Front Page Titles (by Subject) Paternalism - Literature of Liberty, April/June 1978, vol. 1, No. 2
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Paternalism - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, April/June 1978, vol. 1, No. 2 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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“Welfare vs. Liberty: Prisoners of Benevolence.” The Nation 226 (April 1, 1978): 370–372.
Do government service and charitable agencies assault individual autonomy and self-determination?
Millions of Americans are dependent on government social services and “institutions of caring” such as public schools, mental hospitals, public housing, welfare agencies for the poor, and nursing homes for the old. These citizens are vulnerable to the state's arbitrary authority, which, behind the mask of benevolence, infantilizes them and ignores their legal rights and personal dignity.
For example, patients of government nursing homes are often treated as children. They are denied the control of their money, their freedom to come and go, and their right to have visitors or privacy as they would determine. Exercising a stultifying parental role, officials care more for administrative convenience than for the self-esteem of the patient.
Although legally competent, subjects of service institutions lose many of their Bill of Right guarantees because of such benevolent paternalism. Various authoritarian restrictions tend to eclipse their individuality and independence. Control over an individual's life includes humiliating deference to authority, denial of sex, and penalties for self-expression.
The same self-denying controls practiced in nursing homes and mental hospitals also demean the clients of public schools, public housing, and public welfare. Officials tend to assume the legal power of surrogate parents and dictate what is in the best interest of their clients. Often eligibility standards for social care depend on bureaucratic discretion and judgment of clients' morality.
We need to be more skeptical of government charity and service professionals who determine the lives of clients, many of whom are entrapped against their will in caring institutions. “Power is the natural antagonist of liberty, even if those who exercise power are filled with good intentions.”