Paternalism: It’s Good for the Kids

If you haven’t read Michael Lewis’ “Ballad of Big Mike” in The New York Times Magazine you really ought to stop reading this blog and go read the article. It’s a longie but a goodie that, like the best feature writing out there, leaves one pregnant with somewhat inchoat thoughts on the matter. I will say that I think concerns voiced by Ezra Klein and Jason Kottke about how the various adults depicted treat Mike are kind of off-base. In essence, they’re concerned that Mike’s autonomy isn’t being respected. And, it’s true, it isn’t. And I also think the anti-paternalist biases of contemporary liberals exist for some pretty good reasons.

Then again, it’s called “paternalism” for a reason — this is how you’re supposed to treat children. Mike’s a kid — 16 years old — at the start of the saga, and with a level of mental development more like you would expect from someone quite a bit younger. There’s a lot more to be said about this article, and I’ll have to say it later if ever, but this particular thing isn’t really what should trouble us.