Even a cat may look at a king, and even a lowly editor of Reason
magazine can dare to challenge an Assistant Professor of Philosophy
at Bowdoin College. Specifically, Nick Gillespie can
take on Sarah Conly, author of the recent book
Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism
and a recent NYT op-ed "Three
Cheers for the Nanny State". Her thesis is that "public benefit"
can justify the subtitled "coercive paternalism". Something that
Mayor Bloomberg, President Obama and a host of other nanny-statists
Nick is appropriately merciless:But there are so many holes in Conly's case, you've got to wonder if she's gonna make it past the assistant prof level. For starters, she invokes a "public benefit" without even bothering to specify what that might be, even as she assents to a cost-benefit analysis for public policy (go ahead, she says, "where the costs are small and the benefit is large").
I like Kurt Schlicter's idea: build a "Bite Me" coalition.
Update on the Jesus-stompin'
activity in which a Deep Thinking instructor
at Florida Atlantic University recently
engaged his class: the University has
apologized to the public for assigning this particular exercise.
But (at least according to this
report) the student who complained most vociferously remains
("We can confirm that no student has been expelled, suspended or disciplined by the university as a result of any activity that took place during this class" is their Clintonian wording. So the student is in trouble for what he said afterward.)
As near as I can tell, Florida Atlantic University did not apologize for running an academically-bereft course at their bad joke of a college.