Is free will becoming extinct?

"Obama regulatory czar Cass Sunstein is making us sick to our stomach, but Dr. Helen is on the case."-Sissy Willis

Dr. Helen Smith
7/5/2010

Have you noticed an uptick in studies that seem to say you have no or little free will? It seems that as more and more liberals desire to regulate behavior, the academic world is focusing more intently on studies that show free will to be an illusion. For example, in Time, there is a recent article entitled “Think You’re Operating on Free Will? Think Again” (via Instapundit):

There may be few things more fundamental to human identity than the belief that people are rational individuals whose behavior is determined by conscious choices. But recently psychologists have compiled an impressive body of research that shows how deeply our decisions and behavior are influenced by unconscious thought, and how greatly those thoughts are swayed by stimuli beyond our immediate comprehension.

Glenn and I interviewed Cass Sunstein, the author of Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness two years ago. Sunstein is now Obama administration’s regulatory czar. I remember as I listened to him talk about “libertarian paternalism” (isn’t that an oxymoron?) that I felt sick to my stomach. In Sunstein’s opinion, it seems that justifying the notion that people do not have free will gives license to bureaucrats and politicians to “nudge” people in the direction that they desire them to go. A nudge is often not noticed until it becomes a shove and by then, it is often too late.

Beware of studies that show free will to be more and more of an illusion, for as Glenn says, “This kind of thing is often pitched as a reason for regulation, since your free will is portrayed as illusory.” …

The article continues at Dr. Helen. H/T Sissy Willis.

Helen Smith is the wife of “Instapundit“,  law professor Glenn Reynolds.

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