“The free man owns himself. He can damage himself with either eating or drinking; he can ruin himself with gambling. If he does he is certainly a damn fool, and he might possibly be a damned soul; but if he may not, he is not a free man any more than a dog.” — Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936)
Of course, this bit of wisdom applies equally to all free people. It is a major objection to libertarians and conservatives alike that too often in our modern era, the government seems to want to control things that should be the prerogative of individuals.
Naturally, most of us feel bad when the poor decisions of another jeopardizes that person. But, should it really be the right of a government to try to step into the place of that person and prevent foolish decisions?
As a parent, I have found that standing by and allowing my daughters to make an occasional poor decision despite my best input as to what maybe they ought to do has taught each of them so much more than me continuously telling them what they must do.
My goal as a parent is to serve my daughters well so that as they grow up they understand the principles and thoughts behind how things might best work to the best of my ability. It is not to create automatons. It is not to tell them what to think and do but to show by example and by words what they might best do to become independent and fully thriving human beings.
I, among many, believe this is equally so for citizens in the world as well.