Nature: To act paternalistically is to guide and even coerce people in order to protect them and serve their best interests. Paternalistic lies are told for social benefit and for the supposed benefit of the deceived persons themselves, in the name of altruism. In addition to guidance and persuasion, the paternalist can also manipulate by force and by deception. Once having assumed a paternalistic stance, it is easy to condone one's lies under the argument of their necessity for the good of children (or childlike adults) whose lack of independent action does not warrant total truth; children are the most often deceived with the few qualms.
Claim: Deceiving the people for the sake of the people is a self-contradictory notion in a democracy, unless it can be shown that there has been genuine decline to deceit.
Counter Claim: Lies to protect close human bonds carry a special sense of immediacy and appropriateness. To keep children from knowing that their parents' marriage is dissolving, to keep up a false pretence of good health, to assure that good fortune will return again, are all paternalistic lies which are told to comfort, protect and support the deceived.
Problem Type: F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update 01.01.2000 – 00:00 CET