Violence

Do We Need Corporal Punishment?

Most Americans were spanked as kids, believe their parents acted in their interest, and take this treatment for granted. But the wisdom of our ancestors is often wrong.

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Spanking
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You think Marine Corps boot camp is tough? In the old days it was much tougher. Drill instructors often corrected recruits by kicking them, punching them or hitting them with sticks. Broken jaws and bloody noses were not unusual.

But in 1957, the Corps abolished physical, or corporal, punishment. Today, drill instructors may not even touch recruits. A DI who uses such methods can expect to be discharged, imprisoned or both.

There were those who thought the change would make the Marine Corps soft and cowardly. If you hold that view, I can give you directions to Parris Island, where you can make your case directly to new graduates of boot camp or combat veterans of Iraq or Afghanistan.

Battle-hardened officers once saw these methods as indispensable in preparing men for the horrors of combat. The point was to instill in recruits habits that would enable them to engage in war and survive. Eventually, the Marine Corps learned it could accomplish that urgent, difficult goal without physically abusing them.

Americans have gradually come to the conclusion that educators can also fulfill their missions without hitting the young people in their care. Corporal punishment is forbidden in public schools in 31 states. The number of kids paddled in public schools has dropped by 85 percent since 1976. Catholic schools, reports The Washington Post, have also abandoned it.

In Sweden and 38 other countries, parents are no longer permitted to use corporal punishment on children. Here, however, it's allowed and widely employed. Four out of five American parents say it's sometimes appropriate. One-third of parents even strike infants.

The common view is that spanking is the only way to raise well-behaved kids. Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was most likely acting on that view when he whipped his 4-year-old son with a tree branch, leaving the boy riddled with bloody welts.

The belief is as plausible as assuming that hitting was necessary to produce good Marines. What corporal punishment often produces, as it allegedly did in the Peterson case, is undeniable abuse—which often originates in an attempt to discipline a child and then escalates.

Most Americans were spanked as kids, believe their parents acted in their interest, and take this treatment for granted. But the wisdom of our ancestors is often wrong.

In the 1920s, one popular child development guru was psychologist John Watson, who gave advice about childrearing that we would find appalling. In dealing with children, he urged, "Never hug and kiss them, never let them sit in your lap. If you must, kiss them once on the forehead when they say good night. Shake hands with them in the morning."

Watson didn't mean to be harsh. He was afraid affectionate parents would produce weak children. Today, we regard the Watson approach as cruel and heartless. But the majority continues to embrace corporal punishment, in spite of reams of evidence confirming its harms.

Murray Straus, co-director of the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire, has done extensive research on domestic abuse, and he has reached a judgment about spanking of kids. "One simple way of putting it," he told me, "is that all the effects of corporal punishment are bad." More than 100 studies, he said, establish that it increases the likelihood that recipients will engage in violence as children and as adults.

One of the most arresting charts in his book, "The Primordial Violence," shows the relationship between spanking and murder among the 50 states. Most kids who are spanked don't grow up to be killers. But as the caption says, "The larger the percent of the population who approve of spanking, the higher the homicide rate."

 Internationally, more spanking correlates with more murders. Adults who were spanked are more likely to assault spouses or romantic partners than adults who were not. Kids who are hit by parents are prone to hitting other kids.

These correlations are not accidental. "Spanking teaches that it's morally correct to use violence to correct misbehavior," Straus explained. Someone who absorbs this vivid lesson, confronted with objectionable conduct, is more likely to resort to force to stop the conduct.

Of course, it's always possible that if American parents abandoned corporal punishment, our kids would turn out spoiled, selfish, lazy and bereft of moral values. You know, like U.S. Marines.

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  1. Watson didn’t mean to be harsh. He was afraid affectionate parents would produce weak children. Today, we regard the Watson approach as cruel and heartless

    Wrong! Watson was too cuddly and affectionate.

    As for your rambling about the Marines – you’re comparing the methods of breaking in conscripts to a self-selected volunteer force. Of course the volunteers don’t need to be whipped, the’re dumb and psychotic enough to choose to go out there.

    1. dumb and psychotic

      Really? Is that an either/or thing or do I have to be both?

      1. You can make up for shortages in one by surpluses in the other. It’s generally an admixture of those traits.

        Though in peasetime, being stoned is an adequite substitute.

  2. The best teacher I ever had, wielded the threat of paddling much more effectively than any actual paddling. As far as I know, he never actually paddled anyone. He even told his students at the end of the year to tell the incoming class that he was the meanest teacher. It worked on me; my mom still recalls me coming home crying when I found out I got his class. That was 5th grade and I went from meh to 4.0 student after that.

    1. Too bad our military power isn’t handled this way.

  3. Meh. I gave up spanking my kids after about a month – it didn’t work, and I didn’t like it. Done.

    However….we still employed the odd smack on the forehead or hand to get attention or stop behavior. Nothing “harsh” about it, and it was quite effective. YMMV.

    All this bed wetting these days about the NFL – now Chapman’s in on it. Too bad he wasn’t on vacation this week.

    In the long run, we’re all dead. I’d prefer less pants wetting along the way, thanks.

  4. Oh, PS – “The larger the percent of the population who approve of spanking, the higher the homicide rate.”

    So high murder rates lead to more spanking. That’s what Chapman meant to imply, right.

    RIGHT?

    What a putz…

    1. Internationally, more spanking correlates with more murders.

      Correlation is not causation!

    2. Adjusting for the 20-year-time lag.

      What? You forgot to adjust?

      BTW, the Freakanomics guys figure that the #1 factor leading to a lower crime rate is easy access to abortion. Taken to the logical conclusion, if we abort them ALL, we can practically eliminate murder… unless, of course, you consider abortion to be murder.

      Wait! Is that a conundrum???

  5. So Steve, your DI never hit you?

    Mine hit me in 1989. Not often, but once in a while. They weren’t supposed to curse either, but shit happens out in those woods.

