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(dis)Honest to God: How Not to Argue about the Smacking Referendum

July 28th, 2009 by Madeleine

Given that yesterday we advertised Dr Glenn Peoples’ upcoming public lectures and because the smacking referendum begins on Saturday, I thought we’d share this article critiquing bad anti-smacking reasoning by Glenn.



(dis)Honest to God: How Not to Argue about the Smacking Referendum


smackingIan Harris tells us (“Honest to God,” Dominion Post, [Dominion Post. Saturday July 11, 2009. Page B5], reproduced at the YesVote website) that we should reject the “harsh views” on child rearing found in the Bible.

Mr Harris, unfortunately, joins many of those who promote the criminalisation of good parents by muddying the waters. He notes, for example, that someone who defends the right to use physical discipline also believes that children (like adults) are sinners. He then announces that since “progressive” Christians (by which he seems to mean those who no longer accept Christian theology) realise that this is based on an antiquated view, we should likewise reject the right to use physical discipline and we should criminalise those who do.

It is difficult to interact charitably with those who support the ban on smacking if this is the contorted way they are going to reason about the subject. Whether or not one thinks the theology held by some supporters of the right to use physical discipline is correct is quite a different matter from whether or not one thinks they ought to be made into criminals, surely!

Unfortunately again, Mr Harris attempts to use his platform as a mouthpiece of liberal (what he calls “progressive) Christianity to give credence to scientific claims that are obviously subject to great dispute. He makes the sweeping claim that this nebulous thing called “modern research” (while he cites no actual studies) shows that although corporal punishment does help bring about short-term compliance, it does not help a child to “internalise positive values for the longer term.”

I am constantly bemused by the way in which conservative religious spokespeople are ridiculed even when they do cite research, but obvious nonsense like this can be peddled by the liberal voices without so much as a single scholarly citation, and nobody is expected to bat an eyelid.

But even if what Mr Harris says is correct, the implication is that corporal punishment in and of itself has short term benefits and no long term ill effects. Hardly something to be prosecuting people for! The reality is that the effects he cites are perfectly compatible with the good of corporal punishment. Such punishment usually is administered to children when they are not willing to reason or reflect on the long term consequences of their actions. It is for when children are being unruly and unwilling to listen. Circumstances in which they are willing to do so are the circumstances under which corporal punishment is less necessary (meaning that the older a child becomes, the less frequent a smack will become). None of this gives the careful reader any reason to think that the occasional smack is immoral, much less worthy of criminal prosecution.

Bereft of compelling moral or scientifically grounded arguments, Mr Harris turns instead to arousing prejudice against the religious convictions of those who disagree with him about child discipline. Unable to find anything strong enough in what all Christians consider their holy book, he reaches into the book of Ecclesiasticus (part of the so-called “apocryphal” writings that did not make up part of the Hebrew canon) to find the claim that “he who loves his son will whip him often.”

But not only has Mr Harris strayed into literature that the so-called “fundamentalists” (most of whom would identify as conservative Protestants) that he attacks do not even regard to be part of the Bible at all, he has clearly sought out the most extreme translation of the verse that he can find. He conjures up grizzly pictures of leering parents towering, horsewhip in hand, over the broken and bleeding bodies of little children with misleading language like this.

But just a few minutes research would dispel this attempt. The New American translation reads, “He who loves his son chastises him often.” The Douay Rheims translation (the Catholic Bible, which does include this book as part of the canon) reads “He that loveth his son, frequently chastiseth him.” The old King James version, the one that “fundamentalists” are most likely to read if the read this book at all, reads “He that loveth his son causeth him oft to feel the rod.” Of course, because it’s a metaphor for physical discipline that’s probably still too much for Mr Harris, but needless to say, it robs him of his “whipping” bogeyman.

After the rhetorical debris is stripped away, all that’s really left is a string of namecalling and fearful language. He calls the views of his opponents “repugnant.” He calls them “fundamentalists” with “antiquated” views that are opposed to “progressive” thought. But where’s the actual substance? Like much of the rhetorical fireworks that is being leveled at those who want the law changed to a common sense view that refuses to place thousands of good parents in the criminal category, Ian Harris offers more heat than light, and manifests just the sort of shallowness and bias that this debate could do without.

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73 responses so far ↓

  • Its an opinion piece in a newspaper…. it was not meant to be a scholarly paper (with citations??? are you serious?  You have got your genres mixed up.  A common errror I suppose.  eg. mistaking the genre of a book of maxims for the genre of eternal moral teaching).  His article was intended to influence public opinion, not build up a systematic argument.  You should be familiar with this concept, as you are doing your best to influence public opinion in the opposite direction – with equally dubious propagandar.

    Just two examples:

    "Unable to find anything strong enough in what all Christians consider their holy book, he reaches into the book of Ecclesiasticus" LIE… he actually relies more on proverbs in his argument, and the other book is a side note. – if I had not taken the time to read his article I might have believed your misrepresentation.

    "“progressive” Christians (by which he seems to mean those who no longer accept Christian theology)"   YOUR PERSONAL SLUR ON YOUR OPPONENTS… ie.  if a Christian does not believe your particualar view they are not really Christians…. a silly attacking tactic, but one all too common among certain Christians who "offer more heat than light, and manifests just the sort of shallowness and bias that this debate could do without."

    Pot meet Kettle.  Kettle meet Pot.

  • I agree with Max.  A better responce would be to say that the vast majority of those who will be voting NO will be doing so for reasons entirely unralated to what is said in the Bible.

  • Glenn's piece isn't popular enough and he uses citations? His genre's were mixed? You clearly don't read much Max, this piece was hardly scholarly academic stuff (no offence Glenn). Regardless, Glenn wrote his piece for his blog, how about you check out his blog and see if it fits the genre there or not.

    As for the part you claimed was a "LIE" you concede it was not in the next line when you state it was mentioned as a side note. In any case the book of Proverbs is hardly written in a genre meant to be taken literally – should we battle with pens instead of swords or actually place burning coals on our enemies heads? (funny how the liberal types will pick and choose when they get literal and when they won't).

    "if a Christian does not believe your particualar view they are not really Christians" Not strictly true; Glenn, like me, would accept some variance in views before deeming someone 'not a real christian' but would state there comes a point when someone has stepped outside it – obviously an atheist is outside it at the extreme end of the spectrum so it is a question of where one draws the line in the greyer area. Glenn draws it where most conservative Christians draw it. So what?

    Drawing such lines is perfectly reasonable. Would you chastise an atheist for calling someone 'not a real atheist' if that someone believed there was a God?

    If you cannot rebut Glenn's arguments it might be best to not say anything rather than putting on these side shows.

