Monday, February 16, 2015

A Little Paternalism is Necessary for Society, Right?

Umm, wrong.  So says Stephen Hicks in a recent Every Joe column in which he presents the argument for government meddling in our lives -- paternalism -- and then dismantles it.  It's Hicks at his best: concise, clear, powerful, and illuminating.  To entice you, here's an excerpt:
If, for example, you take retirement planning out of people’s hands, then you create more people incapable of retirement planning. If you relieve parents of responsibility for overseeing their children’s education, then you create less competent parents. And when this generation arrives, paternalists despair at all the incompetent financial planning and parenting – and call for more paternalism as the solution.
The solution is not more paternalism but less.
Paternalism also involves an injustice: In order to help some, it denies freedom to others. Some individuals cannot competently track the nutritional values of their food and drink intakes, for instance, so paternalists want to limit the food-and-drink options of everyone. At most, arguably, the desire of paternalists to control others should target only those whom they judge to be intellectually sub-par. There is no justification for extending that control to the rest of us who are capable of judging nutritional values.
Click here to read the rest of this superb article.  Side note: I find this article so valuable that I intend on assigning it to my ugrads when I finally get back in the classroom next fall.