Indywidualna prewencja jako istotna cecha ustroju paternalistycznego
INDIVIDUAL PREVENTION AS AN ESSENTIAL CHARACTERISTIC OF PATERNALISM
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The paper explains one important feature of paternalism, a system of political rule operating nowadays in so-called welfare states. Paternalism de facto and de jure aims at a comprehensive control of human behaviour, including actions which mainly or exclusively influence the agents themselves. For the purposes of the paper this specific tendency of paternalist governments is termed 'individual prevention'. Individual prevention appears to be based upon the general assumption that human beings, if left unsurveilled, may behave in a self-destructive manner or, at least, become harmful to themselves. Consequently, the followers of paternalist idea argue that the state, with its proper legislative, administrative and penal measures, ought to prevent its members from harming themselves and thus to extend the scope of their rationality and liberty. The fact remains, however, that the general assumption upon which individual prevention is founded is highly controversial. As demonstrated e.g. by Aristotle in the 'Nicomachean Ethics', it is impossible for anyone to harm oneself in an informed and voluntary way. True, individuals may sometimes act in a self-destructive manner, owing to unavoidable limitations of their knowledge and competences. Nevertheless, as concluded in the paper, a paternalist state easily becomes a totalitarian one, quite contrary to its leading idea.
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