Paternalism in law-making

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Re: Paternalism in law-making

Postby Serpent on February 26th, 2021, 1:57 am 

charon » February 25th, 2021, 11:28 pm wrote:Because it wasn't immediately seen by everybody as a joke, was it?

No. People do and say incredibly stupid things.
It just might have been real, which was why somebody bothered to post it at all and why we're talking about it.

I don't follow that chain of causation. Somebody perpetrated a rather nasty hoax, yes. It wasn't intended to promote inter-cultural tolerance and understanding. You picked it up and ran with it and spewed a lot of toxic waste in here - which I have to wonder how inathentic it was, just as I have to wonder about the motivation of the "joker" who printed and posted that sign.
It may be just another crude, rude, unfunny comedian's rant against too much 'political correctness' or multiculturism or sensitivity and courtesy in general.
It doesn't have much to do with governments' attempt to protect citizens from their own bad judgment.

Why? You know why, and so do I.

I do not know why you chose to take this course of action, no.

We just don't want to think the unthinkable.

If something is unthinkable, we can't talk about it; all the things people call 'unthinkable' are things they have been thinking about. In this case, I don't know which of many thinkable things you're classifying as unthinkable.
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Re: Paternalism in law-making

Postby doogles on February 26th, 2021, 3:37 am 

Mea Culpa. I usually check most of my statements, but I was a bit slack with that one.

My blameworthy paragraph stated "One recent noticeboard on a Melbourne beach even requested that beach-goers refrain from cooking pork products on local beach barbecues out of respect for Muslim minorities. This may be a fair enough consideration in its own right, but where do such adjustments stop?" I took it as a request and not a law, believing that it could be a justifiable consideration to bring meats other than pork to places that may experience a high level of Muslim attendance. But on further reflection, such consideration would extend to non-halol meats as well.

I retract that sloppy statement totally and apologise sincerely to anybody who entrusted me to provide factual statements. I'll have to sharpen-up.

It's amazing how one detectable slip-up can become the major issue in a thread.

In any case, I apologise for my slip-up.

Having done so, I'd like to get back to the main thrust of this thread.
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Re: Paternalism in law-making

Postby doogles on February 26th, 2021, 3:52 am 

The link that Charon provided was quite constructive (https://www.cnbc.com/2012/05/31/America ... -Laws.html) -- It embraced the following

1. Proposal to ban sale of sugary drinks over 16 fluid ounces
2. Fining jaywalkers who are texting
3. Anyone on or in a river wears a lifejacket
4. The 'saggy pants' law prevents exposure of underclothes or 'cracks'
5. Vehicles depositing mud, dirt, sticky substances, litter or other materials on streets
6. Permission for camp counsellors to put sunscreen on children
7. Outdoor smoking ban
8. Specifications on 'toys' for children at McDonalds
9. Storage of trash in or around any property or car, that may attract rats
10. Failing to properly sort trash into the required bins
11. Online gambling
12. Ban on restaurants using transfats for cooking
13. To reduce back problems in hotel employees -- ban on flat sheets on beds; provision of long-handled equipment for bathroom cleaning.
14. Cursing within earshot of other people
15. Screeching of car tyres
........................................................
Some of the above were limited to specific towns or cities, some to States and maybe one was National. The question to ask is whether any of them were paternalistic. The anonymous authors of the document included them all under the heading of 'Nanny Laws'.

1. The first one of course was only a proposal. 2. Jaywalking usually attracts penalties in its own right. 4, 5, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, could all be regarded as preventing inconvenience or unsightliness or health problems to other people. 6 sensibly provides an exception to the non-touching of children by non-family. I'm not sure what 8 is about. 7 could be regarded as paternalistic in that smoking is a health risk to the user, but once again these health problems become a burden on society at large because of the quantity; the 'outdoor' aspect does reduce the chances of 'passive smoking', but maybe a ban on outdoor smoking could be regarded as just another step in the process of reducing an overall problem.

3. Wearing a life jacket while swimming sounds ridiculous, but wearing lifejackets while boating may be paternalistic. 11 may also be paternalistic; maybe I'm missing some element associated with the 'online' aspect of gambling.

Paternalistic laws may not be too bad in their own right by the way. I'm fairly sure that I would not be regularly wearing a seat belt in my car if a law did not exist to do so. But in view of the evidence collected since it became compulsory, I can rationalise now that it is generally in the best interests of all of us. I see it the same way also in the case of life-jackets for people in boats, although any injury as a result of a choice not to do so, can only affect that person who chooses not to do so. So in one sense, forcing a person to do so against their will can be regarded as paternalistic. But is that a bad thing?

One of our weaknesses as humans is that we have a tendency to think that we are bulletproof and that accidents and incidents only affect others.

So far, I have not seen any undesirable examples of paternalistic laws, but I'm still open to examples such as those listed in the article provided by Charon.

Are there any really bad paternalistic laws?
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Re: Paternalism in law-making

Postby Serpent on February 26th, 2021, 4:03 am 

doogles » February 26th, 2021, 2:37 am wrote:I retract that sloppy statement totally and apologise sincerely to anybody who entrusted me to provide factual statements.