  • Chuck, Glenn wasn't writing a piece on why people will be voting a particular way he was responding to the bad reasoning and false claims another person wrote regarding biblical teaching around discipline. Because the other person raised biblical matters it was relevant for Glenn to raise them too.

    If you wish to read non-biblical pieces in support of the No Vote position on the smacking referendum check out our related posts, the Hassall and No Defences pieces offer unrelated to the bible arguments(in the sense they don't quote scripture or talk about God) 

  • Were you drunk when you wrote those replies Madalaine?  I can't work out what side you are trying to support it is so incoherant!  Hence… not sure what to reply.

    "Glenn's piece isn't popular enough and he uses citations? His genre's were mixed? You clearly don't read much Max, this piece was hardly scholarly academic stuff (no offence Glenn)"

    I think you did not understand what I was saying.  I said he does NOT use citations because it is an opinion piece in a newspaper… what is confusing about this?  And when did I say he was not popular enough.  I am very confused about what you are trying to say here.  Oh I see! You thought I was commenting on Glen! No- I was saying Ian Harris' article was an opinion piece.  You got the wrong end of the stick there I am afraid!

    As for the LIE…. my point was that this wasnt the MAIN lineof argument. Please reread everything if this is not clear.

    As for the "not being a Christian" issue.  Many Liberal/Proggressive (or whatever nme you like) Christains do believe in God and in the ressurection etc etc…but don't share EXACTLY the same theological views.  So your analogy with an athiest is just… what's the word…stupid.

    Sorry this is all a little flippant – just joining in with the propagandar mentalitiy

  • "His article was intended to influence public opinion, not build up a systematic argument".

    Max, the wiki definition of propaganda is "communication aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause. As opposed to impartially providing information, propaganda in its most basic sense, often presents information primarily in order to influence its audience. Propaganda often presents facts selectively (thus lying by omission) to encourage a particular synthesis, or gives loaded messages in order to produce an emotional rather than rational response to the information presented. The desired result is a change of the attitude toward the subject in the target audience to further a political agenda".

    This is exactly what the article is trying to do, as you yourself admitted by stating that 'opinion pieces' do not require the backing of credible arguments, but are useful for influencing public opinion, and thus it is propaganda.

    You are essentially contradicting yourself by insisting that it is good journalism to publish propaganda, and at the same time trying to argue that it is poor form for Madeliene to respond in kind with her own propaganda. Hardly a strong foundation from which to criticise someone else's position, unless you accept ideas uncritically.

  • Max, your claim thaqt I lied is clearly false. I said that he was unable to find anything strong enough in what fundies treat as the Bible, and reaches into Ecclesiasticus. This is clearly true. The quote from proverbs did not do the job of shocking people that he was going fo, so he looked elsewhere and found a much stronger sounding verse in Ecclesiasticus (due in part to a translator's choice). So there's no lie there at all.

    The right thing for you to do now is to apologise for accusing me of lying. You might disagree with me about which line of reasoning was more important, but that's no basis for slandering me.

    As for my complaint about citations, it is not at all difficult or out of keeping with a popular level peice to say "a study done by …" – especially in a piece where the existence of such studies and the conclusions they draw are central tot he issue that someone is writing on. Perhaps I take a different stance than you on approrpiate ways to "influence public opinion." I think it's actually isrresponsible and wrong to try to influence public opinion as to how to coercively intervene in parents' lives based on ill founded and unscholarly claims about what studies have shown. Wouldn't you agree?

  • Oh, one more thing – you have falsely claimed that I think all liberals are not Christians. I do not think this, you are merely – what was your word – SLURRING me now.

    And people wonder why my article complains about dishonesty.

  • <span style="cursor: pointer;">Johnnieboy</span><img class="js-singleCommentUrl" src="http://js-kit.com/images/icon10-external-url.png&quot; alt=""/> …. I did not say it that it is "good journalism to publish propaganda" – i said (and I am sick of saying this over and over) that an OPINION PIECE in a newspaper is not the same as an academic article and it should not be surprising that it does not have citations.  This is not complicated.  I should add that an OPINION PIECE is also not the same as a newspaper article in the news section.  And yes!  I agree! It is propaganda!  This was my point all along.  Why is this so hard to understand?

    GLENN:  "Oh, one more thing – you have falsely claimed that I think all liberals are not Christians. I do not think this, you are merely – what was your word – SLURRING me now. "

    The implication was there.  You did not say the exact words… but the implication was there.  And if I WAS slurring you remember that I did put my little disclaimer in that I am just joining in the prpaganda wars.

    RE your LIE:  I stand by what I said.  You were misleading as the writers main points were about proverbs and he made a side note to another book.  Maybe LIE was too strong a term and you merely unable to understand the article.  In which case I apologise.  You are not dishonest, merely dim – which in my books is much more forgivable.

    RE: complaint about citations.  OPINION PIECE!!!! He can say what he wants in whatever format he wants… have you read some of the wild rants in this section.  They are often purposefully insulting/amusing/beligarant/blunt/dogmatic/ etc etc.  That is what the genre of OPINION PIECE!!!! is like.  It is more akin to creative writing than to a scholarly article in many instances.  My point was that you should not expect logical arguments, citations, or even good arguments in this genre.  It was not a defence of this writing style (as you seem to assume) but rather an observation that you were treating it as something other than what it was.

    It would be like writing an article on a Peanuts cartoon and saying the author was illogical because dogs can't talk. (which I have seen pretty close to on this website by the way….)  IE Genre confusion.

  • "I did not say it that it is "good journalism to publish propaganda".

    Max, I agree that you did not say that, however by taking an opposing position to M&M on this blog post, I felt obliged to respond by stating that that is really your intention- to defend the validity of what is clearly propaganda, and to shoot down any criticisms of it.

    You are also implying that a defence of this article is not necessary because it is just an opinion piece. Come on now. This article shows bears more than just the hall-marks of your average opinion piece- it is a concerted effort to needlessly polarise the debate on the issue of parenting, smacking, & child-abuse in the author's favour (anti-Bible & “Yes vote”), and displays intent to mislead and deceive the reader, by false biblical translations, and by appealing to non-existent conclusions from a valid field of sociological research. In what way does this article not warrant criticism from a journalistic editorial viewpoint? The truth is better than a lie, no matter what the issue.

    Criticism of the article also has merit as most of us will never get to read that academic research and make up our own minds, which makes blatant lies in this regard even more egregious. Don't write off opinion-pieces as unimportant- We live in a shallow culture where often all we read are opinion pieces, and they often can influence those of us who haven't thought about an issue before or who too easily succumb to accepting the beliefs of others. Words do have importance, and bad ideas always deserve opposition.

