Puritans, Politicians, and Paternalism: Can We Take Back Control of Our Own Lives?

CAPITOL HILL BRIEFING
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Noon (Lunch Included)

Featuring David Boaz, Executive Vice President, Cato Institute.

B-339 Rayburn House Office Building

 



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We were promised a government that would protect our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But H. L. Mencken said that Puritanism is "the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy," and politicians on both left and right certainly demonstrate that. In today's world there is practically no aspect of life left free from government intervention — ranging from restrictions on the food on our plates to the cars we drive, where we smoke, what video games we can play, and whom we can marry. Both conservatives and liberals fall prey to the idea that they need to protect us from our own vices and weaknesses. Is the notion of personal responsibility and freedom still politically and culturally viable? What can be done to extend the vision of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to more people and more aspects of our lives? And how can politicians and staffers help get us back on that track?

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