For what it's worth, I didn't blame you. I understood that it was meant as an example of "suggestions" rather than laws, and it wasn't altogether unbelievable in that category.
Everybody's at sixes and sevens in regard to what's okay and not okay anymore. That's sort of good, really: it means we're trying to come to grips with relationships between cultures, with strange other people's feelings, with globalism - with a whole lot of stuff we have never discussed or even contemplated openly. Was bound to happen sometime, right?
And, hell, yeah, we'll get it wrong sometimes, go overboard, overcompensate, go bananas, go ballistic....
But we're at least talking about the untalkable.

Having done so, I'd like to get back to the main thrust of this thread.

Works for me!
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Re: Paternalism in law-making

Postby Serpent on February 26th, 2021, 4:51 am 

Applause, applause!
I have not tackled that list myself.
I'm taking this as a challenge -- because it's late, I've had an extra beer, Dr. Blake is happy at last and all's right with the world.

1. Proposal to ban sale of sugary drinks over 16 fluid ounces

Commercial, rather than personal, but i don't see the point, since people can get all the sugar-water they want from the grocery store.
2. Fining jaywalkers who are texting

Fining jaywalkers is nothing new. Sur-fine on texting? Problematic.
3. Anyone on or in a river wears a lifejacket

On, OK; in, not unless you've fallen out of a boat.
4. The 'saggy pants' law prevents exposure of underclothes or 'cracks'

Silly.
5. Vehicles depositing mud, dirt, sticky substances, litter or other materials on streets

Not an issue in my city, but can see the rationale in some places.
6. Permission for camp counsellors to put sunscreen on children

I wouldn't let my kid go to camp until it was old enough to put on its own sunscreen. Assuming the perceived problem is not of counsellors inappropriately laying on hands, the applications of sunscreen seems a reasonable enough precaution in camps. (If they want to avoid sunburn-related lawsuits.)
7. Outdoor smoking ban

Depends. Outdoors of what? The entrance to a restaurant, a public show-garden, a cricket ground? A pine forest in July?
8. Specifications on 'toys' for children at McDonalds

This is something I actually wonder about. You know those toys are plasticrap, right? Some have tiny parts or breakoffable components that could choke a toddler. Some have sharp and jagged bits that can lodge in your carpet for weeks, waiting for the moment an elderly person is padding to the bathroom at night. All of them will be landfill within a week and probably end up in the ocean, destined to be microplastic in your child's tuna sandwich ....
Those things should just be banned!!
9. Storage of trash in or around any property or car, that may attract rats

Entirely geo-specific. Some places it might be possums, or raccoons, or alligators. The local authorities know exactly what the threat is: trust them.
10. Failing to properly sort trash into the required bins

Sounds like a township that really does recycle, instead of dumping it all in the landfill when you're not looking. I laud their effort.
11. Online gambling

Now this, this is a real thing. Pretty much all governments are in the casino business now. That's not a good idea. Gambling is addictive, destructive and a reliable source of societal road-kill. Making more available, and conspicuously more available to the immature, is a very, vert bad idea.
By any and all means, shut it down!!
12. Ban on restaurants using transfats for cooking

Commercial, not personal. Comes under FDA, CFIA, FSANZ, or whatever the food-supply guardian agency is in any country.
13. To reduce back problems in hotel employees -- ban on flat sheets on beds; provision of long-handled equipment for bathroom cleaning.

Comes under work-place safety, like steel-toed boots and hard hats.
14. Cursing within earshot of other people

Can't see that as an ordinance; just defining "a curse" in court would take all day. Okay as a rule of etiquette.
15. Screeching of car tyres

Not clear on the methods of enforcement.

Are there any really bad paternalistic laws?

Excellent question!
I'm not sure "bad" is the reason people object. Restrictive is nearer the mark.
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Re: Paternalism in law-making

Postby TheVat on February 26th, 2021, 10:58 am 

doogles wrote:
Are there any really bad paternalistic laws?


Hi, Doug. Much food for rumination.

Previous page, I wondered if bullying laws were necessary. The paragraph from that post:


I think the question of what laws are paternalistic is more about what laws unnecessarily impose state control over interpersonal relations where neither party is doing overt thefts or harms that require intervention from external authorities. Would verbal bullying be an example of this? When I was young, for example, it was widely assumed that people could learn to handle verbal attacks on their own, that this was simply part of becoming an adult. Laws were few, and mostly about public slander/defamation. Many of us came to understand that verbal bullies tended to say more about themselves than they actually said about you. You ignored, fired back, or perhaps did a bit of Oscar Wildean verbal judo. Courts were not involved.


I'm unsure on this, but I lean towards the argument some psychologists (and some seasoned parents) make, which is that child developmental stages should include learning to solve some social problems with rising to a challenge, improvisation, and even making some mistakes and getting your shoes scuffed up. However, some new forms of bullying, in the category of cyberbullying, which seems to have resulted in self-harm by vulnerable teens, do deserve our attention. The question is does this call for changes in parenting practices, changes in how online venues are moderated perhaps, rather than actual laws directed at individual bad behavior?



