JP Floru

The Nationalisation Of Individual Choice

by JP Floru Many struggle with the apparent contradiction between pursuing one’s quality of life, and saving lives. It is said that we need to stop the world, and stop the pursuance of our own selfish pursuits, for the sole purpose of health. This is wrong. Health is just one of the many considerations of living individuals. Only individuals know what the costs and benefits of their actions are, and are therefore best placed to choose what to do. Risk is just one such cost; health is just one benefit. Free individual choice is therefore most likely to produce a net benefit.  This is why a free society leaves choice to individuals themselves: it increases the quality of life. Society is the sum of the lives of all those individuals: leaving people free leads to the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people in society. Governments do not have all that knowledge of individuals’ costs and benefits (the philosopher Hayek’s famous Knowledge Problem), and when they supplant individual choice, the outcome is likely to be less beneficial to the population.  Government saying that all other considerations must be shoved aside for the sole and centrally decided pursuance of health is in fact the nationalisation of individual choice. The outcome of this nationalisation is a dramatic decline in the quality...

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