As(s)ine Legislation

Spanking is not ipso facto physical abuse. Furthermore, abusus non tollit usus – the abuse of a thing does not destroy it’s right use.

CALIFORNIA TO CONSIDER OUTLAWING SPANKING

The story notes β€œit would be a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail or a fine up to $1,000, although a legal expert advising her on the proposal said first-time offenders would probably only have to attend parenting classes.”

Words fail me when faced with this kind of idiocy. >:{

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About Funky Dung

Who is Funky Dung? 29-year-old grad student in Intelligent Systems (A.I.) at the University of Pittsburgh. I consider myself to be politically moderate and independent and somewhere between a traditional and neo-traditional Catholic. I was raised Lutheran, spent a number of years as an agnostic, and joined the Catholic Church at the 2000 Easter Vigil. Why Funky Dung? I haven't been asked this question nearly as many times as you or I might expect. Funky Dung is a reference to an obscure Pink Floyd song. On the album Atom Heart Mother, there is a track called Atom Heart Mother Suite. It's broken up into movements, like a symphony, and one of the movements is called Funky Dung. I picked that nickname a long time ago (while I was still in high school I think), shortly after getting an internet connection for the first time. To me it means "cool/neat/groovy/spiffy stuff/crap/shiznit", as in "That's some cool stuff, dude!" Whence Ales Rarus? I used to enjoy making people guess what this means, but I've decided to relent and make it known to all. Ales Rarus is a Latin play on words. "Avis rarus" means "a rare bird" and carries similar meaning to "an odd fellow". "Ales" is another Latin word for bird that carries connotations of omens, signs of the times, and/or augery. If you want to get technical, both "avis" and "ales" are feminine (requiring "rara", but they can be made masculine in poetry (which tends to breaks lots of rules). I decided I'd rather have a masculine name in Latin. ;) Yeah, I'm a nerd. So what? :-P Wherefore blog? It is my intention to "teach in order to lead others to faith" by being always "on the lookout for occasions of announcing Christ by word, either to unbelievers . . . or to the faithful" through the "use of the communications media". I also act knowing that I "have the right and even at times a duty to manifest to the sacred pastors [my] opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church, and [I] have a right to make [my] opinion known to the other Christian faithful, with due regard to the integrity of faith and morals and reverence toward [my and their] pastors, and with consideration for the common good and the dignity of persons." (adapted from CCC 904-907) Statement of Faith I have been baptized and confirmed in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I, therefore, renounce Satan; I renounce all his works; I renounce all his allurements. I hold and profess all that is contained in the Apostles' Creed, the Niceno- Constantinopolitan Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. Having been buried with Christ unto death and raised up with him unto a new life, I promise to live no longer for myself or for that world which is the enemy of God but for him who died for me and rose again, serving God, my heavenly Father, faithfully and unto death in the holy Catholic Church. I am obedient to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. That is, I promote and defend authentic Catholic Teaching and Faith in union with Christ and His Church and in union with the Holy Father, the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of St. Peter. Thanks be unto Thee, O my God, for all Thy infinite goodness, and, especially, for the love Thou hast shown unto me at my Confirmation. I Give Thee thanks that Thou didst then send down Thy Holy Spirit unto my soul with all His gifts and graces. May He take full possession of me for ever. May His divine unction cause my face to shine. May His heavenly wisdom reign in my heart. May His understanding enlighten my darkness. May His counsel guide me. May His knowledge instruct me. May His piety make me fervent. May His divine fear keep me from all evil. Drive from my soul, O Lord, all that may defile it. Give me grace to be Thy faithful soldier, that having fought the good fight of faith, I may be brought to the crown of everlasting life, through the merits of Thy dearly beloved Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen. Behind the Curtain: an Interview With Funky Dung (Thursday, March 03, 2005) I try to avoid most memes that make their way 'round the blogosphere (We really do need a better name, don't we?), but some are worth participating in. Take for instance the "interview game" that's the talk o' the 'sphere. I think it's a great way to get to know the people in neighborhood. Who are the people in your neighborhood? In your neighborhod? In your neigh-bor-hoo-ood...*smack* Sorry, Sesame Street flashback. Anyhow, I saw Jeff "Curt Jester" Miller's answers and figured since he's a regular reader of mine he'd be a good interviewer. Without further ado, here are my answers to his questions. 1. Being that your pseudonym Funky Dung was chosen from a Pink Floyd track on Atom Heart Mother, what is you favorite Pink Floyd song and why? Wow. That's a tuffy. It's hard to pick out a single favorite. Pink Floyd isn't really a band known for singles. They mostly did album rock and my appreciation of them is mostly of a gestalt nature. If I had to pick one, though, it'd be "Comfortably Numb". I get chills up my spine every time I hear it and if it's been long enough since the last time, I get midty-eyed. I really don't know why. That's a rather unsatisfying answer for an interview, so here are the lyrics to a Rush song. It's not their best piece of music, but the lyrics describe me pretty well.