(BTW, I didn't hold you culpable for that beach sign reference. The fact that many people took the sign to be genuine was pertinent to our chat. )
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Re: Paternalism in law-making

Postby Serpent on February 26th, 2021, 11:14 am 

I'm not sure bullying among children can be effectively addressed by adults.
Of course, there ought to be some discipline, some rules of acceptable behaviour in schools, sports, parks and homes - but children are not afraid of adults anymore. They are deathly afraid of one another. It's one big Fiefdom of the Flies out there!
But children's behaviour is only a reflection of the adult world.
They do as we do, not as we say.
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Re: Paternalism in law-making

Postby charon on February 26th, 2021, 1:05 pm 

toxic waste


You seem to forget the time when the Muslims were in the news every five minutes here in the UK. It even got to the stage where they were thinking of renaming Christmas as 'Winterval' or some other stupid thing because the 'Christ' word 'might offend Muslims'. What was particularly telling was that the Muslims themselves just laughed and thought it absurd.

The Brit authorities were scared to death of them and what they were doing was really appeasement disguised as tolerance and integration. But in many cities there was no attempt at integration at all, they simply formed ghettos and lived in cultural isolation, and still do.

Then there were all the political attacks, the murders, the radicalisation of the young, the imprisonment (eventually) of hate preachers - many of whom lived off State benefits - and all the rest of it. Then we have so-called honour-killings, and the whole ghastly story goes on.

I know many Muslims simply lived here and kept their noses clean, worked, ran businesses, paid their taxes, and fitted in as best they could. But they were always separate, no matter what they say. And I guarantee that if it came to the point where it was them or us, they would not side with this country, the country that gave them shelter. They'd be excommunicated by their own people, if not killed.

It's eased off more these days. One still hears about all this but it's calmed down a lot. But I still think, in fact I know, that particular religion is dangerous and open to extreme interpretations. It's no use a few bleating about how beautifully peaceful a religion it is in the face of a mountain of evidence to the contrary.

I repeat I'm not anti-Muslim but I'm not stupid either. All the dangerous countries in the world - Syria, Iran, Iraq, Saudi, etc etc - are all Islamic with their repressive and brutal regimes, especially where women are concerned. Al-Qaeda, Taliban, the other groups, all Muslim.

So when I see a notice saying 'Don't offend Muslims on the beach' it doesn't surprise me at all. Yes, it was a prank, but that prank was based on reality.

We got away from paternalistic laws because of the connection between those sorts of laws and societal actions designed to promote so-called multiculturalism. I don't believe in multiculturalism if it means some sort of integration of incompatible values. There's no such thing.

I'm not xenophobic, I'm practical. When the French, or the Polish, or the Finnish, or the Venezuelans, or anyone else behaves like this this then I'll be equally 'xenophobic' to them as well!
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Re: Paternalism in law-making

Postby Serpent on February 26th, 2021, 1:54 pm 

I'm not a fan of Islam, either. Nor any other religion, for that matter. But that doesn't induce me to lump all Muslims, or all Christians, or all Jews, or all Buddhists, in with the most radicalized segment of populations whose majority identifies with that religion.
As to isolated ghettos, all new immigrants tend to live in a part of the inner city where they have familiar people to associate with, access to familiar foods, common language, customs and social support. Part of the reason for this is economic: those neighbourhoods are usually crowded and underserviced: accommodation is relatively cheap. Also, many immigrants are sponsored by family members, who offer them room and work. The churches, professional services and businesses that cater to those minorities are situated in those neighbourhoods. Older people who have difficulty learning a new language need a doctor, grocer and pastor who understand them - and one another's companionship.
The next generation becomes naturalized and moves out to where their careers and income take them, and are replaced with the next wave of migrants in the old neighbourhood.
If the British government overcompensated in its hospitality toward Middle eastern immigrants - well, they had a lot to compensate for, given that the current state of unrest in that region is directly traceable to the damage their Empire - and their trans-Atlantic ally - had wrought there.

As to Christian holidays and observances, it's just part of a church-state symbiosis which also results in some very bad laws that one doesn't notice until one is personally hampered or hurt by them. That Euro-centric tradition could do with some re-examination.

PS - It's funny how readily one overlooks the customs of British expatriates in foreign countries when complaining about foreigners in Britain!
Last edited by Serpent on February 26th, 2021, 3:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Paternalism in law-making

Postby TheVat on February 26th, 2021, 2:11 pm 

I repeat I'm not anti-Muslim but I'm not stupid either. All the dangerous countries in the world - Syria, Iran, Iraq, Saudi, etc etc - are all Islamic...


Charon, I was interested to learn that North Korea, Honduras, El Salvador, Colombia. Congo, and Russia are Islamic!
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Re: Paternalism in law-making

Postby charon on February 26th, 2021, 2:22 pm 

It's a very good point. There are many, many countries with a strong Muslim population but we don't get any trouble from them. That's why I'm not anti-Muslim per se.

Here's an exhaustive list. It's big :-)

https://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/ ... ntries.htm

But it seems to me that in those cases the Islamic culture is settled, ingrained, and therefore an accepted norm. Apparently it's when they come from their own countries to places like the UK that the trouble starts.

