertarian considers it more odious to impose a tax to pay for the care of an orphan than to let the orphan starve."

Actually the belief is is that good people like yourself will willingly provide for that orphan without being forced by the government.

I'd like to know what "natural law considerations" Professor Feser means when he says he rejects libertarianism because that makes no sense.

Solomon's Chariots said...

Iain, yes it is true that people will in most cases fill that role. I don't think Dr Feser is arguing against that.

However the libertarian would object to being forced to provide for the starving orphan in the situation that nobody does it willingly.

If you want to know what the natural law considerations are, you can actually read the blog posts and articles
which Dr Feser has repeatedly given links to (for example in this very blog post he has a link to https://portfolio.du.edu/portfolio/getportfoliofile?uid=157552), instead of not reading them and then insinuating that he is not making sense.

Pattsce said...

This was a great read; thank you.

Lain,

I don't understand your response; he posted a link to his views on natural law, property rights, and taxation in the blog post.

Anonymous said...

Solomon's Chariots: "However the libertarian would object to being forced to provide for the starving orphan in the situation that nobody does it willingly."

Do such "what if" scenarios that are not based in the concrete everydayness of life need to be taken seriously when constructing a moral/political philosophy? This modus operandi seem to be of the same intellectual value as that of what passes for "academic moral philosophy" these days, in which a fictitious scenario involving some kind of dilemma is thrown up ("10 shipwrecked sailors are on a small lifeboat and they must either cannibalize one member or all die," "nuke this country within one day or the Earth will explode!," etc.), and any moral philosophies which cannot answer the dilemmas are deemed to be worthless, regardless of the fact that the posed scenarios are completely over-the-top and never actually obtain in the concrete, everyday world.

"Everyone neglecting the orphans in a society in which Christian morality is still very much alive" is something that will not play out at any time within the foreseeable future, and hence I don't see the need to give the notion much attention, as far as determining what is and isn't a sound moral/political philosophy is concerned.

If I should, though, would someone mind explaining why?

Anonymous said...

Great post, Prof. Feser.

I'd like to know your thoughts on Hans-Hermann Hoppe's work. Of all the modern libertarian thinkers, he's probably the brightest (and, certainly, the most controversial).

Solomon's Chariots said...

Hi Anonymous June 23, 2011 9:13 PM,

Firstly, I would question whether the situation I outline is actually a thought experiment, I think it happens regularly that persons in emergency need such as starving orphans are left without help from the community/charity. There are at least a billion people in the world suffering from chronic starvation. Most libertarians would (and do) rule out government intervention in this situation even if they recognised that it could save x number of starving orphans that otherwise aren't being saved from prolonged death.

Secondly, isn't the idea that in a universe where there is no government intervention (or minimal government), there are no starving orphans that aren't cared for itself indulging a "what if" scenario even more?

"Everyone neglecting the orphans in a society in which Christian morality is still very much alive" is even more indulging in what if scenarios even more, it's a situation which doesn't actually happen in the real world. But what is worse is that you would claim in the situation that an orphan does starve unaided in such a society, that it has failed to meet the grounds to be considered a society in which "Christian morality is still very much alive" and thus beg the question against the critic of libertarianism.

Basically I think you need to recognise that this isn't just a case of talking about hypotheticals (as talking about super nuke terrorists would be).

DNW said...

"Firstly, I would question whether the situation I outline is actually a thought experiment, I think it happens regularly that persons in emergency need such as starving orphans are left without help from the community/charity. There are at least a billion people in the world suffering from chronic starvation. Most libertarians would (and do) rule out government intervention in this situation even if they recognised that it could save x number of starving orphans that otherwise aren't being saved from prolonged death."


If you can say why you believe the "starving orphans" should be saved, you may have gone some way to clarifying the question for yourself by laying out your presuppositions.


Oh and professor Feser, I agree about Rawls. I read A Theory ... many years ago; and when not flinging the book across the room in exasperation at Rawls circular logic, I was marveling at his baseless ex cathedra style pronouncements.

