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The Massachusetts legislature is considering a ban on parents spanking their children. Who actually wants children to be physically abused? This is another case of some bloviating buffoon making a pronouncement which makes him seem like a caring, responsible legislator. The reality is quite the opposite. The cost of doing this is virtually zero to the politician. But can you imagine how this might be enforced? And can you even begin to imagine the unintended consequences of such a ban. I shudder to think. For really abusive parents, they might even say something like, “well, I’m already going to jail for spanking my kid, what difference does it make if I take it to the next level.” As morally repulsive as physically abusing children is, the government has no place in policing this. Family, cultural norms, and other social arrangements are the best that we can do. And no, parents do not have an ethical obligation to provide for their children; and yes, they do have an ethical obligation not to aggress against them.

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