Sunday, February 13, 2011

#44 / Prescription And Persuasion

In the public realm, it's nice when persuasion works. On occasion, it does work.

But if we create the world we inhabit by making collective choices about what we should do, and then by doing what we have decided, we have got to hold our collective feet to the fire, sometimes.

Asking people not to pollute is good; persuading them that it's better if they don't pollute is excellent; "incentivizing" the behavior we want to see is terrific. In the end, though, if we are truly serious about what we need to do, prescription, not persuasion, is going to be required. We make laws, telling ourselves what we think is right, and then we require that those laws be followed.

Just to be clear, in the public realm, we need more than persuasion (on occasion, at least)!

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