Maybe it's the climate. Or that the cultural differences are too exaggerated and they can't adjust, I don't know. But it's not good.
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Re: Paternalism in law-making

Postby charon on February 26th, 2021, 2:34 pm 

Serpent » February 26th, 2021, 6:54 pm wrote:I'm not a fan of Islam, either. Nor any other religion, for that matter. But that doesn't induce me to lump all Muslims, or all Christians, or all Jews, or all Buddhists, in with the most radicalized segment of populations whose majority identifies with that religion.
As to isolated ghettos, all new immigrants tend to live in a part of the inner city where they have familiar people to associate with, access to familiar foods, common language, customs and social support. Part of the reason for this is economic: those neighbourhoods are usually crowded and underserviced: accommodation is relatively cheap. Also, many immigrants are sponsored by family members, who offer them room and work. The churches, professional services and businesses that cater to those minorities are situated in those neighbourhoods. Older people who have difficulty learning a new language need a doctor, grocer and pastor who understand them - and one another's companionship.
The next generation becomes naturalized and moves out to where their careers and income take them, and are replaced with the next wave of migrants in the old neighbourhood.
If the British government overcompensated in its hospitality toward Middle eastern immigrants - well, they had a lot to compensate for, given that the current state of unrest in that region is directly traceable to the damage their Empire - and their trans-Atlantic ally - had wrought there.

As to Christian holidays and observances, it's just part of a church-state symbiosis which also results in some very bad laws that one doesn't notice until one is personally hampered or hurt by them. That Euro-centric tradition could do with some re-examination.


I don't care why. Trouble is trouble. There's a miserable story about every person in jail, neglect, abuse, poverty, disadvantage, mental imbalance, all the rest of it - but they're still in jail because they're a danger to others.

Explaining the why and the wherefore of it does not remove that danger.
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Re: Paternalism in law-making

Postby Serpent on February 26th, 2021, 4:37 pm 

charon » February 26th, 2021, 1:22 pm wrote:But it seems to me that in those cases the Islamic culture is settled, ingrained, and therefore an accepted norm. Apparently it's when they come from their own countries to places like the UK that the trouble starts.

Maybe it's the climate. Or that the cultural differences are too exaggerated and they can't adjust, I don't know. But it's not good.

Or maybe the people who are forced to flee their own countries, towns, farms, bombed-out houses and dead relatives are an unsettled group of people who are not suddenly settled and happy when finding themselves destitute, humbled and at the mercy of a hostile foreign population.? maybe.

I don't care why. Trouble is trouble.

And it's invariably their fault.

Explaining the why and the wherefore of it does not remove that danger.

Well, there's always pre-emptive 'relocation', as we did with the Japanese immigrants during WWII.
Or putting their children in cages....
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Re: Paternalism in law-making

Postby charon on February 26th, 2021, 5:09 pm 

You're reacting emotionally.

And it's invariably their fault.


Whose fault it is is beside the point. It may or not be their fault but, when a danger presents itself, fault and blame come a very definitive second to stopping the danger.

I feel dreadfully sorry for Hitler. His four brothers and sister died young. His father beat him. He changed from being happy and outgoing to being sullen and morose.

He wanted to paint but was rejected by the Academy. His mother died when he was 18. He was rejected by the army on medical grounds. He became a dosser.

And so on. So let him become a power-hungry genocidal maniac because he had such an awful start in life, poor dear. That's the spirit!
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Re: Paternalism in law-making

Postby Serpent on February 26th, 2021, 7:04 pm 

charon » February 26th, 2021, 4:09 pm wrote:You're reacting emotionally.

Seeking cause-effect relationships is not always a sign of emotionalism.
Sometimes it's the beginning of a solution.

Whose fault it is is beside the point. It may or not be their fault but, when a danger presents itself, fault and blame come a very definitive second to stopping the danger.

I disagree. When a danger is misattributed, incorrectly assessed and responded-to inappropriately, the danger isn't stopped, but exacerbated.

Hitler.

**groan**
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Re: Paternalism in law-making

Postby charon on February 26th, 2021, 9:14 pm 

Seeking cause-effect relationships is not always a sign of emotionalism.
Sometimes it's the beginning of a solution.


What solution? There's no solution to a fait accompli. You could analyse the past of every criminal but it wouldn't undo their crimes or their effect on others. And if you're talking about science fiction where the crime is seen before it's committed that's non-reality. The only thing left is a radical change in society where there would be no crime because everyone is good.

Whose fault it is is beside the point. It may or not be their fault but, when a danger presents itself, fault and blame come a very definitive second to stopping the danger.


I disagree. When a danger is misattributed, incorrectly assessed and responded-to inappropriately, the danger isn't stopped, but exacerbated.


Possibly, but you're not saying anything.

Hitler.

**groan**


Oh, no. Hitler was a madman, no question, but knowing that now won't bring all those people back or undo the suffering. In fact, they did know it at the time, hence the assassination attempts, and still it happened.

You're not really answering my points, you know.
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Re: Paternalism in law-making

Postby Serpent on February 26th, 2021, 11:03 pm 


We won't know until we look for one and find it.
You could analyse the past of every criminal but it wouldn't undo their crimes or their effect on others.

Which crime? being Muslim, or being Muslim in the UK?
Possibly, but you're not saying anything.

Not to you, evidently.

Oh, no. Hitler

**GROAN!!!***

You're not really answering my points, you know.

