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Related to my last post on paternalistic libertarianism - the idea that expanding freedom might first require  expanding seemingly paternalistic measures that inculcate habits and social norms - there is an article in the RSA Journal on Harlem Children's Zone by James Forman Jr. The project is interesting because it blends (what might be considered) a right wing emphasis on discipline and the emulation of middle class values with (what might be considered) a left wing emphasis on providing greater social support. In this regard Forman Jr writes:

Related to my last post on paternalistic libertarianism - the idea that expanding freedom might first require  expanding seemingly paternalistic measures that inculcate habits and social norms - there is an article in the RSA Journal on Harlem Children's Zone by James Forman Jr. The project is interesting because it blends (what might be considered) a right wing emphasis on discipline and the emulation of middle class values with (what might be considered) a left wing emphasis on providing greater social support. In this regard Forman Jr writes:

'HCZ occupies an unusual place on the ideological spectrum, one that allows it to appeal to both sides of divisive social policy debates. Consider one example. If poor people are to improve their lives, should they change their behaviours or should society do more for them? Instead of choosing a side, HCZ’s model says that the answer is both. Drawing on decades of research showing that certain middle-class parenting techniques prepare children to navigate school and the world, HCZ teaches those techniques to Harlem parents. At the same time, it recognises that parental skills are only part of the puzzle. After all, poor parents already know what to do when their child says: “My tooth hurts”; the American scandal is that many parents cannot afford to take their children to a dentist. In response, HCZ provides medical and dental care for families that need it.'

I think this ideological mix is to be praised. For example, HCZ teaches parents to parent non-violently. This is quite paternalistic - teaching people a particular way of acting - but it is also progressive, being aimed at reducing violence. Lefties need to get over their frankly odd libertarian commitment to personal choice at all costs, and righties need to get over the idea that only 'the old ways are the best', for in fact, social institutions can evolve and change whilst keeping a connection to 'tradition'.

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