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8/29/2007

When paternalism becomes suffocation

Where to draw the line between paternalism and coercion? The word paternalism always connotes something positive even if a little highhanded, like a father taking out the rod to whack a child. Still it is seen as acceptable as long as it does not borders on cruelty, no tearing of flesh or blood dripping everywhere. Thus people happily used the cover of paternalism to commit crimes against their children, and even get away with it. To be paternalistic sounded so good, so righteous and so good hearted. When does paternalism ends and evil or wickedness takes over? When can a parent be sued for cruelty for stuffing a child with too much food? Or when does paternalism becomes over protective and takes the form of forced imprisonment of a child in a house? When can a parent be seen as robbing his children of their money by keeping it against their will and decide when and how much to return to them at his own mercy? Is there a limit to paternalism before it is called something else?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Redbean, are you talking about paternalism or are you hinting at Singapore being a nanny state?

Why don't you come right out and say what you want to say, instead of hiding behind a "father and child" senario?

matilah_singapura said...

anonymous 411, if you occasionally stop and take 10 deep breaths, you will experience less annoyance at redbean's twisty tongue.

Every state in existence has been ultimately due to the will of the people.

I think deep down, Singaporeans simply don't trust each other and therefore the spontaneous order that's resulted is a system; a regime of control, such that the Average Singaporean rests assured that his fellow "evil and untrustworthy" Singaporean is kept in check by a government wielding a big stick.

Now the interesting question is:

What is the future for a society made up of individuals who are paranoid of each other?

Fucking hilarious hey?