Saving Libertarian Paternalism Open Access
Downloadable ContentDownload PDF
Libertarian Paternalism seeks to find a balance between the competing forces of concern for welfare and concern for freedom in determining proper action as a supervising body. Libertarian Paternalists make a good case that there are ways in which a regulator, administrator, or businessperson could support the welfare of individuals while still permitting them to choose what they think is best. However, Libertarian Paternalists seem to go beyond what they claim are their own boundaries often, and suggest policies that would significantly diminish freedom—all while claiming that the individual still has freedom of choice. This paper examines what is meant by freedom of choice both from the perspective of Libertarian Paternalists and from the perspective of a larger community. Finding that the Libertarian Paternalist definition of freedom of choice is so narrow as to be trivial, I then apply a more comprehensive definition of freedom of choice and show how Libertarian Paternalists can still use their program to help individuals choose well, but in a more restricted fashion.