Even his prescriptive hypothetical formulations left me asking why I should affirm the antecedent.

He should have just become a Unitarian minister and left it at that.

Lorenzo said...

Nicely argued post. This is connected to the question of why we do not allow voluntary slavey, or people to otherwise capitalise their labour services, and whether the employment contract is a form of unacceptable alienation of self. I take a somewhat more property-and-person analysis of these questions here but there is some overlap with your points.

DNW said...

Speaking of Rawls, the following has to be one of the most annoying passages in his "Justice" text, even though it is couched parametrically ( "in justice as fairness") in terms of an implied conditional.


" In justice as fairness men agree to share one another's fate. In designing institutions they undertake to avail themselves of the accidents of nature and social circumstance only when doing so is for the common benefit" (A Theory of Justice, pg 102)

Geez. We agree to share each other's fate. Remind me why, again? At least Christians promise you some kind of prospective reward for putting up with what may be, when analyzed unemotionally and in minimalist terms of objectively maintaining a critical mass of worthwhile associative arrangements, those unnecessary bonds and claims made by persons less endowed by happy "accidents of nature".

All Rawls promises is that you will perpetually experience more of precisely the same kind of shackles you submit to.


No wait that isn't quite true.

He does realize that "justice as fairness" may induce unpleasant stresses, despite the fact that,

"It seems to be one of the fixed points of our considered judgments that no one deserves his place in the distribution of native endowments, anymore than one deserves one's initial starting place in society" (pg 104)

[Please refrain from asking those obvious questions regarding the incoherence of Rawls' notions. Such as for example, through probing Rawl's idea of "distributing" traits. These manifestations of the organism itself, he treats conceptually as if they are instead socially produced pills poured unequally into fungible receptacles. Nor should you ask how it is that the denial of one's deservingness of such manifest talents, then logically implies a complementary obligation to provide them to someone else who doesn't have them. If A doesn't deserve what A has in the way of natural endowments, how does B which would not deserve having such talents either, then come to deserve the product of A's undeserved talent?]

Anyway, Rawls has a solution to it all. Fraternity motivated Eugenics. Trim a bit off the bottom here and there, and eventually, maybe even little off of the top ...

"In the original position then, the parties want to ensure for their descendants the best genetic endowment (assuming their own to be fixed). The pursuit of reasonable policies in this regard is something that earlier generations owe to later ones, this beings a question that arises between generations. Thus over time a society is to take steps at least to preserve the general level of natural abilities and to prevent the diffusion of serious defects. ...
I mention this speculative and difficult matter to indicate once again the manner in which the difference principle is likely to transform problems of social justice. We might conjecture that in the long run, if there is an upper bound on ability, we would eventually reach a society with the greatest equal liberty the members of which enjoy the greatest equal talent. But I shall not pursue this thought further" (A Theory of Justice, pg 108, Harvard University Press 1971)

Welcome to the fraternal termite heap.

No need to ask what is "good" though.

Fraternity is "good" enough ...

Chuckp123 said...

I haven't been able to find much useful information on Nozick's contract theory, so I can't really speak to the validity of your criticisms from a Nozickian standpoint.

However, Rothbardian libertarians have used Nozick's "Tale of the Slave" as an exercise as well (most recently, Thomas Woods has used it in many of his speeches). And from a Rothbardian standpoint, your criticisms fail at proposition #1. Based on the Title Transfer Theory of Contract, contractual obligations do not trump the inalienable right of free will. Even having agreed to a contract, one of the parties is perfectly at liberty to leave the agreement and is not "obligated" to continue against their will. The contract will specify the penalties for a breach, since the failure of one party to fulfill their end of the deal could amount to theft if they've already been compensated per the terms of the contract by the other party. So there is no slave-like obligation to do something, whereas in the case of the state or the 10,000-headed employer, there would be.

I love the blog, Edward. Take care.

Anonymous said...

How much difference does the option to emigrate actually make? Would it not be slavery if I captured Ed Feser and told him "You must do what I say or I'll beat you, and I'll track you down anywhere within the country. But please don't think of this as slavery. If you manage to leave the country, you're a free man."

