There is some interesting blogging going on these days concerning child abuse at the hands of Red State parents. For instance, Archy writes a post about Tough love and peppers:
The phrase "tough love" comes out of the drug rehabilitation community, but it is probably best known to most people in the context of an evangeli cal Christian, pro-corporal punishment, anti Dr. Spock movement that has been synonymous with James Dobson since the 1970's.
Yes, and Dobson is arguably the most powerful man in the USA today. Since Dobson is too busy writing legislation for DeLay, Hastert and Frist to push through Congress, he has delegated the childrearing business to his younger proteges:
Recently, a spin-off of Dobson's movement has appeared that calls itself "Creative Correction." The name sounds like the whole point is to prevent the parents from getting bored with the same old blows, but that's not it at all. The theory is that the punishment should fit the crime in a Biblically based way. This sounds like it should lead to lots of stoning, eye poking, a nd hand casting away. The current guru of the movement, Lisa Whelchel, hasn't gone that far yet, but she's certainly on that road.
From one of the commenters, an extremely important message, that reflects my own experiences here in the Ph D-full Chapel Hill:
I'm from Louisiana and currently live in the SF Bay Area. People around here just look at me like I'm nuts when I point out to them that Jesusland is a bunch of sick MF's who want the "sodomites" and those of us who tolerate them in San Francisco dead, dead DEAD, stoned like the Old Testament says. They completely pooh-pooh the evil coming out of Jesusland. Don't believe in it. Think I'm just making things up. And when I show them stories like this, they say "Well, that's just an isolated incident." F*** no it's not an isolated incident. It's Jesusland in a nutshell, the banality of evil in all its glory. These people are SICK. And the sickness is growing -- and in control of the nation. Misunderestimate it at your own per il.
This reminds me of a friend of mine. She grew up in New York City and came down to live in North Carolina. She took an intercontinental trip, starting at the Atlantic coast in Wilmington, NC and driving the whole length of I-40 until she hit the Pacific Ocean in California. Her words: "First 200 miles and last 200 miles are civilization - everything in between is Deliverance". Pathos, of course, as some child-abusers have all their teeth and dress nicely, like Dobson. And of course, there are pockets of normalcy in large cities and college towns in the reddest of the Red States, but her description remaines carved deeply into my brain. On some level, she is correct. Yes, these people are sick: Conservatives Are Crazy And Dangerous
Echidne finds more: The Godly Habit of Child Correction:
It is written by one Ronald E. Williams, an American Talibanist of an extreme kind, and it advocates corporeal punishment of children. No, it doesn't just advocate such punishment, it begs and pleads the parents (the father, obviously, but the mother can be delegated the duty to beat) to really revel in such beatings, to give them a chance to work by sticking at it, for hours if necessary. Why? Because the Bible tells him so. Also because children are inherently bad (why did God make them so?) and need to have their will broken, preferably before they turn twelve months old. No, I am not making this up:
My wife and I have a general goal of making sure that each of our children has his will broken by the time he reaches the age of one year. To do this, a child must receive correction when he is a small infant. Every parent recognizes that this self-will begins early as he has witnessed his child stiffen his back and boldly demonstrate his rebellion and self-will even though he has been fed, diapered, and cared for in every other physical way.
On what occasions should a child be corrected? Whenever a child directly d isobeys authority or shows disrespect and rebellion toward authority, that child should receive correction. Lesser infractions of course would receive lesser forms of correction with the rod being reserved for the more serious infractions.
One of Echidne's commenters wrote that this guy makes Dobson look good. Oh, no. I own a copy of Dobson's "Dare To Discipine" and it is not one iota milder than what Williams writes. All the whipping and marathon beating is right there.
Archy contin ues with Spare the rod:
When Solomon admonishes us to spare not the rod, and to beat him, he means just that. Beat the child till you break his w ill. Beat him for hours if necessary. Lest we be confused by the male pron oun, Pastor Williams assures us that he means beat the troubled teenage girls, he assures us that girls can benefit from a a good beating just like boys do.
Williams' essay reads like a left-wing parody of a sociopathic, nutcas e fundie. His other writings confirm that image: teenagers should be segregated by gender at all times, girls should not engage in sports, dating is with a no-touch policy and is always chaperoned, marriages should be arranged by the parents, Christian co uples should have as many children as possible, and, of course, women should stay home and take care of the kids. If it's a joke, it's a scary one in that it has been taken serio usly as good advice by a number of churches.
Of course, differences in childrearing are one of the two essential differences between liberals and conservatives (the other being gender relations). Conservatives believe that children are born bad (wrong), that stick'n'carrot approach - the folk behaviorism - works (wrong), that discipline leads to self-discipline and obedience to self-obedience (wrong), that "strength of character" is needed for success (wrong) in a dangerous world (wrong) that cannot be made less dangerous by human activity (wrong). They believe that the most self-disciplined rightfully reap success (wrong), that the success can be measured in dollars (wrong), thus that the rich are the most upstanding citizens (wrong) and should be obeyed (bad idea). Actually, due to their misunderstanding of the nature of the wo rld, nature of human mind, and nature of societies, they produce, generation after generation, psychopaths arrested in an early stage of emotional development.
Of course, the relationship towards children is directly related to the relationship towards women, and there, conservative men are having some big pro blems.
One of Echidne's commenters mentioned something that I keep in mind all the time. The phrase "breaking his will", she writes, is not even used when talking about horses any more. Guess what, coastal liberals? Why do you think cowboys use sharp bits, long whips and star-ended spurs, while people in the Blue States tend to ride English? You can use force to turn a horse into a robot, useful enough to carry the tourists on trail-rides, but don't expect to take such a horse to the Olympics. I grew up watching two types of horse trainers. The bad ones have a "program" that every horse has to go through, and those that do not respond (the best and smartest horses) get bea ten into submission and finally sold to unsuspecting customers. I've spent most of my youth trying to "reconstruct" such horses and let them develop trust in humans and their natural talents and abilities. Many of those rough trainers ended up being hurt (even killed) by mares! They tend not to like working with mares. Mares do not become robots - they pretend to be - and they will get back at you when you least expect it - they never forget the bad treatment. Wherever I worked, they were happy to l et me work with all the fillies on the farm if I wanted to (and I did) and retained the colts for their own sadistic pleasures. I guess mares use their hind hooves to tell the overly aggressive stallions (and trainers): "Sorry buddy, I'll decide when you may appoach me from behind".
The way conservative men are raised - by being beaten by their fathers - translates into the way they treat (figuratively or less-figura tively "rape") horses, women, children, Blacks, gays, Iraqis, the poor, Jews, atheists, and the environment. That is the only way they are capable of relating to other liv ing beings. The core of it is femiphobia, the fear of being percei ved as feminine. The big enigma is why so many women become conservatiove. While some become nuns or submissive wives, the others outmacho the men and turn into the Schlaflys and Coulters of the world.
Another point I'd like to make here concerns religion. Many in the Lefty blogosphere assume that religion is the source of such pathological behavior, i.e., that it is the cause, and the wingnuttery is the effect. I believe it is the other way round. If you were raised in a strict/abusive way, you will grow up with neuroses that make you seek membership in strict hierarchical disciplinarian organizations, including the conservative churches. You pick and choose the passages from the Bible that confirm your worldview. You use such misrepresentations of Christianity (or Islam or whatever) to excuse your behavior and to push it on others. In other words, it is the wingnut pathology that distorts the religion, not the other way round...