Make one and I'll answer it. On topic would be nice, if unexpected.
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Re: Paternalism in law-making

Postby charon on February 26th, 2021, 11:55 pm 

Waste of space.
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Re: Paternalism in law-making

Postby doogles on February 27th, 2021, 5:54 am 

Getting back on topic:-

Serpent, good onya for having a 'go' at that list. The one I had trouble with was number 8 (specifications for toys at Maccas). The original in Charon's web link stated "Since 1979, children have delighted in the McDonald’s Happy Meal, a repast marketed specifically at them in which the hamburger and French Fries are accompanied by a toy. But in 2011, the meals got markedly less happy when the San Francisco Board of Supervisors banning the inclusion of toys from the meals unless they met stringent nutritional standards — they had to have less than 600 calories, they had to contain fruits and vegetables, and the beverages could not have “excessive fat or sugar.” Obviously, these weren't 'toys' in the sense that we know them, because they were consumable.

TheVat asked in an earlier post "Would verbal bullying be an example of this? When I was young, for example, it was widely assumed that people could learn to handle verbal attacks on their own, that this was simply part of becoming an adult. Laws were few, and mostly about public slander/defamation. Many of us came to understand that verbal bullies tended to say more about themselves than they actually said about you. You ignored, fired back, or perhaps did a bit of Oscar Wildean verbal judo. Courts were not involved."

This site suggests there are laws in Australia against bullying -- Bullying and harassment – Employee entitlements – Fair Work Ombudsman. It operates on the principle that "Everyone has the right not to be bullied or harassed at work." Apparently it comes under the Fair Work Act 2009, an Act that's so lengthy that it would take a week to find appropriate sections on bullying.

I know that there are people who have excellent verbal defensive skills. You would never pick on a type of woman known as a 'fishwife'. We had a few in the high density lower socio-economic area in which I was raised. They were highly skilled at using vernacular English to put you in your place in a high volume level of speech that everyone within a few hundred metres could hear. They never experienced bullying. But there are others who appear to have a sign on their foreheads saying "I'm an easy target for a bully." In one way, we could say that laws against bullying are paternalistic, because they are supposed to protect those who can't protect themselves, but in another way, they are a theoretical inhibitor of a cause of anxiety and depression.

My own opinion, based on experience, is that no amount of law-making or protocols will ever stop bullying. I'm not talking about physical bullying. That's too obvious. Unfortunately we human beings, like most other species, have an innate sense of pecking orders, as well as an innate talent for deceit. They both operate at the primitive level of our psyches. I believe that schoolyard bullying will always exist and that the best we can do is to control it to some extent.

The workplace has its own problems. During my 11 years in one Department at a University, I saw a number of conscientious employees resign because of frequent emotional upsets. The frustrating part about that type of bullying was the very subtlety of the process. The bullies themselves usually acted as if they were the injured parties. Harassment was expressed mostly in the nature of insignificant minor adverse comments over a long period and there was absolutely nothing that you could make a case from. Usually the bullying was against new staff who demonstrated better skills at the work than the old brigade. In my opinion, it all happened at a subconscious level. I don't believe that any of the bullies were aware that their behaviour was such that they were constantly 'putting down' new staff, who seemed to be perceived as a threat to their own work integrity.

Even though subtle bullying may be common, some cases must be obvious enough to result in successful legal action eg see Bullying Claim Results in Significant Damages – Workdynamic Australia and Bullying & Harassment Legal Examples (employeeassistance.com.au). In cases such as these, the wear and tear on the plaintiff must be considerable, especially when their main claims for damages are based on the infliction of anxiety and depression.

Those are just some of my thoughts on the matter of bullying. Workplace laws against it may or may not be regarded as paternalistic, depending on how you look at them.

We may be still looking for an example of a bad paternalistic law.
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Re: Paternalism in law-making

Postby Serpent on February 27th, 2021, 12:03 pm 

doogles » February 27th, 2021, 4:54 am wrote:Getting back on topic:-
But in 2011, the meals got markedly less happy when the San Francisco Board of Supervisors banning the inclusion of toys from the meals unless they met stringent nutritional standards

Now, that's an odd caveat! Toys must already meet some minimum safety standard. However, I see nothing wrong with governments mandating healthy food for children. Of course, MacD made out like bandits, slicing up half an apple and marking it up 1000%; no losers, them.
This kind of regulation shouldn't fall to municipal government; there should be a federal standard for what restaurants and packaged food manufacturers throw at the unsuspecting juvenile public - by the same principle that they're not allowed to aim tobacco and alcohol advertising at children.
The umbrella of child-protection, as well as food safety - both of which the citizenry has long taken for granted - can reasonably be extended, without compromising the liberty of adults who are presumed to possess mature judgment (after all, they're voting on the people who vote on the laws.)

The rules against bullying are far more contentious. We accept - indeed, count on - some government regulation of the work-place to protect employees from faulty scaffolding, toppling containers, fire, electrocution, leaking ships, asbestos dust, etc. It doesn't seem to me all that unreasonable to extend that worker protection to sexual predation and intimidation. Unfortunately, once we approach the realm of verbal and psychological abuse, we're wading deeper into darker and greyer media...
While the principle may be sound, it becomes impossible to draw absolute lines or make clear and definite judgments. Every work environment, every staff, every situation is different, but a single set of clearly-articulated laws, drafted by people who have never been in most of those environments or met those workers, has to cover every complaint.
And so, even though 99 of a hundred rulings may be correct, bad calls and risible decisions are unavoidable - - and the gleeful anti-PC brigade runs directly to all-caps headline with every one.
I suggest that government has brought this challenge upon itself by kneecapping the trade unions. A well-chosen and conscientious shop steward might accomplish better outcomes with less fanfare, had she power to arbitrate.

