Wednesday, April 23, 2008

trusting individuals to make good choices

I found an interesting observation by a conservative blog that I just stumbled upon, which reinforces my opinion that conservatives and libs are inconsistent with their policies.

"Progressives who support the right to a person making unfettered choices in sexual partners don't trust people to make their own choice on seat belt use. Progressives who support the right of fifteen year old girls to make decisions about abortion without parental notification do not trust these same girls later in life to make their own investment choices with their Social Security funds. "

Clearly, neither group can say they believe firmly in an individual's right to choose (including with reasonable qualifiers to control negative externalities).

Each group's respect for individual liberty is conditional with their approval of the individuals' possible choices. Each group embraces paternalism, and applies it based on their objection to individual choices.

An example on the macro level is the United States applauds democracy ... unless it yields an unfriendly government.

In my opinion, the challenge is to create an objective process, or framework to decide when it's proper to infringe on individual liberty -- rather than simply ad-hoc moral judgments of the ways people use that liberty.

An example of such a test is the let-individuals-do-what-they-want-unless-it-impedes-on-other's-liberty. In a simple characterization of this world, killing yourself with drugs is OK, killing someone else -- not okay.

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