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A Cordero Rant: Spanking Little Johnny
It must be me—someone help me out here—because I must have gone crazy.
First of all, let's stop pussyfooting around the idea of smacking a kid with talk about 2 or 3 loud but very mild smacks to bottoms. While this does suffice for the most part, and is the most common, it would be disingenuous to treat the pro-spanking side as if this was the only type of discipline being discussed.
What we are talking about here are forms of corporal punishment that range from the mild example above, to being caught breaking the neighbor's window with a rock—and then being grabbed by the scruff of the neck and dragged back into the house, and once in the house facing 3 punishments: a lecture, a sentence to some form of restrictions on one's freedom of movement (being ‘grounded’), and either a belt or open hand administered to the buttocks with a degree of force that does hurt like hell.
And let's not lie and confine this to talk to buttocks— anyone here ever say a profanity at the dinner table and suddenly feel the back of their old man's hand slap them across the back of the head? Anyone here ever had to tiptoe like a ballerina because mom had that ear of yours in a vice-grip, and was walking you out of wherever it was you embarrassed her? If we are going to have this conversation let’s be totally honest about it.
And then there’s the anti-spanking side, trying to equate every smack on the ass with a kid being brutally beaten as if he had just gone 12 rounds with Mike Tyson. By the way, when did we start making children out of porcelain? You guys make sure your kids never box, play football, or roughhouse because they may break into a thousand pieces. If the 3 smacks on the ass is an assault, then signing off on that ‘yes he can play football' slip must be abetting an attempted homicide.
Also, I am amazed at all the child prodigies here, some of these scenarios would have me believe that everyone must be raising their own little Mozart! I suppose that if your kid is writing symphonies at age 7 some of the naďve statements I have heard may hold true, but for the rest of the peasant class, they may not be able to live by the discipline code written in the Ivory Tower school of parental advice. And please spare me the argument from ‘exception’—you know, that one in a million case that happened in Hog Creek, Idaho, where little Johnny's ear came off his head from mom's vice-grip.
I suppose that my parents must be Ma Barker and Charles Manson, because they sure as hell did not refrain from corporal punishment on us 3 kids. Yeah, they ruined us—the psychological damage has been enormous: my sister drowned her 5 children, my brother runs a drug cartel, and I am writing this from a prison cell where I await execution for being a serial killer. Tell you what I think is psychological damage-the damage done to an entire generation of kids (especially boys) raised by parents who abdicated there roles as parents because they were too lazy or in exchange for being their kids' ‘friends.’
The idea that a 7-year-old kid should have the same legal rights as a 30-year-old man is simply absurd. Never in my life did I expect to see an Objectivist, a person who prizes contextual thinking, advocating such. But even that is not enough; some have even implied that ideally the State should take action against a father who gave 3 smacks to his kid’s bottom.
Marcus and Jennifer summed up my position on this on a previous thread. Below are the two quotes:
Marcus said, “When will you guys get into you heads that children DO not have the same full rights as adults do? As the guardian of your child you have the responsibility to raise your child as you see fit. Not to threaten or endanger their lives, but to act as some sort of guidance and protection.”
And Jennifer said, “My problem is that this kind of law enables the furthering of a nanny state, where the law will now dictate how we live every aspect of our lives. Some parents don't put reason first, and if they smack their child on the butt, or the hand, and someone sees it, at some point this will become just cause to arrest them.”
Maybe I’m a bit slow or have gone blind, but I have yet to see anyone rationally refute what they said in these two statements.
Physical force is not in and of itself evil or immoral. The use of all types of physical force is not equivalent; it has degrees and a context that must be taken into consideration in order to determine if the rationale for the force and the amount used, is moral or immoral.
Has anyone here ever seen a kid whose father used his chest as an ashtray? I have. Has anyone here ever seen a little girl whose mother broke all her front teeth with a frying pan? I have. Has anyone here ever seen a kid clinging to life on a respirator because his drunken old man beat him with a baseball bat? I have. And to those of you who like to play intellectual word games, in order to cloud the distinction between mild corporal punishments as a form of child discipline and genuine criminal child abuse—and to those of you who suggest that under a proper government guys like Bertelsen should be prosecuted by the State ... well, now I will quote Linz: “Well then, fuck off!”
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