Moral Agency

Stop smoking!

The EU has banned smoking altogether.

I’m not a fan of the policy. Who would enFORCE it? While that is superficially a good idea—I agree that smoking is bad—such a policy abrogates agency. I can just hear some politician say: “I will save EVERYONE from smoking. And surely I will do it, therefore give ME the glory.” Sounds good, right? Lots of people have followed that path, because it is VERY attractive. Tale (literally) as old as time…

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not enamored with smoking. At all. But I AM a fan of moral agency…

And how punitive are YOU willing to get? More restricted areas? Fines? Jail time? Death penalty? Yeah, it didn’t work with prohibition (which led to gangs and bootlegging and rampant human misery). It also won’t work here. Mark my words, there will be a HUGE black market for cigarettes in the UK!

Alternative: My idea is that you don’t behave in a way that impinges on others—whether it is smoking or bank robbery. But now we are NOT talking about external rules, we are talking about personal morality.

In short, what works in such situations is CONVERSION, a way-of-being. Not force and coercion. But when there is actual moral agency, there will ALWAYS be people who choose poorly. Even the very elect can make a wrong choice…

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