Sunday, March 8, 2015

Paternalism and Morality

Bemused at the debate around the interview of Delhi gang rape convict. Worryingly large number of apparently sensible people are expressing the view that broadcast of the interview should be banned to protect the public from such views. This is a paternalistic argument and it is wrong.
The views expressed in the interview may be wrong and disturbing, but so far as they are true in the sense of being held by an actual person, it is in society's larger interest to be aware of existence of such views.
Even more importantly, there's an ethical angle to this whole debate -- assuming that morality involves *autonomous* choices between right and wrong, it is precisely in the presence of opposing views that a person's or a society's choices and affirmations become autonomous and acquire moral worth. Paternalism takes away this autonomy and thus erodes the capacity for moral judgement -- both for the individual and the society. It makes a society or a person morally under-confident.
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