State Neutrality And State Paternalism Analysis

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Rogelio Adlawan, Jr. PHILO 322 (5:50P-6:50P MWF) 4 September 2015
1) The Debate on State Neutrality and State Paternalism: Context
The debate on state neutrality and state paternalism is all about the views on how the government must work for its citizens, that is, how to show equal concern for the interests of its citizens.
a. State Neutrality or also known as State Anti-Perfectionism
State neutrality or also known as state anti-perfectionism believes that self-determination, that is, the ability to pursue one’s conception of the good life, is the only way to respect people fully. To deprive them of self-determination is to consider them as mentally incapable, that is, unable to rationally fend for oneself.
However, this does not mean that
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It believes that government must intervene on the lives of others for their own good, helping humans achieve their idea of the good life. The intervention is likened to a beneficent father (acting in accord with his conception of the interests of his children); making decisions relating to his children’s welfare, rather than letting them make their own decisions, essentially overriding our autonomy.
2) The Debate on State Neutrality and State Paternalism: Stance on the Subject
Bearing in mind the debate between state neutrality and state paternalism and in weighing the stance of both sides, justifications and all, I would stand on the side of state paternalism as a better way for government to work for its citizens.
a. Paternalism as a Social Insurance Policy
In this position paper, I treat paternalism as a form of social insurance policy fully rational persons would take in order to protect themselves; those whose autonomy is curtailed would consent were it not for their compromised condition. The stance considers human tendency for irrationality in weighing conflicting values, deficiencies in cognitive and emotional capacities, and avoidable and unavoidable
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Self-Protection Principle
The state governing in a civilized society is necessary to protect people from harm. It may interfere with individual liberty when harm is likely to result to others from our actions.
2. Harm Principle
While the state may intervene against harm likely to occur to others, it may not interfere with self-regarding action. It may not interfere with individuals for their own good, because it will make them happier, or because they are imprudent or wrong.
3. Liberty Principle
Individuals may do whatever they desire to do so long as they are not harming others. Over themselves, over their own bodies and minds, individuals are sovereign. This principle states the harm principle from the individual perspective. Neither the government nor other individuals should intervene to prevent an individual’s doing what he or she wants to do.

State neutrality is simply the idea that there is no public ranking of the value of the different ways of life.
“Neutrality” as endorsed by liberals is limited in scope to (justice-respecting) conceptions of the
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