Can the state know what's best?

China's new paternalism

Those who live in liberal democracies might gasp at China’s new laws limiting the time children can play videogames and banning private tutoring. These laws are what we call paternalistic: they limit personal freedoms with the justification that they promote the good of the individual. But before we dismiss such laws as the product of authoritarianism, we need to recognize that even liberal democracies allow for paternalistic laws. We make children go to school, ban them from drinking alcohol, and force adults to wear seatbelts. The problem  then isn’t paternalism itself, it’s whether paternalistic laws actually benefit people or not, argues Sarah Conly.

China has introduced two new laws affecting young people that have gotten a lot of attention around the world. They are limiting video game time to three hours a week, and they are eliminating for-profit tutoring. The first of these would no doubt elicit cries of agony from kids in the western world, and while

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Ablad1962 Watson 25 November 2021