Government Intervention for Your Happiness
Terence Corcoran does a good job of exposing the latest iteration of pseudo-justifications for big government.
It’s as if the high priests of Occupy the Planet and the Green Apocalypse — having run their old socialist and environmental engines into the ground — have stumbled across a new set of rationalizations and slogans.I'd add only two thoughts, first that though there will probably never be a clear measure of happiness, the best one to use in this kind of thought experiment, at least on a macro level, is net immigration/emigration. It's pretty clear to me that if people were allowed to follow their personal desires (i.e. if there weren't such restrictive immigration and emigration laws around the world), there'd be a one way torrent of emigrants to the West, even in its current state.
Invoking poverty, inequality and climate disaster hasn’t worked in a world that wants growth, more energy and bigger refrigerators. The ’92 Rio Summit caused a lot of economic policy mayhem, but it is a fading source of authority. The carbon scare is out of steam, and environmental extremism has less influence.
The only emerging alternative is a new intellectual manoeuvre that may appeal to the average voter more than, say, inequality. Instead, the new message will be: Vote for massive government intervention to improve your happiness.
Second, I find it somewhat positive that the socialists now must give their arguments in some type of personal form; it's perhaps an indication that the collective notion of public or social good no longer has any weight.