Who's Your Nanny?: Choice, Paternalism and Public Health in the Age of Personal Responsibility

4 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2013

See all articles by Lindsay F. Wiley

Lindsay F. Wiley

American University - Washington, College of Law

Micah L. Berman

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law

Doug Blanke

Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Date Written: January 31, 2013

Abstract

A belief that the government does (and should) have broad authority to protect and improve health, coupled with an understanding that collective action is often necessary to address public health challenges effectively, is central to the public health mindset. But many are questioning whether this vision of a strong government role is applicable to non-communicable disease threats and the social determinants of health. Arguments about public health paternalism are playing a role in political opposition to new law and policy interventions and in legal challenges aimed at striking down existing public health laws. This article explores the forces behind the cultural and political resonance of concerns about public health paternalism, “personal responsibility,” and the “nanny state” and attempts to outline a potential path forward from here.

Keywords: public health law, paternalism, obesity, tobacco control, soda ban

Suggested Citation

Wiley, Lindsay Freeman and Berman, Micah and Blanke, Doug, Who's Your Nanny?: Choice, Paternalism and Public Health in the Age of Personal Responsibility (January 31, 2013). Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, Vol. 88, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2286480

Lindsay Freeman Wiley (Contact Author)

American University - Washington, College of Law ( email )

4300 Nebraska Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.wcl.american.edu/faculty/wiley/

Micah Berman

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law ( email )

55 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

Doug Blanke

Mitchell Hamline School of Law ( email )

875 Summit Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105-3076
United States

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