Government Paternalism


The government is very much in the business of creating adult children. This is the reason why the idea of childhood has been expanding for quite some time. Even college age adults are being seen as children and even in the Affordable Care Act, where Obama laid out how a 26-year-old could stay on a parent’s health benefits as if they were a child.

But why would they want to do so? Having a set of adults with the mindset of children is a much easier way of creating government dependents. Children begin by going to government indoctrination camps (public schools), and learning about how wonderful the government, especially the leftists, are and how life would be utter chaos without our governmental saviors. Then they progress to the point where they must take public funds to continue education that is provided by the government and at the expense of the tax payer. All the while (and more than likely) being raised on government assistance of some kind.

By the time these kids reach adulthood they are so brainwashed about the role of the government and their rights, that they simply see the government as a parent. The government tells them what is right and wrong, how to live, and what to think. This is paternalism.

Paternalism is an interesting concept. Stanford uses terms in it’s definition that invoke similar libertarian ideas, like the idea of the intervention of the state being “against their will.” However, I think that this is a little deeper than that. Many might advocate or lobby to the government to take over some means that would fall into paternalism, but the problem with the definition is that paternalism would simply apply to all those who oppose the laws being enacted, when in reality the paternalism covers even those advocating for it.

Paternalism is the limiting of liberty and autonomy; the means have no bearing on the ends. Some examples of more minor laws that are paternalistic in nature are seat belt laws, motorcycle helmet laws, and legally requiring schooling approved by the state. Many of these laws come with fines, which we know are a revenue source for the state, or even an easy reason to pull someone over and harass them. Nevertheless, there are much larger laws that I would like to take a look at here. Four areas that I think are good to cover and even controversial are drugs, suicide, inoculation, and age of consent.


This is a very common topic gone over, but I think that the paternalistic view is a little bit of a different take. The War on Drugs has been one of the most harmful paternalistic policies; spending billions per year for a cause that seems to have zero correlation between dollars thrown at it and results being presented. Also, the drug cartels have been funded on both sides. First of all there are numerous resources to cite instances like the Iran-Contra scandal, and secondly we can see how the cartel are making out by having a monopoly on the black market. The government has the idea, at least with drugs, that they are going to save you from yourself.

The justification for these laws come in the form of harm and fear. The public has the idea that drug abuse is something to fear. There is fear from others doing drugs as well as fear that they may become addicted one day. There is also the fear of what people will do while intoxicated. This has been promoted for decades, but most notable is the Reefer Madness video.

Matthew Thomas and Luke Buckmaster present an analogy of paternalism in drug policy as simply a lifeguard and signs by treacherous waters. If only the paternalism was that simple, the argument might only be as fierce as the argument over seat belts and bike helmets. The reality is that the government enjoys the dominance over the populace by dictating to them what substances they can or cannot put into their body, no matter if they are harming someone else or not.


Another paternalistic point is the idea of suicide. The common libertarian take is that of self-ownership and property rights. If you own yourself and you have the right to do with your property as you see fit, then you can take your own life, so long as you are not hurting others in the process, of course the only real argument to be made back is the idea of existential harm, but that is for another debate.

By the government intervening to save a person’s life when it is obviously a suicide, via a suicide letter, they are obviously making the assumption that they own that person’s body. This is evident by the steps taken after the suicide attempt. One who attempts suicide may be detained against their will. The attempt in and of itself is enough for “just cause,” which is actually criminal justice jargon, and wouldn’t apply unless the individual was being held for a criminal charge, but we all know how to government likes to twist anything it can in its benefit. A suicide patient may be forced into treatment by being diagnosed with some form of mental disorder, and while housed may be forced to take medication, which of course would be deemed in their best interest.


I will be the first to admit that I am not as well versed in the world of vaccines. Sometimes I wish I was. However, I do know that I hold values of the Non-Aggression Principle near and dear, and with that being said, I believe that mandatory vaccinations are immoral.

Forcing someone to put something into their body, especially a child, violates the very basic idea of property rights; self-ownership. Nevertheless, there is a level of authority that a parent has over their child, and this can get a little dicey in the vaccine debate. Still, I think that it is vital to mention that besides the parent/guardian argument, the government does not have the right to forcefully inject you with anything. Once again, they are not our parent.

Age of Consent

Here is probably the most controversial section of this article. Age of consent should be delegated to a much lower age. I do not have a perfect number for everyone, and by today’s standards, it would vary. Many may say that a 14 or 16-year-old might not have the capacity to make decisions surrounding sex. However, the same argument could be made for 18 and 19-year-old, too. Also it is important to keep in ind that these “kids” are still having sex.

See, we forget that we cannot legislate away human biology. Write all the laws you want. It is the lizard brain that tells us to procreate at the signs of puberty. Men are actively trying to plant seed in the earliest stages of puberty and women are actively searching for the mate that has the highest quality traits to reproduce. I know these are generalizations, but for the sake of making this the whole article, the premise remains.

Many would argue, “would you want your 14-year-old daughter with someone who is 30 years old?” and of course the obvious answer is no. However, I intend to raise all three of my daughters so that by the time puberty hits they are aware of sex and repercussions of the choices they will have to make in those years. This is something my wife and I have discussed at length.

This is important to our community. We need to be teaching our kids how to be adults from a younger age. We need to take on the responsibility of being parents and make sure that our kids are prepared for the world at the earliest age. This is the strongest foundation we can give to them. As for my wife and I, we are not interested in letting the government raise our kids.

This is the idea that I mentioned above, and the main point of this article. The government has a vested interest in prolonging adolescence. This is because those with an adolescent mindset will need a care taker, and the government will be right there to provide it. After all they are willing to give you health care, schooling, housing, etc. All at the expense of those who do not want to live off the government. Government punishes those who attempt to be self sufficient and reward those that seek assistance. The state acts as a co dependent parent who utterly needs their children in order to survive. The only difference is that the state actually will die without its adult children.

Read more from Rocky Ferrenburg at Think Liberty here.



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