] In one way, we could say that laws against bullying are paternalistic, because they are supposed to protect those who can't protect themselves,

Indeed, they are! As in: the government is standing in for a parent, to defend the weak and restrain the strong, rather than letting the law of the jungle sort things out. In Victorian times, bullying - even to severe corporal punishment - was SOP, since the hierarchy in school, mine, army, factory and home was literally a pecking order.
Innate or imposed?
When that rigid social organization disintegrated, so did any understanding of who was supposed to bully whom and who had no recourse.
Then things got complicated.

I believe that schoolyard bullying will always exist and that the best we can do is to control it to some extent.

Keep the little savages from drowning, shooting and raping one another, at least.
Or raise fewer savages, even if we must deprive them of the eight most vicious video games to do it and give teachers a little more authority.

Government intervention wouldn't be required if we didn't desire a polity of equals. I see no way around this: if we want a very large number of people, operating as peacefully and decently as possible, somebody's got to police their interactions. Which change all the time. It's like walking: we have to make the second-by-second adjustments to stay upright.
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Re: Paternalism in law-making

Postby doogles on February 27th, 2021, 5:09 pm 

We started off this thread with an article by Claire Andre and Manuel Velasquez (https://www.scu.edu/ethics/ethics-resources/ethical-decision-making/for-your-own-good/) who asked "When people freely choose to act in ways that seem contrary to their own well being, the question is of whether we are justified in interfering with their affairs; the problem of paternalism arises."

Is it safe yet to say that none of us can think of such a thing as a bad paternalistic law (we apparently have over 20,000 members in this Forum), and therefore that up to date, any laws that could be regarded as paternalistic, have been justified?
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Re: Paternalism in law-making

Postby TheVat on February 27th, 2021, 7:50 pm 

(mod note: there are about 25 active members here. The rest are long inactive, spam accounts never removed, or drive-by accounts with a couple posts)

Drug laws have historically been engineered to imprison the poor and use as a source of cheap labor, in the USA. Thousands of articles and books have addressed this sad history. There have been some reforms but poor and brown people are still convicted on petty possession charges disproportionately. Drug laws generally tend, here, to be paternalistic in a bad way, as they assume that a consenting adult cannot use a drug for personal pleasure seeking without social harm and abuse. The move away from criminalization and towards medical treatment has been a good trend.

There is little rational justification for my being a lawful citizen in Colorado getting buzzed at a party on marijuana and then instantly transforming into a criminal when I cross the border of Wyoming or Kansas.

I'm sure there are other examples of bad paternalistic laws. Some states still have laws against certain forms of sexual pleasure on the books. Again, consenting adults are presumed unable to have private kinks without some nebulous harm arising from them.

In Latin America, and parts of south Asia, there are still laws permitting a man to injure or even kill his wife if she seeks pleasure with another.

Seriously, bad laws are quite easy things to notice.
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Re: Paternalism in law-making

Postby charon on February 27th, 2021, 8:35 pm 

Vat, I think there's a difference between bad laws and 'nanny' laws.
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Re: Paternalism in law-making

Postby Serpent on February 27th, 2021, 9:33 pm 

doogles » February 27th, 2021, 4:09 pm wrote:Is it safe yet to say that none of us can think of such a thing as a bad paternalistic law .... and therefore that up to date, any laws that could be regarded as paternalistic, have been justified?

I wouldn't go quite that far. The drug laws, as outlined by the Vat are a very good example of laws that purport to be for our own protection, but actually have an ulterior motive. https://www.businessinsider.com/nixon-adviser-ehrlichman-anti-left-anti-black-war-on-drugs-2019-7
It had the side-effect of generating uncountable riches for organized crime in a dozen countries - and lavish budgets, as well as expanded power, for law enforcement agencies. (Britain did something similar with opium, back in 1910, which resulted in the prosecution of Chinese merchants. That law seems more than normally hypocritical in view of the Opium Wars Britain had waged earlier to keep the trade open. https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofBritain/Opium-in-Victorian-Britain/)
I suppose Prohibition would come under the same heading.
I might dispute rules prohibiting the use of beaches or swimming pools in the absence of a life-guard as administrative overreach, and the ban on smoking outdoors or in one's own car, where the smoke doesn't affect others, but one might be seen by minors. Shades of the 'brown paper bag' when Canadians were not permitted to drink alcoholic beverages in public view.

Then, there are some laws intended to protect a vulnerable demographic that are sound enough in principle, but turn out differently, and sometimes very badly, in execution. Like child-protection laws that authorize the sate to take children deemed at risk from parents deemed unfit and to incarcerate adults deemed to be a potential danger to themselves or others. Two main reasons for bad outcomes are discrimination (poor minority parents are more likely to lose their kids than well-off majority ones, and far, far more likely to be suspected of and being investigated for, endangering or abusing their children) and economics (the facilities for rescuing, healing and housing wards of the state tend to be chronically underfunded.)

It's a good policy to examine the rationale, the proposed criteria and implementation before supporting any new legislation and keep a strict oversight on how it's working in practice, once it has been passed.

Then there is a biggish class of laws regarding public behaviour, recreation, mating, reproduction, illness, old age and death which are disguised as protection of somebody, but are actually meant to enforce a religious ideology. Those have to go through protracted, acrimonious, cyclic legal battles - even in countries that are nominally secular.

