In a comment I made on yesterday’s “Banning Bottled Water” post, CWTF challenged my thinking on the Nanny State aspects of policy of this nature. In responding, I was finally able to elucidate why I think policy like banning bottled water is inherently conservative: I see something like banning bottled water as “conservative” because it uses a simple policy tweak today to offset a future policy nightmare (environmental degradation).
I’m thoroughly against the nanny state. But – I’m aslo for effective, lightweight policy making to achieve meaningful social goals that the market might otherwise disregard.
The bottom line is that the to-the-consumer cost of bottled water will never adequately reflect the externalities that stem from its production, transportation, and disposal of waste – thus an opportunity for policy. Similar situation with catalytic converters on cars, or low flow shower heads.
I know that policy-making that restricts choice doesn’t comfortably fit into small-c conservative ideology, but as I’ve noted elsewhere, I’d argue that were at the juncture where “conservatism” needs to replace small government with smart government that serves conservative goals better in the longer term.
That is to say, I see something like banning bottled water as inherently conservative because it uses a simple policy tweak today to offset a future policy nightmare (environmental degradation).