Should Government be Involved in Changing Self Destructive Personal Behavior?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Huntn, Jul 29, 2012.

?

Should Big Brother Be Involved in Altering Personal Self Destructive Behavior?

Poll closed Jan 25, 2013.
  1. Yes- Unconditionally

    5 vote(s)
    19.2%
  2. Maybe- But there could be abuse of this kind of control

    8 vote(s)
    30.8%
  3. No

    11 vote(s)
    42.3%
  4. Undecided

    2 vote(s)
    7.7%
  1. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    #1
    If so to what extent? I know libertarians who say that in the name of liberty, we should be allowed to become a nation of blimps. The two big issues I see today are smoking and obesity. Although if you asked me about the concept of Big Brother in general, I would respond negatively, however it seems that the government is the perfect entity to push against this kind of negative society level changes like a 25% obesity rate.

    For smoking, is having a huge tax on cigarettes a valid means of achieving this goal? I think so, although I might not like it *if* I wanted to smoke pot and the government levied a huge tax against it. ;)

    How about fast food or huge portions? They are all ready involved in elementary school diets. Where should it stop?
     
  2. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #2
    The government already has its hands in the obesity epidemic. They've been pushing corn into every food we eat and pushing high carbs to fuel agriculture. High fructose corn syrup, yum.
     
  3. ender land macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2010
    #3
    Yes, when the government has a responsibility to help "fix" the results of the self destructive behavior.

    No, if the government will not have a burden in "fixing" the results.
     
  4. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #4
    No, except through education. Once people are aware of the consequences for their behavior, it should be entirely their choice.
     
  5. ender land macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2010
    #5
    Even if the government is responsible for "clean up" of the consequences?
     
  6. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #6
    I don't think it should be responsible for "clean up"
     
  7. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    #7
    I would say threw taxing as well. For example I feel cigerates should be tax the hell of because of the long term cost they put on our health care system. I do not want to have to subsedises your bad choices threw higher cost health cost.

    Or the fact that because you eat such fatty foods that now I have to wait longer to get on an elevator because you take up so much space that fewer people can even get in plus the higher health care cost.
     
  8. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    #8
    Nice way to skew the poll by including the words "Big Brother" in it.

    I expected to see one of our conservative members as the OP.
     
  9. renewed macrumors 68040

    renewed

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2009
    Location:
    Bemalte Blumen duften nicht.
    #9
    This.

    Big Brother appreciates your objection.
     
  10. iStudentUK macrumors 65816

    iStudentUK

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Location:
    London
    #10
    Yes. Take smoking- here the government discourages smoking in a positive way with education, free advice from the NHS etc. They also use more direct methods, for example a huge tax on tobacco products and ban on smoking in places of work (including pubs, bars and restaurants).

    I would like to see a gradual increase on these restrictions- it's already changing how people view smokers. Now smokers are seen as excluded huddling outside offices, pubs and restaurants. Many companies also ask employees not to smoke whilst wearing uniforms.
     
  11. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #11
    Companies =/= government
     
  12. iStudentUK macrumors 65816

    iStudentUK

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Location:
    London
    #12
    No, but it's a result of a change in how smoking is perceived by society. The smoking ban in workplaces a few years ago had a big effect, not just is it more pleasant in pubs and restaurants now, but it's forcing smokers outside into huddled groups. Society sees these people being excluded. Now many companies are picking up on this and trying to prevent staff smoking in uniform.

    The government stepped in and made a change which society responded to. Now the government should in due course make another change to make smoking less attractive and acceptable, and then wait for society to respond to that. Each step should reduce the number of people starting smoking as increasing the numbers quiting.
     
  13. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    Colorado
    #13
    Agreed, this should be the extent of government's involvement.
     
  14. senseless macrumors 68000

    senseless

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2008
    Location:
    Pennsylvania, USA
    #14
    Yes, the government should promote the general welfare when possible and does so.
     
  15. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2001
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #15
    Should government force people to modify self-destructive behavior? Absolutely not. Should tax money be applied towards encouraging and assisting people to voluntarily change self-destructive behavior? In some cases, certainly so. In many cases those behaviors carry a major cost to society, and paying for the assistance is less expensive than paying for the consequences.

