What are Principles For?

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“One Improved Unit” is an original column appearing sporadically at Everything-Voluntary.com, by the founder and editor Skyler J. Collins. Archived columns can be found here. OIU-only RSS feed available here.

So much has changed in my life since I became an adult all those many years ago, I’ve had a lot of experience with the concept of “principles.” I thought I’d put down my thoughts on what principles are and what they’re for. Here goes.

Principles

Principles are “fundamental truths or propositions that serve as a foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.” Natural laws, like the law of gravity (which we still don’t understand), are a type of principle. We observe and experiment to determine what these principles are and how they effect other things. They are fundamental truths of our universe. There are other types of principles. When someone decides to live according to a set of propositions, such as “it is wrong to steal” or “it is wrong to deceive,” those are also a type of principle.

Principles are not necessarily true for everyone all of the time. Some principles are, such as the law of gravity, but many are not. This is one difference between rules and principles. A rule might be “no swimming for one hour after you eat,” whereas the principle in the same context is “swimming right after you eat a big meal may cause physical discomfort.” The rule must be obeyed, or leave, while the principle needs simply be acknowledged in order to serve as guidance for the future.

Purpose

I think that the overriding purpose of principles is to help us understand the proper means for our desired ends. If we desire to fly, we must understand the effects of gravity. If we desire to move from point A to point B very quickly, we must understand not only the principles of locomotion, but also the principles behind building a fast car or train. The progress of science is the increase of our understanding of principles. As it is with natural law, so it is with propositions.

We hear about different principles, and then we wonder if allowing them to guide us will get us to where we want to be. Maybe they will, or maybe they won’t. They come in all different shapes and sizes and are either the proper means for our desired ends, or not. Take what I write about all the time, the voluntary principle. This principle states that all human relations should happen voluntarily, by mutual consent, or not at all. Of course, like all principles, it’s often written in shorthand and naturally begs the question: why? I’ve written extensively in answer to the question (on philosophy and ethics). So have others.

Formulated principles like this are often much more than they seem, and require a lot of study by those espousing the principle in order to fully understand it. Only once its fully understood can we determine if its right for us. Principles like these aren’t compatible with everyone’s desired ends, which themselves are chosen on the basis of people’s values. To say that others must follow a given principle is irrational, in my opinion. While we may advise that certain principles be followed if one’s desired ends are such and such, to prescribe principles without consideration of one’s freely chosen ends is to give instruction where none is required. It simply won’t be heard, and one doing so is likely to be written off as a busybody or a moralizer.

Final Thoughts

I’ve heard people attack certain principles as “false” and what not, without giving any consideration to the reasons behind using them. It drives me crazy. Principles are not necessarily always true or always applicable to everyone all of the time, as I said, but that doesn’t automatically make them “false.” It only makes them the wrong tools for the chosen job. We would all do well to find the right tools, get the job done, and move on to the next.


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Whites are Racist, Blacks are Violent

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“One Improved Unit” is an original column appearing sporadically at Everything-Voluntary.com, by the founder and editor Skyler J. Collins. Archived columns can be found here. OIU-only RSS feed available here.

Race has not only been a topic of discussion around the nation lately; it has also been a topic of discussion within my home. My children have become acutely aware of race and where they fall on the spectrum of “color.” Technically, they are half Caucasian and half Hispanic of Mexican descent, but visually, they are whiter than I. The only clue of their Hispanicness is their dark brown eyes and fluent Spanish. Seeing and hearing them speak fluent English, one would not guess that their mother is Mexican. In any event, race and racism have been topics in my house. My children are trying to make sense of these things. My fear, however, is that they may be getting at least two messages that I wish they rather not get. Those are that whites are racists, and that blacks are violent.

Whites are Racist

I’ve watched a lot of Comedy Central’s Key & Peele lately, and my son’s caught a few skits with me here and there. One thing that I’ve noticed is that white people are almost always portrayed as racist. That’s part of the humor, watching one or the other black guy navigate among racism. On second thought, portraying one race as always having some negative characteristic is itself a form of racism. That’s right, when popular news and media consistently portray whites as racists and blacks as victims of racism – which has been the case as long as I can remember – what’s a growing white person supposed to believe about what their skin color represents? This has been a growing fear of mine, that as my children grow up identifying as white, the world will also tell them that being white is being racist. I don’t like being told again and again that because I’m white, there’s an expectation that I’m racist, nor do I want my children to experience that. Key & Peele has become distasteful to me after I made this realization. It’s unfortunate because I think it’s a really funny show; a show racist against whites, but otherwise a really funny show.

