Friday, January 19, 2007

Oh good grief

Leave it to the California legislature:

The state Legislature is about to weigh in on a question that stirs
impassioned debate among moms and dads: Should parents spank their

Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, D-Mountain View, wants to outlaw
spanking children up to 3 years old. If she succeeds, California would
become the first state in the nation to explicitly ban parents from
smacking their kids.

Making a swat on the behind a misdemeanor might seem a bit much for
some -- and the chances of the idea becoming law appear slim, at best
-- but Lieber begs to differ.

``I think it's pretty hard to argue you need to beat a child 3 years
old or younger,'' Lieber said. ``Is it OK to whip a 1-year-old or a
6-month-old or a newborn?''


Beyond the debate among child psychologists -- many of whom believe
limited spanking can be effective -- the bill is sure to face questions
over how practical it is to enforce and opposition from some
legislators who generally oppose what they consider ``nanny

``Where do you stop?'' asked Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine, who
said he personally agrees children under 3 shouldn't be spanked but has
no desire to make it the law. ``At what point are we going to say we
should pass a bill that every parent has to read a minimum of 30
minutes every night to their child? This is right along those same


Lieber conceived the idea while chatting with a family friend and legal
expert in children's issues worldwide. The friend, Thomas Nazario, said
that while banning spanking might seem like a radical step for the
United States, more than 10 European countries already do so. Sweden
was the first, in 1979.

I should have expected that this would have ties to some European standard. There was a time after the Revolution when the United States--especially in the arts, literature and music--attempted to differienate itself from Great Britain and continental Europe. Now, though, liberals from New England and California think it's "hip" and important to "be like Europe." Well I don't want to be like Europe. I want to be like America. And I don't want the government--state, local, federal or international through the United Nations--tell me how I must discipline and raise my children when the time comes. Maybe I'm the only one?

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