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Paternalism Case

Essay by   •  December 10, 2012  •  Essay  •  1,314 Words (6 Pages)  •  751 Views

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De'Asha Love (Z1684153)

Soft paternalism is the view that the only condition under which paternalism is justified is when it is necessary to determine whether the person being interfered with is acting voluntarily and knowledgeably. Some may argue as to rather or not there be a good soft paternalist argument for restrictions on tobacco. I would agree there is one. The best soft paternalist argument would have to be the harm users willingly bring among themselves. If you were to look closely at a box of cigarettes, health warnings are there to caution the users of the many different side effects that come along with smoking. The user is then fully aware of the risk taken if he or she was to choose to proceed in smoking the cigarette. After they have been warned of the outcome, it is now up for them to decide rather they should or shouldn't take heed to the warning. Smoking has many effects such as cancer and diseases in many different parts of the body. The user is now at risk of these different effects when they make the decision to smoke the cigarette. The restrictions of tobacco are only used to save the life of the user who has responsibility for any outcome of their action. In other words, the restriction protects. In the United States, the use of tobacco has been held responsible for more than three hundred fifty thousand deaths (U.S. DHHS 1986, pp. vii, 5-6). In other words, the restriction protects the user even though they have full knowledge of the consequence behind the decision they make. The only way possible to prohibit the use of tobacco because of its effect on society would be to restrict the sale of it.

Though I agree there is a good soft paternalist argument, others may conquer. A user or maybe even a cigarette manufacturer might object to this argument. Even though there is a warning of a harmful effect cigarettes may have on their smokers, there is no specific harm stated. Users are aware there is an aftereffect in the use of tobacco, but they do not fully know what the outcome is. They are more so exposed to the knowledge of tobacco use being dangerous to their health. The warning on the box does not go into great depths of what sorts of harms it does to the body. Users are not given a soft paternalist because they aren't knowledgeable.

The opposing argument, in my opinion, is not a good argument. The objection to the soft paternalist argument does not succeed. Even though a cigarette pack doesn't go into great detail of the harm it may cause to your body, it doesn't make you unaware of any harm that might occur. They are aware the use of tobacco can be hazardous to their health. Any person, with common sense, who is warned of danger to their health, would research to find out more specifically what dangers it may cause. The user now has full responsibility of any reaction their action may have caused. Even though they aren't warned specifically doesn't make them not informed at all. The restriction of tobacco only helps those of the weak minded who are less concerned with their health. If you were about to cross a damaged bridge and the only caution sign you see is one who states "Do not cross," why would you still proceed to cross the bridge. Although it doesn't let you know why it isn't a good idea to cross the bridge, it tells you not to. No one would take time to leave a sign over a bridge stating not to cross if it wasn't dangerous. Even though it doesn't tell you what type of danger you might get yourself into, it still informs you it is not safe to cross. If you take it upon yourself to continue to cross the bridge after being warned, you are now responsible for the safety of yourself. This scenario can be compared to the use of tobacco and the soft paternalist given. In my opinion, the restriction of tobacco is a good idea because it helps those who feel as though they are not made aware of any effects tobacco may have on their body.

Some may question rather or not there is any good argument in favor of prohibiting prostitution. I agree there is a strong argument in favor or prostitution being prohibited. The strongest argument would be the harm it causes the prostitute. Prostitution can cause physical harm and mental harm. Physically, it can affect your body in many different ways. It can cause diseases to the body, or the risk of assault and battery.



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