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New Knowledge

August 5, 2011

 

 

 

When I was a boy the father of my friend across the street used to discipline his children with straight right crosses.  I saw this more than once used on my friend and his brothers.  Right out there in the yard if he got mad at a child he knocked it on its butt. As I witnessed this I was a child and my judgement therefore flawed, but there seemed no restraint in his blows.  If he was holding back, I didn’t see it.  And, so far as I know, no one objected.

I heard talk, from my parents and their friends, that maybe he was a little too hard on them, but no one ever considered calling the police because, though extreme, he was their father and within his rights.

Today he’d be denounced and jailed before the struck child had time to regain his feet.  Things have changed.

We came to understand that this was wrong.  We decided it was wrong enough to pass laws prohibiting it.  When you pass laws against actions, whether the law is right or wrong, you create a whole new class of criminals.

Pundits on both sides and in the middle love to trumpet waves of lawlessness; comment on how society is crumbling and quote the numbers of how crimes, such as child abuse, are on the increase – blame it on a decline in morality or the church or some such.  Actually the crime waves are often created simply because something formerly legal are suddenly declared a criminal act.  If a law was passed making it criminal to bend paperclips out of shape, millions of people, including myself, would suddenly become felons.

I’ve heard, lately, of the increase of autism among America’s children, but I don’t really believe it.  I think it’s probably that autism has finally been accepted as a disease and thus is diagnosed more often.  The incidence hasn’t changed, just the recognition of it.

Before people understood what was going on, there was no cancer.  Or germs or communicable diseases.  Demons and unbalanced tempers were to blame.

If we decided murder wasn’t a crime and removed it from the law books, murder would no longer exist.  People would keep on killing each other as always, but a murder would never be committed and both sides (and the middle) would claim the credit.

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From → child abuse, opinion

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