Blacks are Violent

Along with our discussion about race and racism, the “n-word” has come up. My children, particularly my son, has heard it from Youtube videos, spoken by what sound to me like black teenagers. I grew up hearing it in movies on race (Glory, for example) and in the rap music that I enjoyed as a teenager. I’m not interested in shaming my children over the words they use, but with this particular word, I’ve done my best explaining to him that if he said it to a black person, that black person would find it extremely racist and likely want to hurt him. This was the exact message that I was told growing up, that if you used the n-word toward black people, they would probably kick your ass. But what is the implicit message here that I received and have now passed on to my children? That blacks have no self-control and will resort to violence when offended by a word. What a racist idea! That people of a given race have no self-control and will resort to violence over name-calling. How will I approach this in the future? I don’t know right now, but I think I’ll be more careful about it than I have been.

Final Thoughts

Both of the messages as explained above have been constantly hurled at me throughout my life, and now the lives of my children. The former, it seems, is meant to induce what is popularly called “white guilt.” I dislike with a passion such collectivist notions that a person’s skin color means they should feel guilt toward the actions done by others of that same skin color. What a racist and destructive idea that is! Likewise the idea that a person’s skin color means they have no self-control toward name-calling. I’m at a loss at how to move forward in the prevention of my children from adopting these racist notions. If you have any ideas, I’m all ears.


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Why Negotiate with Children?

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“One Improved Unit” is an original column appearing sporadically on Friday at Everything-Voluntary.com, by the founder and editor Skyler J. Collins. Archived columns can be found here. OIU-only RSS feed available here.

Learning to live with others can be challenging. When their attempts to meet their needs interferes with our attempts to meet ours, conflict may ensue. This is no less true between adults as between adults and children or children and children. If one values peace and cooperation over strife and domination, he must learn the art of negotiation. And just as importantly, he must teach it to his children.

The Art of Negotiation

I don’t know if there was any advance among ancient humans, or even their primeval ancestors, that was more important toward survival than learning to negotiate. How many violent conflicts, and thus death, have been avoided because two or more parties were willing to negotiate the meeting of each other’s needs? I don’t know, but since it happens so often today in peaceful society, I imagine it was an important social revolution at the time.

Negotiation is simply a discussion aimed at reaching an agreement. Party A wants something of Party B, and possibly but necessarily vice versa, so Party A presents Party B with a proposition, an offer. The fact that Party A is attempting negotiation rather than rank domination is evidence that Party A considers Party B as a political equal and as autonomous, ie. Party A respects Party B, at least enough to prefer primarily to negotiate. How much Party A respects Party B will be revealed as the negotiation proceeds. Party B considers the proposition, and either accepts or counters. Party B has needs of his own and may or may not be satisfied that they’ll be met if he accepts Party A’s first proposition. The negotiation proceeds from here.

If the two parties are able to reach agreement, the negotiation is over and they proceed to fulfill their obligations to one another. If they aren’t, they either break off negotiation and go about their own business, or Party A decides Party B’s unwillingness or inability to reach agreement is unacceptable, and resorts to coercion, the act of threatening something unexpected and undesirable or of using force. This represents an escalation from peaceful negotiation to coercive domination of Party A over Party B.

Negotiating with Children

If the survival of our ancestors, and the survival of adults today depends on their willingness and ability to negotiate, then negotiation is one of the most important skills to teach to children. And there is hardly a better way to teach something to children than by modeling it with them personally. From the moment they’re born, children should be taught the art of negotiation. Infants who want to pull your hair, toddlers who want to explore that expensive vase, or children who feel a need to run around and scream, all should be approached in the spirit of negotiation. Be clear about your needs and the needs of affected others, try to understand your child’s needs, and then find a way to meet everyone’s needs together. The more children hear about your needs, in a respectful way, and the more their own needs are given due consideration, the more likely they are to find your suggested corrections to their behavior as acceptable.