    As for my kids… mind your own business.

    1. No, but then again I’m not USMC and didn’t have a DI. Lots of yelling, lots of swearing, but most of the pressure is self-induced (trying to remember shit you just read/heard, etc).
      But then there’s SERE; there was some ‘contact’ there. SERE is a significant emotional event by design.

      1. I was asking Steve Chapman, but thanks.

    2. No one has any business physically assaulting you to ‘teach’ you anything… why are your kids any different?

      1. What part of “mind your own business” is confusing you?

        1. The part where he doesn’t get to exalt in his own grandiose (and wrong) sense of moral superiority?

    3. Yeah, I got smacked a few times by my DI in 86. It was rare and to be honest, a quick smack was preferable to spending a half hour getting thrashed according to the book.

      One of the favorites was to smack your rifle while you were standing at port arms. It almost always led to you hitting yourself in your forehead with the front sight post as you tried to recover.

      1. Yep – the chest punch was a much better option than mountain-climbers.

      2. I went through Bennington School for Boys in the 90s and I can’t recall a DS hitting or using physical force on a recruit during my cycle but they sure as hell seemed like they would if provoked. Or if they had a bad hair day.

        1. I take that back. The DS in the pit on the grenade range was pushing every recruit down after they threw even if they were already ducking. No way was he going to fill out dead guy paperwork on his range.

    4. Question for you Marines out there: maybe I’ve just watched Full Metal Jacket too many times, but I wonder to what extent was DI’s hitting recruits simply replaced with the kind of stuff Private Pyle was subjected to: “lean forward and choke yourself” type stuff, or the recruits physically punishing one another, like when they hold Pyle down and whack him with bars of soap wrapped in hand towels? How common was either of those kinds of things?

      Weak stuff by Chapman, either way. One big conflation of correlation and causation. It seems just as likely that rebellious, ill-tempered kids didn’t respond to milder forms of punishment, never grew out of this as they got older, and thus were much more likely to injure or kill someone as adults.

      1. It is called a blanket party. Never did one, never had one done to me. Maybe a myth?

    5. “As for my kids… mind your own business.”

      That exact sentence has been spoken by 98% of convicted pedophiles. I’m not saying Drake is a pedophile, I just say it’s very likely that he is.

  6. Ah, proof that even libertarian-minded want to tell people how to live. I don’t know that I ever spanked my kids and it’s not really my style but I certainly think parents have that right. And one other thing…DIs punched recruits well into the late eighties.

    1. Ah, proof that even libertarian-minded want to tell people how to live.

      Is spanking a violation of the Non-Aggression Principle?

      (That isn’t a rhetorical question.)

      1. A significant camp within libertarianism (e.g., Stefan Molyneux, two crazy-ass Brits whom I can’t remember, but one of them is a physicist, etc…) answer with a resounding “Yes!”

        The other camp has children.

        1. And yet I think everybody would agree there’s some point at which corporal punishment crosses the line and becomes a violation of the NAP. It’s just a question of where that line is.

          1. And yet I think everybody would agree there’s some point at which corporal punishment crosses the line and becomes a violation of the NAP.

            I, by far, see spanking employed (and used myself) as a response to aggression.

            And statism starts with drawing lines.

        2. Molyneux has a daughter. Fallacy anyways, but yeah.

      2. Is spanking a violation of the Non-Aggression Principle?

        First off, I don’t think you can really describe Chapman as “libertarian minded” even though he does favor open borders and gay marriage.

        Violence that teaches children is not something that I call aggression. Self-defense is violence that does not violate the NAP. Spanking a child to teach them not to hurt themselves is defensive, not aggressive.

      3. Libertarianism is almost always a workable philosophy for relationships between mentally competent adults.

        It completely breaks down for the relationship between parents and their children. Trying to stretch the NAP to fit those issues is pointless, you have to throw it out and come up with something else that works.

        1. The NAP is just as valid for relationships with children and adults as it is between adults. It’s a moral philosophy, not a utilitarian judgement. It says that it is immoral to spank your kids. It doesn’t say anything about whether or not spanking works.

      4. “Is spanking a violation of the non-aggression principle?”

        No moreso than putting them in ‘time-outs’ (or making them go to school or anything else along those lines). The difference is that spanking tells them their behavior was wrong and needs to change, and timeout teaches them guilt and self-loathing.

        1. This right here.

          If you are going to posit that the relationship between parent and child should is the equivalent of the relationship between two adults, then many, many aspects of child-rearing are violations of the NAP.

      5. Parenting by definition is an act of force. Your toddler doesn’t get to decide what to eat or when to sleep.

    2. “but I certainly think parents have that right.”

      The right to assault a child who cannot and is not allowed defend his/her self? And this is because you want it to ‘learn’ something.

      1. Yep. Same way they have a right to forbid candy and imprison their kids at night (grounding).

        1. Physical assault is on the same level as grounding?

          1. Would you rather have a cop shove you into a wall or throw you in jail for a night?

            1. Is there some weird puritanical holdover in our culture that reflexively thinks that the physical is always somehow more grave and serious than the psychological?

              1. There is. Of course imprisonment is physical, too.

                1. Imprisonment is physically imposed, but the pain that ensues takes place in the mind.

          2. Grounding is worse. I’d take a quick beating over a long, strung out loss of my basic freedom any day. So would you if you ever thought about it honestly.

      2. The right to assault a child who cannot and is not allowed defend his/her self? And this is because you want it to ‘learn’ something.

        First, you’re generalizing. Not all kids cannot and are not allowed to defend themselves. Personally, I only employ spanking as a response to acts I would consider a violation of the NAP.

        Second, you say ‘learn’ as if learning doesn’t happen, can’t happen, or shouldn’t ever involve kinesthetic feedback. If a child has or creates a motor or behavioral pattern that would lead to clear and direct physical harm. I see absolutely no problem providing tactile feedback to discourage behavior that would lead to a more grievous physical outcome.

