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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