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Anders comments on Blue or Green on Regulation? - Less Wrong

54 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 15 March 2007 06:04PM

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Comment author: Anders 15 March 2007 09:36:21PM 3 points [-]

Bruce Schneier discusses "CYA Security" in his latest Crypto-gram: http://www.schneier.com/crypto-gram-0703.html#1 Much of the security reactions that occur are less aimed at achieving safety and more with ensuring that the agency cannot be criticised for not having done its job, even when the reactions are irrational and counterproductive. I guess this is part of the "poor incentives" term of Robins equation.

Security is perhaps one of the most clearcut forms of paternalism, where certain groups are expected to act to protect everyone. It also seems to be more vulnerable to overreactions like above than other forms of paternalism. Perhaps this is because of the larger power distance between the security people and the protected. The former have been given monopolies of coercive power, which means that they are scrutinized more heavily both internally and externally. There is also a psychological effect of power bias and separation from the "civilians" that means that they are less likely to accept disconfirming external information. Finally security problems often involve malign agency, which is something we humans understand in a very different way than other risks.

The health care paternalist who fails to detect and stop a health problem until some deaths occur can usually get away with it by imposing after-the-fact regulations.

I guess this line of reasoning would imply that we should expect paternalism in areas where the "outrage" aspect of risk is higher to be biased towards overreaction.

Comment author: [deleted] 11 February 2016 04:45:25AM *  0 points [-]

I am going to tell a story about me so it would be amazing and awesome if you still kept, reading Thanks. As a 'health care paternalist', or 'former one'. I find it increasingly unconscionable to place heath gains against the self determination of an individual, even if addicted. How am I supposed to believe that health is a high law than liberty? Yes, I can see that willful, selfish cost to the public health system, but that is the problem of the public health system I suppose and I ought to focus on dismantling that instead

Comment author: polymathwannabe 11 February 2016 02:48:40PM 1 point [-]

How am I supposed to believe that health is a high[er] law than liberty?

There is a faction in political theory that argues that, for rights to have any meaning at all, you need first to guarantee the conditions of life that make rights realizable. For example, the right to work is pointless if there are no jobs available.

Says Jeremy Waldron:

if one is really concerned to secure civil or political liberty for a person, that commitment should be accompanied by a further concern about the conditions of the person's life that make it possible for him to enjoy and exercise that liberty. Why on earth would it be worth fighting for this person's liberty (say, his liberty to choose between A and B) if he were left in a situation in which the choice between A and B meant nothing to him, or in which his choosing one rather than the other would have no impact on his life?