I have a "nutshell" summary and critique of John Stuart Mill's On Liberty now up at e3ne.org. Excerpt: Mill thus defends freedom of conscience, speech, and lifestyle on completely “practical” grounds, but he leaves some significant loose ends in On Liberty. For instance, there are lots of examples of “harms” that the government shouldn’t regulate, … Continue reading Mill on Paternalism
On Sarah Conly's book, Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism (must quote the whole thing): Human beings are irrational. As Sarah Conly writes, "The truth is that we don't reason very well, and in many cases there is no justification for leaving us to struggle with our own inabilities and to suffer the consequences" (pg. 1). … Continue reading Best Amazon Review Ever?
BBC News Magazine: Mass panic and hysteria swept the United States on the eve of Halloween in 1938, when an all-too-realistic radio dramatisation of The War of the Worlds sent untold thousands of people into the streets or heading for the hills. The radio show was so terrifying in its accounts of invading Martians wielding … Continue reading The Myth of the War of the Worlds Panic
This proposal in the UK to tax "fatties" highlights once again how once government gets deeply involved in funding health care, the pressures to control people's lifestyles become significant. This is the same argument we hear from supporters of sky-high cigarette taxes, smoking bans, seat-belt and helmet laws, ad nauseam. "We all pay for it." … Continue reading Less Economic Freedom, Less Personal Freedom
Having taken on left-liberals in my last post, it's only fair to take a shot at the right too. Here's the Deseret News editorializing on why our recommendations for Utah are wrong: The report's authors are clear about their definition of freedom. "In our view, individuals should be allowed to dispose of their lives, liberties, … Continue reading How Do Conservative Paternalists Define Freedom?
From Peter Ubel in Free Market Madness: Why Human Nature Is at Odds with Economics---And Why It Matters (Harvard Business Press, 2009): The government could, theoretically, change the finances of the food industry enough to halt the obesity epidemic. [...] Given that information alone may not suffice to encourage better eating habits, policy makers should … Continue reading Frightening Sentences of the Day
The City of Boston and Carney Hospital in Dorchester, Massachusetts are banning the sale of sugar-sweetened drinks at their facilities and events. This includes the much-loved Gatorade. Mayor Thomas "Mumbles" Menino justified the ban by arguing: "I want to make this a healthier choice, the easier choice in people’s daily lives, whether it’s the schools, the … Continue reading Shove