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Modern Paternalism[edit]

Some note should be written that for example USA is considered by many to act paternalistic, which has an impact on individual freedom of countries, etc. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:58, 29 August 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


"Paternalism refers to a policy that prevents others from doing harm to themselves or a belief in such policies." - I believe that this statement is incorrect. The Oxford English Dictionary defines paternalism as "the policy of restricting the freedom and responsibilities of one's subordinates or dependants in their supposed best interest". This is clearly more accurate. The crux is that the justification is "it's in your own best interest", and the scope extends beyond avoiding harm, and includes forcing people to do something because it's better than the alternative, even though that alternative may not be harmful. For example, if I wanted to become an accountant, but because of a governmental psychometric testing policy I was forced to become a lawyer on the grounds that this was the optimum profession for me, and therefore it would be for my own good if I was to pursue it, then what has been averted (my becoming an accountant) was neither harmful to myself nor others. Nevertheless, the government's policy would be described as extreme paternalism. VivaEmilyDavies 00:00, 10 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Good point, would you like to help me rewrite the article? Sam Spade 15:14, 14 May 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

-This is now taken care of since I rewrote (so this discussion could probably be removed). Filofil (talk) 13:24, 29 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There is a problem with the current definition. I think we all agree that not every restriction of liberty is paternalistic. Isn't it inherent in the concept of paternalism that a person's liberty be restricted for that person's own good? That element isn't expressed in the definition as it stands, although earlier iterations included it. (For instance, a law requiring the use of seatbelts is paternalistic, but a law forbidding murder is not, even though both restrict liberty. Does anyone or any source disagree with my assessment here?) Chalkieperfect (talk) 03:56, 1 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Somebody had written this in the article itself. I removed it and put a NPOV-tag there instead.

I do not know how to report pages, but this article obviously lacks any sort of neutrality. Look at the picture to the right, this is ridiculous. Whoever wrote this refers to paternalism as something that is "suffered from". Paternalism, as a basis for a social structure, began to deteriorate in the latter half of the 19th century. Why are you talking about the World Bank? This article is clearly informed only by radical modern interpretations of its negative influences, and is indisputably driven by politics rather than a desire to present objective information. I am assuming this will be deleted, but I would like it if a flag could be put up denoting a lack of neutrality. It's this type of revisionism that exposes wikipedia's weaknesses as an otherwise thoroughly reliable, democratic source of information.
Here is the original article, yeah, it starts with "For Example" and never actually defines the term:

--Dnalor 20:42, 17 October 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This article is messy, and has an obvious anti-paternalism POV. That needs to be repaired. Sam Spade 15:14, 14 May 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi, I tried to NPOVise a bit. Remove the NPOV tag yourselves if you think it is acceptable now. --Orzetto 08:17, 12 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Removing NPOV tag since no objections were made. --Orzetto 07:34, 15 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You have to understand why this is difficult. It is like an article on Child Rape where you have to save all the negativity for the "criticism" section. Paternalism in the modern world has only existed to justify slavery and the criminal abuses of the medical profession. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:40, 2 January 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Opponents of Paternalism[edit]

I removed this small paragraph: "Opponents of Paternalism point out that if we are left to be free on our own eveneutally we will be able to overcome the downfalls of a more free society such as in the area's of free trade and global economic unification." because it made no sense to me at all. It cold be that I'm slow today, though, so if you can make sense of it, put it back in, and please explain it here. Also, if it is put in, it needs to have verification. Arbadihist 19:03, 30 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think the neutrallity of this part is seriously in question. Read the following: "In favour, it could be said that every state is "paternalist" to a degree. Even the state's creation and protection of individual property rights might be interpreted as "paternalistic". The descriptions of the origin of the state by Aristotle see it as an extension of the family, and this description seems a lot more realistic than the social contract analogies of Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau and Rawls." This is personal opinion ("seems a lot more realistic") than an expressioin of facts. Needs revision! bhs 12:45, 6 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agreed, I removed the "seems a lot more realistic" and replaced it with "as opposed to," though that is only a first step in rectifying the slant of the article. 06:48, 18 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I really don't think that picture has anything to do with Paternalism...isn't it just some kid being baptised or something? The monk isn't limiting the boy's freedom to prevent personal injury or harm to the latter. This is sort of silly. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:43, 19 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Kant and "What is Enlightenment?"[edit]

I just stumbled upon this article through a link from the page about a famous letter written by philosopher Immanuel Kant, (Answering the Question: What Is Enlightenment?,) where one of the main points he makes, according to the article, is about his views of paternalism. I am posting here because it seems that this is highly relevant to this article, but I do not feel qualified to edit it, since I know almost nothing about Kant and very little about philosophy in general, much less paternalism. Inertia720 08:16, 29 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Article or section for slave paternalism?[edit]

There really should be an article somewhere explaining the beliefs/claims of many Southerners in paternalism with respect to the institution of slavery. It might make sense to have a section here. Red Harvest (talk) 16:34, 1 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Pater / patris[edit]

Pater is nominative, patris is genitive. Both are Latin. Velho (talk) 01:59, 6 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Tweak the article towards current issues in modern political philosophy?[edit]

There is much more to be said about the use of term paternalism in modern political philosophy (for example by professors Joel Feinberg, Richard Arneson, and David Archard). As it now stands, most of the article is on familialism, even explicitly under that heading. This is an important historical background with some current relevance, but there is a rich debate on benevolent interference, rather removed from the family metaphor, that deserves more description. I can help with this, but first invite people to protest since it would be a major change. Filofil (talk) 10:36, 20 December 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Some time ago I went ahead and made some changes in this direction. Several though not all the points made on this talk page are no longer relevant. The two points I see as still relevant at all are that southern slavery and Kant could be included in a longer version of the entry.Filofil (talk) 16:11, 14 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Bit of a train wreck going on here, where's the reference to critiques of 19th century paternalism in the domestic and colonial contexts. No mention of the paternalist arguments in support of institutional slavery either, whatever. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:01, 12 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The examples section here is terrible and is largely irrelevant to state paternalism, which is what this article should be talking about. I'm going to remove it in the meantime and make the article a little clearer. Roman à clef (talk) 04:02, 19 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Model Villages[edit]

I had always thought the villages of Port Sunlight, Saltaire and New Lanark etc. were examples of Paternalism or Tory Paternalism? could this be included or perhaps I have misunderstood. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A00:23C4:AA0C:2700:48E8:ABF3:8FEF:8529 (talk) 17:37, 3 August 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]