I’m often dismayed by the proliferation of ‘regulations’ and ‘incentives’ used for ‘social engineering’ (encouraging us to make the ‘right’ decision, as in smoking, using seat belts, buying health care insurance, going ‘green’).
On reflection this is only ‘human nature’. We all tend to want to ‘impose’ our beliefs on others. The bigger our ego the more we believe we ‘know best’.
I have friends that are very pronounced in their belief that I should quit smoking. I don’t mind their strong belief simply because they cannot impose their will on my actions. The same with those who are adamant that man is responsible for global warming. I don’t know whether man is responsible or not. It is likely that we do contribute, but I really doubt that man can solve the problem if it exists. Regardless of the truth, I am not compelled to change my way of life because of their belief.
I’m comfortable with others having different beliefs, as long as they can’t force me to comply with their opinions. When these friends express their beliefs, I’ll admit to considering their positions. Occasionally their arguments are logical and I will modify my behavior. Perhaps my arguments give them pause and cause them to reconsider their opinion.
This is as it should be. We should be constantly questioning our behavior and we should be open to change. The world is constantly changing and if we don’t adapt we are going to be left behind. It is the nature of life that we must adapt to changing circumstances.
This adapting to change is inherent in a ‘free market’. The producer of goods and services must be free to offer those goods and services. We, as consumers, must be free to choose whether we want those particular goods and services. This is how we get the multitude of products to choose from. It keeps the stores full of products and provides jobs and opportunity for all of us.
Unfortunately, when the government takes the position of ‘knowing best’ we, as citizens, have little choice. The government can ‘force’ us to comply.