I don't even want to touch powers the state grants itself under the banner of national security!
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Re: Paternalism in law-making

Postby charon on February 28th, 2021, 12:54 am 

Vat -

I think there's a big difference between bad laws and 'nanny' laws. In fact, there's also a big difference between good laws and nanny laws.
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Re: Paternalism in law-making

Postby doogles on February 28th, 2021, 6:25 am 

Thank you TheVat for providing more ideas to kick around.

But as Charon noted, there is a big difference between bad and good laws and 'nanny laws'. The last one you mentioned "In Latin America, and parts of south Asia, there are still laws permitting a man to injure or even kill his wife if she seeks pleasure with another." suggests a bad law rather than a paternalistic law.

I would be interested in hearing about any specific laws prohibiting any form of 'kinky' sexual behaviour between consenting adults in private. On the contrary, this is one Section of The Human Rights (Sexual Conduct) Act 1994 -- "(1) Sexual conduct involving only consenting adults acting in private is not to be subject, by or under any law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory, to any arbitrary interference with privacy within the meaning of Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. (2) For the purposes of this section, an adult is a person who is 18 years old or more." See 22.pdf (austlii.edu.au)

It has triggered the thought in my mind though about one situation in the sexual behaviour area which could be regarded as paternalistic, and that is the crime of having sex with a female under the age of 16, even though it may be consensual and even initiated by the female. My rationale suggests that it was originally designed to protect the female from her own bad judgment, considering her age and stage of physical development for the birth of a baby. I would regard that as paternalistic, and certainly, modern medicine and surgery can cope with the situation, but maybe that's too young to be starting a family. So I would have to question whether it's a bad thing.

re "Drug laws have historically been engineered to imprison the poor and use as a source of cheap labor, in the USA. Thousands of articles and books have addressed this sad history.", it's not feasible to go through thousands and articles and books to check on this. I can discuss it in a general manner.

Personal drug use appears to have been a worldwide problem in the days before restrictions. Figures of 3% of world populations are said to have been affected. This site -- 100 Years of Drug Control.indb (unodc.org) -- summarises some gains from control of opium and coca -- "For those who doubt the effectiveness of drug control, consider this. In 1906, 25 million people were using opium in the world (1.5% of the world population) compared with 16.5 million opiate users today (0.25% of the world population). In 1906/07, the world produced around 41,000 tons of opium – five times the global level of illicit opium production in 2008. While opium used to be produced in a huge belt, stretching from China to Indochina, Burma, India, Persia, Turkey and the Balkan countries, the illegal production of opium is now concentrated in Afghanistan (92%)."

So attempts to control illegal drugs appear to have been partially successful over the last century. But I see that any discussion of good and bad paternalistic laws needs to done so under the headings of specific drugs.

One of my daughters became addicted to heroine and cocaine. Because of her associations with users, I met many addicts. They were absolute dropkicks, and were involved with break-ins and robberies to get either the drugs themselves or else the money to buy them. The sad part was that pre-usage, most were intelligent enough to complete tertiary education. One of the disturbing grooming catch-cries was that many people were 'using' sensibly, and could give it up any time they wished. Marijuana was different. Many people I know can use the stuff and still function normally every day.

So, I'm somewhat of the opinion that any laws to restrict the use of marijuana are paternalistic only. I'd classify that one as a bad paternalistic law.

I haven't looked for the legislation relating to heroine, but if it criminalizes 'users', I would regard it as paternalistic, and as good paternalism. These kids need protecting from themselves. My daughter did tell me later in life that she was not coerced into using, but actually asked to try a 'hit' out of curiosity while she was 'hanging out' with her user friends. Addicts can now enter 'Using Rooms' and 'hit up' under supervision with clean needles thus reducing overdoses and the transmission of HIV and Hepatitis, and the necessity for break-ins and robberies.

As you can see, I may be biased in my opinion about heroine laws, but having said that, I also have to state that I think the battle to ban some of the illegal drugs is an uphill one.
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Re: Paternalism in law-making

Postby Serpent on February 28th, 2021, 11:15 am 

doogles » February 28th, 2021, 5:25 am wrote:I would be interested in hearing about any specific laws prohibiting any form of 'kinky' sexual behaviour between consenting adults in private.

I think that comes under "morality" laws - dictated by the dominant religion.

It has triggered the thought in my mind though about one situation in the sexual behaviour area which could be regarded as paternalistic, and that is the crime of having sex with a female under the age of 16, even though it may be consensual and even initiated by the female.

The problem there is one of line-drawing. We are supposed to protect children from their own bad judgment. But the soundness of children's judgment varies far more than the law-makers can possibly allow for.
An example of how absurd such lines can be is that no child under 12 is allowed to be left at home unsupervised, but anyone over 12 could babysit. What happened in that one night that changed a kid from being incompetent to look after himself to responsible enough to look after someone else?

My parents worked all kinds of hours. From when I was 10 and my brother was 6, we brought ourselves home from different schools; I gave him a snack, got him and our room cleaned up and prepped dinner-makings. No problem -- even his tantrums didn't offer much of a challenge until he got bigger. Even after a big fight, we had the mess cleared away and faces shiny washed in perfect fraternal amity by the time our mother arrived. Neither of us would jeopardize her trust!
And we were hardly unique! I don't know when 'latch-key kids' became a problem for government to deal with. Probably after some of them burned their house down or fell off the roof... It usually takes a high-profile tragedy to put pressure on government.