  • No alcohol involved Max, I simply attributed the "he" you referred to to the wrong man.

  • Max, I agree that you did not say that, however by taking an opposing position to M&M on this blog post, I felt obliged to respond by stating that that is really your intention- to defend the validity of what is clearly propaganda, and to shoot down any criticisms of it.  

    – Well this does is show that you know little about me and my beliefs and opinions.  Just because I think an argument is poor does not mean I disagree with the conclusion.   Example.  If the moon is made of cheese then it orbits Earth.  The moon is made of cheese.  THEREFORE the moon orbits earth.  Stupis argument.  The premisis are both clearly wrong and I will happil point this out.  However… the conclusion I have no problem with.  WHATS GOING ON!????  For the last time – I was not saying the newspaper article was wonderful and true – opnly that the response was just as bad.

    displays intent to mislead and deceive the reader, by false biblical translations, and by appealing to non-existent conclusions from a valid field of sociological research. In what way does this article not warrant criticism from a journalistic editorial viewpoint?

    – I Completely agree!!!! Let me say it agian for the slow people "I think the newspaper article was propagandar"  For those counting is that the third or the fourth time I have said that?  I DONT think it is a good argument.  I DONT think it is top-class journalism.

    Criticism of the article also has merit as most of us will never get to read that academic research and make up our own minds, which makes blatant lies in this regard even more egregious. Don't write off opinion-pieces as unimportant- We live in a shallow culture where often all we read are opinion pieces, and they often can influence those of us who haven't thought about an issue before or who too easily succumb to accepting the beliefs of others. Words do have importance, and bad ideas always deserve opposition.

    – I agree to this too.  My original point was only that the response was of a similar nature (ie. badly written and deceitful propagandar 5 times!)).

    Now – for the ironic bit.  YOU my friend, are actually telling me not to criticise a response to a criticism because to do so would be overly critical of the critical aparatus used by the critic.  Isn't that a little critical of you?

  • Madeleine…  yep.  I worked that out after a while – but unfortunatly my keyboard lacks both the BACKSPACE and the DELETE key so I had to leave that silly comment in.  Sorry about that.

  • I wasn't saying that you shouldn't criticise Madeliene- I was saying that your criticisms were without merit, & then I stated my reasons why. You made more criticisms in your replies than your initial statement that Madeliene was spreading counter-propaganda, and I was responding to these.

    I'd go further to say I think that your accusation that M&M's blog post is propaganda is also without merit.

    This blog post is well reasoned, and appeals to valid evidence of purposeful mistranslation by the article's author. This basically gutted the credibility of the author in the eyes of any reasonable reader.

    Madeliene was then entitled to mention that the guy was a liar, and furthermore to say that there are plenty of those out there on the side of the "Yes vote". Why? Because this is a common argument, and taking liberties with the Bible is par for the course when you have a disagreement with it, and also to link it to child abuse & fundamentalism.

    Also, it is par for the course with these writers to make assertions with regard to the Yes vote that they can't substantiate (particularly the existence of research concluding that smacking is bad for children- sorry, none exists! http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10404809). This is no outrageous half-truth meant to manipulate the reader- it is common sense.

  • Search for "Smacking study hits at claims of harm" at the NZ Herald for the article linked to above

  • A debate over what is and is not propagandar is silly.  Clearly both parties want to convince others of their viewpoint and write articles accordingly.

    To be perfectly honest I think that both groups are largly preaching to the converted and neither will convince anyone to change their mind.

    The newspaper article will be read by "liberals" who will nodd their heads and agree, and be "conservatives" who will shake with rage – and the same goes in the reverse for the reply posted here.

    I find both sides as self-righteous and preachy as the other – with the small difference that one side doesn't beat up their kids 😉

  • It's too hard to follow all of this.  I'll start a new comment.

    Hundreds of studies clearly show Ian Harris is wrong.  (Surely I don't have to cite any in a comment?)

    His article was biased and I thought his arguments weak.

    The essential issue with the referendum is answering the question "should smacking be illegal"

    It clearly is, according to the law as it is currently written.  Indeed, as the law is written all forms of discipline "for the purposes of correction" are illegal, and the police will decide which ones they will prosecute.

    This has nothing to do with what parenting techniques are better or worse, and how often or infrequently smacking should be done, and what parenting skills courses should be taught at school.  And it clearly is not going to stop actual child abuse.  It comes down to the fact that the government is mandating how parents can raise a family, equating abuse to physical discipline.  Such decisions are not a government's to make.

    Interestingly, liberals think the government needs to stay out of the bedroom. 

    To take an extreme example, sodomy (buggery) laws were repealed on the basis it is not the government's business to dictate how some-one's anal passage is used and what gets inserted up there.  Regardless of what people think of it, it was argued that the government should not make such behaviour illegal. 

    If the liberal can accept that logic, why come down so hard on a smack?  Is physical discipline, when used judiciously, really so bad?  Evidence says it's not the big deal it's made out to be.  Is it all about pain?  If a little pain is too much to inflict, why not ban vaccines, rugby and CPR?  Apparently, those things, whilst painful can result in positive outcomes (although I had a relative die from playing rugby).  Same deal with smacking, and it can hurt less.  Can it be excessive?  Yes, and the law coped with that situation.

    The battle has become ideological, using the force of government to dictate and prescribe a particular viewpoint.  The people that do not want to be criminalised for a smack are not insisting the law is changed to make discipline (of any form) mandatory (can you think of a few kids that need to be taught some boundaries?), just not to make this illegal.  That does not prevent a culture shift in improving parenting and ensuring discipline (of any sort) is done with a cool head and a loving heart.  I'd argue that this is the case for many parents already.  The ones that struggle don't necessarily need a visit from the police, they need help and encouragement, not being told they are criminals by default.

  • with the small difference that one side doesn't beat up their kids 😉

    Sod off 🙂

  • Madeleine, the real issue here is the palpable level of fear from the Yes lobby.

    Their argument has continue to shift from day one:

    1.  Bradford's private member's bill to ban smacking outright
    2.  Her threat to "pull it" should it be amended
    3.  Her subsequent acceptance of its being amended coinciding with Labour's announced backing
    4.  Clark's insistence that the bill was "to stop the heinous abuse"
    5.  Key's jumping on the bandwagon which ensured its passing (in an amended form) 

    My argument — and continued opposition to the bill/Act — is that the issue is NOT about the rights or wrongs of smacking (one's children) or not smacking as a form of parental discipline.  The law *always* properly prohibited child abuse, as Bradford & Clark well knew.

    This issue is simply not the state's business, which is why I shall be ticking 'no' on the ballot paper.

