Given all of that, I was particularly struck by the following paragraph:
Here seems to be an instance where even a staunch conservative would have to allow that sometimes we need a higher power like the government to act as a stern parent and look out for our best interests. In other words, individual freedom and choice are not an absolute, not the best in every situation.
Back in the nineteen-seventies, an economist named Thomas Schelling, who later won the Nobel Prize, noticed something peculiar about the N.H.L. At the time, players were allowed, but not required, to wear helmets, and most players chose to go helmet-less, despite the risk of severe head trauma. But when they were asked in secret ballots most players also said that the league should require them to wear helmets. The reason for this conflict, Schelling explained, was that not wearing a helmet conferred a slight advantage on the ice; crucially, it gave the player better peripheral vision, and it also made him look fearless.
The players wanted to have their heads protected, but as individuals they couldn’t afford to jeopardize their effectiveness on the ice. Making helmets compulsory eliminated the dilemma: the players could protect their heads without suffering a competitive disadvantage. Without the rule, the players’ individually rational decisions added up to a collectively irrational result. With the rule, the outcome was closer to what players really wanted.
What say you, C-minds?
[EDITed by Ira to make link clickable and structure the long quote]