Friday, June 20, 2014

A Comment on "Libertarian Socialist" Moyer

As a follow up to It's Here: Libertarian-Socialism, Dr. Kay Warren emails:
Will Moyers is lacking what might also be called "common sense".  There is a case to be made where mild corporal correction to a child is not only appropriate; it might be critical.  The classic case being a child nearing an electrical outlet who is too young to understand language.  Besides surviving this single solitary instance of a quick whack (only necessary once since it is the exception and not the norm) I do remember the lesson implied at less than 2 years of age.  To elevate this incident to the level of abuse and a "human rights" issue is so ideologically pure that it has reached brittle.

Frankly I wonder if Mr. Moyers understands Libertarianism at a sufficiently deep level to understand whether he should leave it or not!

Many thanks for your varied and, well, rather frightening at times, reporting.  It’s greatly appreciated


  1. I have struggled intellectually with the issue of the NAP and kids, very personally as I have 4 young ones, and had something beyond a corporal upbringing myself that I would never inflict on my kids.

    The good doctor is right. Most parents know that trying to reason with a two year old on why it is dangerous to put their moistened finger into an electrical socket is pure folly.(although I would simply pick my child up and say 'no', and for my children that seemed to work)

    My youngest, at four years old, still has complete moments of irrationality at times where reasoning would be the equivalent of trying to throw a pebble through a brick wall.

    I've come to the place where only in the most dire of situations will I spank. I've had such situations less than 5 times for my oldest(10), just once with my 8 year old, and as of yet not had to do it with the 7 year old, and once with the 4 year old. (My 10 year old is quite willful, I love her to pieces, and have no idea where she gets that willfulness...:) )

    It could be that I've become a better parent over time, with less spankings needed(I probably have!), but I use "timeouts" until there seems to be a brief window at which the timeouts no longer work in my kids outright defiance(usually around the 4-6 year age in my kids)...and a swat on the rear seems to be the solution in that window(for me) until they understand that obeying their parents isn't optional until I deem them adults and able to take care of themselves(which is subjective and my decision, maybe it's 16, or maybe 19 or more depending on the kid).

    When you are trying to protect your kids and raise them in a manner that will make them self sufficient, productive adults of good character, it becomes imperative that you correct them when they are not exhibiting that behavior because once they get into society on their own, the corrections for such behavior are far more harsh then even a swat on the rear(if it can't be avoided).

    Even further, when my child is of such irrationality that reasoning is not an option and timeouts aren't effective, I would be remiss as a parent to let them engage in behavior that could end up in their being hurt far worse than a spanking.

    1. Would you be willing to describe situations where you thought it necessary to hit your child?

    2. Sure, here's an example that was a problem with two of my kids when they were in the three to four year old range:

      At times when unbuckling the younger ones from their car seat, they would take the opportunity to run off into the parking lot(laughing of course).

      Now most of the time, when you are "with it", you would catch and hold her before it happened.

      The problem is, when you aren't "with it"(and having four young kids in the car can put you under mental strain), there is an opportunity when you might have a mental lapse. Explaining to a three old that running into the parking lot once she's free isn't effective if she likes running away, she's not rational enough in most cases to understand.

      That's one specific example that resulted in a spank for a couple of my girls.(AFTER the incident occurred and after the warnings) Because the child is not capable of be reasoned with and the pattern of behavior requires constant vigilance to a degree that might be exceptionally difficult to a parent under certain situations, my opinion is that negative reinforcement can be an effective tool to help keep your child our of potential harm.(and I realize that there are shortcomings of the parent involved-but that doesn't change the need to keep your kid safe)

      Now, the subjective nature of the decision of how much spanking to use and why is a difficult question. I think we all know intuitively that if you hit your child routinely that it is going to be detrimental in a variety of ways, but I think the bigger question is whether the very occasional spanking(and I think it's important to specify the type of hitting as being spanking for a variety of reasons as opposed to other types of hitting) is damaging long term to a child mentally.

      I'm obviously in the camp with Dr. Warren. But I've seen research going both ways.

    3. Obviously you don't like hitting your children even once. You're a good deal bigger than your children. Why do you need to hit them? They're innocent, having fun and laughing, as you say.
      But you're angry, at them, or at yourself? In any case they pay for your mental lapse. And I sympathize with you. But why make them pay. Why not accept that this is the way three and four year olds are, that they will grow out of it. That it will take more self reflection and mental discipline to use restraint rather than hitting to keep them safe. Though you might think three year olds aren't capable of being reasoned with especially when you're carrying them back to the car crying, you can speak kindly to them. In the moment they'll appreciate that more than a spanking.

    4. "In any case they pay for your mental lapse."
      "Why not accept that this is the way three and four year olds are, that they will grow out of it." "

      Because even in a moment of my own struggles there are two issues that take precedence:

      1. When my child is unable to be reasoned with, she needs to understand that she has to obey me in her current stage of life if I'm to keep her safe.
      2. Regardless of my struggles(and all parents have them), I'm not going to "roll the dice" on when they will understand #1 with repeated "running" into the parking lot.

      "But you're angry, at them, or at yourself?"

      I think you might be projecting, you haven't considered that there isn't anger.

      "Though you might think three year olds aren't capable of being reasoned with especially when you're carrying them back to the car crying, you can speak kindly to them. In the moment they'll appreciate that more than a spanking."

      Well, our opinion is different there, we'll just have to agree to disagree.

    5. "I think you might be projecting, you haven't considered that there isn't anger."

      I was just raising the question. In any case I wouldn't know unless you said so.
      In my case there usually was.

      "We'll have to agree to disagree"


  2. I got spanked 5-10 times as a kid (and it stung a little, but it barely even made a red mark) and each time my dad would say "this hurts me more than it hurts you". As an adult, I cannot imagine the mental trauma a parent faces when spanking is the best solution.

    There is a BIG difference between a few swats on the ass and "beating" a child, but it is none of the government's damn business unless permanent physical harm is the result.

    "No more wire hangers ever, mommy dearest!"

    1. "This hurts me more than it hurts you" strikes me as a way for the parent to absolve himself of the guilt he feels for intentionally harming his child(no matter how slight the harm) and lay it on the child: "I wouldn't be hurting if you behaved." It's adding insult to injury, in my opinion.