...I came across a fascinating post from a woman who “escaped” from her Amish sect. In the comments of response to her story one can find, among several interesting musings, a discussion of this supposedly Biblically-derived phrase which is generally used to justify physical punishment of children. The fascinating tidbit was this: The Bible doesn’t actually contain that phrase. The sentiment is apparently a paraphrase of Proverbs 13:24, which says:He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
While I’m certainly no Biblical scholar, it seems to me a bit of a self-fulfilling prophesy to use that single verse as a justification for physical abuse. Back on Ferriss’s blog, a poster simply shown as “Betsy” offered what I believe is the most humane (and libertarian) translation of that verse:“Spare the rod and spoil the child” is actually analogous to the rod of the shepherd. It’s really a beautiful, sentimental teaching that has been totally perverted by some.
The poster went on:A good shepherd never beats the sheep, but uses the rod to guide them with a gentle touch. That this homily should justify child abuse is the exact opposite of its intended meaning, which is “by failing to guide your child with love and instilling discipline (not punishment) in a consistent and gentle way, you ruin the child’s chances of successfully functioning in relationships and society as a whole.”
Indeed! This sentiment seems to resonate with the non-aggression axiom. How can the thugs with whom so many of us deal claim to be protecting anyone from anything? (They certainly aren’t gently guiding anyone, either.)
I think everybody who knows me would find it incomprehensible that I'd convert to this philosophy, but this guy's got me pegged. Nietzsche's "What does not kill us, makes us stonger" has been more my style... S**t! It's been pretty much my motto until about a month ago.
Once again, let me say that since my older daughter was born I've been trying to figure out how to make the world the kind of place she'd be happy in. I think Alston and Molyneux and Alice Miller have the answer: knock it off with the humiliating!