  7. “Do We Need Corporal Punishment?”

    “We” don’t need anything. I decide for myself, and other people should too.

    1. There ya go…well said.

    2. Only a good general philosophy when your actions don’t affect others. Corporal punishment affects the kid. Not saying it should be outlawed, just saying your philosophy can be applied to any punishment meted out, no matter how harmful.

  8. We should bring back corporal punishment, and use it on the teachers.

  9. I’d suggest spanking Weigel, but he’d probably like it.

  10. “One simple way of putting it,” he told me, “is that all the effects of corporal punishment are bad.

    Really? After exhausting other methods, spanking was what finally got my kid to stop running out into the street, permanently. One spanking, and he learned to never do it again.

    The effect of preventing my kid from getting hit by a car is a good thing, right?

    1. No, because, SPANKING BAD, mmmkay?

      1. Make no mistake, the only reason people object to spanking is because of what it does to THEIR sensibilities. It has nothing do with what’s best for the child.

    2. B-b-but you KRUSHED his spirit!!

    3. “One spanking, and he learned to never do it again.”

      He’s not stupid… he doesn’t want to be assaulted again by his parent. Lesson learned? I can be hurt by Dad or Mom if I disobey them. Great message, old-timer.

      Parents who lack consistency and repetition in the home have no other choice but to spank or whip.

      1. I wonder what sort of judgement you would pass on him if his child was run over by a car.

        1. Irrelevant. Not only can his child STILL be run over a car at some point but parents who do not whip their kids can suffer similar fates.

          We do our best as parents. But using spanking as a form of guaranteed future prevention is just as absurd as any other claim of future prevention.

          Spanking, however, is just flat unethical considering no adult would ever agree to the physical assault of their body under any circumstance.

          1. That ‘whoosh’ sound you heard was the point going by.

            Sorry you missed it, but guess you had to grab the opportunity to be tendentious while you had it.

            1. I don’t recall replying to your question.

              1. Since I did not ask one, your recollection is 20/20.

                So, there’s that for you, anyway.

          2. no adult would ever agree to the physical assault of their body under any circumstance.

            You need to get out more. Not just S+M clubs, but goddam football games would be enough.

            1. Pain associated with BDSM and football games is a form of consensual pleasure. Has nothing to do with being violated against your will.

              1. I seriously doubt football players view other players hitting them, throwing them to the ground, landing on top of them, etc, as pleasurable. They’re trading that pain for something they want. ie, agreeing to the physical assault of their body under a certain circumstance.

                1. Forget it, Womack – its Cyborg Town.

                2. “They’re trading that pain for something they want.”

                  So in other words, they accept the physical pain is in the service of a greater good, kind of like spanking.

              2. IOW, instances involving “consensual pleasure” *are* instances in which an “adult would ever agree to the physical assault of their body.”

          3. Spanking, however, is just flat unethical considering no adult would ever agree to the physical assault of their body under any circumstance.

            Real life is a set of choices, and there are a lot of things I’d prefer physical assault to.

            As a child, I preferred spanking to being ‘talked to’, which was pure agony and only taught me how to ignore somebody while pretending to pay attention. (Now that I think about it, it’s a useful skill, for instance, if I found myself being lectured to by somebody about the supposed ‘evils’ of spanking).

          4. Spanking, however, is just flat unethical considering no adult would ever agree to the physical assault of their body under any circumstance.

            Uhm… BDSM?

          5. … considering no adult would ever agree to the physical assault of their body under any circumstance.

            Wrestling; boxing; MMA; competitive martial arts…

            You were saying?

          6. What if you were convicted of a crime and had a choice of a brief caning or a lengthy imprisonment? Depending on the severity of the caning and the length of the imprisonment, you might consent to the caning, I suspect. Does that make it ethical or unethical? Why or why not?

            I think your blanket condemnation here is silly.

      2. Lighten up, Francis.

        Puts me in mind of Bill Cosby talking about how people without children were a rich source of comic stupidity when expounding on the same.

      3. “He’s not stupid”

        Yes, children are stupid. It has something to do with their brain not being developed yet, I’m pretty sure.

      4. Yes, it would be ideal for my 3 year old to learn each and every lesson with an appreciation and understanding of the rules. But, keeping him safe is my first priority. In situations where parenting through consistency and repetition becomes an issue of safety, it is my duty as a father to impose safety first, lessons later.

        When my 3 year old is running into the street, I don’t have the luxury of allowing him to learn the lesson through repetition. He knows it’s against the rules, but doesn’t understand the danger behind it. That’s unacceptable from a safety standpoint. It’s an urgent matter of life and death, and the lesson is don’t ever fucking do it again, or else.

        When people refuse to deviate from their romanticized notion of “pleasant parenting”, it is incredibly selfish and can be very dangerous for the child.

      5. I can be hurt by Dad or Mom if I disobey them. Great message, old-timer.

        Actually, I think it is a great message.

  11. These correlations are not accidental. “Spanking teaches that it’s morally correct to use violence to correct misbehavior,” Straus explained.

    Correlation is not causation.

    Anecdotes are not proof.

    And progs who would never, ever think of spanking their bratty, poorly behaving kids do not find it morally reprehensive to vote for statists who use violence to allegedly “correct” what they consider “misbehavior”.

    That being said, generally you can mete out consequences sufficient to get kids to quit being arseholes without physically striking them.

    1. Unless parents are completely letting their kids run wild with no consequence, whatever punishment they use is going to “teach that it’s morally correct to use” that punishment “to correct misbehavior.” Whether the punishment is imprisonment, deprivation, social isolation, or other emotional manipulation. None of these lessons are going to be good for the kid to use in other situations.

  12. “”””More than 100 studies, he said, establish that it increases the likelihood that recipients will engage in violence as children and as adults.”””

