In one of the most extraordinary articles I have read for a while, a sneering academic has argued that paternalistic regulation is necessary because some adults make different choices to himself. According to the article criticisms of the “nanny state”, should not lead the public to “swallow their [libertarian] lies”:
“Nanny State” is a pejorative term used by those who will selfishly put their wants above the safety and happiness of others.
Critics say smoking bans, alcohol restrictions and gambling regulations treat adults like children.
Grown-ups, libertarians say, should do what they like as long as they don’t hurt others.
But the truth is many so-called harmless activities do injure the health and happiness of others.
The sneering author then goes on to reinforce and prove the validity of a key argument of paternalism’s critics – that each measure is only an incremental step in a much longer road of restricting freedom:
If, for example, we can ban gambling promotions during footy games on the grounds it teaches our kids antisocial behaviour, why can’t we ban alcohol sponsorship and advertisements during those same games?
Do we really want our kids exposed to an alcoholic culture?
Moreover, why can’t an Abbott government persuade the Queensland and Northern Territory governments to maintain dry indigenous communities?
The author concludes that criticism of the nanny state is unjustified because:
Many so-called adults are still children emotionally and intellectually and therefore unable to make appropriate decisions regarding risky behaviour.
Really? Where’s the evidence to back this up?
The sneering author doesn’t outline who these people are, except, presumably, those who disagree with him.
So-called adults are people who make choices that he disagrees with. It’s clear the author has nothing but contempt for average people and is trying to inject why enlightened individuals such as himself should make decisions about how others live their lives.
The article is just another reminder of why the academy has become so irrelevant in contemporary Australia.