There are, undoubtedly, few phrases better used as click-bait than that one. I extend my gratitude to the gullible consumers whose eyes watered at the sight of that headline. When debates about corporal punishment occur, they occur without science and without a full grasp of what the situation is. To my logical Asperger’s mind, the consensus among the psychological community is that corporal punishment is less effective and significantly harmful. Ergo, it should cease to happen. My personal experience being the subject of it should come after the objective data and analysis of the science. Still, that’s not going to convince a lot of people.
As I have said in an earlier article, Fifty Shades of Grey‘s popularity and the resulting regular inclusion of BDSM in the pop culture has been a regular source of triggering for myself of traumatic memories, many of which were from engaging in nonconsensual BDSM as a prepubescent child with a middle-aged man. Which is, of course, what corporal punishment is. Adults engaging in a literal sex fetish with children. Without the sex, of course, but even though repeatedly touching a child’s bare anus (while causing them pain enough to scream and cry over the course of the entire session) isn’t touching their genitals if I did that nonconsensually to an adult woman, it would be a serious and violent sexual assault. Apparently, doing it to children one is related to doesn’t make it incest and pedophilia, it makes it wholesome and old-fashioned.
By the way, some political advice, accuse your opponent of pedophilia, it is a long-held political tradition. And as much as I loathe and hate bringing up these topics because of the trauma they cause me and would prefer to use objective science. I’ll do anything that works to stop it. If I do this in my little corner of the world and save a child from getting PTSD, I’ve done good work. The science is clear that positive reinforcement is more effective and is obviously more humane than negative reinforcement. Furthermore, mirror neurons and exploiting the contagiousness of emotion is a very effective tool in behavior regulation. This knowledge could be widely distributed and it should be by gynecologists whenever anyone is planning to have children.
Neither of the methods mentioned in the above paragraph are punitive or involve outright punishment, even time-out. However, while this science is out there, there is little public awareness of it and that’s a tragedy because parents all over the world, especially in the South where I live, still engage in practices that we should have made as obsolete as Smallpox. Epidemics of PTSD that for millennia undoubtedly went undiagnosed, are coming to light and a major source of it is the continuing, primitive, practice of hitting children. While there is a high degree of stress, today, at a time when the rates of corporal punishment are lower, the causes of that are many from social isolation, to economic anxiety, to being aware of one’s lacking social capital by seeing it in social media metrics.
The streets of the world are a libertarian wasteland where the institutions of science don’t reach. As mentioned in a prior article of mine. So long as this is the case those and other child-rearing methods that are more humane and effective will go unused and the effect is that, on a mass scale, people’s functionality will be lower, they’ll be less productive, they’ll be less creative, they’ll require more assistance, and, by every measure, they will reduce the all of the positive statistics society is measured by and increase all of the negative ones. If the empathy and the science cannot reach the parents, then hopefully the disgust and the greed will. In the long-term, hitting children is worse for the economy and it looks like and isn’t much different from sadistic pedophilia.
I pray that my words have effect. That some children are saved or, at least, spared significant hardship owing to my work. My personal experience enduring it was very horrible but I’m writing this foremost as someone who has studied psychology and social science, as a scientist. The people who defend corporal punishment are often those who believe in traditional values and are religious. I have those and am that. Yet, none of the traditional virtues or the morals of the scriptures implore us increase human suffering needlessly. To not have the strong hurt the weak is one of the core tenets of chivalry, at least the romanticized Victorian version and not the original medieval version although I subscribe to the Victorian version. Postmodernism and Rawls are rejections of traditional values; love, grace, and honor are the radical embracing of traditional values. This is not God versus Nietzsche. This is humanity and science versus inhumanity and ignorance.