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December 3, 2007

Spank Your Kids, Then Let the Massachusetts Legislature Have It


They’re at it again. Apparently, Massachusetts legislators feel that the nanny state is just not overwhelming enough already. Or perhaps they believe that the term “nanny state” is meant to be taken literally.


A Democratic legislator recently filed a bill in the state legislature banning spanking. No no, the bill isn’t designed to ban child abuse or truly injurious behavior – there are already plenty of laws on the books and social services to cover those situations. House Bill 3922 would presume guilty of child abuse and neglect any parent who spanks little Timmy on the behind for repeatedly putting bugs in his baby brother’s mouth.


Behind the bill is Cathleen Wolf, a Massachusetts resident and nurse who urged the legislature to ban spanking. Wolf said, “I can remember being 10 years old and thinking, what is going on here? What are these people doing? How can this be allowed to happen?”


Right. I can also remember saying the same exact thing about my parents for forcing me to go to school at the age of 10. And eating vegetables. And brushing my teeth. But strangely enough, we have resisted the temptation to run the world’s finest nation based on the preferences of 10-year-olds. If anything, the fact that children are scared and stung by a loving spanking is an indication that it’s a darn good deterrent that should be used by every parent and on every child.


Unfortunately, it’s not surprising to see such a bill come out of the same state that has seen dodgeball get banned at school because it’s “exclusionary.” This nanny state attitude has already led to excessive government micromanagement à la Mike Huckabee.


A few years ago, Massachusetts imposed a strict smoking ban on the bars and restaurants in the state. Apparently, owners should not be allowed to set the rules on their private property, and customers are not capable of avoiding the bars and restaurants that allow smoking. The government has to make the decisions and choices on behalf of everyone.


The nanny state mentality is not limited to smoking, however. More recently, the Massachusetts legislature sought to impose a trans-fat ban on restaurants. If the nanny state is able to ban certain types of food and cooking, what is stopping it from banning things like desserts? Where exactly is the limit of government intervention?


Apparently, there is none. Only a few months ago, the Massachusetts legislature saw a bill that would mandate that bathroom doors in the state open in an outwardly fashion. The reason, you might ask? A state legislator’s friend considered his aversion to touching potentially impure bathroom doorknobs a “pet peeve.” Consistently with politicians who seek to impose their view of the “correct” lifestyle on all individuals, they turned this “pet peeve” into a legislative issue.


When politicians are willing to accompany you into the bathroom, there is truly no limit to the government they are willing to run. And Bay Staters wonder why residents are leaving the commonwealth en masse. Since 2000, Massachusetts has lost a net 300,000 people, approximately, to migration within the country. That’s nearly 5 percent of its population.


Now, a good, strong family could theoretically endure high taxes, painful congressional representation in Washington, “progressive” values and bans on dodgeball, smoking, trans-fats and inward swinging bathroom doors. But for many, interference in the manner in which families raise their children can only be the final straw.


Though still unacceptable, it is one thing to take much of a married couple’s money and prevent one or both from enjoying a cigarette at their favorite bar. It is quite another to deprive them of their ability to discipline their children as they deem appropriate, and to take away their right to entrench traditional values in their children, for whom they live.


One can joke about the ludicrousness of such government intrusion into family life, but in the end, it is an extremely serious matter. What is next – will the government forbid you from yelling at your children? Will it dictate what values you should teach your son and daughter?


If anything, the Massachusetts legislators are the first who could use a good spanking. And most certainly, so can your children – if they act up and misbehave anywhere around me, and you don’t have the heart to teach them a lesson with a loving swat on the backside, I would be more than happy to do the honors for you.


© 2007 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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