Paternalism is practiced with good intentions, yet the longer paternalism is allowed free reign the more it grows into something more dangerous and autocratic. First it's light bulbs to force people to not waste energy, then it's the cars we drive which might soon cover transportation in general.
Paternalism is not totalitarianism by any stretch of the imagination, but paternalism started in the USSR as something far less than totalitarianism. The danger arises when paternalism is institutionalized and government officials gain the power to direct our choices. The larger the bureaucracy becomes, more and more ideas develope which will be good for the collective, until thinking in collective terms is the only way government officials can think about the public. Individualism and individual rights become hindrances to the collective's best interest, and resistance to control is seen as a threat to the collective. Iconoclastic individuals are enemies of the collective.
Paternalism in America should be stopped before it goes any further, but the changes happen so gradually that the public accepts small implementations until the public is either trained to obey the paternalistic State, or it's too late to easily make changes.