    The Yes lobby, many of whom are the usual Nanny Staters, are definitely worried.  Such is their self-importance, they can't bear the thought of being shown up by the very hoi polloi for whom they claim to speak.

    A virtual slap in the face (if you will) is a slap in the face nonetheless.

  • Max, you can "stand by" your false accusation all you want. This just shows that you're prepared to say whatever is needed to slander those that you disagree with. The fact is, my claim was 100% correct. The writer could not find enough rhetorical punch in proverbs, so he reached – exactly as I said, into Ecclesiasticus, a book that "fundies" do not regard as part of the Bible.

    I do not believe that you consider this a lie. I think you're merely unwilling to lose face by admitting this. You ought to, and you should apologise to me.

  • Glenn:  It is a matter of interpretation.  I think that the writer had found more rhetorical punch (as you put it) in his appeal to proverbs – and as I have already said referred to the other book as a side note.  We will have to just disagree.

    As for apologising to you – find some way other than forcing a distant stranger on an online forum to bend to your will to try to feed your ego.  May I suggest hitting a small child.  That might make you feel big.

    Peace be with you.

  • Come on Max, the discussion was just getting interesting until you backed off and resorted to generalities & "that's life I guess". You've made comment that propaganda isn't worth arguing about- its silly. I couldn't disagree more. Propaganda is a problem that needs to be dealt with when it arises by talking about it.

    Not much of a discussion from your end though. You drop in to bag Madeliene, wouldn't reveal your actual position on the post throughout while feeling entitled to call people thick, get put in the corner without having anything useful to say in response to rebuttal of your comments, and then bow out without making any real contribution to the debate except to make it clear that you can be rude to child-abusers if you want to (the moral high ground has been achieved).

  • Its a pointless debate. 

    I know that those who want to hitkidscan find any number of arguments to justify themselves – and will not be convinced by any argument.

    My own opinion – if you really want to know – is that Sue Bradford's bill was a waste of time and money – and will have little impact on anyone's life, and howevermany millions are being spent onthis non-binding referendum are an equal waste of money.

    I don't think the state should interfere unduly in people's lives either, but I can't understand why the right to whack children is the battle ground people have chosen to defend their liberties.  I expect everyone here concerned about government interference will be helping to protest against other victemless crimes in the near future? (… if we assunme the child is not a victim)… Will they be out protesting for gay rights?  Drug reform?  Prostitution reform? Right for women to control their own reproduction?… I expect not.  The one area where they insist the government should not interfere is whether they can whack small children or not.  It is just too strange for words.

  • I can't understand why the right to whack children is the battle ground people have chosen to defend their liberties.

    Are you saying that before the anti-smacking bill, we had the right to whack children? If so, may be you would like to point us of such cases?

    The anti-smacking bill is a waste of time and money because without it, there was/is already law to deal with such violent acts.

    Will they be out protesting for gay rights?  Drug reform?  Prostitution reform? Right for women to control their own reproduction?

    May be they will, why are you implying they won't?

    But how about yourself? So concerned about children being abused, but supporting babies being murdered and maimed through abortion? Zero tolerance on violent but full tolerance on murdering babies. What a hypocrite!

    And if you support prostitution, I'd like to see you tell your daughter that prostitution is a career option for them. May be next time your daughter ask for money, tell her to find it on the street or pub, good money you know.

    Women already have rights to control their reproduction. Last time I checked, rape is illegal in this country.

  • I don't recallsaying I was in favour ofmurdering babies  atany point.  What a disgusting vile thing to say about me.   How dare you.

  • And I don't recall anyone here advocating the right to 'whacking' children, so how dare you

  • Hi Guys, I think you are wasting your time trying to debate with an anonymous blogger such as Max.  He is not interested in honest debate just winding you up.

    I would be far more concerned about the totally dishonest opinion piece in the Herald by John Roughan.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10587889&pnum=0

    Individuals in the NO lobby may favour the return of Section 59 as it was.  However, the position of Family First is a law change along the lines of John Boscawen’s private member’s bill.

    http://section59.blogspot.com/2009/05/john-boscawens-private-members-bill.html

    The timing of Roughan’s dishonest opinion piece designed to misrepresent Family First’s position is reprehensible. 

    Does any on have any idea how to counter it?

  • I'd counter it by saying that the law already handles those cases without the anti-smacking bill. It is the anti-smacking bill that has hidden agenda.

    Like I have asked here, where is the examples of court cases where the court needed the anti-smacking bill to prosecute abusive parents?

    The way the anti-smacking bill was pushed to the public has been misleading and dishonest. They say smacking is violent and hence can't be tolerated, because violence is violence so smacking must be made illegal. But we see there the anti-smacking bill is actually allowing some form of smacking.

    So even though we're meant to not tolerate any violence, and they say smacking is violent, the bill actually supports some 'violence'. Sounds dodgy to me.

    So now, what is a parent to do in supermarket when their children are badly misbehaving and they're not listening? They are faced with serious dilemna due to this dishonest bill and how it was communicated to the public.

    If they smack, someone would likely to call the cops. Based on what was advertised about the anti-smacking bill, zero tolerance on smacking, so many people bound to see any smacking as illegal. Even if no body call the cops on them, someone might still abuse the parent, calling them child abuser, and so on, even though the smack was the legal kind!

    If they don't smack, then their children will disturb the peace of everyone else shopping, do some damage and consequently having to pay, or even worse their kids could be in danger of some hazard.

    In other words, it is so true that this bill is about criminalizing all parents, good and bad ones. The dodgy way that the bill has been communicated is also dishonest and obviously has hidden agendas.

  • And for those who support the anti-smacking bill based on zero tolerance on violence….

    I'd like to see you protesting the frequent romanticisation of a woman slapping a man on TV.

    Otherwise you're a hypocrite!

  • It was actually a genuine question.  Why is so much of peope's self identity tied up in what method they use to discipline children?  Why would it be such a big deal to change?  Is it a sort of arrogance to prove you are right?  I just don't see where the motivation is coming from.

  • It was actually a genuine question.

    And you got genuine and appropriate response

    Why is so much of peope's self identity tied up in what method they use to discipline children?

    That's a question for you too

    Why would it be such a big deal to change?

    Because we should not change just for the sake of change?

    Seeing that you don't see a big deal to change, you'll support a change in the state run school that they teach evolution as the best theory, not teach it as something that is true. No? hypocrite!

  • Max, I find your arrogance simply amazing. You claim the right to accuse people of lying merely because you do not agree with them, you assert that anyone who wishes to be apologized to for slander is trying to feel big, and now you have the incredible temerity to suggest that people who object to being lorded over by people who think they know better are THEMSELVES guilty of arrogance for thinking that they are right!  
     
