Advocates of nudging describe themselves as ‘choice architects’ and claim that their policies help people make the right choices. What they mean is that their aim is to construct a scenario where people make the kind of choices that our moral superiors believe to be right. The aim of behavioural-management techniques is to prevent, or at least discourage, people from making the ‘wrong’ choices. In effect, the implicit objective of these techniques is to deprive people of the capacity for making wrong choices. But if citizens are freed from the burden of distinguishing between right and wrong, then they cease to be choice-makers.
So are these choices wrong or not? He puts scare quotes around the word “wrong” in one sentence but later leaves them out. Anyway, the nudgers (Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein) claim to be helping people make choices they themselves want to make but fail to for a variety of reasons relating to impulse control and cognitive bias. It’s incorrect to claim they are making choices they alone believe to be best for a public that disagrees with their prescriptions due to a base morality. This isn’t to say that in practice the difference may be null and void, but at least get their argument right.