I welcome international readers to my first post in English. For the time being, I will translate recent posts that I deem most interesting for an international readership.
Personal Freedom vs. Society
This is the classic, unsolvable conflict within liberalism. By liberalism I do not only mean the current left-wing type, but also the classic liberalism that has evolved into libertarianism, as Americans like to call it. When does my freedom infringe on the freedom of other people? Basically, the main purpose of governments is to answer this question with laws. Do I have to get a vaccination in order not to infect other people and thereby infringe on their freedoms? Or do I value my own freedom so high that I do not allow anyone for whatever reason to violate my right to physical integrity. Contrary to many European states, there are mandatory vaccinations in the USA, e.g. against childhood diseases, and now against the Swine Flu. This is surprising, as it is the US rather than Europe, where people tend to fight against powerful governments. Most states in the world are rather passive when it comes to vaccination, which is a shame as this is probably one of the few examples where governments can do something good to society by making something mandatory for all.
Instead, governments are making absolutely unnecessary things mandatory. The state of New Hampshire is probably the only developed country in the world that has no seat belt law. And it is right in doing so. If you drive unbelted, you will only put your own life at risk, not the lifes of other people. So there is no infringement on the freedom of other people. Then why do we need to have seat belt laws? In many US states, motorcycle riders are not required to wear helmets. Meanwhile, the introduction of a requirement to wear helmets even for bicycle riders is a serious political issue in Germany, although it is only your life that put at risk if you decided to ride without a helmet. Grown-ups should be responsible for their own actions, and parents are responsible for watching their children. So what has the government to do with this? Yeah, nothing.
But it gets even more serious than that. Mandatory health check-ups and laws for how fat you ought to be and what you should eat are the newest trend in socialist countries like Germany or Great Britain. All this happens for the sake of keeping costs down, there is no real lawful reasoning behind it. Japan shows us the future of the nanny state. Again, there are no infringements on other peoples’ freedom happening. Still, the proponents of the War On Fat will claim that this is fair because unhealthy people push up costs for the others on health insurance. This reasoning is simply bullshit. If we had purely private health insurances, people who live an unhealthy life would be offered lower premiums if they changed their behaviour. So the costs would be borne by the ones who cause them, not by others. So it is the failure of the current half-state-run system that leads to such bad laws.