Friday, January 7, 2011

Read this column by Ezra Levant.

It's a spanker!

"Honourable senators, I will try once again to demonstrate the need to amend the Criminal Code in order to ensure that our country shows greater respect for children and does more to reduce violence in our society."

That would be a great starter for a debate about abortion. However, this is actually the beginning of one senator's argument for repealing Section 43 of the Criminal Code which reads:

Every schoolteacher, parent or person standing in the place of a parent is justified in using force by way of correction toward a pupil or child, as the case may be, who is under his care, if the force does not exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances.

Senator Celine Hervieux-Payette asks on her website:

"What if the dark side of human nature were the result of standard child-rearing violence?
What if human nature were originally good but was corrupted by totally inappropriate child-rearing techniques?"

This is apparently the basis for her desire to repeal Section 43. Violence entered the world through "totally inappropriate child-rearing techniques". It is always fun to listen to people who say they don't believe in evil try to describe it.

If the senator really believes that there's no such thing as original sin, and that all our aggression is imprinted upon us by way of "standard child-rearing violence", then why should we be blamed, much less held criminally responsible for, "using force by way of correction"? As Mr. Levant points out in his column, if you follow this logic, then those who grow up to spank, abuse, or even murder children are just victims of all the spanking generations before them. Even their parents can't be blamed, because they were victims, too.

But what if we were never spanked ourselves? What if we never even played an aggressive sport like football? What if it was only flag football? In that case, where did we 'learn' to be violent? Hey, I know: maybe all humans, even those who escaped the permanently damaging experience of being swatted on the bum for repeatedly pulling their sisters' hair, share some kind of tendency toward sin behavior displeasing to their Scientifically Enlightened Governing Betters, simply due to their origin!  Hmmm, I'll have to think up a clinical-sounding name for that in case I ever become a politician. How about "Original Spontaneous Involuntary Negativity"?

Okay, so children aren't ever bad - they're just "boisterous", and therefore parents must never use force to correct them. (Can we even use the word 'correct' if their behavior is not 'incorrect' in the first place?) If parents are not justified in using reasonable force to correct a child, then I don't see how the state is justified in using force, such as one might experience during arrest and incarceration, to correct citizens who spank their children. The only remedy the senator mentions is "parenting education", which is scary enough, considering it would no doubt be mandatory and administered by the government. However, since we are talking about the Criminal Code, it's not unreasonable to imagine that a parent who spanks his child could end up in jail, despite the senator's assertion that

"Those who say this provision would result in the criminalization of parents or guardians for so-called "trifling" reasons are arguing in bad faith. [...] Not one of the 26 countries that have thus far banned the use of violence in child rearing has experienced this result."

Maybe she's right. We all know that no parent has ever been unjustly interfered with by the state, so why not hand over as much power as it thinks it can handle? We can't be trusted not to beat up our children - not with that juicy Section 43 loophole to slip through - so why not let Nanny State close it up? It's not like anyone will ever really be arrested for spanking, and if they are, well, they'll only be subject to some "government education". That's probably just FedSpeak for being taken to Timmy's and reasoned with "through argument" over a double double, just as you might do when your 3 year old pours milk on his little brother for the third time in as many minutes. Heaven Our Scientifically Enlightened Governing Betters forbid that "we should submit [children] to parental authority, and...control them through authority."

I agree wholeheartedly that parents do not have "ownership" of their children. As I recall, it is more often the state which is trying to slap a "Property of..." sticker on the foreheads of human beings of  every  age, and disposing of them as it sees fit.  My children, my duty to lovingly correct them in a reasonable manner, and any (often over-stepped) authority which the state legitimately possesses all come from one source. And here's a hint, senator: it isn't the government.


  1. Day-amn, Beezly, send this to the National Post!

  2. Spontaneous Involuntary Negativity---LAUGHING OUT LOUD... Loud enough to use the entire words!

  3. I'm glad you like it. It took my walnut-sized brain all day to write it.

  4. Ahhh... a real beauty, Mrs B. Perhaps my ol' Granpappy should bring his switch to the Senate. My parents stopped spanking me when I was about thirteen and sometimes, usually on bleary Sunday mornings, I think to myself, "They really shouldn't have stopped..."

  5. Kolya, if your parents hadn't spanked you, you might now be a sensitive artist (perhaps a street mime) who in his spare time volunteers to bathe unwanted kittens at the local animal shelter. But we'll never know, will we?

    Thanks for commenting.

  6. Yes, thanks for stopping by once again, Mr. Witko. I'm glad you liked the post.

  7. The senator is wrong. In New Zealand, under the gay prime minister, Helen Clark, spanking was outlawed and I know of at least one man who was sent to prison over grabbing his son's arm.

  8. I am suspicious anytime a politician argues for a change in law by insisting that the change will have no effect, and has had no effect anywhere in the world, ever!