My own children are nine, five, and an infant. I negotiate with each of them everyday on various things. My nine-year-old son often prefers to stay home and play on his computer when his mother and I really want his company at an activity outside the house. Do I tell him he doesn’t have a choice and coerce him into the car? No. I ask him what it’ll take for him to join us. As he beats around the bush because he’s still developing communication skills, I begin making propositions, such as letting him choose the radio station we listen to, or offering to buy him a treat, or even offering a dollar or two, depending on how much a value his attendance. We usually come to an agreement, but when we don’t, he simply stays home; no hard feelings, though maybe a little disappointment, either way.

My five-year old daughter is likewise negotiated with, and she often stays home with her big brother. The more my needs can’t be met without their cooperation, the more I’m willing to give up something of higher and higher value. These days I see my children negotiating with each other all the time. These negotiations sometimes break down and things escalate, and sometimes negotiation is never initially considered, but the more we as parents have negotiated with them, the more they’ve learned and preferred to negotiate with others. Even my infant can be cooed and coddled out of pulling my hair.

Final Thoughts

Why negotiate with children? Shouldn’t they learn that adults are always the boss over them, and learn to follow orders? Spare me. Children are people, deserving respect and having autonomy. If we want them to learn the art of negotiation, thereby ensuring more peaceful and prosperous relationships in the future, we must teach them the art of negotiation, of win-win solutions. Failing that, we instead teach them the art of domination, of win-lose, of might makes right. We either raise and send negotiators out into the world, or we raise and send out dominators. Which is more likely to ensure they not only survive, but thrive? The answer is clear.


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Spanking is Always Unnecessary VI: Divine Mandate

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“One Improved Unit” is an original column appearing sporadically on Friday at Everything-Voluntary.com, by the founder and editor Skyler J. Collins. Archived columns can be found here. OIU-only RSS feed available here.

Spanking is Always Unnecessary I: Introduction
Spanking is Always Unnecessary II: Preventing Misbehavior
Spanking is Always Unnecessary III: Hurting Themselves or Others
Spanking is Always Unnecessary IV: Discipline and Toughness
Spanking is Always Unnecessary V: Respect and Obedience

Many religious people, Christian and not, consider the practice of spanking to be divinely mandated. They’ll quote scriptures or popular religious leaders in the attempt to support that belief. If you believe without a doubt that spanking is required by your god, then you likely won’t care what I have to say. That’s fine; feel free to skip to the end. For everyone else, perhaps we can shed some perspective on things.

Perspective

In December 2000, Lisa Haddock wrote of her responses from several religious leaders in the New Jersey area to the question, “According to your religious tradition, under what circumstances can a parent strike a child? How far can a parent go when correcting a child’s behavior?” She received the following (abbreviated).

Rev. Steven R. McClelland, pastor, First Presbyterian Church,

“He who spares his rod hates his son” was never meant as an endorsement of corporal punishment. The rod mentioned in Proverbs is the same rod mentioned in Psalm 23, “Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.” This rod was the round end of a shepherd’s staff used to keep a sheep from wandering off in the wrong direction and getting hurt. It is analogous to a concrete divider on a highway separating the right and left lanes in order to prevent collisions. In this day and age there is no theological or psychological need to use corporal punishment. When parents hit children, they show that they have lost control of their tempers. As a result, their children are filled with fear.

He goes on to recommend time-outs instead of spanking, but it is my position that even time-outs are as unnnecessary and counter-productive as spanking. His interpretation of the rod is shared by Samuel Martin who wrote an entire book examining the original meaning of these passages from the Bible, titled They Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me.

The Rev. Kobutsu Malone, Buddhist priest, Engaged Zen Foundation,

I can only speak from the perspective of a simple Buddhist priest. Working over the years with my own children, students, prisoners, and my fellow human beings, I have learned that any form of punishment, be it corporal or psychological, is counterproductive. It is uncivilized and serves no purpose other than to perpetuate oppression.

The practice of punishment involves the deliberate infliction of physical or emotional pain by one person who has power over the other. It instills fear, creates trauma, and damages the punished as well as the punisher. The net result is humiliation and degradation for the giver and the receiver.

Each time we are punished, we are taught that punishment is acceptable. Out of fear, we modify our behavior in the presence of our oppressor. When our punisher is no longer present, we feel resentment. In time, these feelings can turn into hatred for ourselves and others and lead to depression and alienation. When these feelings are directed outwardly, we oppress others. We come to believe: “I was punished; therefore it is justifiable for me to punish another.” We, in effect, have learned to become the oppressor. We pass on the cycle of violence to our families, our children, and our society.

