A while back The New York Times Magazine ran what amounts to a puff piece about Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein, President Obama's long-time friend, former colleague and one of America's regulation czars. It was penned by Benjamin Wallace-Wells, who is identified as "a contributing writer for the magazine and a contributing editor for Rolling Stone" magazine.
The essay was a decent enough account of Sunstein's career and personal life but it focused only upon one of his significant and controversial ideas, namely "nudging" or "libertarian paternalism." This is the belief in a system of government regulations that amount to creating incentives for people to do the right thing (as per how the government or Professor Sunstein see it, of course). Instead of coming down on what government considers objectionable or undesired human conduct with a sledgehammer, nudging works by setting up various tricks with which people are led to act in the way the government people intend for them to act.
Call it behavior modification or libertarian paternalism, the gist of Sunstein's type of government meddling in people's lives is to use a not very subtle program of Skinnerian stimulus-response (after the late Harvard behaviorist psychologist, B. F. Skinner), whereby what government officials want the citizens to do isn't commanded but made the result of various prompters. Although Sunstein and his collaborators prefer the term "nudging," it is a misleading idea since if it involved no more than that, one could just sidestep it.