Representation and Children

This is slightly off-topic, but there was a huge discussion earlier on this list on the enfranchisement of children. There’s a new paper out co-authored by Kleroterian Ethan Leib on the topic of representation and children. It’s entitled “Fiduciary Representation and Deliberative Engagement with Children,” it’s appearing in the Journal of Political Philosophy, and it can be found online here–

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9760.2011.00398.x/abstract

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3 Responses

  1. I can’t read the article, but that will not prevent me, of course, from forming and expressing an opinion.

    I find discussions of the matter of the representation of children in an elections-based system to be problematic. The implication of the discussion seems to be that those people who do get to vote are having their interests well represented, which is rather transparently false. The discussion seems then rather pointless, and maybe touched with a certain amount of self-congratulation (“everything is just about great in our current system except for this thorny issue of the children”).

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  2. That groups who get to vote still get their interests represented somewhat better than people who don’t, seems pretty clear to me – I don’t think young people or even children are going to be an exception.

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  3. > That groups who get to vote still get their interests represented somewhat better than people who don’t, seems pretty clear to me

    I don’t think things are that simple. In the US, for example, foreign investors are much better represented than the average citizen.

    To a large extent, for a group to be denied the right to vote is an indicator, rather than a cause, of low status (and thus potentially of non- or under-representation in public policy). The fact that children do not have the vote is a reflection of their inferior status stemming from the widespread perception that they are irrational and naive. The success of women’s suffrage campaign was in overturning the perception that women are inferior to men. Gaining the vote was a by-product and a tool of this campaign, not the main achievement.

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