The “tyranny of good intentions” occurs, for example, when government legislates lifestyle choices, such as what light bulb is acceptable, or what toilet is acceptable, or what amount of salt in food is acceptable. The government might have “good intentions,” but denying a citizen of freedom and choices is tyranny.
Irish author C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) wrote in 1948, “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.” “The Tyranny of Good Intentions,” by Ross Valentine, was printed in the Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch in 1961. Paul Craig Roberts and Lawrence M. Stratton popularized the term in the title of their book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions: How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice (2000).
Wikiquote: C. S. Lewis
Clive Staples Lewis (November 29 1898 – November 22 1963) was an Irish author, scholar of medieval literature, and Christian apologist. He is best known for his essays on Christianity and for the children’s fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia.
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.
. “God in the Dock” (1948)
26 July 1961, Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch, “The Tyranny of Good Intentions” by Ross Valentine, pg. 16, col. 7:
OH, WE TALK a lot about safety.
We write editorials. We deplore the failure of state governments to do anything about it. We remain impotent, amoral victims of the “tyranny of good intentions.”
3 July 1993, Medicine Hat (Alberta) News, “Innu victims of too many good intentions” by Ken MacQueen, pg. 4, col. 5:
In both cases, what started as help instead engendered helplessness, such is the tyranny of good intentions.
OCLC WorldCat record
The tyranny of good intentions : how prosecutors and bureaucrats are trampling the constitution in the name of justice
Author: Paul Craig Roberts; Lawrence M Stratton
Publisher: Roseville, Calif. : Forum, ©2000.
Edition/Format: Book : English
Tyranny of Good Intentions
Empire to Fight ‘Atrocities’
by Nebojsa Malic, May 04, 2012
What is to be made of the Emperor’s announcement of the “Atrocity Prevention Board”, in the waning days of April? Without a doubt it is a carte blanche for “regime change”, for intervention wherever, whenever, against whomever. That, then, puts it in a remarkable continuity with the 2008 “Bush Doctrine,” itself a logical extension of the Brezhnev one.
The Tyranny of Good Intentions
by BURT on MARCH 5, 2013
As we look around us, we are awash in failed government programs that began with the best of intentions, or that’s what many Americans believed. Today, at the state level, California (and other states) are broke and desperate for cash. At the federal level, we see minimum wage laws stifling the hiring of young men and women; a social security system that is on the verge of paying out more than it takes in; and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac receiving billions in tax dollars, despite their abysmal performance.
New York City • Government/Law/Politics/Military • Sunday, November 10, 2013 • Permalink