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  Tuesday, December 19, 2006


The local paper carried an article named "Soft Paternalism" from the New York Times, by Jim Holt. I believe the Times ran it December 3. It's an incredibly well-written discussion of how people try to protect themselves from their own bad behaviors, and whether that is best done by the government, private enterprise or by the individuals themselves. It opens thusly:

"When the government tells you that you can't smoke marijuana or that you must wear a helmet when you ride your motorcycle even if you happen to like the feeling of the wind in your hair, it is being paternalistic. It is largely treating you the way a parent treats a child, restricting your liberty for what it deems to be your own good. Paternalistic laws aren't very popular in this country. We hew to the principle that, children and the mentally ill apart, an individual is a better judge of what's good for him than the state is and that people should be free to do what they wish as long as their actions don't harm others."

Hear, hear! What do you think? I like the Wiccan saying: "If it harms no-one, do what you will."

Blog Tag: Opinion


At 12/30/2006 7:11 PM, Blogger Melissa said...

Another problem with paternalistic laws is that it reduces the number of organ donors, contributing to the severe shortage. Idiots should be encouraged to drive without seatbelts and ride motorcycles without helmets.

At 12/30/2006 7:20 PM, Blogger dkgoodman said...

LOL I guess it's Nature's way: if you as stupid as meat, don't waste the meat!


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