amour propre (n)
1. self-esteem; self-respect
2. French: sensitive self-love
So, because we are not willing to let people suffer consequences, we, acting through the government, must control increasingly large dimensions of everyone’s behavior for the sake of our own amour-propre.
The healthcare dilemma is a prime example, but there are many others. Take policy toward illegal drugs: We put tens of thousands of people in jail, spend hundreds of millions of dollars on enforcement, and send billions of dollars to some of the nastiest people in the world. We also condemn people to serious pain when they cannot get the medicines they need because of the government’s hyperventilating fear that opiates will leak out of the medical system into the illicit market. All of these costs are imposed because our compassion prevents us from saying “use drugs if you so will; it is a bad idea, but it is not my problem.”
(The American, The Compassion Trap)
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