I don't know if I necessarily think physical punishment is always bad, but there's a big difference between slapping your kid's hand because they do something wrong and beating the pulp out of them with a switch. Besides, spanking and the like are behaviorism, and I understand that that's not usually too effective on older kids. I suppose that, not having or wanting kids, I'm not really qualified to address the matter. When you get right down to it, though, it sounds like these ultra-disciplinarians don't want kids either, but rather kid-shaped robots (but probably not like the girl on Small Wonder). While I'm not a big fan of punishment in general, I'll accept that it's sometimes necessary. I think, however, that it should be more of a last resort, at least when dealing with someone who has a sense of right and wrong. Whether you think that morality comes from God or from society, I don't think it's too radical to suggest that the basis of behavior should be whether it's right or wrong, not simply Because I Said So. Maybe there are situations when the latter would have to be invoked, especially with someone who's trying to see what they can get away with, but some of these corporal punishment advocates encourage such an attitude even when the kid hasn't done anything wrong. And that sounds rather like Looking-Glass justice to me.
`For instance, now,' [the White Queen] went on, sticking a large piece of plaster on her finger as she spoke, `there's the King's Messenger. He's in prison now, being punished: and the trial doesn't even begin till next Wednesday: and of course the crime comes last of all.'
`Suppose he never commits the crime?' said Alice.
`That would be all the better wouldn't it?' the Queen said, as she bound the plaster round her finger with a bit of ribbon.
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