“Three cheers for autonomy”

A Bowdoin professor named Sarah Conly has written a book called Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism, and recently took to the pages of the New York Times to argue (which sounds consistent with the book’s thesis) in favor of the Bloomberg soda ban and other interventions. Cato’s Trevor Burrus takes exception and perhaps indicating how extreme Conly’s positions are, even Cass Sunstein declines to get on board.


  • I take it this gal who writes approvingly of “Coercive Paternalism” does not bill herself as a feminist. That would be the height of insanity.

  • Hmmm… “true preferences” – where have I heard something like this before? Oh, I know – “false consciousness” – “the Marxist thesis that material and institutional processes in capitalist society are misleading to the proletariat, and to other classes. ”

    Progressives are really good a recycling philosophies that make them feel better about themselves.

  • Fascism (stringent socioeconomic control by a strong central government) is all the rage these days.

  • Add to D: as it was in the early 1930’s.

  • Doesn’t Sarah Conly’s claim of a right to arrest and jail people who drink sodas too large to meet her approval give them an equal right to prevent her from doing anything which doesn’t meet their approval? It does, unless she claims that she has a right to decide their diet for them but they have no right to decide her diet for her. I suspect it is more obvious to her that her superior wisdom gives her that right than it is to them.

  • […] Powell ties Bloomberg’s soda ban in with John Stuart Mill and the dreadful-sounding new book Against Autonomy [Libertarianism.org] Too bad editors of the New York Daily News, which lives by newsstand choice, […]