interests

lisa rogers lisa.rogers at m.cc.utah.edu
Tue Apr 11 20:15:41 MDT 1995


Thanks for the contribution, John, you make some good points, seriously,
BUT...
at first read I thought you were against paternalism, and then at the end
you sound a bit paternalistic...

Which is it?  (John just gave me a jumping off point for a peeve.)

Paternalism and my dislike for it are some of the reasons that I am
questioning the usage of the term "interests".  I'm glad to find that
others also think it problematic.

Isn't it this idea, that "the little people" don't know what's good for
them, that is used by the powerful of all sorts (even by some so-called
socialists of the past) to justify secrecy and elitism?

Not that I think every little skin-head is right, or anything like that -
maybe I just don't like the paternalism that I disagree with.  Now if I were
put in charge, I'm sure I know what would be good for everyone.....

Later, I will get around to saying more about what I think guides each
one's view of one's self-interest.  Right now, I'm just bristling a bit,
and I'm sure I'm not the only one whose hackles raise at the prospect of
somebody else telling them that they don't know what's good for them.

I paraphrase Mark Twain:  If anyone tells you "it's for your own good"
just turn around and run away as fast as you can.

Lisa Rogers


On Mon, 10 Apr 1995, jwalker wrote:

>
> Of course, once you accept that we don't always know what's in our
> interest, it becomes possible that others could know our interests better
> than we do.  Which is how paternalism is often justified -- those to be
> paternalized just don't see what's in their interests, perhaps due to
> decades of being buried under mountains of capitalist (or
> patriarchal, etc.) propaganda.
>
> I think the language of interests is important, in part because it
> provides one possible way of saying what's wrong with various systems of
> oppression, and so why we should oppose them.  It's wrong for women to be
> oppressed because it's not in women's interest to live under conditions
> of oppression, whether or not women recognize this.  Similarly with the
> working class.
>
> Cheers
>
> John D. Walker
> jwalker at email.unc.edu
>
>


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