My friend Mark Axinn, an elder statesman of the Manhattan Libertarian Party, often boasts that his first presidential vote was for George McGovern back in 1972. And apparently with good reason. I don’t think McGovern was really all that libertarian back then, except for the anti-war thing, but his guest editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal is indistinguishable from anything that might be published by Cato or FEE. He makes a principled yet pragrmatic free-market case for subprime mortgages, interstate sales of health insurance, payday loans and other bogeymen of the left:
Why do we think we are helping adult consumers by taking away their options? We don’t take away cars because we don’t like some people speeding. We allow state lotteries despite knowing some people are betting their grocery money. Everyone is exposed to economic risks of some kind. But we don’t operate mindlessly in trying to smooth out every theoretical wrinkle in life.
The nature of freedom of choice is that some people will misuse their responsibility and hurt themselves in the process. We should do our best to educate them, but without diminishing choice for everyone else.
Excellent stuff. Simply wonderful.