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Unit 4 Risk (Oct.31)

October 31, 2016

Paternalism comes from the Latin word for father, or “pater,” and it means to interfere with a person’s freedom for his or her own good. When a father determines rules for his children to follow, it is because of the assumption that “father knows best.” Some governments also design paternalistic laws and policies to protect citizens because of the assumption that government officials know the best way for people to live their lives. This includes seat belt laws, helmet laws, gambling laws, laws banning the use of drugs like marijuana, or a law that limits access to swimming in the ocean until a particular date or time.

In Korea, paternalistic practices are relatively common, but they involve a conflict between two values: 1) individual freedom to choose how to live life, and 2) protecting the well-being of others.

Students: What is an example of a paternalistic law? Is the law justifiable or should people take responsibility for their actions in this case?

24 Comments leave one →
  1. Dolphin permalink
    October 31, 2016 7:02 pm

    I think that green belt law is one of the paternalistic law. Enacting the green belt law can keep nature alive from imprudent development. People can’t build any building or installation which can be seen as an urban planning. In green belt area, what people can do is just farming or using lands in some restricted ways. Some people have mentioned that green belt law unfairly restricts some people’s economic behaviors. However, in my opinion, people should take responsibility for their actions in this case. Because, if government allowed for people to do urban planning in green belt, the alive nature would be dying out. In addition, it increases speculative investments in real estate and this can result in a rise in prices with inflation. For these reasons, people should follow the law and the government should also reward appropriate compensation for restricting their economic behaviors.

    • proftodd permalink*
      November 1, 2016 8:33 am

      Green belt laws are primarily for environmental protection. However, one could argue that by protecting nature, the government is indirectly preventing harm to citizens. A more direct example of environmental paternalism might be a law that forbade the dumping of toxic chemicals or the improper storage of hazardous waste on one’s property. While the landowner might want the right to use their property in any manner they wish, government officials might justify such an infringement because toxic or hazardous materials can create health risks.

  2. bingo77 permalink
    October 31, 2016 11:16 pm

    In Korea, people must finish secondary education. I think that the law of education is one of the paternalistic law. It is mandatory to all citizens and government offer a lot of opportunities to people who cannot afford education.
    In my opinion, the law of education in Korea is justifiable because it guarantees all people to get opportunity to learn basic course. If government let people to take responsibility for what they want to do, the illiteracy rate will increase. For instance, after enforcing the law of education that people should finish secondary education, the illiteracy rate have lowered continuously. It also contributes to individual’s level of knowledge.
    Therefore, in the aspects of education, government should protect all citizens being educated well.

    • proftodd permalink*
      November 1, 2016 8:18 am

      Yes, mandatory national education attendance laws are paternalistic. I’m not sure of the underlying philosophy in Korea, but in many countries, there is the idea that children belong not to their parents but to society. For the self-preservation of the State and the creation of a decent society, it is important to educate children properly – to imbue in them the right virtues, such as love of country (patriotism), diligence, civic virtue, filial piety, duty, etc. – and turn them into knowledgeable citizens. One only need look at the situation in America these days to see the consequences of an ignorant and incompetent citizenry.

      Having said that, there is an American movement towards free market education, which is based, in theory, on respecting the parents’ right to choose how to educate their children. Famed intellectual Noam Chomsky recently wrote an interesting article on the topic.

  3. Go CR2 permalink
    November 1, 2016 9:10 am

    The most commonly mentioned paternalistic law is the law prohibiting death-with-dignity. This could include punishing the physicians who have prescribed or injected the drug for a peaceful death. In most of the countries, death with dignity is illegal. However, some countries such as Great Britain, France, Thailand, Canada, and Switzerland allows it, provided that the certain conditions are kept. Usually, patients who are suffering from terminal diseases or diseases without cure. Interestingly, the name of France’s law legalizing the death with dignity is ‘the law about the life’s ending’.
    As French law shows, every human being is naturally endowed with the right to encounter his or her death in one’s own way. As governments do not interfere with the way individuals live everyday lives, the governments should not infringe one’s right to die in the way that one prefers. Furthermore, it is rather inhumane if the government illegalizes the death with dignity for terminally ill patients or patients in vegitative state. If the government wants to protect them that much, then the government can release more budget on medication industry, rather than making people suffer in pain without any hope.

