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Monday, October 20, 2008

Self selected death

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Everyone is free to make choices but people must bear consequences of their choice too. If choice is under misinformation, under pressure, under ignorance made by someone who is incapable of making informed decisions, then society has obligation to rescue them from subsequent harmful consequences. Not for others. In fact, society is wasting money helping those who take avoidable risk knowing fully well.

That’s why I am generally unimpressed and uncomfortable by large sum of money spent enforcing rules that prevent consequences from free choices. I am specially referring to traffic rules in India enforcing helmets for two-wheeler riders and stopping vehicles at railway crossing. I am also no sympathetic to victims of those accidents who chose to ride without helmet (or seat belt) knowing well the benefits and risks of helmet, though I sympathize with their mourning well wishers. I know it’s sad to lose a life like that, but what more can you do when after repeated telling someone does exactly what you told him not to do? Ditto for smokers and subsequent cancer, of course. I think we should respect their decision and not belittle it by mourning the consequence of their own choosing or trying to prevent it.

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