    Max, picture this: An arrogrant politician who thinks that most parents know less about parenting than she, is presuming that she is right and the country is wrong, and that she knows best and is in a position to force them to change. Which party is more arrogant: the proponent of change, or the objector?  
     
    Why support this sort of arrogance? I too fail to see where the motivation is coming from.

  • "Seeing that you don't see a big deal to change, you'll support a change in the state run school that they teach evolution as the best theory, not teach it as something that is true. No? hypocrite!"

    ….. this is a bizarre response and I have no idea how it is relevant,or how it makes me  hypocrite….. but if it is a serious question.  If that law change came in and schools started to say the words "best theory" rather than "truth" I would not bat an eye lid.  

    "Max, I find your arrogance simply amazing."

    – Well thank you I guess…  you seem fun too.

    "You claim the right to accuse people of lying merely because you do not agree with them,"

    – I actually said in the end you were either lying or stupid.  So my arrogance I guess consists in thinking I understood better than you.  I assume you also think you understand better than I do?  I will not insist you apoologise for this.

  • "you assert that anyone who wishes to be apologized to for slander"

    – get over it. It is an online forum – not an episode of LA Law.  If I am too casual and abrasive for you then I am sorry for that, but don't intend to change my writing style.  You seem to take yourself a little too seriously.  Chill out.  Its not personal.  I don't know who you are and you dontknow who I am.  Debate the ideas not my personality.  When I said you LIED… all I was saying was that you were wrong and hd a bad argument, and I thought a deceptive one.  Rather than getting on your high horse and demanding an apology you could have just explained why I was wrong and left it at that. Again:  Chill out.

    "….. and now you have the incredible temerity to suggest that people who object to being lorded over by people who think they know better are THEMSELVES guilty of arrogance for thinking that they are right!"

    – it sometimes takes humility toive in a society where you don'tagree with everything the government does.  There aremany lawsI disagree with, but I generally humbly accept them anyway – given they only inconvenience me in a minor way – and afterall I dont have ALL the answers.  This does not mean that I woud stand by and accept extreme injustice.  It just means that as a member of a society I realise that humility can makelife so much easier for everyone.  On a forum debating issues I feelno such need 😉

  • Max, picture this: An arrogrant politician who thinks that most parents know less about parenting than she, is presuming that she is right and the country is wrong, and that she knows best and is in a position to force them to change. Which party is more arrogant: the proponent of change, or the objector?    

    – I have (many times) said that I think both sides of this argument are arrogant and self importnant.  Do you want me to decide whether the pot is blacker than the kettle?

    Why support this sort of arrogance? I too fail to see where the motivation is coming from.

    – I don't.  See above.  I have already saidI thought Bradford's bill was a waste of time – but was a minor issue nd now its done best left forgotten.  Spending millions on a non-binding referendum (which was worded in such a way that if it HAD been binding it would be of little real use anyway) does not undo Bradford's arrogance – it merely shows that she is not that dis-similar to her opponents.

    – Finally. It seems people are interested in debating my personality deficiencies (of which I have many) rather than the issue itself.  Although I DO like talking about myself this seems  waste of time for everyone else, so may I suggest that you stick to the issue at hand in your nexxt post.

    Cheers.

  • This does not mean that I woud stand by and accept extreme injustice.

    And illegal murdering of babies through abortion is not extreme injustice to you?

  • "Why is so much of peope's self identity tied up in what method they use to discipline children?"

    I think it is because there is something wrong there and the majority of parents sense that and can't put their finger on just what that is.

    I think that the major problem started very quietly through the Care of Children Act, which made any biological parent into a "guardian", only responsible for day-to-day care of the child. Essentially the parent is given permission to look after the child by the government, who can revoke that permission should the parent no longer be given adequate care in the eyes of CYFS. Must seems pretty odd to the mother who has just given birth to their child after carrying him or her for 9 months that she is just a "day-to-day caregiver".

    I think that the s59 amendment just brought the Crimes Act into line with the Care of Children Act. The government was simply reinforcing their understanding of family on what are predominantly traditional families. That is,

    1. Children are a special class of adult that have a number of rights to self-determination, such as the right to an abortion without parental consent, and especially the right not to be corrected by their parents.
    2. Biological parents are relegated to the status of temporary child-minders, providing for basic necessities only, and a shoulder to cry on.
    3. Only government agencies such as CYFS, or the police have the right to bend children's behaviour to their own agenda- parents who take on this right are specifically guilty of criminal assault. These darn parents should know their place as 2nd class citizens.

    Don't forget that the s2 definition of assault makes all parental actions to bend the will of their children to their own is guilty of criminal assault. This extends to words, ("go brush your teeth") and gestures (a "get back there" thumb gesture), as well as time-outs, and smacking. It is all assault under the new law, if for the purpose of changing the child's behaviour.

  • This does not mean that I woud stand by and accept extreme injustice. 
     
    And illegal murdering of babies through abortion is not extreme injustice to you?

    – Sid : Why do you keeping asking me about murdering babies.  This is irrelevant for two reasons (i) it is way off topic (ii) you have NO IDEA what my thoughts on this topic are anyway. I think you got confused when I listed a number of other issues which some peopleargue areissues the government should not interfere with and you assumed that I was in favour off all of these practices….anyway:  Enough with your murdering babies obsession already!

    "Essentially the parent is given permission to look after the child by the government, who can revoke that permission should the parent no longer be given adequate care in the eyes of CYFS"

    Yes.  I have often wondered about whether certain political parties think that they hve ownership not just of our children but our bodies as well.  This came up recently when there was debate over making being an organ donor manditory – ie. your corpse is State property. This idea worried me as well, and I have a lot of respect for people who home school their children.  However, I don't really see this as an issue of state control of private affairs any more than any other law that "interferes" with private lives, like laws against child molestation say,

  • "Don't forget that the s2 definition of assault makes all parental actions to bend the will of their children to their own is guilty of criminal assault. This extends to words, ("go brush your teeth") and gestures (a "get back there" thumb gesture), as well as time-outs, and smacking. It is all assault under the new law, if for the purpose of changing the child's behaviour."

    With all due respect, this is sounds very paranoid.  You don't seriously think that the evil State is going to come and steal children because the parents tell them to brush their teeth.  If this WAS the case I would be equally worried.  Please lets tak about the real world we actually live in, not some dytopic fantasy world.

  • Max, firstly: It is not a matter of style to declare that a person has lied. You've been shown that nobody lied. You're just far too arrogant to back down there.

    Secondly, when it comes to "both sides" being arrogant and not wanting to say which is blacker, pot or kettle, you do not actually explain why it is arrogant for parents to object to the condescending approach by politicians. So I guess now is the time for you to tell us all: How is it arrogant at all?

