Is There Any Justification for Paternalistic Policies? (with Christopher Snowdon)

Paternalism, even the art of nudging people in the right direction, does not allow human beings to make their own individual decisions. 

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Drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes are legal activities, but politicians use the law in order to discourage people from doing these things that may seen as poor for your health. This is inconsistent with John Stuart Mill’s famous principle that people should be free in the sense that they should be able to do whatever they like as long as they are not harming others.

What is paternalism? Should we take care of those who do not know any better for themselves? Are there different types of paternalism? What is considered coercion? Should the government enforce vaccinations for the purpose of collective action? Should the government worry about public health?

Further Reading:

Killjoys: A Critique of Paternalism, written by Christopher Snowden

Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, written by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein

Related Content:

“Libertarian” Paternalism?, Free Thoughts Podcast

Paternalism and Barbarism, written by Aaron Ross Powell

Against Paternalism, written by Neera K. Badhwar