Freedom and the State: Nanny or Nightwatchman?

Public Health 129 (8):1055-1060 (2015)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
There are two rival images often offered of the state. In one the state serves like a nanny to provide for the welfare of its members; in the other it requires people to look after themselves, providing only the service of a night-watchman. But this dichotomy, which is routinely invoked in debates about public health and welfare provision in general, is misleading. What the rival images turn on is not competing pictures of how the state should function in people's lives but competing pictures of what it is to guard the freedom of its people. On the neo-liberal theory, which has been dominant over the last century or so, providing for people's freedom means leaving them to their own devices and fortunes. On the neo-republican theory, which answers to a much longer tradition, it means democratically identifying a common set of basic liberties in the exercise of which everyone should be protected by law and, if necessary, resourced. This older way of thinking about freedom has important merits missing in the newer and argues strongly against the nightwatchman state.
No keywords specified (fix it)
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Revision history
Archival date: 2018-05-15
View upload history
References found in this work BETA
Political Writings.Price, Richard

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Introduction: Towards a Republic of Health?De Wispelaere, Jurgen & Coggon, John

Add more citations

Added to PP index

Total views
61 ( #31,023 of 41,582 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
44 ( #14,123 of 41,582 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.