Friday, June 10, 2005

Banning Punishment?

Massachusetts mulls banning punishment. No, really:
A bill filed by an Arlington lawmaker and backed by more than 60 residents from communities including Waltham and Newton would make it illegal to inflict "the willful infliction of physical pain" -- including spanking -- on children under 18.
Well, all right, to be fair, punishment is defined as "the intentional infliction of physical pain as the just response to a moral crime." So, technically, this darling piece of legislation leaves the option open to abuse kids emotionally when they do bad things, leaving those internal scars we've always been told last far longer than physical ones.

Way to go! Alternatively, we can refrain from punishing kids at all and make sure they annoy others around them (here's a big thank you from me to all the neglectful parents out there not controlling your brats!) and grow up into deviants. Yeah. That's how to raise children.

Fallacy alert!
"We must recognize that corporal punishment is risky behavior thatcan lead to injury and death," Arlington's Susan Lawrence said in a written statement she gave to the Legislature's joint Judiciary Committee yesterday.
Why am I being called on to recognize something that's not true? Oops, shut up!
The measure is not about prosecuting parents for spanking but is about preventing abuse, Pollard said. In 41 percent of cases where a child is killed by parents, she said, the parents raised the defense they were using corporal punishment.
Yeah, it's too bad killing your kid isn't already illegal, since making anything illegal prevents its ever happening. Oh wait...
Spanking can cause damage to kids' spines, nerves and testes, according to a book on physical punishment Lawrence cited. Spanking can lead to emotional, social and learning problems, according to a report she referenced.
Let me just do your job for you, since you seem totally unable to deal with the task set before you. You have to prove to anyone with half a brain that making corporal punishment illegal will prevent these ill effects on children; otherwise, your bringing them up as an argument for the legislation has no basis other than as an emotional appeal to "think about the children!" In other words, this is what you must show: there is a correlation between the legality of corporal punishment and acts of punishment so frequent and/or severe as to cause serious physical and emotional problems. You must argue that those parents who, and let's stop the moral equivalence between beating and corporal punishment, beat their kids would stop doing it if corporal punishment were illegal. Wait, isn't beating your kids already illegal? Hey, problem solved!

Way to be a fallacy-spouting sack of hot air. I wish there were a difficult-to-refute argument somewhere in there, so that I might actually have to cause my brain to make some effort.


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