Feed on

I think they are saying that we should ban abortion, and we should end the Endangered Species Act, CAFE standards and recycling. Here is three cheers for the nanny state:

“What this ignores is that successful paternalistic laws are done on the basis of a cost-benefit analysis: if it’s too painful, it’s not a good law. Making these analyses is something the government has the resources to do, just as now it sets automobile construction standards while considering both the need for affordability and the desire for safety.”

I am really proud that the totalitarians in our midst want to be scientific. Cost-benefit analysis when it comes to government? Well I look forward to the closure of the Department of Education, the Post Office, the Trade Office, the end of CAFE standards. EPA standards on trace elements, the end of mandatory curbside recycling, organic food subsidies, ethanol mandates, and so much more. We’re just trying to do what’s best, right? Of course not, all of this is just a gussied up defense of imposing one’s views on others. Nice try.

Or try this on for size:

“That “almost,” though, is important. It’s fair to stop us, Mill argued, when we are acting out of ignorance and doing something we’ll pretty definitely regret.”

Which includes on behalf of others, right? So I very much look forward to the nanny-stater position on banning abortion. I’m pretty sure the aborted children would have preferred to live than not, and nobody really asked them anyway, and if we did ask them, they’d be too irrational or underdeveloped to answer. So, I very much look forward to their support for a full-on banning of abortion.

Don’t hold your breath. It must be awkward to have a world view like this.

If she asks you why …

Castles in the Air

2 Responses to “Nanny-Staters are in Trouble”

  1. Dan says:

    I’m very curious to get your thoughts on Bloomberg’s recent ban on the public display of cigarettes. The article below says that retailers are allowed to still display prices, advertise that they sell cigarettes, and would exempt tobacco stores.

    It seems like a straightforward application of Thaler and Sunstein’s “choice architecture.” This is hardly going to deter the pack-a-day smokers and those who take a lot of pleasure in smoking; at the same time even though it’s a trivial increase in the cost of getting cigarettes, it might on the margin deter someone who decides that they don’t need cigarettes really, or the first-timer who’s curious about what all the hype is about. So: given that smoking is one of the worst things you can do for public health, and an activity that imposes significant externalities on those who are nearby; and given that those who want cigarettes will still be able to access them, I don’t find this ban to be that objectionable. Do you disagree?


  2. Harry says:

    I thought dead white men are unreliable sources, except for Marx, Dewey, and G. Rexford Tugwell. And Keynes, of course.

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