The believers in the laissez-faire principle in economics hold that the government exceeds its rightful functions when it makes laws for the protection of the individual against himself. The modern tendencies in some quarters toward paternalism in government have caused a reaction which expresses itself in the "let alone" principle of the French physiocrats. Abuses should be remedied, such economists hold, by a campaign of education through which the wrong will automatically right itself.
A correspondent recently raised the question1 whether the campaign against the nostrum evil had not, from an educative standpoint, reached its limits. We are optimistic enough to believe that it has only just begun. But possibly, as our correspondent says, the time has arrived when the fool must be saved from his folly by laws conservatively made and stringently enforced. Such laws, however, must have their origin in the work of an enlightened public opinion
PROTECTING THE FOOL FROM HIS FOLLY.. JAMA. 1907;XLVIII(22):1868-1869. doi:10.1001/jama.1907.02520480046008