Prof. Bainbridge reports that spanking has been criminalized in New Zealand. This is unfortunate, because sometimes we all require an administration of tough love. I know I did, and it probably kept me out of jail. Our Dr. Bliss wrote a defence of corporal punishment here, a while ago. I agree that a good spanking is more to the point, more direct, and less painful than mental punishments - although I agree with a proper administration of shame when appropriate. Still, spare the rod...
Many - not all - kids require a stern Dad and a disapproving Mom from time to time, if not more often. If a person doesn't internalize the guidelines of decent citizenship in the family, the cops will be stuck with the results. And that annoys the cops and makes them act rough because they'd much prefer to be eating jelly donuts in peace in their patrol cars.
The subject makes me wonder about how some in Western culture seems to want to define harshness downwards, to the point of considering waterboarding of terrorists who might plan to kill you and your brethren as "going too far," or the death penalty by injection "cruel and unusual." Are we becoming so namby-pamby that any exertion of force is viewed as barbaric? It's an epidemic of "niceness" and a terror of anything which might have anything in common with "violence."
If so, it's a dangerously decadent road. I blame Rousseau.
Comment by the Editor: How come the first to yelp about spanking and waterboarding tend to be the first people to excuse terrorists and inner city violence? And often the first to propose greater government coercive power over the individual? Authoritarian families produce free, self-regulating citizens who don't need or desire authoritarian or nanny governments. It's all a mystery to me.