Confucius Got It Right: More law is not the key to health & virtue
by Keli'i Akina, Ph.D., President/CEO, Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
On January 1st, a new law went into effect that raises the age for purchasing tobacco products and e-cigarettes to 21. Hawaii leads the nation as the first state to take such an action.
While we support efforts to promote a healthy lifestyle to young adults, we believe that criminalizing their choice to smoke is an abuse of government power and an inappropriate means to an end. The role of government is to defend individual liberty, not to serve as a controlling nanny over citizens.
The State of Hawaii should instead foster a citizenry of individuals capable of balancing rights and responsibilities on their own. As a society, our aim should be to educate youth to make good choices themselves.
Confucius got it right: “If you lead the people with administrative injunctions and keep the them orderly with penal law, they will avoid punishments but will be without a sense of personal ethics...” (Analects 2.3)