Inflicting pain after a child has misbehaved does not change the original event nor does it educate the individual. Communication, education, restraint, and discipline are the only effective means for parents to direct and guide their children. Punishment, corporal or otherwise, is unacceptable and inexcusable, because it destroys any possibility for real healing and learning.

He mirrors my own thinking as presented throughout this series. Spanking and punishments ignore root causes and are ineffective at educating children on the proper means to meet their desired ends, their needs.

Rakesh Chhabra, M.D., Hindu Samaj,

The Hindu religion is based on the concept of kindness and non-violence (ahimsa). Ahimsa means not causing harm to any living being through words, deeds, or thoughts.

Corporal punishment is violence, and it is not sanctioned by Hindu tradition or scriptures. Spanking teaches children that violence is acceptable. It will make them violent with their peers, siblings, and their own children. It also makes them more stubborn and aggressive. They may tell lies or manipulate others to get away from the punishment. It may also decrease their self-esteem.

Instead of corporal punishment, the Hindu religion recommends using words, explanation, and personal example to motivate and change the behavior of children. Children are considered to be a form of God, according to Hindu tradition, and should be treated with love and respect.

I really love this. I am quite unfamiliar with Hindu religion, but this makes it sound quite compatible with both my parenting and political philosophies.

Mohammad Moutaz Charaf, Dar-Ul-Islah Mosque,

Islam recognizes that each child differs in disposition, level of understanding, and cleverness. So in Islam, we can teach children by a variety of means, such as talking, reasoning, explaining, relating stories, setting good examples, being consistent in expectations, offering encouragement and rewards, and sometimes by distancing ourselves from them.

He goes on to recommend a light spanking, not while angry, in order to protect the child from a dangerous situation. I believe I adequately addressed that concern in part three. The rest of the responses do encourage spanking as a matter of divine mandate, not as a matter of wisdom or effectiveness in meeting all the needs of the child.

Divine Mandate

If you truly believe that the practice of spanking or the punishment of children in general is a commandment from the divine, then you must weigh that against everything I’ve written in this series so far. Why would such a practice be required if it is ineffective and counter-productive in raising loving and compassionate children? Perhaps its just a test of faith, although it seems unfair that our children, our children’s children, and so on, should be the one’s to suffer for the beliefs of caretakers.

How about, for those who believe spanking is a divine mandate, you relate with your children in such a way so as to prevent even the need to follow this mandate? Meet their every psychological and biological need as a preventive measure. We as caretakers, religious or not, should be committed to doing this anyway. Surely the divine won’t require we spank our children for nothing, right? And when our children make mistakes, as immature and ignorant beings are wont to do, they’ll trust us to help them make things right and learn a better way.

Final Thoughts

As mentioned at the beginning of this series, the practice of spanking and all child punishment was abandoned in my family in 2011. My oldest, a son, was five years old, and had been spanked since he was about three. A friend and mentor of mine at the time introduced me to Alfie Kohn’s Unconditional Parenting. Reading it soon caused major doubts in me that my parenting methods were ideal or compatible with my values.

My wife and I decided to stop spanking and punishing our son, and instead find a better way to address the issues that prompted punishment. We found them throughout many books and all over the Internet. While we still have a lot to learn about the best way to raise our kids, we’re confident that the tools of violence and fear are completely unnecessary and counter-productive to raising healthy, loving, and compassionate humans. I hope that this series is enlightening and causes you to likewise abandon the deplorable practice of spanking.


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Spanking is Always Unnecessary V: Respect and Obedience

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“One Improved Unit” is an original column appearing sporadically on Friday at Everything-Voluntary.com, by the founder and editor Skyler J. Collins. Archived columns can be found here. OIU-only RSS feed available here.

Spanking is Always Unnecessary I: Introduction
Spanking is Always Unnecessary II: Preventing Misbehavior
Spanking is Always Unnecessary III: Hurting Themselves or Others
Spanking is Always Unnecessary IV: Discipline and Toughness

Raise your hand if you want respectful and obedient children. What a magical place it would be if our children were to obey our every command and never show even a hint of disrespect toward us! On second thought, while perfectly respectful and obedient little robots would be nice, I’m not sure I want my children as such happy slaves (an oxymoron if there ever was one). Rather, I think their respect and obedience would mean more to me if I knew each was a genuine, thoughtful show of love as their caretaker and confidant. Will spanking and punishments get me there? I don’t believe so.