    But is all violence bad violence?

    1. Violence in service of the State = good.
      Violence in service of the individual = bad.

  13. Its not so much a question of whether to use spanking or not, but with what?
    Paddle, hand, switch, belt? What did your parents beat your ass with? For me it was bare hand and a two pieces od long thin metal braided together.

    1. long thin metal braided together

      Yikes. I remember a wooden spoon.

    2. I’d get swats barehanded, and once in a great while the belt. Usually just a few whacks on the rear. Always richly deserved.

      For someone with the mental and emotional development of a child, sometimes there is no other way to teach the lesson that actions have consequences.

      Which, if you think about it, is a pretty libertarian lesson.

  14. Funny, I was spanked twice – once for lying and once for not listening. Guess what 2 things I never do (even as an adult)?

    As for spanking causing murders, well, the 2 spankings I received taught me a very important lesson: don’t be obnoxious or you may provoke a violent reaction. ( knew the parent who spanked me adored me – parent got so pissed when I engaged in what was considered behavior beyond the pale that they lashed out.

    And spanking was not invented in the 1920s. It was part of child-rearing for over a millennia during which it was mentioned; in fact, even with spanking, mankind “developed”. The theories leading to the distaste for corporal punishment became widespread with Freud, who wanted to end – most famously – things like “bourgeois sexual repression”. And whom do Marxists really despise? Bourgeois capitalists.

    My spouse and I were raised in the ’60s and ’70s. While there were still some traditionally raised children, we noticed that the children brought up “modern style” were even worse than our traditionally raised peers. They didn’t even behave when adults were around! Can’t tell you how glad we are, now that all of our peers have “modern-raised” children, that we decided not to have any. Wouldn’t want our poor kids to have to deal with our peers’ children.

    1. Funny, I was spanked twice – once for lying and once for not listening. Guess what 2 things I never do (even as an adult)?

      Tell the truth and listen? 😉

    2. violent reaction

      I think that’s the key. Is the spanking a pattern of abuse fueled by emotion or controlled discipline? The former is probably what is correlated with violent adulthood/murder/etc. Even a spontaneous outburst of spanking due to an isolated incident does not ‘perpetuate violence’ or whatever.

  15. Corporal Punishment? We need Private Enterprise and General Liberty!

    1. What about Major Malfunction?

  16. Any doubts I may have had about spanking are gone now that I know that Chapman is opposed to it.

  17. If you hold that view, I can give you directions to Parris Island, where you can make your case directly to new graduates of boot camp or combat veterans of Iraq or Afghanistan.

    While you were there, Chapman, did you happen to inquire about the continued “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” existence of “pinning”?

  18. Americans have gradually come to the conclusion that educators can also fulfill their missions without hitting the young people in their care.

    Of course, their “missions” are continuous employment and no expectations of actual results.

  19. Thanks for the article. Civic Libertarians wish to see the end of corporal punishment and its replacement by things such as positive parenting and prison abolition.

    For info on actual people using voluntary Libertarian tools on similar and other issues worldwide, please see the non-partisan Libertarian International Organization @ http://www.Libertarian-International.org … …

    1. Would you force the end of corporal punishment upon my household?

      Please answer.

  20. Our kid gets spanked when she needs it. I use an open hand on a bare butt. Mom uses a wooden spoon. Call CPS. Whatevs.

    1. …I don’t think you should even joke about calling CPS, sarc.

  21. Everyone with kids has lost their temper on the rare occasion and felt bad about a spanking or two. Hopefully most of us learned from this and put the brakes on ‘traditional’ punishment and its link to parental instability and ignorance.

    The reality is our kids have the right to be parented in an environment that discourages acts of physical violence. Whether between parents, between siblings, or between parents and kids. It’s a fucking cop-out to justify whipping kids when so many other methods exist to educate and discipline kids.

    Impatient and inconsistent parenting leads to a Mom or Dad losing their ability to control their emotions and reacting in outright anger to bad behavior which is understandable maybe but NOT desirable.

    Your kids have the same right as you to NOT be physically assaulted under any circumstance. The only reason society ever approved assaulting kids is simply because they are viewed as lowest on the social hierarchy. They are vulnerable, have no advocate outside the parent, and represent a significant challenge to adults. A perfect storm of ‘just fucking whip the kid if he doesn’t listen’.

    Libertarians should be leaders on intelligent child-rearing. Not spewing old-school small-minded bullshit about ‘no pain- no gain’.

    1. Libertarians should be leaders on leaving people the fuck alone.

    2. I have never felt any guilt for spanking my child. Not once. Because I don’t do it in a fit of emotion. I tell the kid to do something or stop doing something, and let her know she’ll get a spanking if she doesn’t do as she is told. Then I follow up on it.

      The stepson on the other hand, that kid needs a black eye or two. But I’m not going to be the one who does though it because I’m not his father. I’ll let his asshole cop dad do that dirty work.

      1. Emotionless spanking still creates physical pain committed on an innocent child who can only break simple household rules.

        A grown man or woman that can spank their offspring without any sense of concern truly needs to look inward.

        1. Are you against compelled vaccinations too? They create physical pain for innocent children, too. If your kid doesn’t like needles and is willing to risk measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, etc rather than be pierced, do you accede to his or her wishes?

        2. Ever put your hand on a hot stove? Ever do it a second time? Why not? Because pain works, that’s why.

          1. No one held my hand down. Individual choice leading to organic pain from inanimate objects is natural. Parents are not inanimate objects.

            1. I give the kid a choice. Do this and get a spanking. Stop doing that or get a spanking. Then it’s up to the kid.

              1. You offer choice limited to that which is presented by objects with zero intelligence?

                As I stated above, parents are not inanimate objects- unless they offer a single choice called pain when a child breaks a rule.

                The level of thought going into this style of parenting is pretty shallow.