New World Man He's a rebel and a runner He's a signal turning green He's a restless young romantic Wants to run the big machine He's got a problem with his poisons But you know he'll find a cure He's cleaning up his systems To keep his nature pure Learning to match the beat of the old world man Learning to catch the heat of the third world man He's got to make his own mistakes And learn to mend the mess he makes He's old enough to know what's right But young enough not to choose it He's noble enough to win the world But weak enough to lose it --- He's a new world man... He's a radio receiver Tuned to factories and farms He's a writer and arranger And a young boy bearing arms He's got a problem with his power With weapons on patrol He's got to walk a fine line And keep his self-control Trying to save the day for the old world man Trying to pave the way for the third world man He's not concerned with yesterday He knows constant change is here today He's noble enough to know what's right But weak enough not to choose it He's wise enough to win the world But fool enough to lose it --- He's a new world man...
2. What do you consider your most important turning point from agnosticism to the Catholic Church. At some point in '99, I started attending RCIA at the Pittsburgh Oratory. I mostly went to ask a lot of obnoxious Protestant questions. Or at least that's what I told myself. I think deep down I wanted desperately to have faith again. At that point I think I'd decided that if any variety of Christianity had the Truth, the Catholic Church did. Protestantism's wholesale rejection of 1500 years of tradition didn't sit well with me, even as a former Lutheran. During class one week, Sister Bernadette Young (who runs the program) passed out thin booklet called "Handbook for Today's Catholic". One paragraph in that book spoke to me and I nearly cried as I read it.
"A person who is seeking deeper insight into reality may sometimes have doubts, even about God himself. Such doubts do not necessarily indicate lack of faith. They may be just the opposite - a sign of growing faith. Faith is alive and dynamic. It seeks, through grace, to penetrate into the very mystery of God. If a particular doctrine of faith no longer 'makes sense' to a person, the person should go right on seeking. To know what a doctrine says is one thing. To gain insight into its meaning through the gift of understanding is something else. When in doubt, 'Seek and you will find.' The person who seeks y reading, discussing, thinking, or praying eventually sees the light. The person who talks to God even when God is 'not there' is alive with faith."
At the end of class I told Sr. Bernadette that I wanted to enter the Church at the next Easter vigil. 3. If you were a tree what kind of, oh sorry about that .. what is the PODest thing you have ever done? I set up WikiIndex, a clearinghouse for reviews of theological books, good, bad, and ugly. It has a long way to go, but it'll be cool when it's finished. :) 4. What is your favorite quote from Venerable John Henry Newman? "Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt." 5. If you could ban one hymn from existence, what would it be? That's a tough one. As a member of the Society for a Moratorium on the Music of Marty Haugen and David Haas, there are obviously a lot of songs that grate on my nerves. If I had to pick one, though, I'd probably pick "Sing of the Lord's Goodness" by Ernie Sands.

23 thoughts on “As(s)ine Legislation

  1. Stuff

    *sigh*

    Funky, you know how I feel about spanking. But you are absolutely right – that the state should have the right to step that far into your rights as a parent is nothing less than a tragedy.

  2. Rich | Championable

    1) I like the pun.

    2) Could you explain your reasoning behind being against this? (I’m not saying yea or nea… I have to think about it.)

    3) Are you also against making one grownup smacking another illegal?

    Just ka-checking.

    Rock on, brother!

  3. Funky Dung Post author

    I may write a blog post on this some day, but for the time being I’ll just say that spanking, done as a prescribed punishment and not out of rage, is a reasonable form of behavioral conditioning for children too young to comprehend/learn from more sophisticated methods.

    I’m pissed because spanking – clearly distringuished from abuse – is a private and personal decision for parents to make, not the nanny state.

    Do I think hitting another person should be illegal? That depends on the hit. A womon slapping a man for being too forward, for instance, is fine by me.

  4. Squat

    I THINK THIS IS THE BEST IDEA EVER. I THINK THEY SHOULD DO THIS IN EVERY STATE.
    *actually i think this is a terrible idea and is ludacrist. i would say more but big brother may be reading this.*

  5. Advogado

    I think you should write a post on this subject. I was spanked all too often and turned out all right, but I’m also taking a wait and see approach on this. I’d like to hear some well reasoned arguments for and against.

    Side note: I am suprised by the level of emotion raised by you and a few others. If I had seen this headline on my own I would have forgotten it by the next day.

  6. John

    This is another instance where the concept of limitted governance comes to center. Striking a child as an act of punishment is morally unacceptable, but it is not something that the government should be legislating.

    That said, the law is somewhat less unreasonable than it initially sounds, because it’s limited to children under the age of four. While I can see someone arguing in favor of corporal punishment, hitting a two year old is just an act of cruelty.