    I also note that you think it's acceptable to make flase claims about people, and yet demand that people ignore them in the interest of sticking to the issue. Fair enough – but don't think I've forgotten about that rape that you were guilty of a couple of years back, or that you are hiding behind a pseudonym because fo the reputation the guilty verdict gained you. But OK sure let's not mention claims made about people (false or otherwise), and let's stick to the issue. Can you explain how it is arrogant for parents to defend their stance against politicians who want to see them branded criminals? Thanks.

    PS please do not refer to any claims people here make about each other in your next post (these are, after all, only matters of style), only talk about the issue. Thanks.

  • Chuck you are not wrong that is an extremely dishonest piece! It is essentially a strawman – he omits the part of the act that is in dispute and then speaks about the part of the act that is not and uses that to castigate his opponents. 
     
    I could shred him easily on the law – the problem is that being a law student doesn't carry enough authority… I will see how we are placed today and give it a go and submit it to the Herald as a counter piece. If nothing else I am sure the Vote No people will publish it and we can always put it on this blog.

  • Glen…for the last time:  Get over yourself!

  • OK Glen.  That accusation of rape has taken this little playful joking between you and me beyond a joke.  I suspect at least two people on this forum know full well who I am and I am feeling very upset now that you have accused me of this.

    That accusation is WAY beyond a joke and a pretty sick thing to say to be honest.

    Madalaine – as a law student would you say Glenn's accusation against me is criminal in nature?  What can I do about it?  I can't believe Glenn would stoop to something so vile over a minor dispute on here.  Please help anyone.

  • Max, you're complaining about false accusations. But you're already said that such things are just matters of style. So when I falsely accuse you, you sould not care (note that I am the one saying that both accusations are equally false. I'm sure you're no more a rapist than I am a liar).

    Please – what was the phrase again – "get over yourself!" That's fair, right?

    Do tell, Max: What are your thoughts on double standards?

    Also do tell: How long have you considered it "playful joking" to attack a person's character online (as you did mine)?

    You know full well what has led to this Max: Your obvious partisanship and error in calling me a liar, and yiour utter arrogance and unwillignness to man up and admit your false accusations. So get over my comments.

  • Max, you may have seen the results of rape but you are not the only one. I know for a fact that Glenn has seen the results too as a close friend of him, his wife and me came to his house, having been brutally raped, and Glenn's wife and I took her to the police station, stayed with her through the medical examination and we all supported her afterwards, Glenn included.

    You spout high and mightly about not enjoying seeing jokes about rape but you're quite happy to treat child abuse in the same manner you complain of. Worse you then think it is appropriate to get on your high horse and sermonise about how you've seen the effects of rape and have a go at me for lack of appropriate sensitivity.

    If you want to have a pissing contest as to whose moral ground is the highest in terms of personal experience, I will see your 'I've seen the effects of rape' with one count of "so have I;" and I'll raise you with one "I've been raped&quot

    Lay off the psycho-analysis and get off your high horse and stick to the issues.

  • Oh, another thing Max, you ignored my question. Based on your "styl" I can see that you do not expect false allegations to be addressed before people bow tot he will of the wone posing challenges, so I'm confused as to why you're kgetting your knickers in a bunch over a simply matter of style like a false accusation.

    So when you've gotten over yourself, how about coming back to the subject and answering the question: When it comes to "both sides" being arrogant and not wanting to say which is blacker, pot or kettle, you do not actually explain why it is arrogant for parents to object to the condescending approach by politicians. So I guess now is the time for you to tell us all: How is it arrogant at all?

    Thanks for getting back to the subject (as I am sure you will, based on the way you demand it of me).

  • If defamation is what you mean Max, it is not part of the criminal code; it's a brance of civil law. To successfully mount a defamation action Glenn must have identified you, he did not; there are plenty of Max's in the world. He also has to make a defamatory statement; while you could pluck out his words "don't think I've forgotten about that rape that you were guilty of a couple of years back, or that you are hiding behind a pseudonym because fo the reputation the guilty verdict gained you," Glenn can equally point to the surrounding context, in fact, Judges will usually insist on seeing the context the comments were made in. Glenn very clearly framed his comments inside the context of accusing you believing that it is "acceptable to make flase claims about people and yet demand[ing] that people ignore them in the interest of sticking to the issue." He then said, "Fair enough" before making his comments. This suggests that his comments were sarcastic and were meant to be a mimic of your tactics.

    Without identification you don't have defamation. Without a defamatory statement, or in the presence of a reasonable defence to defamation, you also do not have a case for defamation.

    In this thread you have falsely accused people of being supportive of child abuse. To me it seems that you got as good as you gave and that Glenn, whilst walking the line, is on the right side of it.

  • Glenn:  I don't want to talk to you ever again.  Good luck.

  • OK Madalaine.  If you think accusing someone of rape is on the same level as accusing someone of being dishonest in an article they posted on a webpage… then that says something I guess.

    And to be clear – I never actually accused any particular person of child abuse.  I spoke in general terms.  I never said XXXX beats his children with a stick and was convicted of it.  His specific accusation is of a very different type.

    Personally – having seen the result of rape (as I am sure amny other people have) I find Glenn's comments sick and way over the top and say a lot about his vindictive nastiness. It is not a topic I enjoy seeing jokes about.  It is not a topic I think it is appropriate to use to make some sort of political point.

    The fact that you seem to think his accusation is OK may say something about you as well.  I don't know.

    Personally it leaves me feeling pretty disgusted, sad, and frankly disappointed.  I really don't want to say any more about it – I feel sick enough already.

  • "I never actually accused any particular person of child abuse."

    That is stretching the truth Max, you implied it which is as good as doing it; did you not write:


    [to Glenn] "May I suggest hitting a small child.  That might make you feel big."

    "I find both sides as self-righteous and preachy as the other – with the small difference that one side doesn't beat up their kids ;)"

  • Does this mention specific actions by specific people?  No.

    Notice I say "one side".  ie.  the target is the ideas of a group of people.  I never say a specific person raped/beat/bashed anyone.

    Can you honestly not see the difference?'

    I think stooping to an accusation of rape is WAY out of line and disproportianate to anything that has gone before.  If you disagree – fine.

    To think someone is deceptive in an argument is not actually a personal attack.  It is a comment upon a piece of writing.  Now I still honestly think that Glenn was being deceptive – and told him why.  I don't think (I hope) that he honestly thinks I am a rapist.  This is another big difference.

    Can you honestly not see the difference?

  • Glenn did not accuse you of rape. Read the context. He turned your tactics back on you, he made it clear he was doing this before making his statements.

