Second rule of Microeconomist Club: cast into the outer darkness those doing violence to the first rule.
Swarthmore historian Timothy Burke would perhaps have fewer complaints about 'neoliberal' economics if there were greater adherence to the rules of Microeconomist Club. Burke despairs that public health discourse has put such focus on social cost arguments:
The large majority of purported social costs tallied in health measures are really the costs individuals impose upon themselves. It has never been 'neoliberal' economics to force people to internalise costs that are already internal. It's just bad economics that ought be cast into the outer darkness.
I'd go further than this. I have some insight into the utility functions of the people I love, but even there my simulations often err. I have a partial and limited understanding of the utility functions of other acquaintances and friends. I can imagine being able to persuade a close friend that some chosen course of action is not the best way of achieving his ends as he sees them - being able to imagine the ends, understanding the constraints, and weighing appropriately the chances that I just had simply misspecified the utility function. I couldn't imagine doing the same for a stranger unless he asked me for advice while specifying the desired ends.
But the State cannot see our diverse ends. I can imagine a particularly good social worker perhaps having some useful advice for beneficiaries in that worker's case file. But it's not the place of the State to persuade with love and affection. We rightly laugh at corporate ad campaigns purporting that some logo loves us. Pity the fool who believes those ones, right? But how is it more plausible that the State can love us or that we can love each other through the State?
Burke gets the bolded bit above entirely right. As individuals, we have some limited insight into the utility functions of our friends and loved ones, and into the constraints they face. We can tailor our advice or admonitions accordingly, and refrain where we can see the costs of change as being in excess of the benefits while trying to account for the costs and benefits as they are viewed by the target of our affections. The state cannot do that. It simply cannot tell what comprises the good life for each of us given the diverse set of "good things" and the myriad ways of trading them off against each other at the margin.
And while voluntary organisations can harness altruistic love for charitable purpose, it's awfully hard to channel that impulse through State bureaus: bureaus predicated on love fail where you can't be sure that you've hired staff that are always motivated by it and will continue to be so after extended contact with clients; the tick-box process rules that act as substitute make it hard for those actually motivated by love to achieve much.