chapter  5
40 Pages

Emancipation and paternalism

WithHans Blokland

Theoreticians who want to introduce change into the coexisting culture or preferential structure, characterized as objectionable or not optimal, then run up against an additional question, which can be identified as the second dimension of the dilemma of emancipation. On the basis of considerations as those of Steven Lukes and W. E. Connolly, the English sociologist Ted Benton, already quoted in the introduction to this book, formulated his ‘paradox of emancipation’. The paradox of emancipation can, according to Benton, only be solved in a gratifying manner when the radicals try to link up with the ‘counter-preferences’, which are developed into a particular structure of preferences during every socialization. The chapter investigates the problem of paternalism, on the basis of the ideas of John Stuart Mill. In order to determine the plausibility of the various concepts, Smith confronts these with the case of the happy or contented slave, a touchstone much used for conceptions of autonomy and paternalism.