                1. Now you’re insulting me as a parent? Sure. Whatever.

                  I’ve got a kid of my own and a stepson who curses the place on weekends. The stepson I’ve never laid a hand on. And it shows. He’s a little shit in desperate need of an ass-kicking. The other one, the one that I spank when she needs it, is a great kid. She listens. She does what she is told. The stepson is an insolent little fucker, and at the rate things are going he’s not going to be welcome in my home any longer. It will break his mother’s heart, but that’s the way it is. I can’t spank the fucker, and he won’t listen, so he’s going to end up staying with his cop father who he listens to because his father will kick his ass when it needs to be kicked.

                  1. “Now you’re insulting me as a parent?”

                    You said this:

                    I give the kid a choice. Do this and get a spanking. Stop doing that or get a spanking. Then it’s up to the kid.

                    Where is the wisdom in that style of parenting? I’m being direct- not insulting.

                    1. It teaches the kid that there are consequences, and it works.

                      If I send her to her room or take away some toys, all she does is scream. She’ll scream all night and into the morning. No one will get any sleep, and she doesn’t learn a thing.

                      Spanking works.

                  2. I think you have just presented one of the major problems with corporal punishment. Instead of training the child on which behaviors get rewarded you train the child on which behaviors to avoid when the punisher is around. If corporal punishment worked as well as people think it does, the kid would always behave because the punishment delivered by the dad should have taught him to behave. But it didn’t. It only taught him to behave when there was a chance of getting an ass whoopin’

            2. Hey, parents, when you’re kid gets hit by a car, don’t worry, they’re just learning about individual choice and organic pain from inanimate objects. It’s all quite natural, don’t you see?

              1. The last time my kid ran towards the road, I took her inside and gave her a spanking. She has stayed away from the road ever since. Weird.

                1. You should be thrown in jail, heartless bastard! Or maybe we could just ban cars…for the children, of course.

          2. Just because something works doesn’t mean it is right to do so.

    3. Agreed that corporal punishment shouldn’t just be an outlet for frustration, but I think you’re painting with too broad a brush. I don’t think anyone’s arguing that you should apply schutzhund training to child rearing. But children are immature, undeveloped humans, not short adults. It’s unfair to expect a toddler to be capable of making the same quality of judgements as an adult, which is what you’re implying when you advocate for this sort of “voluntaryist” child-rearing. If you can keep kids safe and not horrid without even the notion of an ass-whoopin’ as a potential outcome of bad behavior, great. Otherwise, I would respectfully suggest that you do more harm to a child when you allow them to engage in harmful or detrimental behavior until they “figure it out for themselves” than you do when you wield the threat of a smack as a possible outcome for disobedience.

      Unless of course your child is an elementary school Thomas Aquinas, in which case I’m sure he or she has already reasoned out that eating a container of glue or poking classmates in the eyes are foolish or immoral, respectively.

      1. “Otherwise, I would respectfully suggest that you do more harm to a child when you allow them to engage in harmful or detrimental behavior until they “figure it out for themselves”

        You are suggesting the last resort for parents with toddlers who exhibit ‘detrimental’ behavior is a spanking.

        How ‘detrimental’ can a toddler actually BE in your world? I’ve raised some. They don’t rob and murder. They don’t rape. They break simple household rules purely out of immaturity. WHAT in the WORLD is anyone whipping a toddler for that REALLY warrants a violent response? Throwing milk? Slapping Daddy in the eyeballs? Pinching the cat?

        1. I won’t punish the kid for pinching the cat. I let the cat punish the kid. MEEOOUUCH!

          1. I’m very comfortable with that type of parenting.

            1. What if he kicks the cat across the room? Or what if he pokes at the neighbor’s rottweiler with a stick until he enrages it? You think if you just ‘explain’ what it means to be viciously attacked by a (to him) large and dangerous animal they’ll get it?

        2. How ‘detrimental’ can a toddler actually BE in your world?

          In my world, a toddler that doesn’t do as he is told can be dead. Is that detrimental enough?

      2. Agreed that wife beating shouldn’t just be an outlet for frustration, but I think you’re painting with too broad a brush. I don’t think anyone’s arguing that you should apply schutzhund training to spousal correction. But women are immature, undeveloped humans, not short adults. It’s unfair to expect a woman to be capable of making the same quality of judgements as an adult, which is what you’re implying when you advocate for this sort of “voluntaryist” marriage. If you can keep wives safe and not horrid without even the notion of an ass-whoopin’ as a potential outcome of bad behavior, great. Otherwise, I would respectfully suggest that you do more harm to a woman when you allow them to engage in harmful or detrimental behavior until they “figure it out for themselves” than you do when you wield the threat of a smack as a possible outcome for disobedience.

    4. Everyone with kids has lost their temper on the rare occasion and felt bad about a spanking or two.

      My 7-yr.-old didn’t get spanked and I didn’t lose my temper; I took his fishing pole away because he was a danger to himself and others. I made him sit in the truck and we had to stop fishing because he was being disrespectful and disruptive. He refused to ever go fishing again and I won’t force him to do so.

      My 5-yr.-old got spanked for the exact same behavior and, now, sets up his own rigs, baits his own hooks, and checks before casting. Also, he’s down to go fishing any time the weather’s good.

      I feel bad for not having spanked my 7 yr. old. I really feel bad for taking the first fishing rod he ever owned and the first hook he baited himself from his hands. I don’t, for one second, regret spanking my 5 yr. old and would play the situation out again exactly as it happened.

    5. disciplining children != losing your temper

      Your fallacy is uncovered. Time to choose a new login name, dude.

  22. Do We Need Corporal Punishment?

    For cops.

  23. Your kids have the same right as you to NOT be physically assaulted under any circumstance.

    Do they have the right not to be imprisoned at home on Saturday night? Deprived of candy? Not allowed to spend the money they earned? Forced to go to bed by 9pm?

