Friday, 16 April 2010

New paternalism roundup

Here's Glen Whitman's closing in Cato Unbound's excellent discussion of the "New Paternalism".
I, too, see nothing wrong with telling my friends which dishes at a restaurant I’ve enjoyed the most. And if they requested my help in losing weight, I’d be happy to help out however I could. And if I ever start a business, I might well offer my employees a “Save More Tomorrow” option. Nobody I know, libertarian or otherwise, opposes any of these things.

But if that’s all new paternalism is about, then I’ve been snookered by a series of articles that have advocated much, much more. New paternalists want the state to get involved, and therein lies the danger. First come the genial recommendations; then come the rising hurdles to opting out; then come the taxes and legal penalties for disregarding the state’s friendly advice; and if all else fails, why not ban some choices altogether? That’s a serious slope, and new paternalism is the toboggan.
Let's just hope that Obamacare doesn't turn the toboggan into a Ski Doo...

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