The Weekly Standard: Opinion: Abby Wisse Schachter: The New Paternalism
Does liberal democracy come with risks which is different from being dangerous and does individual freedom come with risks as well and does society as a whole not just government have an interest to see that everyone is living as healthy as a life as possible not just physically? The answers to these questions is of course yes, but the real question is who should make the decisions. The individual who knows himself or herself better than anyone and one way or the other will have to deal with the consequences of their decisions for good or bad?
Or government trying to make our decisions for us? The answer to this whole question is the difference between liberal democracy which comes with a lot of individual freedom and responsibility. And paternalism or some type of big paternalist state where risks and rewards are very limited because the central government controls most of the power in the country. How you answers these questions pretty much defines your own politics. And if you are a Liberal like me, you simply believe in liberal democracy, but that it should come with individual responsibility as well.
And that means the individual has the freedom to make their own decisions with their own lives. Not the freedom to hurt innocent people obviously, but the freedom to manage their own lives. But then has to deal with the consequences of their own decisions for good or bad. The rewards from making good decisions and the consequences of making bad decisions. So they are incentivize to make good decisions in the future and to make fewer bad decisions in the future as. Well which benefits society as a whole and not government trying to make criminals out of people for making bad decisions with their own lives.
If you are someone who believes individual freedom is somehow dangerous and perhaps risky, then you essentially believe and perhaps you would put it on more colorful terms, but that freedom incentivizes people to make bad decisions. That freedom is too risky and that people are stupid anyway and with more personal choice, come more bad decision-making. And what we need is a government especially a central government big enough to only prevent people from making bad decisions, but punish the idiots who dumb enough to break the law and take individual responsibility over their own lives.
The difference between the individualist and the collectivist or even statist, is that the individualist believes in a free society or free state. The collectivist or statist believes in the nanny state and depending on how far the collectivist distrusts individualism, they may believe in a police state as well. The difference between Thomas Jefferson the father of liberal democracy and liberalism and Michael Bloomberg, not the father of the nanny state, but certainly their current president and head of state.
The whole War on Drugs fiasco is a perfect example of that. If you are to the left of me and let’s say one of the Progressives of today, or what is called a modern Progressive, then you think personal freedom is dangerous. Because if gives people the freedom to make bad decisions that society as a whole has to deal with. My answer to people being able to make bad decisions is to eliminate the middleman or middle women. And put the responsibility of the individual to manage their own lives and allow them to collect the rewards of their good decisions.
And leave the people to deal with the consequences of their bad decisions again so they are incentivize to make good decisions in the future. And fewer bad decisions in the future as well, and not forcing taxpayers to bail them out when they make bad decisions. Or making criminals out of people who make bad decisions with their own lives. Which is why liberal democracy is a great system as long as it comes with individual responsibility so people do not have to bail out others when they make bad decisions.