Thursday, September 25, 2008

Corporal Punishment and Pro-Life Arguments [Jay]

Now this is interesting to me. The Slate, a proudly left internet magazine, has an article by Alan E. Kazdin called Spare the Rod on the ineffectiveness of corporal punishment and the need to address the issue here in the United States beyond merely banning it in the public school system.

The article states that there is scientific evidence that corporal punishment is harmful to children. As such, we must ask whether we as a culture should take a principled stand and make it illegal across the board including in the privacy of one’s own home. Mr. Kazdin acknowledges that such a law would be ineffective at actually stopping people from using this form of punishment on their children. However, it would help in educating people and if passed in conjunction with a nationwide effort to inform public opinion (he draws on littering and smoking comparisons and I would add drunk driving and seat belt laws to that) then the law itself would serve to both dramatically reduce the instances of corporal punishment and educate the populace at the same time.

It sounds so logical when someone talks about it in those terms. Laws reduce the specifically addressed action and inform our community morally? Now how does this differ from proposed restrictions on abortion? Why are these arguments so much more compelling when we are talking about spanking your child rather than tearing your unborn children limb from limb and then sucking the parts out of the uterus to be reassembled like a grisly puzzle on the table?

Oh yeah, women have a constitutional right to kill their offspring as long as they have not yet been born. Then we have a responsibility as a society to protect that child even from spanking. Another noticeable difference is that in one case the cool Europeans agree with you. Never underestimate how important that is.

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