Despotic Paternalism is a Dark Age Policy Card from the Dramatic Ages Game Mode in Civilization VI. It is available from the Industrial Era to the Information Era (Atomic Era in Gathering Storm) and uses a Wildcard slot.
Despotic Paternalism can have wildly different effects on your empire depending on your number of cities. The desirable use case for this card is with a small, condensed empire of nine cities or less, with each of them having its own Governor. Then, its drawback will have no effect and instead bring you a miniscule upside.
But, Civilization VI heavily rewards you for building a wide empire with dozens of cities, meaning that playing optimally makes this card's desired use case impossible. In normal games, your empire will have more cities than Governors, meaning that a large number of your cities will receive harsh penalties to their Science and Culture. If you are playing the game well, then this card is going to do far more harm than good.
And even under optimal circumstances, this card falls flat. Tall empires are often consolidated around their Capital, meaning that Loyalty issues are rare. Any negative Loyalty pressure a tall empire may be experiencing can also be quelled through numerous other means that don't involve sacrificing a powerful Wildcard slot: Monuments, the Audience Chamber, and Governors themselves, which already provide a substantial +8 Loyalty to their assigned city. Even the laughably bad Praetorium policy card still provides half the minuscule benefit of this card without a crippling drawback or taking up a Wildcard slot. The only other time this card could see consideration would be for a warmonger suffering a Dark Age and struggling to prevent their conquered cities from rebelling. But even then, this card severely slices the yields of the rest of their empire, which is a drawback that far exceeds whatever yields those one or two satellite cities could have ever brought you.
Thak Chaloemtirana describes Cold War-era Southeast Asia as the home of a particular kind of “despotic paternalism,” where power is invested in locally important strongmen, while independent thought and action is curtailed. One thinks of individuals like Suharto in Indonesia, or Sarit in Thailand. Such a system stifles free inquiry but the harsh action of such despotic paternalists brought dissenting voices under control.