John Green on Freedom: Blog posting by Economist David Henderson

It has become so standard, when a family has had a tragedy, for a family member to advocate some further restriction on freedom even if that restriction would create more tragedies than it would prevent. It’s kind of understandable. When a family member dies, we feel so impotent. We want to do something. I’ve never had something like John Green’s tragedy of losing a beautiful vibrant little girl. The closest I’ve come is my brother’s suicide, which was a shock, but the suicide of a 22-year old is different from the murder of a 9-year old.

Because people often want to do something, I cut a lot of slack for people who have had a loss and who want the government to "do something." I’ll still argue against them, mind you, but with a lot of sympathy.

But John Green’s reaction is the first publicized one I can think of of a family member who had his grief but who didn’t let that grief dictate what he thought was good policy. Indeed, my own view is that when you have your grief outright, you are doing something and will feel less need to advocate that the government "do something."

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