As libertarians, we all have well defined views on the role of the state, the importance of individual freedom and so on. We believe that you can not make a decision on behalf of another.
But how do we act when this intersects with our personal life?
Allow me to give a simple example, one which many of us would have faced. You’re out drinking, and a friend of yours, who is obviously over the legal limit, decides to drive home. You are worried about their safety, but your appeals to them not to drive fall on deaf ears. What do you do? Do you recognise their individual freedom, or do you take their keys – violating their private property rights, and placing your judgment above theirs, but quite possibly saving their life in the process.
What if I take this even further. You receive a phone call. Someone you know is planning suicide and calls you to say a final farewell. Do you call the police and invoke the power of the state to violate their freedom of choice, but save their life in the process? At what point do you impose your judgment over theirs? Does it matter if you know they’ll thank you for it in the morning?
Such questions have troubled me for quite some time, and I personally can’t come up with any satisfactory answer. So am quite interested in how others would act.
Over to you.