Respect

Respect is both a noun and a verb, but their meanings are similar: to treat with, or to have, “deferential regard or esteem”, about sums it up. What does that mean in practice? To have a feeling of respect toward something, one regards them, or it, with “kindly feelings which springs from consideration of estimable qualities.” Estimable (admirable) is like beauty or worth, it’s subjective, a determination made in the minds of those considering said qualities.

Origins of Respect

If respect is the result of kindly feelings, which are a result of considering certain qualities as estimable, which is a subjective determination, then it follows that respect, too, is also subjective. What is considered respectful behavior, like what is considered beautiful art, differs from person to person. As people are social animals, there is likely general agreement on what constitutes respectfulness in a given society, though like people, not every society will consider the same behaviors as respectful or disrespectful.

As respect is felt, people will behave respectfully toward other people if they not only understand what that person considers respectful, but desire to treat that person respectfully. The first is primed through a general knowledge of what constitutes respectfulness in a given society, as mentioned, but the second must be preceded by the act of bonding.

Bonding

Treating someone respectfully, like all purposeful behavior, is a means to an end (which end may also be a means to an end, of course). Which end? Likely, at least, the maintenance of a valued relationship. How do relationships become valued? Through bonding. When people bond, they get to know one another on a personal level. They learn about each others needs, wants, and aspirations. They learn about interests they share in common. They become friends and feelings of mutual-admiration and regard develop. And they become more familiar with each others qualities, like temperament or intelligence. Each person then assigns worth to those qualities and determines for themselves whether or not the other deserves their respect (to be treated with respectfulness). As importantly, the bonding also serves as a way to communicate, verbally or not, what respect means to each person so that the other has more knowledge with which to work from.

Children

Now, if respect is earned through bonding, then those who’ve bonded with a person will most likely receive their respect. This seems to start in infancy. As baby suckles mother’s breast, they’re eyes lock, and through both touch and sight, they bond. Thus begins respect. As baby grows and begins to learn more about the world around him, he, hopefully, bonds with others besides his mother. As bonds are built, what the child understands as respectful behavior is developed. Though he’s still immature and will likely behave disrespectfully toward others, so long as he’s regarded properly as a growing child and treated with respect by others, he will eventually come around to being more mindful of how respectful his behavior is perceived by those he cares about, and soon the rest of society.

So, do children need spanking and punishments to learn respect? Hardly. Genuine respect isn’t earned through the use of violence. Instead of earning respect, such practices earn fear and resentment. In my experience, children who are perpetually disrespected in these ways never learn self-respect and have a much harder time developing bonds with others, certainly with their own parents (as well as developing other problems). As shown above, bonding, not spanking, is the path a caretaker must take to earn the respect of their children.

Obedience

Spanking and punishment sure can create a culture of obedience within a caretaker-child relationship. But why do such children obey? Is it because they have genuine love and respect for their caretaker, believing such feelings are reciprocated, and desire to make their caretaker happy by being helpful? Or is it because they fear a spanking? Most likely, the latter. Now, you might want obedience on such terms with your children, but I don’t. Why not? Because fear-based obedience will only persist so long as children have reason to fear you. As dependent little minions, their survival is a matter of keeping their caretaker satisfied. Once they’re not so little nor dependent, their incentive to obey withers away, and eventually disappears. The balance of power is no longer so lopsided. What then? They go out into the world and want never to return.

That doesn’t have to be the case. You can raise children who want to obey you out of love instead of fear, and will want to do so for the rest of your life. It begins with respect, as I went over in length above. When people respect and love each other, they naturally want to be helpful. I probably wouldn’t label such helpfulness as “obedience”, but the result is the same. When the caretaker makes a reasonable request in a respectful way, his loving child will respond. And to solidify such a culture of respect and helpfulness, the caretaker should likewise respond to the requests of his child. Spanking and punishments are completely unnecessary.

Final Thoughts

Seriously though, perfectly obedient robots would be quite nice, but that’s not the role I desire for my children, whom I love and want to see grow up as self-respecting, confident, loving, thoughtful people. I want to earn their love, respect, and helpfulness, which can’t be done through the use of fear and violence. And just as importantly, I want to always show them love, respect, and helpfulness.

Spanking is Always Unnecessary VI: Divine Mandate


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Spanking is Always Unnecessary IV: Discipline and Toughness

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“One Improved Unit” is an original column appearing sporadically on Thursday at Everything-Voluntary.com, by the founder and editor Skyler J. Collins. Archived columns can be found here. OIU-only RSS feed available here.

