Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Nanny Wears Purple

There are few things that get the stereotypical conservative into a lather faster than paternalistic liberal nanny-state proposals, like this idea in San Fransisco to ban restaurants from giving away toys with meals "if the food contains too much fat, sugar or salt." But, of course, they have paternalistic nanny-state tendencies of their own, such as:

But for what it’s worth, here’s what I would ask of America’s highly-educated mass upper class (more than top third of America than the “upper half,” I think): A kind of noblesse oblige on some issues related to sex, at least; on others, a moral reckoning with the cost of the new equilibrium they’ve achieved; and on still others, a willingness to translate some of the more conservative habits they’ve embraced (or partially embraced) in their personal lives into law and public policy.
I've never cared for accusations of "institutional hypocrisy," so my point isn't going to be that "Conservatives," given their dislike of nanny-state lawmaking from liberal sources, must denounce such ideas from conservative ones. I will make the point that thinking: "I'm smarter/wiser/more moral than you, so if you won't follow my lead voluntarily, I would be remiss not to try to write my superior standards into law" isn't confined to either side of the ideological aisle, as each side has its own particular streak of the same elitism that it so derides in the other camp.

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