What Paternalism looks like.

The mind-set of a nanny-statist who knows better than you what you need. I’m joining mid-stream, but you won’t miss much. The post deals with prescription drugs.

Second, even professional pharmacists have a hard time keeping up with the huge number of dangerous drug interactions. Some interactions are automatically bad, some become risky with certain medical complications. The libertarian model hardly breaks down if consumers are willing to take risks that doctors are not, but it absolutely depends on consumers’ ability to gauge risks accurately. When it comes to prescription drugs the concept of a fully informed consumer becomes untenable.

So there you have it – what libertarianism really looks like and why, in my view, it doesn’t work.

If someone might make a choice without being fully informed, the liberty to make that choice must be restricted. Okay, but who gets to make the decision?

When I started college, I knew I wanted to be an investment banker or something similar. I spent six years studying finance. Yet, nearly a decade after graduating, I’m still doing software development. I don’t expect to be doing this forever, but I’m almost positive I won’t go into investment banking or any other field that will directly use my finance education. Why didn’t someone step in to force me to make an informed decision? I could’ve saved (saved!) a lot of money and a few years of my time. I would’ve missed two of the most enjoyable years of my life when I got my MBA, but that would’ve been an unfortunate side-effect of getting my life right the first time. Right?

No, thanks. I’ll choose liberty with the possibility that life will go poorly. I believe incentives work well enough to encourage people away from stupidity.