The American Psychological Association recently made official its pre-existing opposition to hitting children, colloquially known as "spanking", as a form of discipline. This is a long overdue move considering that the adverse affects of spanking have been known for some time and this institution is kind of a big deal in the world of psychological stuff, but perhaps also a futile move because people will believe what they want to believe regardless. The more experts reach a consensus on something, the deeper the conspiracy runs, am I right? The science is settled on vaccines and evolution, but that hasn't stopped nobodies with no credentials from fabricating asinine debates that shouldn't exist. And the same is true here.
A few months ago, some Facebook page I forget and don't care the name of shared a story about a father who got arrested for hitting his daughter too hard. I said spanking should be illegal (which it is in at least thirty countries, but I meant in the United States) and posted the most recent study I was aware of. Exactly twenty parents responded to mock me with brilliant retorts like "You are completely wrong!" and "Pure baloney!" and "Sounds like you should have been spanked!" I mean, I don't know for a fact that they were all parents - unlike some of the creepy people I argue with, I have no desire to stalk people's profiles for things to use against them - but it seems more than likely, and my heart breaks for all children who have the misfortune of being born to or adopted by such imbeciles. It really is amazing how defensive so-called adults can get about what they think is their God-given right to hit children. You'd think I had threatened to take away their guns. I suppose that when their children develop mental health issues, they'll just blame vaccines.
The closest thing to an intelligent response - and I'm not saying it was an intelligent response, because it wasn't, but it was closer than any of the others, which isn't saying much at all - was some guy calmly explaining that he doesn't trust science because he thinks that scientists just choose what they want to believe and cherry-pick evidence to support it. First of all, it would be nice if we could stop everyone who claims to not trust science from reaping the benefits of it and see how quickly they change their tune. Second, this is a logical fallacy that does nothing to address the data. Third, it's absurdly hypocritical because what he accused scientists of doing is exactly what he and all proponents of spanking do. I mean, you can't make this stuff up. They start with their conclusion that hitting children is wholesome, beneficial and what have you, and once they've made up their minds no amount of actual facts matters. They cherry-pick the fact that they were spanked and they think they turned out fine. Frankly, the vast majority of people who say "I turned out fine" are the kind of people whom I would rather die than turn out like.
Another stupid and fallacious comment I saw recently: "If spanking doesn't work, why has the prison population skyrocketed since the 1970s?" Gee, I don't know. It couldn't possibly have anything at all to do with Richard Nixon's war on hippies and black people, I mean drugs. That would just be silly.
Also, something about how the APA is a "liberal" institution and can't be trusted because of their stance on transgenderism. Okay, sure, they're not infallible, and the labels and diagnoses we put on all these mental things are somewhat subjective and arbitrary and subject to change, but this is a slightly bigger deal than whether or not something is classified as a disorder. This is a decision based on the information that scientists have gathered by studying how spanked children and non-spanked children turn out over the course of their lifetimes. Unlike Andrew Wakefield, these are legitimate scientists doing legitimate studies. They don't make up their own facts. And frankly, it's just kind of a no-brainer that hitting someone much smaller than you doesn't tend to fill them with positive feelings or valuable life lessons, but that's none of my business.
Okay, so I should have waited longer before responding to these respondents, and taken the time to desensitize myself to these parents' soul-destroying level of stupidity, so that I wouldn't succumb to the temptation of telling them exactly what I thought of them. Barring that, I should have at least removed the phrase "take your heads out of your asses for a few minutes" from my explanation of why their asinine responses were deficient and made me lose brain cells. But I didn't. I'm working inconsistently and half-heartedly on being a nice person when I don't feel like it, but I'm still very deficient in that area and my motivation was kind of obliterated by the parasite who sucked more than five thousand dollars from me in two months and has paid back thirty cents in five months. If I had been mean to her in high school like everyone else, she wouldn't have asked me for anything in the first place, or if I had told her what she could go do instead of giving her any, she wouldn't have kept asking, right? Why would I want to ever be nice to anyone again? Um. Off-topic. Sorry.
Dear all parents of the United States and wherever else still has this problem,
You don't know everything. And that's okay. Nobody does and nobody expects you to. And for the most part, I would agree that your parenting tactics and whatever permanent psychological damage you inflict on your children are none of my business. Heck, you're even well within your rights to let them die from preventable diseases because you hate autistic people and worship one discredited doctor with one fraudulent study. Okay, that was sarcasm again. I can't help it. To reiterate the actual point: you don't know everything and that's not an accusation, just a fact.
However, if - and I realize I'm not referring to all of you here - you pretend that becoming a parent somehow magically downloads God's knowledge into your brain, that you're smarter than doctors and scientists in fields where you have approximately zero knowledge or experience, and that what you for some unclear and unhealthy reason desperately want to be true trumps actual observable facts, you shoot your credibility in the head and run it over with a steamroller. You broadcast to the world that you're a moron and proud of it. And your child(ren) suffer(s) the consequences.
Your opinions are not sacred because of your parenthood. They are not entitled to respect or deference just because they exist. They are not God's law just because your parents or grandparents held them too. They can be and sometimes are wrong. If you're an adult, you should be able to acknowledge this, change them, and move on with greater wisdom. You should be able to acknowledge and ignore your own confirmation bias instead of pretending that scientists and/or liberals are the only people who have it. Thinking is scary, yes, but you get used to it.
And while I'm at it, I'd like to apply this to politics as well. Several of my political opinions may be wrong, but I'm honest and willing to change them based on evidence. I don't hold one side of the spectrum to an impossible standard and ignore the other's deficiencies. If more Americans were honest like this, maybe our country wouldn't be in the proverbial toilet. I honestly believe that the two-party system is the biggest problem in our government today. George Washington, for all his white maleness and slave owning, warned us about it. Did we listen? No. That was stupid of us.
"In terms of physical abuse, I have never accepted the principle of “spare the rod and spoil the child.” I will be forever grateful for a father who never laid a hand in anger upon his children. Somehow he had the wonderful talent to let them know what was expected of them and to give them encouragement in achieving it. I am persuaded that violent fathers produce violent sons. I am satisfied that such punishment in most instances does more damage than good. Children don’t need beating. They need love and encouragement. They need fathers to whom they can look with respect rather than fear. Above all, they need example." - Gordon B. Hinckley
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender male and a Latter-day Saint, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic, so you can't. Unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.