38 votes

DP Opinion poll on spanking.

I was commenting back and forth with another member about whether or not spanking a child was right or wrong. That other member happens to be from Sweden where spanking was made illegal back in 1979.

To clarify I am not asking if it is OK to abuse a child, such as a right hook to the face, or putting cigarettes out on them, but an open handed swat to the butt in rare circumstances, while keeping your cool, and with a measured amount of force. It happens to be legal where I live, (which is not what I use as a judgement of right and wrong).

The other member cited the non-aggression principal at one point, which I do not think applies fully to someone that is unable to understand their own best interests. We don't let 5 year old kids cast votes, nor do we cut them loose to live on the streets. Without the use of force, many kids would not ever bathe. Adults shouldn't be subjected to a nanny state, but I think kids should be, according to their maturity level/age.

So I am curious about everyone's opinion. If your opinion is one of a parent with practical knowledge of child rearing, as opposed to a single person's theoretical knowledge, I am curious about that too. If you never spank, what are your alternative disciplinary actions? I know my son would exercise civil disobedience if I tried to put his nose in a corner, or if I tried to imprison him in his room for a timeout.

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It's still violence

As someone who was harshly spanked, switched and belted (borderline abused), I find the practice abhorrent. Corporal punishment I believe has more to do with the parent's inability to control their emotions than it does the child receiving a correction.

I know the type of punishment I received is not the type you're talking about, but if we want to be ideologically consistent it's still violence. In a moment of anger it's pretty easy to go from an open handed swat to the bottom, to pulling the hair while you beat them with a belt until you feel better about them ruining your brand new xyz.

There are people out there who know a lot more about this subject who could offer you much better alternatives to spanking.

Here is one of them.

Edit* Someone else already embedded this video. I'll just leave the link here because I think it's worthwhile.

You were borderline abused....

....and you oppose spanking, shocker! Nobody is arguing that we should be borderline abusing our children. My uncle died of alcohol poisoning therefor I don't think you should be allowed to have a glass of wine with your dinner, makes perfect sense.

Free market capitalism isn't right for America because it works better. It's right because it's free (and it works better).

Too Bad

Too bad my back story is distracting you and other readers from my point. The exposition was only to give you a frame of reference for my biases.

Your point, if I understand correctly, is that personal experience is irrelevant when it comes to deciding what others should do in their own lives. We can disagree on this point. If your uncle truly died from alcohol poisoning, I would be shocked if you didn't try to warn people about the dangers of alcohol.

Otherwise your point was it was the excess of the alcohol which killed him, and that my personal experience was only troublesome because of the excess. In this, I would generally agree that excess of anything is a bad idea.

But overall your example is terrible because indeed alcohol is the 3rd leading cause of preventable death each year. It's dangerous and you probably ought to be convincing others to avoid it.

At the end of my original opinion I listed a link to a video by Stefan Molyneux who has devoted a lot of study to spanking. I enjoy his videos because he researches them well and posts links to where he found his information. i.e. http://www.themoneytimes.com/node/85300

I assert that spanking is bad for children. Not just from personal experience but actual studies that have been done. Now you can certainly try to argue that it's helpful to strike a child, on the bottom, with an open hand but all the evidence I have seen suggest the opposite.

Imagine the hypocrisy of a child hitting another child and then a parent hitting that child hitting saying that "hitting is bad".

I'm curious snakepit22 why you support hitting children? Why do you defend this horrible practice? If possible try to use examples that actually have something to do with what we're talking about.

If you can point me to any studies or research done that suggests that spanking (not abuse)is good for children I'd be happy to review it.

That was my point

Which is why I said 'I know the type of punishment I received is not the type you're talking about, but if we want to be ideologically consistent it's still violence'.

By the way, did you actually watch the video I referenced? If so, what did you think?

No Spanking, No Circumcision

We advocate the NAP not because of what it solves, but because it is immoral to initiate aggression.

Peaceful parenting is a great way to promote a more peaceful world. Stefan Molyneux discusses this issue at length.

"Bipartisan: both parties acting in concert to put both of their hands in your pocket."-Rothbard

Ya'll are looking for Utopia.

Some of you using the NAP are assuming it solves everything. Nature isn't perfect and some issues have no right answer. The nature of birth and your place in your child's life prevent the NAP from being a factor when your child is young.
Another example of nature preventing a correct answer is abortion. If a pregnant woman was being unhealthy (smoking, drinking, doing drugs, etc.) and we knew these behaviors could kill a child, do we now use force on the woman to change her habits knowing full well that we would cite the NAP when defending anyone else's right to smoke, drink, and do drugs?
I'm sure some of you would say it is our right to "protect" that baby, but where do you draw the line? What if the mother is just eating too much McDonalds?
The fact that a child grows inside another human being gives that human certain privileges that the NAP just can't account for.
Nature is not libertarian. We can advance towards that ideal as much as logically possible, but the very nature of our beginnings will prevent the NAP from being universal law.

