Friday, December 2, 2011

Spanking is teaching and torturing is legalizing rape

At home it is called spanking, in the court systems it is termed corporal punishment, and in schools it is known as the “board of education.” These are the closest terms to what the majority of us have come to know as torture. But is it really torture? According to Dr. J, the first fact about torture is “torture does not ‘work’.” I may speak for myself, but for me, spanking did work and it was probably one of the most effective means to get me to behave. I may be the exception child, but I did not receive very many spankings. This was because the threat of a spanking from my parents was enough to be considered punishment for me. If a threat was said I would be sneakily running away from all adults present. I figured if I was out of sight, I would be out of mind; therefore, no spanking was necessary. I was still caught a couple of times and got a spanking; however, despite this horrific event, every year when I go to the doctor they have yet to tell me that I have chronic damage or a psychological problem as a result of my childhood. I am not suggesting that spanking is the only effective punishment for children. Like all cases, every child is different and responds differently to different punishments. In fact, certain school districts are bringing back the “board of education,” or the paddle.

In this article, it says that parents are requesting the school to swat their children. It is used most often in high schools than in elementary schools. Do you think this is an effective punishment? Spanking is a form of punishment that is used to condition individuals into learning what is right and what is wrong.

Comparing spankings to torture, they are two completely different things. Torturing an individual is a dehumanizing act for the torturer and the tortured, and it is not meant to teach an individual. Initially when presented with the idea of torture, it is seen as a necessary evil that falls in the gray area of right and wrong. The ticking time bomb case is what usually ends up coming to mind when I think of torture – you have 2 hours to find where the bomb is planted and to save millions of lives. It is hard to say that torture does not work, because if torture does not work, what does work? Are we to stand with our hands in our pockets? It is hard to comprehend the idea that we can do nothing and that we must wait to experience the worst.

Initially in class, I thought torture was an effective means to receive information, and it is hard to comprehend that it unconditionally wrong in every circumstance. A rational law cannot be created deeming torture to be legal because that would make it not only legal for the government but also for every individual in America. A form of torture is rape, and by legalizing torture you would be creating a higher law that would be legalizing rape. You cannot put a conditional statement to legalize rape. This rationing makes me think of legalizing torture in a black and white way. Torture is inconsistent with previously established laws, and to deem it legal would be to undermine other laws. Do you agree with this rationing?


  1. Although I missed the conversation on Monday about corporal punishment, I'll still throw in my two cents. I obviously don't think that spanking is on a level anywhere near torture. I was occasionally spanked, and I don't feel traumatized. However, I think that any form of violence, especially visited upon one's own child, is to be condemned. There are always better means by which to achieve a goal (the only exception I can think of is self-defense, as that means that the agent was struck first, and is only trying to protect himself). As has been shown in cases of child abuse, violence begets violence. Yes, spankings are comparably low on the scale, but they can lead to more extreme acts if they don't prove effective.

    "It is hard to say that torture does not work."
    It may be hard for you to accept that, but factually it is conclusive. Yes, that seems very defeating, but sometimes there really is nothing you can do. C'est la vie. That doesn't mean you get to torture people and violate their basic human rights for your own peace of mind. If what you're trying to say at the end is that torture either can't be legalized or must be legalized in all forms, then I agree, with the reassuring knowledge that the latter will never occur.

  2. I guess I'm confused as to what you're arguing here. You say "These are the closest terms to what the majority of us have come to know as torture," but I would strongly hesitate to say that the majority of us consider spanking torture. I do think spanking is wrong and that there are better and more positive ways to teach a child than hitting him/her, but I do not consider conditional spanking to be torture. But you go on to say that spanking and torture are two different things. Are you saying that spanking is torture or is not torture?

  3. While I think that spanking and torture are two completely different things, I like your point that people are different and might respond to punishments in different ways. This could be applied to torture. We could say that since people respond differently, we cannot absolutely conclude that torture does not work for everyone. The thing is, there is no way to know whether torture or any punishment will work on any person until the punishment is used on them. Then people have to decide whether the damage from using the punishment without success outweighs the benefit of using the punishment successfully. With regards to torture, I think the risk of damage does outweigh any potential benefit, but many people may disagree, which is why it is important that our society continues to talk about torture.

  4. I am not saying that spanking is torture. I am merely stating that if people make the argument that spanking is a form of torture they are not fully realizing the complete gap between the two. People might consider spanking a form of torture because they have never been in the position to fully realize and distinguish the difference between the two. I meant to point out that spanking has been shown to work (as they still continue to use it in schools and in the home); however, torture has not been proven to work.

  5. I think spanking in general, like you said, is not a form of torture unless it is something that is taken advantage of. Spanking can be effective, as it was for you and many others, but it can also depend on the child. I have a little brother who gets spanked, and although he is still very young, he thinks it is funny and will even spank himself and laugh about it. Then he continues to act the same way. Either way, I believe it should be up to the parent to decide the punishments for their own children, and it is not the schools job to spank children. The school can give out other punishments which would be even more effective like take activities and privileges important to them away from students.
    As I said, spanking only becomes torture when it is being taken advantage of and amplified. Spanking may become an abuse in which a parent, or teacher, etc, might hit a student elsewhere.
    I think that it can be agreed upon that there is no way torture can be legalized because it cannot be willed by everyone. As you said, by allowing this behavior once we allow it to everyone in which people will being to take advantage and bad people will begin harming innocent people- such as in the case of rape.


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