    • proftodd permalink*
      November 1, 2016 5:56 pm

      “The most commonly mentioned paternalistic law is the law prohibiting death-with-dignity.”

      Yes, it is curious why politicians feel they have the right to prohibit death-with-dignity for informed people of sound mind (i.e. they can consent). Do they feel they have ownership in the individuals? Can a politician who does not personally know the patient really understand the pain and suffering that occurs in the minds of the seriously ill. If it were my case, (i.e., game over; check-out time), I would definitely want the ability to make such a difficult, personal decision myself and not a stranger.

      “As governments do not interfere with the way individuals live everyday lives…”

      Actually as I mentioned above, paternalistic practices by the Korean government are common. In other words, the government interferes quite a bit in the way individuals live everyday lives.

  4. greentea permalink
    November 1, 2016 10:11 am

    I think the ‘shut down system’ is an example of a paternalistic law. Shut down system is the law which is intended to prevent game addiction and draw a healthy lifestyle through prohibiting game to minors after 10 pm in Korea. Law does not allow children to play games at night like a parents. However, this law has too many loopholes and it is not a substantive and fundamental solution for game addiction. Of course there are many scientific, social researches which concerned about game addiction, but it is not something should be in the area of law. Problem of playing games is solved by self-control or home discipline. In other words, shut down system is the excessive law intervention and enjoying game as a hobby is related to personal responsibility in any case even teenagers. Government should focus on education for self-regulation in playing games instead of legal limitations.

    • proftodd permalink*
      November 1, 2016 6:11 pm

      I agree that the law probably has too many problems to be effective. My cynical side suspects that most of the politicians knew that in advance, but they simply wanted to show the public that they were doing something to solve this important issue.

      “Government should focus on education for self-regulation in playing games…”

      I think you have a point. Unfortunately, self-discipline grows with maturity. Many young people, depending on age, lack the cognitive ability and emotional capacity to self-regulate. Moreover, because of poor social and/or economic conditions, many young people lack proper guidance to help them mature appropriately.

  5. Ezreal permalink
    November 1, 2016 5:22 pm

    In Korea, the ‘Shut down’ have made headlines continuously on news.
    It is a one of the paternalistic law that forbids children under the age of 16 in South Korea to play online games from 12:00 A.M. to 6:00 A.M during the period.
    It is for preventing game addiction of children under the age of 16.
    In fact, Children have many problems because of computer games in Korea.
    Parents think that ‘Students’ always have to study to be a good man in a society and students waste of times so much to play online games.
    For these reasons, the Korean government made the law to diminish the time to play game in night.
    Of course, I think it is too inflexible.
    However, the problem of game addiction of students in Korea is very serious.
    Most students in Korea are addicted to online game like LOL, Overwatch, diablo, the civilization and so on.
    They made students awake in night so the law is justifiable in Korea.
    When we consider the time of shut-down, it is not long times.
    When we look other paternalistic laws, they are also made because people don’t take responsibility for their actions well in cases.

  6. AndJuly permalink
    November 1, 2016 6:07 pm

    I think in Korea there are some paternalistic law in education. Such as people should finish at least secondary school. Korea government obligate people to take those kind of educational system.
    In my opinion, unlike other paternalistic law, in this case of education, we should follow what government obligate us. It is because when people get at least secondary education, they could learn a basic thing for their life. If could eventually lead that we could use practical skills. By this Korea could be much more developed than before. If there are no resposible for people to take education, many people who are in desperate situation, could not study and follow other people. It can only make worse situation. So in my opinion, with the educational system government should take care of their citizens in order to make more developed country.

  7. November 1, 2016 6:46 pm

    I think CCTV is one of the examples of parernalism. There are obvious advantages and disadvantages installing CCTV. It plays a crucial role in preventing an extensive variety of crimes. However, if it is abused to monitor individuals, they could be infringed on their privacy. It seems to me that CCTV is justifiable because it has done more good than harm. In fact, as technology of CCTV has been developed, it has lowered crime rate significantly. Cases which interfere with personal privacy are unusual. Until now, I haven’t ever seen those who were violated their freedom. Therefore, I think more CCTVs have to be installed in many streets.

