Posts Tagged ‘government’

Liberty and Pandemics

Monday, June 22nd, 2020

Various people who work for, and who are associated with, the Ayn Rand Institute have been working up some very interesting ideas on government’s proper role in a pandemic. Here I address a new article by Onkar Ghate on the topic and a summary op-ed by Ben Bayer. The upshot: Government should play an active role in protecting people from infection by others, should have spelled-out and delimited powers in this area, and should not resort to wide-scale lockdowns.

Bayer writes, “The freedom that matters is the individual’s right to be free from the physical interference of others. This means freedom from murder, robbery, battery, and the threat of infection from another’s disease. So a government dedicated to protecting liberty rightly has the power to quarantine individuals who threaten to infect others with a dangerous disease.”

Ghate takes the now-common view that government properly tests people for infectious diseases (of sufficient severity), traces contacts, and quarantines the likely infectious.

So these Objectivists definitely do not take a libertarian anti-government stance. And they lay out an expansive concept of “interference” against which government properly acts that includes even unintentional infection.

Colorado Needs a Rainy Day Fund

Thursday, June 18th, 2020

Mark Hillman writes, “The legislature has never established a ‘rainy day fund’ to help offset budget cuts in hard times, making Colorado the only state without a permanent budget savings account.”

This is tricky, because I don’t love the idea of government setting up investment accounts, which are inherently political. Tentatively, I’d rather have an emergency tax-hike provision, but I think that would be prone to abuse.