Paternalism is often puzzling, and over the years I’ve pondered many possible explanations of it. So I find it especially interesting that a certain common example of paternalism fits awkwardly with most of the usual explanations. This interesting example: rules about who are eligible candidates in an election. It is common, for example, to require that candidates be locally-resident citizens above a certain age and without felony convictions.
"Human foragers had strong social norms against explicit dominance, bragging, or sub-coalitions, at least between families. Leaders could not give orders or act superior, and were expected to focus on the good of the group."
Do you have actual evidence of this? It sounds not only like you made it up, but that it is exteremely unlikely to be true. Foraging communities still likely had elders, shaman, chiefs, etc, and it seems likely these people had some perks for their leadership, and must have given orders. Indeed, any kind of large-game hunting requires someone to give orders, and is likely to lead to unequal status-based distribution of goods. Unless we have knowledge of pre-history that contradicts this...
In colonial United States, England usually appointed english-born people to rule. ... The whole “need to be born in the US to run for president” thing was not an afterthought.
Right, except that the framersexempted anyone born before the adoption of the Constitution, thus allowing foreign-born Englishmen currently alive.
No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution
Nice related article: Frank Furedi, "Specialist pleading."
Commentators interpret the declining influence of traditional authority and institutions as proof that people have become less deferential and possess more critical attitudes than in the past. However, it is less frequently noted that deference to traditional authority has given way to the reverence of expertise. ...
Thank you very kindly for the link! Not only did you send me a fair bit of traffic, but I think you also gave me my first comment troll. What fun!
(Could you pass on a citation for the empirics you mentioned, comparing the children of 18yo mothers to 35+yo mothers? I don't particularly doubt you, but it's the sort of thing that's counterintuitive enough to demand a reference.)
This explanation of licensing makes it clear that it is nothing more than a form of rent-seeking parasitism.
This seems to beg the question: If X% of elites actually act altruistically according to some code, could society's belief in this code be worth the costs of deception?
Fair enough. I'll just read you as habitually overstating your point.
If we wanted to protect teens from harming themselves with alcohol, we'd allow them to drink under the supervision of their parents or other adults. Currently they go off and do it on their own.
Yes, that ban can plausibly be seen as dissing faculty who have sex with students, relative to other faculty, and dissing students who have sex with faculty, relative to other students. In our culture a majority would give lip service to the idea that such people should have lowered status.
The Yale faculty-undergrad sex ban as another example? It supposedly was put in place to protect the students.
Foreign countries would throw first money, connections, and then armies, behind their favourite candidates - the kind of resources domestic candidates didn't have.
Then very often this forced the country into some alliances that weren't in its long term interests.
Elections were much uglier then than they are now. And consequences of a single bad elections much more severe. There seem to be a consensus among historians that electing foreigners was on net a bad thing.
tom, I am arguing we prohibit felon candidates in order to dis them.
Philo, I was not claiming 100%. For most any claim I make 100% is a poor default for interpreting it.
The rule would not have stopped him, since the rule reads:
"No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President..."
So as long as a foreign born person was a citizen when the constitution was adopted, they could be President.
Robin refers to "a longer tradition of professions as way for elites to make money while pretending to be driven by a code of chivalry, and so distinguish themselves from mere merchants." I would replace the 100% cynicism of his statement by some lesser percentage (95%? 90%?). Elites' commitment to codes of chivalry is, I suspect, largely a combination of self-deception and outright bad faith, but not entirely: some non-zero fraction (5%? 10%) of their motivation is, indeed, supplied by the code, contrary to self-interest.
Why aren't prohibition on electing felons best viewed as an additional punishment of the felons, rather than a limitation on voters?
It's similar to felons not being allowed to vote. You may want felons to be able to vote, but the main goal of the prohibitions on voting may not have been to keep the elite above the rabble; it may have been 'voting is a privilege'. It is not a huge leap to say you cannot run for a position that you cannot vote for.
And do you have evidence that MADD and other anti-drunk driving groups are motivated mainly by age-group discrimination? Do you have evidence that drinking by 18-20yr-olds was not reduced by the change to 21yr-minimums? I support 18yr-old drinking, but it's important to be right about what motivated it in the first place.
You are mixing strong cases of badly-motivated paternalism (like much occupational licensing) with others that are not nearly so obvious (worries about teen pregancy versus old-lady pregnancy, prohibitions on electing convicted criminals).
The Struggle of the Orders wasn't about status. It was about genuine changes to the electoral system, which was still closely aligned with how the Roman monarchy had been (the monarch was simply replaced with two consuls).