A Canadian (Liberal Party) senator, Celine Hervieux-Payette, is urging the Canadian government to make spanking, even the most innocuous swat on the backside, a criminal offence.
She would repeal Criminal Code section 43, which protects parents and teachers “using force by way of correction toward a pupil or child,” as long as that force is “reasonable under the circumstances.”
Anti-spanking radicals challenged that law all the way to the Supreme Court. But in 2004 that court upheld its constitutionality. Child abuse remains criminal, of course, but spanking is fine as long as it is a “genuine effort to educate the child, poses no reasonable risk of harm that is more than transitory and trifling, and is reasonable under the circumstances.”
Ms Hervieux-Payette is not satisfied with the current law, however. She wants to rid the world (or Canada, at least) of all violence. That’s a wonderful goal, but her proposed solution (and the logic behind it) is ludicrous at best. Read her speech.
She believes spanking is the root cause of all violence, and only by outlawing spanking (and substituting government-mandated parenting courses for offenders) will society be able (eventually) to eradicate violence. Hope, like intrusive government intervention, springs eternal.
One must ask (and Senator Hervieux-Payette does) where did spanking originate? Her answer: religion. She believes in humanity’s innate goodness, and repudiates Judeo-Christian teaching about original sin (that man has a propensity toward evil).
Science has recommended an about-face. Contrary to the postulations of the Church, it is becoming increasingly clear that aggression is not innate in man. According to animal behaviourist John Paul Scott, Professor Emeritus at Bowling Green State University:
All of our present data indicate that fighting behaviour among higher mammals, including man, originates in external stimulation and that there is no evidence of spontaneous internal stimulation.
According to this logic, no hominid civilization which pre-existed Christianity could have been capable of any form of unprovoked aggression. In other words, the whole cavemen bashing each other with clubs thing is a myth, because no-one could have started the fight… but I digress.
OK, so spanking is the root cause of violence; religion (Christianity) is the root cause of spanking, but who or what is the root cause of religion? Now the senator’s logic hits a snag. Who made up the rules of the Church? (The anti-religious senator dare not suggest they came directly from God.)
Religion was created by men, of course—power-hungry, violence-loving men! Wait, I’m confused. According to the senator, men are innately good. Who taught them to be violent and power hungry in the first place? Surely not the gentle apes from which we evolved.
Perhaps the senator should leave parenting to parents, and go take some classes in anthropology, history, philosophy…and logic.