If you are a parent and this story does not alarm you....
It does me.
4. California - no spanking bill expected to pass?!
Submitted by: Diane Booth, <firstname.lastname@example.org> http://www.msnusers.com/FreeVincentBooth
Send this columnist a thank you note for his article in the Orange
County Register! - Diane
STEVEN GREENHUT <email@example.com>
Sr. Editorial Writer and Columnist, The Orange County Registers
If one were to devise legislation that could be termed "totalitarian,"
it would almost certainly include these elements:
1. The authorities would be granted extreme power to police what goes
on within the privacy of a person's home.
2. Citizens would be encouraged to snitch on one another to the state.
3. Officials would have wide latitude to take children from their
parents and put them under the control of the government.
4. Offenders could be forced into re-education classes.
With these elements in mind, consider a proposal from Assemblywoman
Sally Lieber, D-Mountain View, that would outlaw spanking and other
forms of corporal punishment. This legislation has generated a good
bit of heated discussion on television nationwide, but most of it has
been of the "there go those kooky Californians again" variety.
Yet there is nothing even mildly amusing about this proposal, even
though it has been reported that Lieber thought of the idea after
realizing that she has never spanked her cat. "If you never hit a cat,
you should never hit a child," she said. Of course, one typically
doesn't find oneself trying to control a temper-tantrum-throwing
calico or Siamese in the middle of Sam's Club.
And it's hard to believe that, say, mildly swatting a child on the
behind if that child is about to run out into traffic is the
equivalent of child abuse. Lieber presumably has never had a
conversation with an agitated 2-year-old, and therefore is unaware
that little tikes often behave in uncontrollable ways.
I don't advocate spanking as a rule, but it seems rather harsh to rip
a child out of a happy home and put him in some nightmare foster-care
scenario and put a parent in jail for doing something that has been
widely practiced through the history of parenting. I saw Lieber on TV,
and she refused to make any distinctions between actual abuse ï¿½
already a serious crime that should warrant punishment ï¿½and the
slightest spanking. There can be no distinctions. In her strange,
zealot's world, it's all abuse, and she will use the full force of the
state to stop it. Lieber hasn't introduced the bill yet, so all the
details aren't known. But this much is clear: It would ban the use of
corporal punishment in private homes. It would apply only to toddlers
and infants (so you're still safe spanking your adult lover in that
mirrored bedroom). The bill could imprison for a year those convicted
of spanking or of using other means to inflict pain as a form of
discipline (ear-pulling, pinching, etc.) and impose a $1,000 fine.
Lieber's office sent along a statement offering this rationale: "The
U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child through its Committee on
the Rights of the Child has called on all member states to ban
corporal punishment and institute education programs on positive
discipline. ... The author [of a U.N. report]... says that calling for
an end to all corporal punishment is challenging, but 'children's
rights to life, survival, development, dignity and physical integrity
do not stop at the door of the family home.'"
Most U.N. member states don't have a constitution designed to protect
individual liberties or restrict the authorities at the doorstep of
private homes. It's a little creepy to base a law so directly on
something from the United Nations rather than from American traditions
Lieber also said in news reports that she hopes the law will lead to
people coming up to strangers spanking their kids in public places and
saying, "That's against the law in California." The Sacramento County
sheriff told the Bee such encounters could be dangerous. So the author
is advocating that people go up to each other and correct their
behavior, or, presumably, call the authorities to do it for them.
... Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, the Irvine Republican who has taken a
leading role in opposing the bill, thinks Lieber probably has enough
votes for passage, given the Democratic dominance in the
Legislature. The governor has sounded a supportive note on the intent
of the bill, although he did mention a potential problem with how it
might be enforced. Given how far to the left he has drifted, it's a
good guess that he might ultimately sign it.
Have Californians reached the point where they are willing to let the
state intervene this deeply into their family lives? If the answer is
yes, then we at least ought to dispense with the fiction that we live
in a relatively free society.