Sunday, January 21, 2007

A comment string at Patterico has a decent cross section of criticism of a California legislator's introduction of a bill that would make it a crime for a parent to spank their kids...

While some commentors defend spanking as a legitimate method of discipling a kid, a good number of critics object to the 'nanny state' aspects of this bill.... to these critics, disciplining a kid is pretty much a decision that ought to be left to the parents and not an area that the state ought to be sticking its nose into.

And that is a decent argument... the principle that parents ought to be able to decide how to raise their kids.

Unfortunately, it is one that they are no longer allowed to use.

The proposed spanking ban is simply another example of one group in society (in this case, the anti-spankers) trying to impose their values on the rest of society, to force all of society to live by their rules. These do-gooders have forced parents to restrain kids in car seats. These do-gooders force parents to have their kids undergo a regimen of immunizations. These do-gooders force parents to send their kids to school. These do-gooders force parents to refrain from giving their kids alchohol and drugs.

And because the (for lack of a better term) anti-nanny-staters have been silent so long in the face of the continued assault on their parental rights, like an attorney who doesn't object at trial, they have lost their right to object in the future. Had the ANSers been so terribly upset at societal intrusion into the parent-child relationship, they would have objected to a whole slew of such initiatives... not because they opposed the particulars of the matter but rather because they opposed the idea of the state mandating such behavior. They should have stood up and said that while they think all kids should be A or B, they were going to oppose the legislation because it wasn't for the state to mandate such behavior. But, because they agreed with the particulars, they were silent... and have thus lost the soapbox on which to object to future attacks. In other words, they sold their soul for a childseat law.

Not only that, those on the right who are among the loudest complainers about nanny-statism are no slouches when it comes to trying to impose their own values on society as a whole. Of course, they don't call what they do as 'nanny-state', they prefer to use labels such as 'family values' and so on to describe their attempts to impose a code of behavior on society.

And so, in light of their silence during previous limitations of parental rights, combined with their own attempts to regulate childrearing, the right has no moral standing to oppose continued intrusions into how parents raise their kids. They're free to argue the merits of a particular issue, but can no longer argue against the principle that parents ought to be able to raise kids on their own without having their neighbors, social workers and the rest of society looking over their shoulders.