    If Glenn had acccused you of rape I would not defend that; I would delete his comments if he had done so.

  • It is not a competition Madelaine.  I was merely trying to expain why I found his comments more offensive than my accusation that he lied.  I am sorry if I have upset you by doing this as I did not at all mean to minimize anyone elses suffering – and did not think I was doing so with what I said.  But I apologize if that is how it came across.

    However, I am now confused about why someone accusing me of what (in my opinion) is the worse thing a man can be accused of does not strike you as a pretty sick accusation as well.

  • Max, I know that you know full well that you're just pissed off because I showed you what you did, and you realised that it would be wrong when done to you. It would not be, as you said, a matter of style. Specific claims are not matters of style. Nor will your toned down version of events wash. You did not say that I had been dishonest, you accused me of telling lies. At least I clearly stated that the accusation that I made was false. You ont he other hand are an arrogant person who presumes the right to say hatever you like about people, and to psychoanalyse their objections as being matters of trying to feel big, telling them to get over themselves as though they and not you are in the wrong.

    I – and others – fully welcome your constructive contributions tot he issue. Please do explain why it's arrogant to object to being told by politicians how to raise my children. But your drivel thus far has nothing to serious say about the issue. Whatever you might think, simply *labelling* one side as child beaters. As one who has lived with the consequences of domestic violence I could just get all testy and emotional, but instead I'm just holding you to account for your words – something you evidently aren't accustomed to.

  • Glenn:   My apologies for any offensive statement I said.  Glen:  You are not a lier – however I still disagree with your analysis.  I should have said this in less confrontational terms. Also, I  forgive you for your accusation.   I realise you did not mean it to sound as offensive as it did.

    Madelaine:  I apologize if what I said sounded insensitive.  I realise somnetimes that on a forum without facial expressions and so on, and only text to go on I/we xan sometimes misread what people mean.

    I really don't want to continue a pointless flamewar anymore.

  • It is not a competition Madelaine.

    Stop being a cry baby when you're loosing in your own game.

    There's no need to try to explain anything, this thread is pretty clear to anyone else reading it.

    I am now confused about why someone accusing me of what (in my opinion) is the worse thing a man can be accused of does not strike you as a pretty sick accusation as well.

    And you think it's not pretty sick when you labelled those who don't agree with this anti-smacking bill as child abusers, as supporting the rights to whacking children?

    You just tasted your own medicine Max … and oh it's bitter isn't it

  • Sid:  A specific accusation of a specific crime differs from a general statement about  people's beliefs.

    But again.  I am sick of this pointless flamewar.  So my apologies to those who were offended by my statements about those who don't agree with this anti-smacking bill.

  • Thanks Max. I may be a stickler for addressing such things but I think progress can only be had once it's done. I realise that you don't agree with my analysis, and I have no problem with that.

    Am I right in thinking that you think that defending the right to use some force in parental correction and rebutting the claims of politicians or social commentator like Ian Harris is actually arrogant or improper? If you don't, what do you mean when you talk abut all ther arrogance "on both sides"?

    I ask this because I have followed the smacking debate pretty closely and I just don't believe that I've seen much by way of arrogance when it comes to actually defending the right to use some level of force in correction. If you could use some examples, that would help.

  • How are we to view society?  As a collection of individuals, as a collection of families, or as a vast interconnected network of the whole community?  Or some combination of the above?

    Whose responsibility is it to look after the wellfare of the child under each of these perceptions of society?

    Is it EVER valid for the social network as a whole (if there is one) to decide that the individual or the family is making the wrong decision with respect to child rearing?

    As an individual – when we find ourselves in the situation where society as a whole disagrees with us – should we preferance our own views, or those of everyone around us?

    There was an article in the paper today (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10588213) about a girl who dies because her parents refused to get her medical help, and instead insisted that THEY were right and that they as individuals and as a family had the total authority to decide the poor girls fate.  I think that the parents in this case showed a great deal of arrogance.  Would you agree to that?

  • Madeleine, the debate about John Roughan’s misleading rubbish is being discussed at the MacDoctor blog and Kiwiblog.

  • Max, I am part of the NO lobby but only speak for myself.  In the case overseas it is right that both parents are charged with murder in the second degree.

    You ask, “Is it EVER valid for the social network as a whole (if there is one) to decide that the individual or the family is making the wrong decision with respect to child rearing?” 

    The answer is definitely.  However, the authorities should be certain intervention is necessary.  AND if the intervention requires removing the children and placing them with a foster family they should be certain the children are safe.  There have been cases where children have been removed against the parent’s wishes and the child has been sexually abused and in one case I have heard of the child has died due to negligence on the part of the foster family.

    There have been cases under this new law where children have been removed.  Fortunately, none have come to serious harm YET.  It is only a matter of time.  There is no way a child should be removed from parents unless there is clear ground to believe the child has genuinely assaulted.  If a parent has used a strap that would be against the law under ACT’s, John Boscawen’s bill.  The police would be within their rights to charge the parents.  However, it would be quite wrong to remove the child particularly of the child wanted to stay with the parents. 

    If a child of 13 or 14 appeared to be very fearful of a parent and wanted police help that would be a different matter and the police should help the child find a safe place to stay.

  • Hi Max, I'm not being paranoid- we need to discuss the law as it is actually stated. s59(2) states that an action is prohibited if its underlying purpose is correction. As this is in the Crimes Act, that means that any action to correct a child is a criminal act. Just what type of criminal act this is IMO is assault, found under s2,

    "<dfn id="DLM327802" class="def-term">assault</dfn> means the act of intentionally applying or attempting to apply force to the person of another, directly or indirectly, or threatening by any act or gesture to apply such force to the person of another, if the person making the threat has, or causes the other to believe on reasonable grounds that he has, present ability to effect his purpose; and <dfn id="DLM327803" class="def-term">to assault</dfn> has a corresponding meaning".

    Lawyers have given their opinion many times as to what would happen if someone was charged under the new s59- they would be charged with criminal assault. Parents all over NZ are fearful and confused about their rights to direct their children's lives. They shouldn't be- they should be outraged. The facts are that the law is so divorced from reality that all parents have been effectively made criminals. There isn't any grey area here. Someone with some legal training correct me if what I've said here isn't true.

  • "There have been cases where children have been removed against the parent’s wishes and the child has been sexually abused and in one case I have heard of the child has died due to negligence on the part of the foster family."

    I am sure this is true.  And I am sure it will continue to happen as long as we live in a fallen world.  But finding anecdotal examples where a law has had bad results is not an argument against the law in general.

