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Chris Trotter on the Smacking Referendum

Christ Trotter, a left wing journalist with whom I rarely agree, has written an insightful article interpeting what last week's referendum result tells us, and placing it in it's historical and political and social context:

... The count [in the the so-called "Anti-Anti-Smacking" Citizens Initiated Referendum] showed that nearly nine-tenths of the voting population responded to the question: "Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?"; by voting "No".

What does that result tell us about those New Zealanders?

Does it tell us that 87.6 percent of us are inveterate child-beaters: cruel and unusual punishers, who see their children as some sort of personal possession; mere extensions of their own, all-too-fragile, egos – rather than as vulnerable little human-beings, with the same right to be protected from common assault as any adult?

Has it, if only for the brief moment it took to draw the heavy curtains of silence and denial more closely together, afforded us a glimpse of the ugly dysfunctionality at the heart of the New Zealand family?

Has it alerted the 11.8 percent of us who voted "Yes" that all around us children are living in a state of deep emotional confusion: never knowing from one moment to the next whether the adults they love and trust most in the world are going to suddenly lash out and whack them?

To hear the defenders of the "Anti-Smacking" legislation tell the story, that’s exactly what the result of the referendum has told us.

Are they right?

The answer, of course, is "No."

The truth of the matter is that most of the young New Zealanders currently raising children long ago stopped using the "smack" as part of "good parental correction". If they hit their kids at all, it’s only in the extenuating circumstances already contained in the current legislation – which basically sanctions the use of parental force to prevent a child from either inflicting or experiencing greater harm.

These parents are part of the great virtuous circle of childrearing which traces its origins back to the dramatic cultural shifts of the 1950s, 60s and 70s. With each passing generation, this circle will widen until, in a relatively short space of historical time, the use of corrective violence will almost entirely disappear from New Zealand society.

Sue Bradford’s "Anti-Smacking" law reinforces this trend – but it did not create it. And, regardless of whether the law survives this referendum result, the trend will continue. ...

I encourage you to read the full article.

References (2)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    Response: my review here
    Neat Web site, Stick to the very good job. Thanks a lot.
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    Response: outsourcing seo
    Gavin Knight .com - Blog - Chris Trotter on the Smacking Referendum

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