Free market capitalism isn't right for America because it works better. It's right because it's free (and it works better).

So, not hitting children

Is an unattainable Utopia? Once again, do you understand that children have already been raised without being hit? Do you understand that children are being raised right now without being hit? Are you aware that there are other countries that have actually outlawed the practice entirely, where the majority of parents do not hit? Someone is in fact denying reality, and they're not on my side of the argument.

Just a comment...

A comment on your many times repeated argument that "children have already been raised without being hit." The comment is:

The fact that children have been "raised" without being hit proves nothing, or at least very little. The question is, what kind of humans have they become? We can, of course, have different opinions on that, but what you would really need to make your point is someone to put forward as an example who was raised without being hit, and *turned out* superior to anyone else. I don't think you have such an example. Ron Paul? (That would be a pretty good example of someone who seems to be a step above the rest of humanity, but most likely he was not raised without being hit...and he also turned out to be a (sort of) politician, so maybe that could be blamed on his being hit, but....)

Anyway, it's clear that the trend has been toward less corporal punishment. Other trends have been less competence, less independence, less value of liberty. Are these related? You would say "no," but we have no conclusive evidence either way, at least not from you.

Calm down there trick dawg.

All I'm saying (and I've said this multiple times in this discussion) is that the NAP, or any other "force is wrong" arguments aren't the best way to argue against spanking. So many people on here want to extend the libertarian theme to every single aspect of life and it just doesn't work that way. There are plenty of arguments against spanking that are perfectly valid, but the one where you treat a child like it is an adult capable of entering into a voluntary contract for purposes of giving it rights under the non-aggression principle, well that just isn't valid. Babies, toddlers, and little kids cannot exist as regular adults. They can't be treated as individuals who are free from being ruled by another adult.
That doesn't mean you have to spank them, but it does mean that the non-aggression principle just isn't a good argument against spanking.

Free market capitalism isn't right for America because it works better. It's right because it's free (and it works better).

Does the non aggression principle apply to

people with diminished mental capacity? In other words, can you violate the non aggression principle with the elderly with dementia in nursing homes? Or is it perfectly fine to cane them if they try to wander off? If you cannot strike an elderly person that does not have the full rights of a mentally sound adult, you cannot justify striking a child using the argument that they can't understand reason and consequences.

It's not much about Utopia

It's not much about Utopia really.

Violence feeds violence.

I don't see how anyone can defend spanking of kids at any age, and at the same time claim they are right to life and pro freedom.

Or rage against the liberals coming to take our guns, that we need to protect ourselves against criminals, who most likely happen to be criminals just because of misguided childhoods where the majority got spanked by their parents, who were not stable enough to handle what raising a kid actually means.

If anyone wants to make a real difference in this world, then start to take care of our kids properly.

Setting a good example is something we can all agree a parent should do. If spanking is part of your view of that, you are stuck in the loop just because your parents did it to you.

Sad, really sad.

Spanking equals criminals?

Your generalization that the majority of criminals are that way because they got spanked as a part of a misguided childhood is ridiculous and based on no evidence what so ever. Neglect, broken homes, abuse, sure, I could see those being scientifically studied and proven to have played a part in the creation of a criminal, but to suggest that spanking as a part of child rearing turns kids into criminals.....well, I just don't think you would ever find any scientific evidence that supports that wild guess you've made.

Free market capitalism isn't right for America because it works better. It's right because it's free (and it works better).

Violence, in a parental

Violence, in a parental relationship, implies harm. Letting your kid run in the street when grabbing him and smacking his butt will prevent it... is not harm, nor violence. It is force, yes, but it is help, and it teaches the child to apply self discipline in the future, in order to avoid the next whap. Nothing could be better for the child in the long run to develop self discipline in order to avoid the consequences of bad behavior and thoughtlessness.

A child might not understand or care about the consequences of not being obedient, but will indeed understand the need to avoid a spanking, and so comport to good parental instruction.

If involuntary physical contact, regardless of harm, is impermissible, then you couldn't touch the child at all.

You guys are really so overboard and out to sea in some of your views that you never will and never should have a place at the table of the reality-based community.

You belong with the neocons and liberals imo.

