Thursday, August 6, 2009

Why I voted Yes

Why did I vote yes in NZ's current referendum on child discipline, related to last year's repeal of section 59 of the Crimes Act, commonly (if somewhat misleadingly) described as the anti-smacking bill?

In my opinion, NZ's good and responsible parents should abstain from any violence-based parenting tools in a communal response to the level of violence throughout our society. I base this opinion not on any inherent wrongness of smacking, but in light of NZ's attrocious patterns of violence and in the assurance from many reliable sources that effective alternate parenting tools are available. We need all sectors of society to demonstrate that violence is not the only (nor even the best) way to get the job done.

Much internet debate (such as there has been, since most have estimated that this referendum will have little practical impact) has focussed on the legitimacy of smacking, but I consider that a distraction. As my great-grandparent's generation took the pledge to refrain from alcohol in response to
it's prevailing social impact, so we need to respond to the destruction surrounding us rather than argue about the propriety of a quiet tipple of fine wine in the privacy of our own homes.

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