Pedro Eidt said...

I agree it's a problem for nozickian libertarians, but not for most libertarians.

Most libertarians defend inalienable rights, that is, every contract that would require enforcement by means of using force against someone's body or mind is invalid. That's why in most libertarian's views, specific performance cannot be enforced. That's why rothbard made a title-transfer theory of contract, in which in case you breach the contract, the enforcement occurs by means of material compensation only, never by using force against yourself.

So, continued consent is required, otherwise a sex contract would validade what we would obviously call rape.

That invalidates your first point, at least when dealing with other libertarians.

I don't see the relevance of your second and third points. The point is that we only have enforceable obligations not to aggress against other people, i.e., treat them as mere means. That is perfectly compatible with nozick's tale of the slave. In other words, we can use force to stop an initiation of force, but we can't initiate force.

That shows that even to a nozickian libertarian that wouldn't be a problem, since it's the contract-violator that is initiating force, and the enforcement would be the defensive force.

Your fourth point is very strange. How come the contractor did not consent to being obligated to do whatever he consented to do? I suppose you are arguing that there is no continued consent, but 1- I don't think how that invalidates the tale of the slave in a nozickian framework. If you contracted to do X, when you don't do X, you've breached the contract, thereby initiating force, so the enforcement is nothing else than defensive force. and 2- In other libertarian's frameworks there wouldn't be such problem.

In other words, the whole point is that your positive enforceable obligations are necessarily *derivative* from negative enforceable obligations. Something that holds for the tale of the slave, but wouldn't hold for someone demanding that I do X with no previous contract or without there being a negative right's violation.

Pedro Eidt said...

What you say about being allowed to leave the state also strikes me as utterly missing the point, though nozick indeed doesn't make such provision. Anyway here it goes: The slave master lets you leave his command if you want, but he demands that, if you leave, you'd have to give him some set of property that you justly acquired (your house or some money, for example), and if you leave, you'll anyway end up in the command of another slave master, or in conditions in which is nigh impossible to survive.

So, I don't see how this provision invalidates the tale of the slave. Yes, I would remain living in my house, earning my money in a job I already have instead of going to another slave master. Would that mean I gave partial consent to what he's doing?

OF COURSE NOT! He does not own the territory in which I live and do my stuff. The fact that I remain because I'm face with some even worse alternatives doesn't mean I'm giving any consent whatsoever. It just means I prefer to be have my rights violated in some ways, instead of facing some even worse options. Would you say that, when a robber demands my wallet and I give it to him, I have thereby given him partial consent? I think that would be absurd! But that was, in your sense, an "enforceable positive obligation".

Suppose that robber say: "if you enter territory X, if I see you, I will demand your wallet again."

Would you say I have given him partial consent to that in case I enter territory X (which, by the way, is thousands and thousands of kilometers and it's not his property) to visit my family? That also seems completely absurd.

You seem to say that if I choose doing X (which is not a rights-violation) even when faced with a threat that by doing X I'll suffer Y, then by doing X I have partially consented to Y. But WHY would you think that?!

But let's go on: You're making a complete mess with the "non-consensual" stuff, so let's use a different terminology. What the libertarian says amounts to slavery is when you treat other people as your property, i.e., you use initiatory force against someone.

So, when you say this: “Any demands made on us that are odious and non-consensual amount to slavery”

One can clearly see how the libertarian would answer: Of course there are demands that don't depend on your consent and which do not amount to slavery. Those are exactly the claims that say that *you cannot use initiatory force against me*. But every claim that involves iniatory force will be a claim that violates that, and so *those* will amount to slavery.

Ok. I'm done with criticising now. To end in a positive commentary, I also endorse aristotelean-thomistic natural law.

Geoff said...

"To see how, let’s first alter the thought experiment a little bit by supposing that the “10,000-headed master” emancipates you, but that, for whatever reason, you go on voluntarily to sign an employment contract with this group of people."

You just contradicted the nature of the state, thus making your "addition" a dropping of the context Nozick was addressing.