  8. ypark0106 permalink
    November 1, 2016 9:06 pm

    In my opinion, forbidding smoking in public areas is one of paternalistical systems. It is surely justifiable because it really makes public places more clean. It is also helpful for protecting citizens’ health. In Korea, in the past, a lot of people smoked on the street whether they stood or they were walking by. I was feelng very unpleasant whenever I was among those people on the streets. I felt uncomfortable that I breathed the smoke in. Now, however, smoking is prohibited most of public places like streets, coffe shops, etc., so i can see more cleaness than before. Therefore, this kind of paternalistical system is justifiable for rest of citizens’ health. Considering this, some paternalistical laws are helpful and effective for the people’s well being.

  9. Eve21 permalink
    November 1, 2016 9:37 pm

    One of the example I could think of as a paternalistic law is forbidding certain act according to age. There are R-rated movies which forbid people under 19 from watching, and smoking, drinking acts are also prohibited. I believe that it is government and grown up’s duty to protect children until they have enough social right and responsibility in their action. People under age 19 will think that their right has been infringed, but they will finally understand if they reach adult age. Negative outcomes which is predicted has to be restricted by law. Therefore, I believe that paternalistic law is inevitable in wealthy nation.

  10. idontknow permalink
    November 1, 2016 10:22 pm

    I think an example of a paternalistic law in Korea is “shut down system”. The system forbids teenagers who is under 16 not to play computer game from 12:00 A.M. to 6:00 A.M. This law makes children not play online game during night time. After enforcing the law, children who play game at night have been decreased. However, i don’t think this system works well. If the game players don’t use own ID, they can play games during night time. And this law has also damaged the game industry.

  11. November 1, 2016 10:43 pm

    No smoking around the bus station is one of the examples of a paternalistic law. It is justifiable because smoking is harmful to human. There is a study that shows second-hand smoking is more dangerous than smoker. Students who take bus everyday are the victim of second-hand smoking. They can’t avoid that because they should waiting bus around the bus station. Not only students, commuters are the victims. In my opinion, no smoking around the bus station law should be stricter than now. A smoke spread all around the station even if smokers smoke at a distance. Now, there are smoking booths. But it’s so uncomfortable to smokers. It is too small and a ventilation facility is terrible. The best way to minimize second-hand smoking is make better smoking booths than now.

  12. Kiko permalink
    November 2, 2016 12:44 am

    In Korea, we have a special law in restaurants. A few years ago, a place-of-origin indication system was implemented. So, restaurants have to say where their ingredients from. When this law was implemented, lots of managers of restaurants were rejecting this law. Because they dealt with imported goods. The reason why they used imported goods that they could make a huge profit by selling imported foods, because imported goods such as beef are much cheaper than Korean beef. For example, Some managers deceived that their foods are from Korea even though they used imported foods. For these reason, our government decided to legislate a law to prevent this illegality. In my opinion, this law is justifiable, because people can not distinguish between imported beef and Korean beef by tasting. In addition, people have no choice but to accept this law, because there is no way to check indication of origin. Let’s assume that we can check the indication of origin by entering restaurants’ kitchen. However, we can not ask to enter the kitchen to check the indication of origin in every time. This is a very tricky thing. So I believe that government should prevent people from this illegality.

    • proftodd permalink*
      November 2, 2016 2:38 pm

      The law is not designed to protect the owner from harming him/herself, so it is not a paternalistic law. Rather it is a law to protect customers from being defrauded by unscrupulous owners.

  13. Gunner permalink
    November 2, 2016 1:31 am

    In Korea, the minimum wage system is an example of a paternalistic law. The minimum wage system is that the government sets the lowest wage which employers must pay employees. If some companies give wages to workers below the minimum wage, they would be punished. In my opinion, this system is really necessary for laborer. If the minimum wage system does not exist, there will be a lot of weak workers who won’t receive reasonable payment of wages. In comparison with other countries, the present standard of the minimum wage in Korea is terribly low. Even though the level of the minimum wage has been increased recently, it is still low level. It is seriously essential that the minimum wage in Korea should be much increased. In addition, corporations should observe the minimum wage system and give proper wages to employees.

