Chapter

Autonomy, Paternalism, and Commercial Expression

Roger A. Shiner

in Freedom of Commercial Expression

Published in print November 2003 | ISBN: 9780198262619
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682353 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198262619.003.0023
Autonomy, Paternalism, and Commercial Expression

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In Virginia Board, the U.S. Supreme Court complained about the impugned restriction on drug price advertising, referring to regulation of commercial expression as ‘paternalistic’. If it can be shown that paternalistic legislation is always wrong because it diminishes hearers' autonomy, then an autonomy-based hearers' rights argument for freedom of commercial expression would have some solid ground on which to rest. It is therefore materially relevant to the argument of this book to consider whether regulation of commercial expression is in fact ‘paternalistic’, and if so a normative mistake, in a way that would call up such an autonomy-based argument. Paternalistic action functions in a context where the presumed background values are freedom, liberty, and autonomy. The question of whether paternalism can be justified is enormous. This chapter outlines the status quaestionis before turning to the question of whether government regulation of commercial expression is a case of paternalism.

Keywords: government regulation; commercial expression; autonomy; paternalism; freedom; liberty; status quaestionis; advertising

Chapter.  16282 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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