I know that this question has practical and political implications, but for now, I’m treating it as a “just for fun” philosophical question. Just wanted to be upfront.
What is the value of freedom of choice? Does it have intrinsic value, or is its value purely instrumental?
A thing has “intrinsic value” if it is valuable in itself. It has “instrumental value” if it is valuable because it is a means to get something else of value. For instance, suppose we have a choice between mushroom and cheese pizza. This choice has instrumental value, because it’s a means for people to have the kind of pizza they most prefer. But does the choice also have intrinsic value?
Under an initial analysis, I thought the answer was “no”. If I’m presented with a one-time choice between A and B, and I choose A, did the other option B do any good? At least within a consequentialist ethical framework, it sure doesn’t seem like it. After all, option B had no bearing on the consequences.