I feel a need to develop a coherent position on government intervention on self-inflicted/risked harm. At the moment:
- I have little to no problem with an outright ban on driving without a seatbelt
- I would have a problem with an outright ban on alcohol or smoking.
- I would have a problem with a ban on skiing, mountain climbing, (general risk activities)
- I do not have a problem with 'sin taxes' to discourage alcohol/smoking.
- I do not have much of a problem with user fees for rescue services for some clearly defined risk activities (mountain climing etc)
- I abolutely have a problem with any departure from no-fee medical services for any reason, self-inflicted injury, risk-taking injury or whatever.
I'm pretty sure I want to limit the governments ability to dictate my behaviour, short of behaviour that causes harm to others. So I'm pretty sure I want to defend the proposition that the Government shouldn't limit/ban/impose costs on behaviours that have negative impact only on the individual doing the activities.
As against that three arguments
- Whole premise is wrong - there is a principled argument in favour of a democratic governnment taking steps to prevent citizens from harming themselves.
- Whole premise is wrong - there is no principled argument against a democratic government taking steps to prevent citizens from harming themselves.
- Facts are wrong - in a society with a publicly funded health care system, there are no truly self-regarding harms, because hospital/doctors/rescue etc all a shared tax burden therefore its always the governments business.
aggh.. must do actual work. I'll comb back to this later.