Spanking is Always Unnecessary I: Introduction
Spanking is Always Unnecessary II: Preventing Misbehavior
Spanking is Always Unnecessary III: Hurting Themselves or Others

It is said that we live in a cruel and heartless world. To send our children out into that cruel world as innocent, fluffy bunnies would be like pulling the trigger of the gun pressed against their temples ourselves. How many people sincerely believe this? That without “discipline” to teach them safe behavior and the requisite “toughness” to defend themselves, they’ll fall prey to the legions of predators that won’t hesitate to pounce on them the moment they cross the threshold. How does any caretaker ever let their child out of their sight? And even more baffling, how are there any children anywhere? What a pessimistic, nay, cynical view of the world, completely unsupported by the facts. Do children need spanking- or punishment-based discipline? Do they need their caretaker to toughen them up through violence? Let’s see.

Discipline

“Discipline” is poorly used, and has been for a while. From the Latin disciplina, it originally meant, “instruction given, teaching, learning, knowledge.” To guide, in other words. At what point did it take on a violent connotation? Probably when it started being used in a military context. To be made to use the extreme amounts of violence found in war, one must be disciplined quite harshly. When defending violent parenting practices today, people say things like “But kids need discipline, or else [something bad happens].” A clever euphemism to hide the fact that what is being claimed is that children need to be hit, to be the recipients of violence and made to feel pain by someone far more powerful than they. But do they?

If we’re raising soldiers, people to follow our commands of death and destruction, then we likely do need to utilize harsh violence-based discipline in order to mold them into unrepentant killers. But I’m not raising killers, and I doubt you are either. Rather, I’m raising people who I want to think and act for themselves. I, too, believe in discipline, but as it was originally used: to guide. How effective is violence at guiding children to think and act for themselves? Violence teaches that one is master of the other, and may use violence to control how the other thinks and acts. Criminals and lawmakers know this. That’s why they employ it. If our goal as caretakers is raising children to think and act for themselves, then they must be disciplined – guided – in nonviolent and noncoercive ways. Such starts with compassion and respect, and continues with love, example, negotiation, and active listening.

Toughness

Honestly, I wonder what people mean when they say that kids need to learn to be tough. Do they mean that they need to be able to take an insult? Or to take a hit? Or to take a beating? This worldview, that kids should be toughened up through parental aggression if they are to survive “in the real world” seems more a symptom of past abuse than of an accurate portrayal of reality. Cruelty, I think, is learned. When certain children are abused, they grow callous and resentful, and look for healing through abusing others, because it makes them feel powerful and in control. Bullies are made, not born, and when they become caretakers, they perpetuate the cycle of abuse, unless they learn and commit to a better way.

If the world is, in general, cruel and heartless, then it’s because caretakers keep raising and releasing cruel and heartless people into the world. I agree with L. R. Knost who wrote, “It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.” It is my position that spanking and punishment does indeed “toughen up” our children, but it does so at considerable costs, as I’ve gone over in previous parts of this series. But I wonder, is there another way to toughen our children to stand up to bullies without sacrificing our relationship with them or their psychological development?

I think so. Much of what I wrote in my “Building a Culture of Liberty” series presents an alternative to building toughness. As was my thesis, if liberty is to be maintained, it’s violation must produce feelings of moral outrage in people. Moral outrage (disgust and anger) is a result of their socialization, enculturation, and education. When people are socialized and enculturated to expect liberty, they are much more likely to fight to preserve it. Likewise for peace. If we raise our children in peace, with respect, then when someone comes along – a bully – bent on treating them differently, they’ll recognize him for what he is and the accompanying moral outrage will provide the confidence and strength to stand up to him. Rather than being tough as a result of being abused, they are tough as a result of being treated with respect. That seems like an acceptable alternative to me.

Final Thoughts

I don’t think the world is always cruel and heartless. There are many good and wonderful things about it. My wife and children, for starters. I value discipline and toughness, but I see no reason to consider spanking as a necessary practice to produce them. Many have been disciplined and toughened up as a result of being raised by respectful, loving, and compassionate caretakers. I strive everyday for my children to be counted among them.

Spanking is Always Unnecessary V: Respect and Obedience
Spanking is Always Unnecessary VI: Divine Mandate


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