THE PRESENT PAPER is concerned with egalitarian justice and paternalism. I mount a twofold egalitarian defense on paternalistic and non-paternalistic grounds for the state to require motorcyclists to wear helmets. First, paternalism is justifiable and appropriate in order to maintain equality of opportunity for welfare to the motorcyclist. I challenge the soft paternalist's response to this claim; for if I succeed in showing that the soft paternalist fails to provide equality of opportunity for welfare where hard paternalism does not, I will ipso facto have shown anti-paternalism suffers in the same regard. Second, there exist non-paternalistic grounds for legal enforcement with respect to the harmsundue economic costs and emotional distress placed on third parties if helmet laws are not enacted. Further, I contend that if our egalitarian account seeks to preserve a more equal distribution, this gives rise to an economic cost that may not otherwise be present; for as a matter of justice there exists a duty to not abandon imprudent choosers who motorcycle without a helmet and result in a state of need, even if such an outcome is due to option luck.
How to Cite:
Metz, J., 2017. Rescuing Paternalism: An Egalitarian Defense of Motorcycle Laws. Rerum Causae, 9(2), pp.1–16.