Debate Guide: Cyclical paternalism

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Paternalist/adultist practises in society create "dumb" infantilized minors, who in turn must be treated as vulnerables. This argument (in relation to the concept of consent) is summed up by Chin-Keung Li:

Cyclical paternalism works in tandem with the liberty empowerment argument - as they are both essentially different ways of describing the same phenomenon.

Drug analogy

Anti-drugs laws' purported aim is to protect people from intrinsically harmful substances, however it is widely accepted that prohibitions have encouraged drug contamination and poor control of dosing. Within the prohibitionist scheme, drugs education is also incredibly poor, as it is underpinned by the same social-legal misconception of all "drugs" as "bad" (a la Mr. Mackey). "Addiction" is wrongly presented as a drug-induced phenomenon, while no attention is given to identifying the underlying mental imbalances that must exist for a person to become drug dependent. So, because:

a) "Drugs" are taboo.
b) Young people are rarely informed enough to understand mental imbalances that expose them to a risk of dependency.

...young people are then more likely to turn to drugs when they are most depressed and vulnerable. A dependency relationship ensues in later youth or adulthood.

One might conclude that younger people should be allowed to experiment with drug-highs in a supportive and emotionally stable environment, as has taken place in some mid-late 20th century communal settings. Similarly, guilt-free exploration of body-pleasure (a far less mind-altering event) should be encouraged from an early age, assuming it is on the young person's terms.


The idea of "sexual maturity" (in social terms, at least) is an adultist concept, imposed on the worlds of minors.

What constitutes sexual maturity is defined by the very adults who profess it, and have the power to determine what it actually means. This kind of elitism can be seen in the kink-snobbery of people like Prostasia's Meagan Ingerman.[1] Professing a personal interest in "kink and ageplay", she constructs a highly convoluted "adults only" world of deviance for herself and other adults. On the basis of this subjective outlook, she then bars minors from seeking sexual pleasure of any kind - assuming the role of gatekeeper.

The unsuitability of an over-complicated form of "adult sexuality" for "young minds" has been seen as a self-fulfilling prophecy.

See also