9 thoughts on “Bowdoin Prof in NYTimes: ‘Three Cheers for the Nanny State’”

  1. BS. If we thought it was important to prevent driver errors, it would be foolish to issue driver’s licences to humans, because they would commit errors anyway, no matter how well-trained they are. Instead, we came up with an error-tolerant driving system. Likewise, our social interactions (outside roadways) must be error-tolerant rather than error-free, because errors are not preventable. Certainly not preventable by decree.

    We may be too stupid to know what’s good for us (or even care), but certainly nobody can prevent the errors we make. I call BS on any article that reduces the argument about personal freedom to that of making or preventing errors.

  2. I majored in philosophy. Things have perhaps degraded in philosophical thinking since my time at school. Of course, this professor is merely expressing her own opinion, unimpeded by what she may or may not know about philosophy. She might benefit from reviewing what a straw man argument is as wells as ‘false alternatives.’

    In any event she’s not provided any arguments for her position that hold water, nor do her credentials entitle her to speak ex cathedra as an expert in these matters.

    I used to aspire to being an academic. I no longer regret that missed opportunity.

  3. It hurt my head reading that article. A statist’s justification for fascist control of the people.

    “That’s what the government is supposed to do, help us get where we want to go.”

    Nope. Not even close. Though Bloomberg said something very similar.

    As usual, Leftist Conly fails to understand human behavior. By stopping Man from from stepping in the hole in the bridge, she creates men who aren’t careful when they cross bridges.

  4. I got through about four paragraphs. This is the kind of thinking that New Yorkers have been voting for for years, along with largesse, and the result is a city of extremes, few of them good. All the large “blue” cities are operating this way and all of them are poorer for it in many ways.
    This is also Europe’s long tradition of paternal government. In spite of their various constitutions, charters and declarations, the governments of Europe have generally believed more in granting privileges than in recognizing rights. And the people thereof seem to like it that way. I don’t.

  5. “The crucial point is that in some situations it’s just difficult for us to take in the relevant information and choose accordingly.”

    That’s right. I can’t know what company has taken Bloomberg to dinner. I can’t know what deals the politicians have made.

    The point is, when government makes decisions, politics become involved. The EPA was created with the greatest of good intent, but, over time, it has devolved into a political cesspool. As will always happen when government has absolute power.

    It is better for the people to make their own decisions, EVEN IF THEY ARE WRONG!*

    *Indeed, the government isn’t even capable of defining what is “wrong.” What may appear to be a wrong decision to Washington may have been a good decision for the person Outside the Beltway.

    Strong, autocratic central control is the hallmark of fascist government (look it up!). We have hundreds of thousands of government employees deciding how we ought to live. Budget cut number one should be to eliminate 80% of Federal employees. The Federal government should have few employees outside the military.

  6. It is far less risky to individuals and to society as a whole when millions of individuals make their own decisions (within boundaries) vs. a single all-powerful government making all decisions for millions. If government makes a poor decision, millions are affected, and recovery is far harder and requires far more time (since there are few who were unaffected to help the recovery). If individuals make poor decisions, the scope of damage is limited, and there are many capable of helping a recovery.

    Kinda like our centrally planned “recovery” from the centrally planned mortgage-backed security debacle.

    Lawrence Chamberlain is rolling in his grave.

  7. I guess the argument would be more convincing if she were arguing for chastity belts to prevent pregnancy and for sex only after testing for AIDS and only with government permission. CDC says 15,500 people dies from AIDS and nearly half a million people have been diagnosed with it. Why isn’t the nanny state worried about this?
    As noted in another comment, the government only goes after certain products and ideas, with no regard to the prevalence or seriousness of the damage caused. I don’t think they really care so much as they just like to be king of the hill. Of course, not all nannies are nice.

  8. You’ll have to admit that we were stupid enough to put people like Sarah Conly in positions of authority.

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