Monday, 6 June 2011

Paternalism: Clash Of The Think Tanks

I know it's Monday morning, but let's wake the week up with a bit of libertarian verbal pugilism, eh?

Ding, ding, round one! It's the ASI v TFA on state intrusion into parental matters.

In the liberty corner we have Eammon Butler, Director and founder of the Adam Smith Institute.

[...] paternalism is best delivered within families, and by self-control in the media, rather than from governments and regulators. If politicians are worried about the sexualisation of our children, they should perhaps first reflect on how the state has intruded into the family, and undermined family culture and responsibility. Then butt out and let ordinary decent people decide what is best for their own children.
Quite right too.

And in the freedom corner sits, ahem, Freedom Association intern David M. Gibson.

I am a non-smoker, two of my relatives have died from smoking-associated cancers and my university years were spent sucking in other people’s disgusting smoke as I laboured in bars.

I believe heavy smoking when pregnant and around children to be child abuse and, wherever physical harm can be attributed to parents’ smoke beyond reasonable doubt, prosecution should follow.

[...]

if there is sufficient evidence (and I emphasise evidence) that a child has developed a medical condition because of his parents irresponsible smoking habits, it's no different from a child suffering obesity or malnutrition because of his parents irresponsible dietary habits.
Which looks dangerously like it could be construed as agreeing with the idea of precautionary home smoking bans and state interference in family meal choices to me.

Personally, I reckon the ASI wins by a knockout. You?


2 comments:

Single acts of tyranny said...

David certainly favours his own freedom! As for anyone else's, that is less clear.

Katabasis said...

David should perhaps be lobbying to get rid of all cars in cities and any areas where kids may inhale the fumes too, just in case, eh?