Stepping in

Some friends of ours have children who have never really been disciplined. They always marvel that the one child, who has been notoriously out of control even by modern standards, seems to particularly revere and obey me. I’ve never told them the reason is that one day, I told him to go upstairs because his mother was calling him. His reaction was to kick me in the groin.

He was very surprised when I picked him up by the throat, pulled him nose to nose and told him that if he ever kicked me again, I was going to kick him right back. I then informed him that he would treat me and all other adults with respect in the future, or we’d have another talk with his feet dangling two feet off the ground and his face turning purple. Then I put him down and told him to go upstairs because his mother was calling him. He ran right upstairs without a word of complaint.

That was many years ago. We’ve gotten along just fine ever since, and on the very few occasions that I’ve told him to do anything, he all but salutes. He’s not afraid of me, but he doesn’t seem terribly keen on testing boundaries around me either. They learn quick, those puppies.

Martial arts is a fantastic way to help even older teenagers understand authority. My younger brother was a hellion and had progressed to committing minor Federal felonies, so I basically ordered him to study martial arts with us for six months. By the end of that time, he’d completely lost his angst-laden teen bravado – I knew he’d be okay when one day he was assigned to spar with me and I noticed he was shaking. When I asked him if he was cold, he said, no, he was scared.

“Why are you scared?”

“Cause you’re gonna hit me.”

“Yeah, so?”

“And it’s gonna hurt!”

“Yeah, so?”

Once I saw that he realized true strength does not involve posing and showing off in front of your friends, but the determination to get up after you get knocked down, I told him he could quit. I don’t remember him ever showing up there again, but then, he didn’t need it anymore. I also don’t think that it hurt him to see that the baddest black Dragon of them all, our sensei, was a cheerful, happy-go-lucky guy who was always smiling, even when he was beating the absolute merde out of you.

I’m a firm believer in the notion that every male needs to get beaten down at some point in his life, generally somewhere around the age of 13-16. Maybe even sooner if you’ve got a penchant for bullying others. Some of us definitely need it more than others. Actually, I’m starting to think that it would do more than a few females good as well. There’s nothing like a good right hook putting you on your back to remind you that you are not, in fact, the center of the universe or the greatest thing since sliced bread. I don’t advocate uncontrolled violence, but I’ve never seen a faster teacher than Mr. Pain.

Like our sensei used to say: “So, you can’t remember to keep your hands up? Don’t worry, I’ll remind you.”

The pseudo-mystery of brats

The St. Paul Pioneer Press wonders: You’ve seen them: Terrorist toddlers screaming at the supermarket. Kamikaze kindergartners with anger issues on the playground. Surly adolescents with no respect for anyone older than 18. And you’ve wondered: Have kids always been this way and I’m just getting crankier? Or are today’s parents spineless saps producing an inordinate number of brats?

This is no mystery. The notion, pushed by one “expert” in the article, that children are over-disciplined today defies belief. There’s no question that there’s a direct link between the distaste for discipline on the part of parents and the lunatic behavior of their children. And when the state leaps in to ensure that parents are afraid to discipline, the problem gets even worse. There is no problem so dire that the state cannot make it worse.

One idiot couple in Minnesota called child protection services to ask if it was child abuse if their neighbor spanked his own children. Note – they weren’t accusing him of child abuse, they just wanted to know. Needless to say, they were both surprised and horrified when, based on this question, the Child Nazis leaped at the opportunity to wreak havoc on a family and had the guy arrested and thrown in jail for two days.

Sure, there are parents who mistreat their children. But when you consider that governments around the world have murdered hundreds of millions of innocent citizens for no reason at all, why would you turn to the state as a solution. In Child Protection, just like everything else in which it intervenes, the state does nothing except make matters worse.

Of course, it won’t be long before refusing to have your child vaccinated will be dubbed child abuse. If you can get thrown in jail for being accused of having spanked your child, I’m sure they’ll be able to justify jailing someone for failing to have their six-month old inoculated against Hepatitis B.

Vaccines and the WSJ

The Wall Street Journal blathers: Everyone in our business learns to take a punch, but even we’ve been surprised by the furious response to an editorial we ran a few weeks ago about vaccines. The subject deserves further attention, not least because the goal of our antagonists appears to be to shut down public debate on the matter. For the past few years, a small coterie of parents has taken to loudly claiming that thimerosal, a preservative used in vaccines for 60 years, is the cause of autism in their children. Their allegations have scared many parents about immunizations, sent trial lawyers scurrying to sue the few remaining vaccine makers, and inspired an ugly political dispute. Lost in the controversy has been a little thing called science.

What a total crock. Every time I look into the “studies” that have been performed, it’s some kind of meta study or soft scientific equivalent. There has never been a single, proper double-blind study with a statistically significant number of test objects receiving live and dummy vaccines of which I am aware. The vaccine proponents claims such a study would be immoral because it would leave half the children unvaccinated – that doesn’t sound scientifically objective to me, it sounds like a predetermined bias towards an unknown result. To claim that science is being ignored only by the vaccine opponents is so dishonest it has to be willful.

Furthermore, logic dictates that the government protection offered to vaccine makers, protection unavailable to almost any manufacturer or retailer in America, indicates that the probability of harm is well known. You will never convince a parent of a healthy child who dies or slips into autism only hours after getting a shot that vaccines are wholly safe. Finally, there’s one vital piece of evidence that vaccines are bad for you: the government is for them. Enough said.

One respondent to the article replied: The WSJ is correct in saying there is no established proof that thimerosal causes autism. There’s also no established proof it doesn’t, and the National Institute of Health has called such a link plausible. Hearings last week showed the scientific community divided on the question, and parents’ fears have not been calmed by a CDC study that said one thing in draft and another in final release–after the data had been blatantly altered. Sen. Frist’s attempt to “modernize” VICP [the government immunity for vaccine makers] by sneaking through liability immunization for his favorite contributors in anonymous “Homeland Security” riders didn’t help either.