    Just wondering if you’re consistently applying the NAP to children or just trying to sneak your own ideology in and call it libertarianism.

    The only reason society ever approved assaulting kids is simply because they are viewed as lowest on the social hierarchy.

    No, because kids don’t have the same mental capacity as adults and can’t understand the wisdom behind their parents’ rules, and therefore must be taught to follow them the BF Skinner way.

    1. “Do they have the right not to be imprisoned at home on Saturday night? Deprived of candy? Not allowed to spend the money they earned? Forced to go to bed by 9pm?”

      There exists no similarity between physically assaulting your child and the common sense use of grounding from privileges.

      No, because kids don’t have the same mental capacity as adults and can’t understand the wisdom behind their parents’ rules, and therefore must be taught to follow them the BF Skinner way.”

      The fact that kids don’t have the same mental maturity as their parents is exactly why parents should be training them in a way that comports to a society that can operate without resorting to physical aggression.

      1. First off, spanking isn’t aggession, it’s retribution. And every “society” will have to employ retribution from time to time, because conflict in human interactions is inevitable.

        Secondly, why are you so hung up on the “physical” part? Why is that form of negative consequence so specifically unsavory? We’re not talking about murder or permanent injury, here. (Serious question)

      2. I love how these short ostensibly reasoned responses are actually packed full of strawmen, a false dichotomy, and begging the question. It’s like logic 101 all over again. And he/she is all non-self-conscious about it! To whit:

        “There exists no similarity between physically assaulting your child and the common sense use of grounding from privileges.”

        One alternative (of the assumed only two) is not merely tantamount to assault, it IS assault. The other? Why it’s “common sense”! Why is there no similarity? Because Agile Cyborg said so apparently.

        In the end, I thank Agile Cyborg for being the person that dragged down the curve enough to make sure I could skate by and get B+s.

      3. the common sense use of grounding from privileges.

        So freedom of movement and freedom of speech is a privilege to libertarians, now?

        Fascinating.

      4. “There exists no similarity between physically assaulting your child and the common sense use of grounding from privileges.”

        You’re just making crap up now. Why is imprisonment okay but corporal punishment is not? If you’re serious about applying NAP to the parent-child relationship for some reason—which is stupid for all of the reasons that have been noted by others—then at least be consistent.

  24. I understand the icky feeling some libertarians (and especially ancaps) get about corporal punishment. It’s literally the use of force to compel behavior, and sure as hell looks like aggression. But unless you operate under the assumption that children are really just short adults, you can’t grant children the freedoms adults have since you can’t hold them accountable for the use of those freedoms in the same way. A 10 year old child just doesn’t have the sample size of life experience to make good judgements, and it would be foolish and unfair to have that expectation. Using physical force as one of many tools to guide a child towards making good, self-beneficial judgements and away from making bad, self-detrimental judgements is hardly a net infringement on liberty.

    Kickin’ the shit out of your kids because you had a bad day at work or inflicting serious harm because they got a little lippy is abuse, no argument there. Swatting kids on the butt because they keep running into the street–or because they behave like little shits in any of the numerous ways children tend to do–isn’t abuse, it’s parenting. While I would love to have a 3 year old with whom I can engage in a rigorous philosophical discussion on why you shouldn’t throw the cats or punch mom in the face and have that be enough, I expect that “because I said so, and don’t make me tell you again” might have to suffice until he/she gets a little older.

    1. You whipping your 3-year old for ‘punching mom in the face’ changes nothing.

      Natural maturity in light of common sense family rules over time is what turns that temperamental 3-year old into a more patient and less punchy 11 year-old.

      You are fooling yourself if you think committing violence on a 3-year old accomplished anything other than a temporarily broken spirit.

      1. I think you are unwilling to accept that there can be a difference between corporal punishment and abusive assault.

        Understandable, since both have a range of intensity, and may have superficially similar forms. And, one is all too often claimed as an excuse for the other.

        But your inability to make the distinction is to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

        1. “But your inability to make the distinction is to throw the baby out with the bathwater”

          The distinction is so narrow as to be practically nonexistent in my world of non-aggression so, yeah, I’m very comfortable tossing the spanking/whipping of kids out right along with abusive assault.

          I have two great kids who behave rather well. I don’t spank them at all. No physical abuse necessary whatsoever to produce decent kids.

          1. A whack or two on the butt is not “physical abuse.” It is a means of getting the kid’s attention. And it works.

            1. You aren’t ‘directly’ abusing your child when you spank it with your hand on its bare butt.

              You are probably a decent parent. You are definitely a good person.

              However, I would call you and your wife with her wooden spoon ‘indirect’ abusers of your young.

              No one needs to go to jail or suffer any sort of state-invasion. It isn’t anyone’s business, particularly, and your children will probably grow up great people just like you to spank another set of toddlers who will repeat the cycle.

              Fortunately, my wife and I who were handily spanked/whipped and likely abused decided to end the cycle of physically assaulting our kids. Our kids are turning out great. No behavioral issues. They are respectful and loving.

              No violence necessary.

              1. Our kids are turning out great. No behavioral issues

                Said every parent ever. No offense, but parents aren’t the best judges of their own children’s behavior (or lack there of). I’ve seen some the most ill bahaved little shits in the world with parents who thought they were “perfect little angels who would never hurt a fly.”

                1. “Said every parent ever.”

                  Yeah, this is probably the kid screaming in the restaurant while mommy meekly pleads for them to calm down.

                2. Said every parent ever.

                  Not every parent, there are plenty around freely admitting that their kids need a spanking (and maybe worse).

          2. I have two great kids who behave rather well. I don’t spank them at all.

            And I am positive that your experience is representative of parenting as a whole.

            /sarc

      2. You whipping your 3-year old for ‘punching mom in the face’ changes nothing.

        You seem to know an awful lot about how other people’s families work, Agile.

