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Paternalism

Paternalism refers to the practice of interfering with a person's freedom and personal autonomy for his or her own good. The term evokes the idea of a family led by a benevolent father who looks after his wife and children, even if that should involve sometimes defying their desires and forcing them to do what he knows will best secure their welfare. Although individuals may treat one another pater-nalistically, such as a doctor who lies to a patient about a life-threatening illness to save her from grief, the term is typically applied to government legislation aimed at forcing people to make certain choices for their own good. Laws against drug use, mandating the use of seat belts, and the prohibition against voluntary euthanasia are generally ...

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