Wednesday, April 24, 2013

From Imperial China to West Virginia

My previous post suggested that police in West Virginia respond differently to misdeeds of students than to misdeeds of teachers. It occurred to me after writing it that I had seen a similar pattern in a very different society, and the two  may have the same explanation.

One of the features we associate with oppressive regimes is forcing children to testify against their parents. Imperial China, which is the subject of one chapter in my current book project, did the precise opposite. For a child to accuse his parent of a crime was a criminal offense, whether or not the parent was guilty.

My explanation of that (and some other features of Chinese law) was that the government was ruling a very large population with a very small number of elite scholar-bureaucrats. It did it by subcontracting much of the job of controlling behavior to other authority structures, of which the most important was the extended family. A child who could threaten to report a parent's crimes to the state would have leverage over the parent, undermining the hierarchical authority structure of the family. Preserving that structure was important enough so that the state was willing to give up a little of its ability to enforce its own laws in order to do so.

I suspect that, in a modern society such as ours, much the same pattern holds for the relation between the authority structure of the police and the authority structure of the school.  The police expect the school to take on a good deal of the job of controlling students. A policy of backing teachers against students when the two come into conflict helps support the school's authority structure, however badly it fits with an ideology of equal rights for all.


15 Comments:

At 7:21 PM, April 24, 2013, Blogger Bear Nichols said...

Couldn't that rule be as simple as ancestor worship in Asia? Something akin to "honor thy father and mother."

 
At 8:30 PM, April 24, 2013, Blogger David Friedman said...

It's interesting to try to figure out whether a legal rule comes out of religious or philosophical beliefs, or is functional. I prefer to find a plausible function when I can. But of course I could be wrong.

 
At 11:27 PM, April 24, 2013, Blogger Noah Siegel said...

Could be both ... a religious/philosophical belief like "honor thy father and mother" might have a functional reason for existing.

 
At 11:31 PM, April 24, 2013, Blogger Noah Siegel said...

"The police expect the school to take on a good deal of the job of controlling students."

In some American cities, I suspect it's a more important function of the school than education.

 
At 6:57 AM, April 25, 2013, Blogger August said...

The family would be the natural authority structure, sans government, so the Chinese law sounds like a simple extension of that.
The school issue is much more perplexing- both the teachers and the police are government agents, and the school operates in this mythological 'public property' and due to this you can't hold them as responsible as you would private owners of a private school.

 
At 8:22 AM, April 25, 2013, Blogger windwheel said...

'One of the features we associate with oppressive regimes is forcing children to testify against their parents. Imperial China, which is the subject of one chapter in my current book project, did the precise opposite. For a child to accuse his parent of a crime was a criminal offense, whether or not the parent was guilty.'

How bizarre and culturally illiterate!
So modern day England or America is 'an oppressive regime' in that only my Mom has a right not to testify against Dad but me and my sister have no such right. On the other hand, some fantasy of Charlie Chang Confucian China- not 'Imperial' China which was Legalist and severely punished misprision of treason by kids, wives, slaves, you name it- prompts Friedman to inflict the same Vandal violence, he has already visited on the venerable head of Robert Bork, to our admittedly stupid, round eyed, misprision of the subtle pragmatics of traditional Chinese Jurisprudence.
To be clear- small children could and were forced to testify against their parents in 'Confucian' countries. The fact that they would be killed anyway- as part of clan decimation- does not alter the fact that the quantum of torture they would suffer materially affected their choice.
Confucian 'kin-preference' has been extensively criticized by Chinese thinkers. Moh TZu, one would think, would be a more natural place for a soi disant Libertarian to start.
In any case, which Century are we living in? What sorts of Knowledge technology are available to even the most impoverished of Dave's acolytes?
It's easy to fact check stuff nowadays.
Why do none of the people who comment here not point out Friedman's mistakes of fact and logic?
The guy is publishing books- permanent records of his stupidity and racism- fuck, I'm stupid and racist but I expect MY commentators to point it out coz I too write books- so what the fuck is going on with you guys?
Fuck yore fucking up Friedman for?

 
At 10:55 AM, April 25, 2013, Anonymous Daublin said...

