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Libertarian Paternalism: A New Doctrine?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Bartholomew Roberts, Oct 25, 2004.

  1. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus


  2. Brett Bellmore

    Brett Bellmore New Member

    This should really go without saying, but it would be a mistake to take anything Cass Sunstein says as indicative of trends in libertarian thought.
  3. atek3

    atek3 New Member

    not a new doctrine. I don't call my beliefs "paternalism" but I give "hey i wouldn't do that :cuss: if I was you, man," advice to people. If I see people going over their head in credit card debt I suggest they restrain consumption and pay off their debts asap. Is that "paternalism?"

  4. Nightfall

    Nightfall New Member

    Rely on general apathy to change, by selecting a default "good" answer in order to increase general welfare. Interesting! Of course, this would rely on the benevolence of those choosing the default. That doesn't combine well with libertarian distrust of gov't. This is addressed on page 42-43 by stating that offering an opt-out is a strong check on abuses. But with the idea of penalizing certain "wrong options", this sounds risky. That sounds like a slippery slope to simply over-penalizing "wrong" choices out of viability.

    I think that those who emphasize the paternalism part of "libertarian paternalist" push too far with thoughts of inducing penalties for not choosing the "correct" default choice. No matter how confident one is in the "correctness" of the default answer to a choice, imposing penalties for diverging from that choice seems anathema to libertarian philosophy. I contend that at that point, you have only the illusion of freedom of choice, because penalizing one of the options is beyond acceptable coercion. Blatant coercion through threat of imposed action outside of the natual consequences of a choice is a violation of the NAP, IMHO.

    Minimal paternalism strikes me as the only thing close enough to true libertarianism to satisfy me. Basically, I can stand having to uncheck a box on a form rather than check it, so long as there is no cost for deviating from the default plan.
  5. Brian Dale

    Brian Dale New Member

    atek3, at the risk of replying like a dork to what might have been a rhetorical question, I'll say that it's not. You're not enforcing your advice with government power.
  6. cuchulainn

    cuchulainn New Member

    By accepting that paternalism is a bad word, you are buying into the leftist propaganda that the problems of the world are due to unenlightened male troglodytes crushing the spirits of women and children ... kumbaya, my lord, kumbaya.

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