The same with sex - one day, the girl or boy doesn't have the autonomy to decide; the very next day, they can get married - with parental consent. (Usually because they're pregnant, so you have to wonder whether the sexual consent law wasn't correct, after all... or whether it wasn't wrong to deny birth control supplies and information to underage youth.)
In Ontario right now, the age of no-supervision is a ridiculous 16! I sure wouldn't want to be 17, babysitting a contrary 15.9 year old sibling! But I might rather enjoy being 17, babysitting a 15.9 year old neighbour!
(Who'm I kidding? Just to be 17 ....sigh...)

The problem, of course lies in the definition and perception of "child".

Personal drug use appears to have been a worldwide problem in the days before restrictions.

Again, you need to consider definition and perception. What constitutes a problem - and why?

"For those who doubt the effectiveness of drug control, consider this. In 1906, 25 million people were using opium in the world (1.5% of the world population) compared with 16.5 million opiate users today

Might that not be a false comparison? Are we comparing people who could afford unregulated opium then and people who can afford the doctor prescribed equivalent now? Are we factoring in the variety of cheaper, oct pain medications available now that were unavailable then? Were those 25 million abusing opium, or just treating it as a recreational drug, like we do alcohol and video games? How much of it? How often? To the detriment of their ability to function? Were they really a problem, or was Anglican middle-class righteousness a factor in condemning escapism of any kind in the working classes?

In 1906/07, the world produced around 41,000 tons of opium – five times the global level of illicit opium production in 2008.

Licit / illicit.... Hmm. That ratio is determined by law-making. The whole 41,000 tons were legal back then, so you have to add the legal product to the illegal and compare the totals. And don't forget the synthetic variants that have been added over the past century.

So attempts to control illegal drugs appear to have been partially successful over the last century. But I see that any discussion of good and bad paternalistic laws needs to done so under the headings of specific drugs.

Yes, I think so. Also consider the amount of resources used in combatting the drug trade (policing), and how it might be more effectively applied to preventing and treating addiction (social services) and how much tainted and bastardized product gets on the street [i]because it's outlawed, rather than regulated, like food, liquor and legal medications.
Things get very complicated, very difficult for legislators. I don't envy them.

So, I'm somewhat of the opinion that any laws to restrict the use of marijuana are paternalistic only. I'd classify that one as a bad paternalistic law.

Agreed. I suspect it was only ever a politically repressive law. Or a puritanical one. Easily imagine both, as those Puritans were jealous of their exclusive clutch on Right and Might.
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Re: Paternalism in law-making

Postby TheVat on February 28th, 2021, 12:20 pm 

Briefly, my examples seemed to me paternalistic in various ways, I wasn't using a single criterion.

The S. American laws on honor killing the wife do presume the male has judgment and a perspective of greater value than the female. It's paternalistic in the most literal sense.

The drug laws I mentioned presume people cannot control their using -- though this is sometimes true (and often true with methamphetamine, say), the law unduly penalizes those who do, in fact, have control of their using and don't engage in theft to buy product. I have no problem with penalizing those who sell and distribute highly addictive drugs, but just using should be, as others noted, decriminalized and addressed with safe medical environments.

Sex laws -- examples would be found in United States, where until recently sodomy laws were still on the books. It was not until 2003 that the US Supreme Court ended the enforceability of sodomy laws still in effect in 14 states. Mainly enforced against LGBT persons, but the laws also banned acts between traditionally married couples. I viewed these laws as paternalistic in the sense of imposing a moral wisdom and devaluing the moral wisdom of citizens to make their own choices. Hope that clarifies.
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Re: Paternalism in law-making

Postby TheVat on February 28th, 2021, 12:42 pm 

Serpent, regarding latch key children, my unexpert guess is that nanny laws arose when people stopped knowing (and establishing bonds of trust with) their neighbors. When a LK ten year old could run next door and enlist aid in a crisis, things were less likely to spin out of control. The nanny law now for LKs could be judged as bad in the sense that it reflects a decline in community connections and just capitulates to the urge to bureaucratize. But also good in that it does force some parents to find responsible supervision for those children who really are immature in hazard-making ways. So kind of a mixed bag.
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Re: Paternalism in law-making

Postby Serpent on February 28th, 2021, 1:22 pm 

As always.
ONTOH, emergency services are a speed-dial away, so any child could get help, regardless of neighbours, or the ability to walk. But the bureaucracy was in place before the technology came up to present standard.

I think there is another component to official intervention in family matters. Two, actually. One is - probably due to the same disintegration of communities - a growing mistrust of other people; a willingness to suspect our neighbour of crimes and misdemeanours without very much evidence. The other is the retarding of maturity. Children are infantilized and coddled over a very long protectorate - perhaps in overcompensation for previous societal exploitation and neglect. The pendulum effect, you know?
Also, they're no good to the economy as producers, but are a wonderfully lucrative bloc of consumers - if the parents are persuaded to regard them as precious.
As you say, it's never a single criterion that drives collective decisions, or a single consideration that changes attitudes.
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