We're not just talking about involuntary physical contact

We're talking about hitting a child, with the intent to inflict pain and modify behavior. If a child runs into the street, grabbing him prevents it. Hitting him does not. Grabbing him helps protect him from harm, hitting him does not.

Grabbing him will deliver him for the moment, but it won't stop

him from trying again when you are not present to save his life. It is certainly not loving to merely rescue without 'modifying his behavior', preventing future danger.

Christians should not be warmongers! http://www.lewrockwell.com/vance/vance87.html

If he does not have the mental capacity

To understand the consequences of running into the street, it is your responsibility to physically bar him from running into the street. If you fail to do so, then that is YOUR failure as a parent. Hitting the child for your mistakes is rather backwards.

If he DOES have the mental capacity to understand the consequences of running into the street, then there should be no problem having a discussion about the danger and how to navigate his environment safely. Neither situation warrants hitting kids.


.....the point someone would be making if they said they spanked their kid for running into the street is to prevent them from doing it again later, not to travel back in time and prevent it from happening.
From your comment, I assume you are one of those parents who keeps your kid on a leash? Because that is the only way you are going to always be there to grab them and prevent them from doing something dangerous. For the rest of us who don't treat our children like caged animals, we have to think of other ways to modify future behavior, you know other than just being within arms reach of them every waking moment of the day.
I guess you are find with chaining your kid up, which makes me wonder what is so libertarian about physically restraining them?
Why are you okay with using force on them to control where they go in the present, but not using force to affect where they go in the future?

Free market capitalism isn't right for America because it works better. It's right because it's free (and it works better).

LOL, it would be so horrid

To treat a child like a caged animal. Its much better to treat them like BEATEN animals, apparently.

You guys said it all.

You guys said it all. Although my Father is gone and I miss him, I remember many of those times he had to correct me and make me fear a slap. Even then, I still did some crazy stuff. Took risks. Thrre might even have been a few times he wasn't 100% perfect and blameless. I think he deserves to be blameless, anyhow, for creating me and raising me, and dealing with my sh1t.

Family is love and overcomes even the occasional injustice. Those who would interpose law and imaginary ethics into the basic family relationship are fools. Go away! Thanks.

I was such a smart kid that by 11 years or earlier I realized, on my own, that my Father's threats could be stymied by the simple over-the-phone threat that I could report him for the rare slap. I was a child of divorce and took the occasional smack, omg!

My father told me point blank, if you dare call the police for a smack, you will be taken away and unhappy. He was right, and I never, ever even thought of actually doing so, because I knew he was just, despite any flaws. I may have been smarter but he was better and never treated me bad.

You guys are are so far off the mark of rightness you don't even realize it.

Take a N.A.P.

Spanking is clearly a violation of the non-aggression principle.

So is birthing. Forcing a baby involuntarily through the birth canal is not only violence, but arguably it is rape.

1. Baby did not initiate or agree to the physical contact.
2. Baby did not agree to be born at all, so not a contracting party.
3. Event is painful and potentially harmful.
4. All actions must be voluntary between agents.

Birth is bad. #birthisbad. Keep your birth canal off me, thanks!

hilarious! thanks!


Christians should not be warmongers! http://www.lewrockwell.com/vance/vance87.html

Welcome, sweethart

Welcome, sweethart

"Keep your birth canal off me"

I thought women were already doing that. Oh snap!

"All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind." - Khalil Gibran
"The Perfect Man has no self; the Holy Man has no merit; the Sage has no fame." - Chuang Tzu

don't downvote me, bro


"All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind." - Khalil Gibran
"The Perfect Man has no self; the Holy Man has no merit; the Sage has no fame." - Chuang Tzu

That was

reasonably funny.

Spanking doesn't work

Look at all the sociopaths around.

Are you kidding me? Parents stopped spanking en masse when

Dr. Spock hit the scene. You are now seeing the generations raised on his child-rearing methods.

It's really not all about spanking vs. non-spanking though. Read The Unwanted Generation if you want a more thorough understanding.

Christians should not be warmongers! http://www.lewrockwell.com/vance/vance87.html

Parents did not stop spanking en masse

80-90% of parents in the US admit hitting or spanking in some form. We are in no way seeing the result of peaceful or non violent parenting at the moment.

Ah, I see. We don't want to believe it,

So let's downvote without counter evidence. I meet your downvote and raise you an actual researched argument:


Question for the pro spankers:

Please explain to me how the emotional state of the parent, or the time between the offense and spanking, changes the moral nature of the parent's violence from assault/abuse to virtue.