  14. Jelly permalink
    November 2, 2016 11:03 am

    The abortion law is one example of paternalistic law. According to the law, woman who intentionally murdered the fetus inside her should be punished. There are many different opinions about the abortion law. So it is causing a debate between supporters and opponents. The main statement of each side is human right. The supporters emphasize the dignity of human. Even though it is a fetus, no one has a tight to take a life away from it. The sanctity of life takes priority over anything. However, the opponents emphasize the mother’s free will. The woman has a right to decide about their life. Today, many women have an unwanted pregnancy. They cannot be responsible of child. It is severe to woman.
    In my opinion, any kind of murder should not be legalized. Abortion is not just a surgery; it is a sheer of murder. If there is an unwanted pregnancy, the person has to take actions before fetus shows up. Paternalistic law exists to suggest the best way of life and it should precisely protect the human dignity.

  15. MOON permalink
    November 2, 2016 12:16 pm

    In my opinion, gaming law is one of paternalistic laws in Korea. It is not allowed for Korean to do gambling in other country or even in Korea. There is only one place that Korean can do gambling, which is Kangwonland in Jungseon, Korea. Most of casinos in Korea are for foreigners. In addition, even though people do gambling in Las Vegas, it is illegal and they might be accused by breaking law. The reason why the government prohibits gambling is for protecting their financial states. I think it is justifiable and people should observe the law because the government legislated it as reasonable reasons to protect citizens.Therefore, if they gamble and then lost their money, it is their faults and responsibilities, so there should not be no complaints for getting penalties from the government.

  16. GOGI permalink
    November 2, 2016 12:23 pm

    Today, most countries are democratic and liberal. But some countries have some rules called ‘paternalistic law’ which limit their citizen`s freedom. I think that prohibiting people from entering some places like a grassplot or river is an example of paternalistic act in Korea. Korea has lots of grassplot to seat on or river to swim in. However, there are always warning signs with the words ‘If you enter, you will be fined.’ near those places. Playing in the lawn or swimming in the river could harm the environment, but there is too much warning signs regulating individual`s action. In my experience, I could not swim in the river when I went to a valley for a vacation last summer. I played with my friends and there were lots of people playing nearby. Suddenly, some people with uniform came to us and said ‘Get out’. We protested, but they did not say a word except “Get out”. To play in the water should we go to waterpark only? Or the seaside? Most people may want to swim in the river or the valley. The legislation on prohibiting people`s entrance to the nature is too oppressive. It takes away people`s pleasure and right of freedom. Therefore, I think this law could not be justifiable in that it restrict people`s right to act. In my father`s generation. People can enjoy free time in the nature freely. However, these days many limitations make people not to enjoy leisure. Government is not parents who always set a rule to protect their children. Too much intervention on their citizen can ignore the individual`s autonomy. Individuals have responsibility of their actions. If citizens hurt during the vacation, it is their fault. The government has no duty to prevent people doing dangerous thing with limiting the individual`s right of action. Proper control could be important, but I think the individual’s freedom of action is much more important than that.

  17. BOO permalink
    November 2, 2016 1:09 pm

    The most commonly mentioned paternalistic law recently is the law which prohibit politicians from being corrupt. Some constantly argue that the law is so coercive that it might take freedom of public figures including politicians, journalist. However, I think the law is justifiable and these people should take responsibility for their actions in this case. Because they are elected as representative person of all nation people, their behaviour should be exemplary during their own term. This law would be helpful to protect them from corruption. Especially in Korea, there are many news about politicians’ allegations of bribery and corruption. That’s why I think the law is justifiable.

  18. Lana permalink
    November 2, 2016 1:55 pm

    In Korea, There is the policy called ‘Shut down’. It is the policy that limits playing game to teenager for preventing online game addiction. I think it is unjustified policy. First, teenager has right to enjoy game. It infringes their freedom. There are a lots of things to make addiction to teenager. But, this policy only limits the online game. This is discrimination. Second, teenager should learn how to control themselves from addiction. They could not learn anything from compulsory policy. It is better to teach them how to manage their schedules and how to prevent addiction of the online game. For these two reasons, I disagree with this policy.

  19. November 2, 2016 2:46 pm

    I think an example of a paternalistic law in Korea is Shutdown. Government has executed Shutdown system to prevent obsessions of the internet games for adolescent. According to this rule, youth under sixteen years old are restricted to use in the internet game from midnight to six a.m. In my opinion, this rule infringes right about freedom of adolescent. All of individuals, including youth, should be guaranteed their rights. Youth have their own rights to control themselves and their time. If youth cannot control themselves, adults should teach a proper way. However, shutdown is compulsory system. In this compulsory system, youth cannot learn how to control oneself in positive way.

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