Religious rules don't exist in a vacuum. Without some sort of reinforcement, they will disappear after a generation or two.

 
At 1:16 PM, April 25, 2013, Blogger David Friedman said...

"not 'Imperial' China which was Legalist"

Meaningless insults I can put up with, but I prefer not to have my blog used to spread false historical information.

Imperial China was legalist under the Ch'in dynasty, which lasted for about 14 years, from 221 B.C. to 207 B.C., when it was replaced by the Han. From then until the end of Imperial China more than two thousand years later, the official doctrine was Confucianist.

 
At 2:10 PM, April 25, 2013, Anonymous gotlucky said...

Holy crap, David Friedman actually reads everything. I can't even imagine the kind of patience he must have.

 
At 2:17 PM, April 25, 2013, Blogger windwheel said...

The fact that Imperial China, in all its incarnations, reserved to itself the right to decimate the clan of anyone who 'failed' it, shows that Shang Yang Legalism remained its fundamental principle.
The right of the State to torture children, concubines, wives, slaves, friends etc on 'sus' of mispirision of treason was never abated in any given instant, or period.
You wrote something foolish.
BTW sons constantly betrayed fathers for material reward. Do you know nothing about Chinese literature at all- worthless cunt?

As in Rabbinical Judaism, there is in Confucian Ethics, or Hindu or Muslim or Maori or Mexica Ethics, a rule that you aint supposed to expose yore daddy's nakedness but fuck that shit if some Persian Darius or Roman Ceasar of whoever gives you some money or trusts you more for fucking over your own Dad.

How fucking ignorant are you exactly, worthless little man?
Do you really have a model of the World where 'Legalism applies for exactly 14 years and Confucianism thereafter'.
How fucking stupid are you= worthless RACIST CUNT?
I was 16 when I went to the LSE. My Professor was Morishima who knew more about China and Japan than you will ever do- worthless cunt.

BTW, you never explained why you lied about Robert Bork. What is it with you? You live for this sort of kicking?

 
At 2:35 PM, April 25, 2013, Blogger windwheel said...

@ Gotlucky= you write, gotlucky said...
Holy crap, David Friedman actually reads everything. I can't even imagine the kind of patience he must have.
He is an elderly shite. He has some Charlie Chang notion of China which because he is a fool and ignorant, led him to raise his shrill little voice against me.
I studied under Morishima and have a model of China and (my own country) India. I know stuff. Friedman knows shit.
Look at Friedman on Bork- he just tells stupid lies and none of you guys on this blog pointed this out to the old cunt.
Vide http://socioproctology.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=friedman

This worthless fuckwit thinks I'm the wrong type of Black so I don't know China. I do- worthless cunts- a guy who gets to the LSE at age 16 gets recruited early. Especially since I had to pay my own way at Uni. That made me a Proletarian.
I now am quite mad, but not a lying little shite like Friedman who is just too stupid to do Philosophy or Truth or old fashioned shite like that.
WHy is Friedman inditing such shameless lies?

 
At 1:11 AM, April 26, 2013, Blogger Joe said...

Interesting model. I'm not sure if the system should be this way. I grew up in a city school in the 90s. The solution to having rights violated by other students in that atmosphere was to either report it or to use violence in response, the latter often being the only choice which worked, a feud system you could say. The amount of obviously illegal actions ignored by real police seems quite absurd looking back.

 
At 2:00 AM, April 26, 2013, Blogger Joe said...

the fuck is going on with you guys?

I have a hard time deciphering most of your sentences. Since I have not published books and did not get into LSE at 16, perhaps you are too clever for us?

 
At 1:35 PM, April 26, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ windwheel

You've shown that you can write eloquently. But in order to truly gauge your intellectual prowess we need to know how old you were when you went to college.

 
At 6:06 AM, April 27, 2013, Blogger windwheel said...

The sentence- 'in order to truly gauge your intellectual prowess we need to know how old you were when you went to college'- requires only the addition of 'under the impression it was actually a titty bar'- to qualify as a fitting prolegomenon to a rational choice heuristic of the relevant Confucian literature. At least, in a West Virginian context.
You show promise, young padawan. Don't let it go to your head.

 

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