  25. Indeed that is like some very cool stuff.

    http://www.Ano-Web.tk

  26. Do We Need Corporal Punishment?

    I don’t know about we, but my kids do on very rare occasions, yes.

  27. “Spanking teaches that it’s morally correct to use violence to correct misbehavior,” Straus explained.

    But it *is* morally correct to use violence to correct misbehavior. It’s how we corrected the invasion of Poland and France. (I’m not saying that childish misbehavior is the same thing as military aggression; I’m just pointing out that Straus’s categorical statement is ridiculous on its face.)

    1. “You know who else got away with misbehavior until he had become wild and ungovernable, requiring the authorities to come in and deal with him?”

    2. “I’m not saying that childish misbehavior is the same thing as military aggression I’m just pointing out that Straus’s categorical statement is ridiculous on its face.)”

      You just used military intervention as an example of how pain ‘corrects’ in a conversation about spanking. Your position is far more ridiculous on its face.

      1. The “conversation” may be about spanking, but Straus made a statement that applies to a lot more than that. It was perfectly appropriate to call him out on his ridiculously broad claim.

        1. The fact that humanity has been largely violent for centuries is not a broad claim when one considers how humanity punishes its young.

          1. You imply that wars are caused by spanking and yet we’re the shallow, unthinking ones. Right.

    3. Going for the Godwin in a spanking debate.

      That’s a paddlin’.

      1. Nice

    4. I think it would also be right to use violence to correct misbehavior if you, for example, see someone getting mugged on the street. It would be absolutley morally correct to step in and kick the would be mugger’s ass. By all means, call the police too, and make every effort to avoid violence if possible (most criminals will run once they realize there’s a witness who’s called the cops) but if they don’t take off and there’s a good chance you can stop it before the cops get there, it would be immoral not to.

      Of course, most people are too cowardly to step in and risk their own safety for a stranger’s sake.

  28. It’s refreshing to not see the usual conversation about this being the fault of progressives and liberals!

    Texas, that great bastion of libertarianism, is one of the few states that allows school administrators to hit YOUR kids.

    19 states allow kids to be hit. Of course, those are the same states….well, you know!
    http://www.businessinsider.com…..ent-2014-3

    Shame.

    I can go with allowing parents to decide at home for very limited (non-marking, etc.) corporal punishment without threat of law – but allowing other adults to whack your kids is far off the charts. BUT, I guess majority rules and states rights apply?

    Just one example of why we need big bad government and liberal NGO’s…to fight against scourges such as this.

    1. “Just one example of why we need big bad government and liberal NGO’s…to fight against scourges such as this.”

      They cannot even clean up their own violent tendencies.

      1. They cannot even clean up their own violent tendencies.

        This. Governments are responsible for the most horrific violence in history.

    2. Just one example of why we need big bad government and liberal NGO’s…to fight against scourges such as this.

      In other words, somebody, somewhere is not adhering to the accepted orthodoxy and must be stopped!

      You’re just a bunch of fucking puritans, but too stupid to recognize it or too mendacious to admit it.

    3. Tell that to the Pelletiers, asshole.

    4. Texas, that great bastion of libertarianism, is one of the few states that allows school administrators to hit YOUR kids

      Fisst of all, I doubt very many people here believe TX to be a “bastion of libertarianism” with the exception of retards like you who think libertarianism = extreme conservativism.

      Secondly, TX only allows corporal punishment if the parents have signed a release form authorizing it. Perhaps you should do some basic research next time before jumping in to get your “EVUL RED STATEZ” hate on. But I guess that would require time and some actual critical thought on your part, which is clearly asking too much, right craigsanass?

    5. And what flavor of violence is employed in enforcing the no violence law? I say, or I do?

  29. There’s nothing wrong with spanking, per se, and sometimes a timeout isn’t really feasible. The main thing is that kids can tell and will react psychologically to whether you are enforcing discipline because their behavior was out of line, or taking out your frustration on them. Having the experience of both, one is terrifying because who the fuck knows what will set them off or what they will do, the other just makes you want to keep your misbehavior bounded.

  30. It is clear that the author is a gun control advocate. He obviously agrees with the statement:
    [These correlations are not accidental. “Spanking teaches that it’s morally correct to use violence to correct misbehavior,” Straus explained. Someone who absorbs this vivid lesson, confronted with objectionable conduct, is more likely to resort to force to stop the conduct.]
    Any freedom advocate would add to this: Yes, that is the point when you are holding a gun in self defence. Without this lesson, you may be unable to take action to protect yourself or your loved ones.

    1. What the hell is ‘objectionable conduct’ and why does it require a gun? Guns are used to kill when you face the threat of death. The threat of death is not merely ‘objectionable conduct’.

      Resorting to aggression always in the face of ‘misbehavior’ is base and unintelligent. This forms the basis of weak civilizations and has nothing to do with gun rights.

      Raising kids to avoid using violence at all costs should be part and parcel of gun rights.

      1. If you avoid violence at ALL COST, what purpose would you have for a gun?

  31. The fact that the carefully selected and trained DIs at Parris Island can successfully discipline Marine recruits without corporal punishment doesn’t say anything about whether a no-spanking rule, applied to *all* parents, would be equally successful. Or maybe Chapman thinks that there should be a rigorous selection process for parents, similar to the one you have to pass through if you want to be a Marine DI?

    1. Concur, he broke the analogy. You could just as easily form the conclusion that yelling at your kids constantly–whilst not laying a finger on them–is the right wayt to go as well.

  32. “One-third of parents even strike infants.”

    You’re goddamn right, they do. If the choice is between my 8 month old son repeatedly crawling over to the power socket and trying to electrocute himself and smacking him on the back of his hand and moving him away, I know which one I’m choosing. The kid’s really smart too. I had tried picking him up and moving him away multiple times and he kept going back. It took about 2 hand slaps for him to figure out not to do that anymore. I’m pretty sure he’s been more damaged emotionally by the one time I yelled at him in anger than by physical corrections for disobedience.

