Legislation vs Individual Freedom
How far should the state intervene in the lives of its citizens?
You can also add to the debate by leaving a comment at the end of the page.
It is part of human nature to be curious, but this is not a licence for free self-abuse by people at...
It is part of human nature to be curious, but this is not a licence for free self-abuse by people at long-term cost to themselves. The state has the positive duty, as well as the right, to protect its citizens.
Denial of the right to try is an infringement of the basic human right to act - a fundamental human right, as it fulfils our nature, which has the innate potential to choose.
Freedom of thought, and broadening of mental horizons, are still possible without harm to others or ...
Freedom of thought, and broadening of mental horizons, are still possible without harm to others or to oneself, for example via literature. Relativism has devalued the hierarchy of choice so that libertarian freedom is all that is currently valued; not every opinion is equally acceptable.
Denial of freedom of actions is also denial of freedom of belief and thought; whereas the right to choose creates an innovative culture of mental liberty in which enquiry is encouraged. It is only through the clash of opinions and choices, even false ones, that progress is made.
To argue that the individual is ‘only harming themselves’ is specious. There are always potential s...
To argue that the individual is ‘only harming themselves’ is specious. There are always potential side-effects on others, for emotional distress is caused even when physical harm is (apparently) absent. People have a duty of care to their society, and not just to themselves.
The first duty is of society to the individuals that make it up. There may be a need for the state to intervene when the rights of two individuals clash, but this need not be by pre-emptive legislation - ex post facto (after the event) legal remedies are a better solution, if harm has been caused.
Governments have a higher duty to their citizens than merely minimal laissez-faire protection of neg...
Governments have a higher duty to their citizens than merely minimal laissez-faire protection of negative or perfect rights. The development and protection of the individual are also vital to social welfare, by enforcement of imperfect obligations. In particular, citizens should be restrained from actions that are potentially harmful and irreversible because they undermine their capacity to choose freely in future, e.g. addictive activities such as drug-taking and smoking, boxing with its potential for brain damage.
Governments are elected to provide minimal assurances of law and defence, but beyond that a heavy burden of proof must rest with the proposition in each instance of intervention - privacy should be maintained as far as possible.
Individuals do not have the information available to them that professionals can give to the governm...
Individuals do not have the information available to them that professionals can give to the government - either through time, imperfect communication or publicity, or by inclination. There is no second chance with regard to self-harm - governments must educate their citizens, particularly younger ones.
Individuals are more likely to take advice (as opposed to mere denial) with regard to dangerous activities if professionals, or a friend rather than the state, warns them of the risk. It is the responsibility of families to protect their children. The proposition’s case is the elitism of those who know better - but better does not necessarily mean intervention is justified.
Laws may be repealed over time when social pressure demands it; but the tyranny of the majority shou...
Laws may be repealed over time when social pressure demands it; but the tyranny of the majority should not be accepted. The state must take a lead in defining social praxis.
What is currently considered socially acceptable is continually changing, and legislation by its very nature drags behind this.
The law provides a case for a remedy, for example in the case of pollution - many individuals will b...
The law provides a case for a remedy, for example in the case of pollution - many individuals will be deterred from an action by the fact that a law exists against it.
Such legislation is absurdly difficult to enforce, so time and money will be wasted passing and enforcing it.
What do you think?