In his paper, Michael Merry poses an interesting and important question: How can we navigate between two often opposing interests—that of protecting the welfare of our society’s children and that of protecting their liberties by avoiding paternalism? While Merry lays out his argument with clarity and insight into the risks and harm that state paternalism incurs, his discussion of such risks and his suggestions for possible resolutions are all bound within a paternalistic framework. Taking on a maternalistic, or more specifically, a caring, perspective may allow us to understand the issue more fully—that is, as part of the larger problem of oppression, and to offer alternative solutions that enable a society to care for the health and well-being of its children while avoiding the harms that paternalism imposes.

Response to Article

Michael S. Merry, Paternalism, Obesity, and Tolerable Levels of Risk