    So say Bob is making miserable dietary choices and becoming morbidly obese. A lot of the previous posters in this thread are going to want to say Bob is a bad person and deserves to suffer the consequences of his bad decisions, and to an extent I agree.

    But then Bob loses his job due to disability, and thus his health insurance, and because few even among "personal responsibility" proponents would advocate a system under which Bob is left to die in the street, Bob must receive public assistance to survive, and his heightened health care costs are distributed throughout the healthcare system, through increased insurance premiums for everyone else. This ruins Bob's credit, and even if he does recover, makes it significantly harder for him to get back on the wagon as a productive citizen, due to the number of employers who consider a heavily indebted candidate an embezzlement risk.

    Thus a naive implementation of the "personal responsibility" paradigm (which is the only sort people seem to advocate) helps to create and perpetuate exactly the sort of life-long dependency that the "personal responsibility" advocates demonize as part of their rationale for denying public services.

    Although I support individuals taking responsibility for their own choices, I support a few other ideas that may mitigate the justification for leaving Bob to twist:

    Bob made poor choices, but he isn't a bad person. In particular, there is no good reason to expect Bob would ideally want to live as a disabled, financially ruined blob sucking at the public teat to survive. People are more fulfilled when they are engaged with society, and policy should give people an avenue to engage. A policy of ostracism that routes people into failure and traps them there is not rational. It satisfies a personal self-righteous sense of schadenfreude masquerading as a sense of justice. A system that casts Bob aside, but lacks the balls to declare him worthless outright and toss him in a gas chamber, is spending a hell of a lot of money on feeling superior. A government should not act as the agent of individuals' moral prejudices at all, but particularly not when doing so increases burdens on society. The state should be willing to forego pandering to petty self-righteousness in favor of a Spocklike attention to what, short of violating individuals' right to self-determination, demonstrably works. Helping Bob become a productive taxpayer again strengthens the economy and reduces everyone else's tax burden. It only requires we give up our satisfaction and superiority at watching Bob get what he "deserves" at our expense.
     
  16. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2002
    Location:
    totally cool
    #16
    You are such nice person. :)
     
  17. NickZac macrumors 68000

    NickZac

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    #17
    I agree with a lot of what you say. It's a difficult spot.
     
  18. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2001
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #18
    I don't even see how it's nice as such. It's not so much my intent to show Bob a kindness as I am willing to set aside my own feelings about the wisdom of Bob's choices in order to critically examine what sort of response will result in the most beneficial outcome for everyone.

    On the contrary, the typical "personal responsibility" reaction amounts to a willingness to incur additional expense to society in order to ensure Bob suffers, not just from his choices and afflictions, but from being effectively placed into a sort of resident exile from which he is not expected, or wanted, to escape. From my point of view, this reaction is not merely the passive withholding of a kindness. It is actively, unnecessarily and wastefully spiteful.
     
  19. NT1440, Jul 29, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2012

    NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hartford, CT
    #19
    Their choices effect us as well though. Smoking and Obesity, the health bills get paid by us through either higher premiums or taxes paying for ER care for the worst off amongst us.

    I truly do not understand how many people seem to think (and this isn't to you rjs, just springboarding off your post) that somehow your actions don't effect others. Every interaction you have directly effects others, we just view them as externalities, but can't seem to figure out how an institution such as a bank can justify doing the same.

    Just so everyone knows, I'm against any type of constant lockdown or surveillance Big Brother stuff. These kinds of issues call for finesse, not blunt legislation in either direction.
     
  20. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    #20
    Hence the reason I am for taxing. The goverment can provide the stick on one side and on the other side encourage companies by bribing them to encourage companies to brib their employees to get healthier. That be it threw company based health programs or have company pay for things like weight watchers and stop smoking programs

    For example my company is sponsering weight watcher for the employees and then giving any employee who makes the goal weight 50 bucks.

    Other study done was lets brib people to quite smoking and it increase the quite rate by a rather large margin. This way you have both a stick (taxes) and the carrert (money rewards) to increase peoples health.
     
  21. Jackintosh macrumors 6502a

    Jackintosh

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2009
    Location:
    Illinois
    #21
    If we as a society allow a significant segment of us to become blimps, then everyone pays the price with higher health care costs. As with smokers, they need to either pay a penalty or be prevented from their unhealthy habits. Sorry to say, freedom is only good to the point where everyone else is affected.
     

Share This Page