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Paternalism Law - Essay Example

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Overview Paternalism is an act conducted by individuals or governments in the pursuit for societal benefit. Gerald Dworkin, a renowned professor defines paternalism as the interference of a person’s liberty of actions justified exclusively by reasons referring to welfare good, happiness, needs, interests or values…
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Paternalism Law Essay
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"Paternalism Law"

Download file to see previous pages The other principle used to justify paternalism is that the individual’s own good is not an adequate reason for the termination of paternalism. Several laws and regulations have been enacted that encourage paternalism by the government such as requiring motorcyclist to wear helmets. These actions by the government have been opposed by several utilitarian thinkers like John Stuart Mill. He is opposed to the actions that led to paternalism by the government based on his autonomy based argument. Paternalism exists in the form of restrictions or requirements imposed on people to perform in order for the common good to be maintained. In his topic on liberty, Mill argues that the government encourages cyclists to wear helmets to promote a good (Skorupski, 34). The protection of the person from injury is a good that cannot be ignored and it is not that the cyclist does not value his life, but this legislation goes against another good. In relation to the arguments brought forward by Mill, it is reasonable to conclude that Mill supports government actions. The question of self protection as the basis for justifying paternalism is questionable since an individual is the most qualified person to judge himself/herself. As a result, it true to conclude that an individual is the most interested person in his own well being. ...
This is in reference to the fact that Mill argues that no amount of restraint or compulsion by others can stop adults from pursuing their interests. However, in some instances government interventions do not only restrict a person’s liberty but encourages alternative solutions (Blokland, 78). In relation to paternalism, a person should be an independent and an autonomous agent with the ability to choose his freedom. A utilitarian argument passed on by Mill is that of that there comes a time when a person has the discretion of his/her individuality being absolute. However, there are two strains of Mill’s argument with one based on straight forward utilitarian while the other relies, not on the good brought by the free choice but on the supreme value of the choice. Using Mill’s second argument it is important to look into the actions of the government in relation to where consent is not needed in effecting paternalism. Dworkin explores reasons and examples where paternalism is not necessary. It is noteworthy to note that it is true to conclude that paternalism is necessary especially in cases where the actions of an individual cannot be anticipated at that time. For instance, the electorate might vote in a government which in undertaking its activities decides to raise taxes to halt a problem such as inflation. Though the action, of raising taxes is not welcomed easily it is necessary since the measure to be enforced is one requested by the party involved (Blokland, 1997). At the same time, it is noteworthy to note that in some cases there is consent on the part whose liberties have been infringed. Another plausible example is displayed by Odyssey when he commands his men to tie him up and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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