New paternalism came from behavioral economics, which studies how humans deviate from their rational interest, and devises ways to intervene and help them make better choices — such as a hefty cigarette tax to curb smoking. Glen Whitman writes that while people are certainly susceptible to cognitive biases that will cause them to make the wrong decisions, policymakers are also susceptible to such biases, and as a result “new paternalist policies, and indeed the intellectual framework of new paternalism itself, create a serious risk of slippery slopes toward ever more intrusive paternalism.”
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