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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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This raises an intriguing question: To what extent should we view the future versions of ourselves as different people from ourselves today?
To be sure, most parents have no trouble restricting a child’s decisions on the grounds that doing so is in the young person’s best interest. Few teenagers are farsighted enough to fully incorporate the interests of their future selves when making decisions. As parents, we hope that someday our grown-up children will be grateful for our current restrictions on their behavior.
But people do not suddenly mature at the age of 18, when society deems us “adults.” There is always an adolescent lurking inside us, feeling the pull of instant gratification and too easily ignoring the long-run effects of our decisions. Taxes on items with short-run benefits and long-run costs tell our current selves to take into account the welfare of our future selves.
IF this is indeed the best argument for “sin” taxes, as I believe it is, we are led to vexing questions of political philosophy: To what extent should we use the power of the state to protect us from ourselves? If we go down that route, where do we stop?
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