A perfectionist (govt. has legitimate interest in promoting certain views of what the good life is) but supported view similar to Mill’s by putting forward views grounded on 4 principles.

  1. People’s lives are successful & fulfilling to the extent that they’re spent in whole hearted engagement in valuable activities & relations
  2. For most people, autonomy is an important component of living a good life
  3. Moral pluralism (variety of moral goods & variety of ways of living a morally good life, which are in theory or in practice inconsistent)
  4. has a duty to promote the well being of people which entails making sure attractive options are available and meaningless and worthless ones are eliminated.
  • Government has a place in shaping options available to its citizens but the combined importance of autonomy and liberty severely limit circs in which coercive moral paternalism is justified
  • Distinguish this from purely prudential arguments that law should refrain from acting for certain kinds of moral objectives b/c it isn’t well suited to achieving them.
  • Finnis – but by the very nature of things one can’t enforce someone to act morally through threat of legal sanctions. It’s in the nature of moral action that one voluntarily makes the proper choices. To that end, choices coerced through fear of legal sanctions may lead to people conforming outwardly w/choices required by ethical code but will lack crucial inner purpose & intention.
  • Dworkin – even if the threat of crim sanctions coerced someone into giving up an immoral lifestyle, and he came to even appreciate & endorse such change, this person’s life might still not be better – we wouldn’t improve someone’s life if the mechanism we used to secure that change lessened his ability to consider critical merits of change in a reflective way.
  • NB: both of these arguments discuss value of state coercion from perspective of individual coerced but don’t touch upon justification based on social good; i.e. that soc is better in some way b/c it has fewer people who act in an immoral way.