  33. So, if spanking teaches kids that its acceptable to use violence when they disagree with someone, does grounding and time out teach them that its ok to take away another persons freedom? Does lecturing teach kids to hold someone hostage and talk to them until they’re blue in the face?

    Also, the anti-spanking advocates seem to be making contrary claims. 1) Kids are intelligent enough to be dealt with like adults. 2) Kids are too dumb to distinguish the permissible actions of an authority from their permissible actions with other kids.

  34. Adrian Peterson was most likely acting on that view when he whipped his 4-year-old son with a tree branch,

    OK, I keep seeing this, and I have to point out one important thing: a “switch” is NOT a fucking tree branch. It’s a long thin twig, at best. When people see/ hear “tree branch” they typically think of something like big thick oak branch or something, and that’s not the case here. If I didn’t know better (HAHA) I’d think that the media keeps getting this wrong on purpose.

    leaving the boy riddled with bloody welts.

    I saw picures of these “welts” on one web site and they looked more like “scratches” to me. But again, using terms “tree branch” and “welt” produces a more vivid negative impression and emotional response in people, which I’m pretty sure is the intention.

    1. OK, I keep seeing this, and I have to point out one important thing: a “switch” is NOT a fucking tree branch.

      I agree. I tell people I got switched when I was little and they act like I was forced to eat glass and gargle paint thinner.

      When I tell them that the worst part was going out to the orchard to pick my own switch, their tune changes A LOT.

      1. Been there and did that. I still think the best answer is to bring back a club.

    2. Absolutely agree. The “welts” were less severe than many injuries a child that age experiences in normal play. A skinned knee would have been 20 times worse! My bet is that ALL physical trace of the switching was gone within 4 days.

      This is the press making a mountain out of a fart.

  35. How many more Marines kill themselves today? We contain violence. Learning the appropriate ways and times to express our nature is certainly a better goal than subverting and internalizing it. It’s coming out *somewhere* until it’s no longer in our DNA.

  36. I was spanked as a child and have chosen not to do the same to my son. There are resources easily available that provide better solutions to spanking.

    That said, if others choose to do it I don’t have a problem with it provided that it is done in a disciplined fashion with no lasting marks. We’ve all see the mom/dad who loses control and whacks their kid. That kid isn’t learning anything other than “it’s OK to hit people when you lose control”.

  37. Of course there’s also the Four Leaf Tayback philosophy on spanking: “Spanking a child turns him into a snot. Fear, that’s what makes him a man. I know a place where a man’s worth is measured by the ears hanging off his dog tags. The real hardcore shit! You wanna [raise your kids] right? That’s where you take your pansy ass [children].”

  38. Do we need it? Probably not. Is it effective? Probably not.

    Does that mean government should throw drag parents who spank their children into court? No.

    1. Do we need it? That depends…

      Is it effective? That depends…

      Should we rely on ‘top men’ for these answers?
      No.

      If the ‘top men’ give us these answers, should we force others to accept them against their will and at all costs?
      No.

  39. You think Marine Corps boot camp is tough? In the old days it was much tougher. Drill instructors often corrected recruits by kicking them, punching them or hitting them with sticks.

    You mean back in the “old days” of 2004? Or did I step through some sort of inter-dimensional gateway on my way to MCRD San Diego?

    (Yes, they had to hide it, and they were investigated, but it still happened.)

    Eventually, the Marine Corps learned it could accomplish that urgent, difficult goal without physically abusing them.

    That depends on your definition of “abuse”. If you mean that they aren’t allowed to hit the “recruits” anymore (let’s ignore that they do), they still abuse them. They just make the recruits do it to themselves.

    What corporal punishment often produces, as it allegedly did in the Peterson case, is undeniable abuse?which often originates in an attempt to discipline a child and then escalates.

    So, most all punishment of children prior to the 1950s is “undeniable abuse”? I deny it!

    More than 100 studies, he said, establish that it increases the likelihood that recipients will engage in violence as children and as adults.

    Apparently, correlation is causation…

    Spanking teaches that it’s morally correct to use violence to correct misbehavior

    Wait, but it doesn’t necessarily violate NAP. So how is this a libertarian issue?

  40. It’s also true that those who write online pieces publish more factually-inaccurate pieces than those who do not publish on-line pieces.

    Correlation? Or cause-and-effect?

    This piece is pure BS. Marines are Marines because they WANT to be Marines. Their goals are in synch with the Corps. Kids misbehave because their goals are NOT in synch with their parents’.

    When a Marine acts like a child in boot camp, she loses the support of the Corps. She’s kicked out. No more food. No more lodging. No clothing. Is that any way to treat a child, Steve?

  41. Fear is by far the biggest motivator of the human species. The fear of pain and extreme discomfort, even more so. As I, or anyone who was spanked as a child, can attest, even worse than the spanking was the anticipation, the anxiety. I’m sorry, but the fear of sitting in the corner for an hour just is not a deterrent. The fear of an ass beating is a different story.

    Our government knows fear is the greatest motivator for mankind. They use fear to take away our liberties, to encourage us to vote a certain way, etc. Hell, even organized religion depends solely on fear (believe in god or spend eternity in fire and brimstone).

    Oh, and as far as the Marine Corps giving up corporal punishment (or any of the military branches) was a huge mistake. When I was in boot camp (Navy), we had a few “Private Pyles” (from “Full Metal Jacket”)in my company. Since our DI’s could not individually punish them, they would punish the rest of us with extra exercise. The rest of us would then have to take corporal punishment into our own hands via blanket parties, etc. Nobody likes corporal punishment, but does not mean that it is not necessary. Many necessary things are unpleasant.

  42. I for one thought that being grounded ( not able to leave the property ) for punishment was silly. I just left when I wanted to and when grounded for more weeks just left when I wanted to.

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