Sunday, January 21, 2007


Each weeknight, I drive home from work and usually talk on my cell phone with Crystal (on my Bluetooth headset.) Earlier this week Crystal asked me if I had heard about a proposed law to ban spanking children under the age of three. I had not heard of it at the time, but I've heard a lot about it since.

This has to be one of the most outrageous laws I've ever heard of. What right does the government have to tell you how to discipline your child? How can we expect parents to be responsible for their children when the government dictates how they raise their children? As horrible as Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia were in terms of oppressive government, did either of them even stoop this low?

Personally, Crystal and I do not spank Michael, Jr. (who turns three in March) or Raymond (age 1.) But that is our decision. If we decide that we need to spank them, then again that is our decision. We have to be responsible for providing care for our children and for teaching and raising them. That is our responsibility.

Now obviously spanking can go too far. Children can be injured by parents who use excessive force to spank them. So maybe we need law to prevent that? Oh wait, we already have one. It's called assault and battery. If I spank my child and hurt him, I have broken a law. Just like if I go out and hit somebody on the street and injure them.

Obviously it's more difficult for a child to report me to the police than it is for a stranger on the street. But if I hurt my child enough that I have to take him to the hospital, doctors and nurses are already instructed to report me to the police.

There's a lot of safeguards already in place. Is it perfect? Of course not. A lot of children still get abused. But even if this ban on spanking was put in place, it's not like that would stop me from beating my children in the privacy of my own home, and obviously that's where most parental discipline occurs. It's a worthless law in terms of being enforceable, but it would catastrophic consequences for all of society. It would tell good parents, you know the ones that don't abuse their children, that they are no longer in charge of their kids. The State of California is instead. They are just there to do what The State tells them to do.

If the state passed this law, and it somehow was upheld by the courts, I would have to leave California. Maybe I would take a job with Microsoft or Amazon and move to Seattle, or maybe somewhere back east. I don't know. But there's no way I could live under a totalitarian regime that will mandate how I raise my children.

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