Tuesday, September 9, 2008

You Hooligans

Aside from the fall of communism, there's recently been plenty for libertarians to deplore.  The anti-fun liberal fascist conservative armada of Bloomberg-Giulianni-Biden has been doing a good job of scaring people and taking away things they enjoy.  Britain has been ground zero for this intrusive nanny state, what with their ID cards, CCTV cameras, and lack of guns.  I really hope this can be linked to the fact that the British are hooligans who roam the rest of the continent starting fights.  That is, in a pluralistic society, overly burdensome regulations may infantilize people instead of leading them to self-reliance.  

This is an issue in academia as well (beyond the fact that excessive education changes your brain to keep you mentally immature).  Say what you like about old economic research; at least it had pro-autonomy consequences.  These days, they look at your brain or drag some hungover undergraduates into a lab, pronounce them silly, and justify some extreme government intervention for a supposed ill.  The first case is especially strange.  Even supposing that we make decisions with either our impulsive mind or our calm mind; once you've decomposed the mind in that fashion, you no longer have space for independently judging one to be "better" than the other.  Or for judging bureaucrats to be less enfeebled than ordinary folk.  Nudging is very fashionable today, but I suspect it's just a way to make meddling less transparent.   

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