It always starts with a study. Marjorie Gunnoe, professor of psychology at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has carried out research demonstrating that children who get a bit of a smacking fare better than their un-smacked counterparts in adulthood.
Keyword of the last paragraph: Calvin. He’s the man who created Calvinism. For the enlightenment of the uninitiated, that’s a variant of Christianity.
Ms Gunnoe is a professor of psychology at a Christian college. Their mission statement contains this nugget: ‘We pledge fidelity to Jesus Christ’. This in itself doesn’t discredit the research, rather it behoves the journalist who cites the ‘study’ to disclose the potentially biased background in which the research was conducted. Neither The Times, The Daily Express, The Telegraph nor The Daily Mail did this when they lazily, bovinely and uncritically published the conclusions of the research. But the damage is done. This story has gone viral and there’s no stopping it.
This could be a brilliant and rigorous study but the trouble is you won’t find it anywhere. At least I didn’t. No link to it appeared in the above articles and I couldn’t find it anywhere in a search engine, despite a frenzied array of search-term permutations. It never appeared. Nor did the biggest newpapers in the land reveal to the dupable reader the name of the prestigious journal in which the study appeared. Absolutely nothing. The British nationals simply gulped it down without a grimace, when they should have gagged on it.
It is quite possible that the only thing this study proves is that national newspapers don’t give a cuddly cudgel about checking their facts, and that a substantial tranche of the national press practically exults in stories which surreptitiously advocate violence against children.
It’s a wet dream for family advocacy groups, authoritarians and tabloid readers everywhere. Proof that the loony-left have spared the rod and spoiled the children with their progressive pacifism. None of your PC-gone-mad/yuman rights, just a good leathering like what we used to do when we won the war. Obviously children need a smack every once in a while to safeguard against them becoming undisciplined chavs or godless homos.
These ‘studies’ seem thin on study but conspicuously good at absolving you of the guilt you’re suffering from being physically aggressive to your children. Sorry, I meant smacking. Because there is an important distinction. Apparently.