    However, your answer basically tells me that you are not against state intervention if society as a whole considers that some parent is mistreating their child.  The debate is not therefore over statism vs.  libertarianism, but is over whether the child in any given instance is being mistreated.

    However, SOME people who are against this law argue as though it were a matter of the state interferring with our lives, and as if this was the major issue.  It is this line of thought which I think is dangerous, and arrogant.

    " The facts are that the law is so divorced from reality that all parents have been effectively made criminals."

    If this is true, then the law is going to be completely toothless.  I don't think we are going to see squads of police rounding up every child in New Zealand in the near future.  I have some faith in my fellow countrymen.  As such, I am not sure that dealing with the law as it is stated IS as valid as dealing with how it is actually applied.  According to the definition of assault you have above, holding a child's hand so they did not run onto the road would constitute assault – but I will be willing to bet a large amount of money that no parent will be prosecuted for holding their child's hand in the next 50 years.  The  same goes for telling a child to clean her teeth, or telling a child to sit down at the dinner table, and so on.

  • Hi Max,

    In what cases exactly was the law not sufficient in prosecuting abusive parents? Where is the evidence that such bill is needed at all? Any example?

    My argument is that the bill is not needed as the law before it was sufficient. The court already had ways to prosecute people who abuse/assault/neglect their children.

  • Max, the law has already been subverted so that it will not be applied as intended. I stated over at Macdoctor,

    "Roughan’s theory that the correction clause is meant to deter parents from thrashing their kids is wrong because the s2 definition of assault renders all actions of the parent to bend the will of the child to their own illegal. This includes asking them to do things (which ‘bends their will to your own’) or gesturing to them to do something. There is no tolerance level at all for any behaviour of this sort from the parent- it is all criminal assault. That is why legislators needed to give the police the discretion not to prosecute, so police could judge what level of illegal behaviour was worth prosecuting.

    Trouble is the current police guidelines apparently preclude them from not investigating minor incidents like shouting at your kids, so the law has essentially been subverted to suit the agenda of Bradford & co."

    I might add that apparently if the police let you off the hook, then CYFS will get involved anyway and move to push the accused parent out of the house for 2 weeks or so, or naturally will remove the child altogether.

  • "The debate is not therefore over statism vs.  libertarianism, but is over whether the child in any given instance is being mistreated".

    The reality is that the move to make biological parents "guardians" or day-to-day caregivers is definitely a change from how the government used to view the role of parents. The government is clearly stating that biological parents are interchangeable with government care-givers, and that the state can provide an equal or better quality of outcomes than the child's biological parents.

    You have to look at the big picture here. These law changes to the status of the family are driven by Labour's deep love for the nanny-state policies of Sweden and Norway. These countries are viewed as utopian ideals in terms of liberal social change, & Labour tried to emulate them.

    Families First has an article stating that parents in Sweden are now telling of how they had their children taken away from them, and- even though they were pronounced fit to take care of their children, the government agency looking after the children wouldn't return them to the parents as apparently "it would be too stressful for the children". This is absolutely where we are heading- "Sorry mum and dad, it would be too stressful for your kids to return them to you, so you won't be seeing them again until they're 16. Don't worry, we're doing just as well as you did at parenting". This may already be happening in NZ. It apparently is plain murder to get your kids returned to you once taken away. Your faith in your countrymen at CYFS is misplaced in my opinion, until there has been a change of the guard. Don't just look at where we are now- look at where we are heading.

  • Guest:  I have answered this question above several times.  If you read enough you will see that I actually agree with you.

    Jonnieboy: If your dystopic vision comes true it will indeed be worrying.

    But this:  This is absolutely where we are heading- "Sorry mum and dad, it would be too stressful for your kids to return them to you, so you won't be seeing them again until they're 16. Don't worry, we're doing just as well as you did at parenting". This may already be happening in NZ.

    … is just scaremongering.  When a single parent in New Zealand is told they are good parents but their children will not be returned to them until they are 16 –  come get me up and I will handcuff myself to the CYFS office as a personal protest.  Until that time I will deal with what actually happens.

    As for: "The reality is that the move to make biological parents "guardians" or day-to-day caregivers is definitely a change from how the government used to view the role of parents"

    Can you find a single MP who would agree with this stance.  Even Sue Bradford would not agree with this.  If she does please point me to where she says anything along these lines.

  • Who would Jesus smack?

    One thing I find amusing about Christains is the way most completly miss the message of the Bible.
    Keep smacking your kids?, would you do it if Jesus was standing next to you?

    Try giving them a hug, try a violence free society, thats what Jesus would want.

  • Guest, are you saying that Jesus had children and refrained from smacking them? Or are you just offering a bizarre mirror image of the silly "WWJD" approach to morality?

  • Well, the law passed with 3 majority votes in parliament some time before the Bill was passed in 2004, and would have been approved by select committee. Certainly some labour MPs would have agreed with it, and certainly Helen + the higher ups. It possibly was a vote along party lines with a minority of MPs supporting it in concience, but nevertheless enough agreed with it to pass it.

    Here is the defn of 'Custody' & "Guardianship" from the previous Act relating to parental authority, the Guardianship Act 1968, found at,
    http://legislation.knowledge-basket.co.nz/gpacts/reprint/text/1968/an/063.html

    <pre> 3. Definition of custody and guardianship—For the purposes of this
    Act—
    “Custody'' means the right to possession and care of a child:
    “Guardianship'' means the custody of a child (except in the case of
    a testamentary guardian and subject to any custody order made by
    the Court) and the right of control over the upbringing of a
    child, and includes all rights, powers, and duties in respect of
    the person and upbringing of a child that were at the
    commencement of this Act vested by any enactment or rule of law
    in the sole guardian of a child; and “guardian'' has a
    corresponding meaning.

    So here we are. Initially we had possession of children, and control over their upbringing.
    The emphasis is plain- parents run the show as their children are their property,
    and the government doesn't.

    Here is a review of this Act by a Family Court judge in 2001 who disagreed with the
    old Act, and who obviously got what he wanted in the new Act.
    http://www.justice.govt.nz/family/publications/speeches-papers/von-dadelszen.asp</pre&gt;

  • I received an email notification about a reply from Max, but I can't seem to find that reply now. Anyway, Max, you used an example that you called arrogant – the example of parents who refuse to get medical treatment for their children because of their beliefs.

    I could get into a bit of questioning over whether it's arrogant to act on your beliefs when others disagree with you, but my shorter reply is that this example has nothing to do with showing that "both sides" of the debate in question – the debate over the smacking referendum, are arrogant. Again, in my experience so far, the arrogance lies more or less solely with those TV stars and politicians who seem to think that they know better.

  • I am firm, you are obstinate, he is pig-headed.