  7. Rich | Championable

    Okay. Now I’ve thought about this some more.

    I’ve never spanked my kids. I think that my wife has spanked our kids once in ten years.

    Nonetheless, I think you are correct on this one. There are circumstances under which it’s reasonable. In my opinion, those circumstances are rare.

    Just thought I’d check back in.

    Peace out.

  8. Funky Dung Post author

    Striking a child as an act of punishment is morally unacceptable

    Why? For the sake of clarity, tell me why a light whack that makes the butt sting a bit, leaves a little redness, but causes no permanent harm is morally unacceptable.

    While I can see someone arguing in favor of corporal punishment, hitting a two year old is just an act of cruelty.

    Bullfeathers. I’d argue that the younger and less cognitively developed the child, the more necessary corporal punishment is. Spanking is something I’d gradually abandon as a child gets older and more capable of understanding more cerebral punishments.

    In my opinion, those circumstances are rare.

    Why are they rare?

  9. Funky Dung Post author

    BTW, I don’t think spanking is universally necessary. Different children have different discipline needs. I’ve seen kids that likely never needed a spanking and others that were practically begging for it with their atrocious behavior.

  10. Rich | Championable

    Hey.

    To answer your question to my part of the various quoted comments (“Those circumstances are rare.”) It’s because I do not believe that spanking should be a primary punishment. And I believe that because there are other effective ways to convey the same message to children, and I’ll take those over spanking.

  11. Funky Dung Post author

    It’s because I do not believe that spanking should be a primary punishment. And I believe that because there are other effective ways to convey the same message to children, and I’ll take those over spanking.

    I agree, but that doesn’t mean spanking is necessarily rare.

  12. Funky Dung Post author

    The supporters of this bill know nothing about the issue. 70% of parents vote Republican.

    I’m curious where you got that figure. It’s new to me. BTW, for the sake of full disclosure I should say that I am not yet a parent and that I try to avoid voting for both major parties.

  13. John

    Spanking is morally wrong for a variety of reasons.

    Most simply: it is wrong to strike another human being. Particularly a human being that is defenseless except for your aid.

    Less rigidly, it’s a terrible thing to teach a child. One of the primary lessons we try to teach children is that violence is not acceptable. Violence is a remarkably poor tool to instill that lesson. You want to teach a child that they should not hit people because hitting is wrong, not because you can hit harder.

    And to take one more step away from morality, it’s inneffectual. The lesson of a spanking is not “don’t do that,” it’s “don’t get caught.”

    What underlies any argument for corporal punishment is ultimately laziness. People want to think that they can impose values on their children without putting in the effort to live those values. You can try to spotcheck individual behaviors, but if you want to raise just and moral children, you must yourself be a pillar of justice and morality. My parents have raised three children and instilled all of us with very strong senses of values, but I assure you that them yelling at us is not what accomplished that.

  14. Funky Dung Post author

    Most simply: it is wrong to strike another human being…People want to think that they can impose values on their children without putting in the effort to live those values. You can try to spotcheck individual behaviors, but if you want to raise just and moral children, you must yourself be a pillar of justice and morality.

    Aha. It seems we’ve found a core issue now. I do not believe that it is always and everywhere wrong to strike another human being any more than I believe war is always and everywhere wrong. I prefer pacifism, but peaceful solutions are not always practical or feasible.

    Less rigidly, it’s a terrible thing to teach a child. One of the primary lessons we try to teach children is that violence is not acceptable. Violence is a remarkably poor tool to instill that lesson.

    Nevertheless, it is sometimes unavoidable (either literally or due to potential consequences).

    What underlies any argument for corporal punishment is ultimately laziness.

    For some people, that may indeed be the case, but again abuse doesn’t negate use. For many people, including me, my parents, and some of my friends, spanking is not antithetical to our moral principles but part of them.

  15. Jungle Pop

    I would almost enjoy being “sentenced” to parenting classes under this proposed law, just to be supremely difficult. Cuz I doubt it would be illegal to SUPPORT spanking! What could they do? πŸ˜‰

  16. Terry

    I wasn’t spanked, I was flat out whipped. Paddles; belts; the calloused hand of a welder. And I deserved every single one of them. I dearly love my father and am grateful for the discipline.

  17. Stuff

    I really don’t want to get into this discussion as it becomes too emotionally draining for me. However, for those who would like to read parenting sources that are “anti-spanking” I would highly recommend “the Discipline Book” by William Sears, MD and Martha Sears, RN. They are a husband and wife team with eight of their own kids and about 30 or so years in the professional field of pediatrics. I don’t think they make more experienced or qualified “experts” on the subject than these two. For a more Catholic approach, see “Parenting With Grace” by Greg Popcak.

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