My view is that Boscawen's got rich political pickings here, and if lefties don't like that they should blame Sue Bradford and Helen Clark for it, not ACT and Family First. But anyhoo, among the usual strawmen and false analogies offered by anti-smackers was this:
...during the 90s, ACT went to the polls with a policy of lowering the age of criminal responsibility to 12. So a few years ago, ACT thought of children as calculating, rational and culpable creatures that needed to be called to account in the dock. Now, they're dumb things that need to be hit so they can learn.
Leaving aside the fact that a 12-year-old isn't someone you're able to discipline with a slap on the arse, I'm interested in the idea that smackers supposedly think kids need to be hit so they can learn.
The bit about needing to be hit to learn was presumably hyperbole, but it did cause me to ponder what I actually learned from the occasional thoroughly well-deserved smack I got as a kid. According to liberals, what I learned was that violence is a good means of getting your own way, but given that the last time I threw a punch was in school, that lesson doesn't seem to have worked too well. I think what I actually learned from my parents smacking me was more like this:
1. Behaviour has consequences.
2. If you behave badly enough, the consequences can get swift and unpleasant.
3. If there's a credible threat, you pay attention to warnings.
4. If you push people far enough, they will hurt you.
5. It's possible for situations to arise in which even otherwise placid and charitable people are best served by some carefully targeted violence.
It may not be the stuff of which episodes of "The Waltons" are made, but frankly I think these are good, valuable lessons and I'm glad my parents troubled themselves to teach them to me. Perhaps liberals manage to get the same lessons across to their own kids in some way, but I have my suspicions about that.