Friday, March 07, 2008

George McGovern Schools the Nannies

Acquiring new wisdom in his dotage, George McGovern writes the following in the WSJ: "Since leaving office I've written about public policy from a new perspective: outside looking in. I've come to realize that protecting freedom of choice in our everyday lives is essential to maintaining a healthy civil society. Why do we think we are helping adult consumers by taking away their options? We don't take away cars because we don't like some people speeding. We allow state lotteries despite knowing some people are betting their grocery money. Everyone is exposed to economic risks of some kind. But we don't operate mindlessly in trying to smooth out every theoretical wrinkle in life. The nature of freedom of choice is that some people will misuse their responsibility and hurt themselves in the process. We should do our best to educate them, but without diminishing choice for everyone else."

Calling Mike Bloomberg and Thomas Frieden. McGovern's last line is particularly precious: people have the right to make bad choices-and we shouldn't impinge on the rights of others in the name of helping those who can't behave in the way we'd like them to. It almost makes me glad that I voted for the man-almost.