What is the value of free will and the ability to make your own choices?

James Otteson is the executive director of the BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism, and Teaching Professor of Political Economy, at Wake Forest University in Winston‐​Salem, North Carolina. He also serves as a Senior Scholar at the Fund for American Studies, a Research Professor in the Freedom Center and Department of Philosophy at the University of Arizona, and a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute in California.

Prof. James Otteson recalls a parable his teacher taught him in high school. If you had the ability to make a woman fall in love with you, would you like it? Would you prefer to force someone to love you or to have someone offer to give their love to you freely? Love freely given is so much more valuable. This story illustrates an important moral insight: Respecting people means allowing them to make their own choices, even if you believe the choices they will make are poor. Without the ability to choose for ourselves, we lose a bit of what makes us human. Do you find it frustrating when you are not allowed to make your own decisions? What would you do differently if people or government were not preventing your actions? Do you think you’re better or worse when your choices are limited or taken from you?