Why is child abuse not opposed more passionately on the Right

From an email from Paul Foster:

From my perch, there are two primary reasons the right doesn’t more passionately oppose child abuse. The first has to do with parents’ rights. The general conservative view of the child welfare system is of a group of liberal ladies who think they know better than parents and who are especially skeptical of religious parenting, especially conservative Christian parenting. (The NYT op-ed opposing home schooling was an almost-too-perfect totem in that regard.) As a result, while many on the right will say “sure, flat-out abuse is bad,” they’ll assume that “abuse” will be defined eventually to include homeschooling, imparting religious views (especially on traditional gender roles), and the like. The early 20th-century attempt to eradicate the German language and culture through the public schools is often pointed to, as is (at least among the hipper conservatives (I swear we exist!)) that one Simpsons episode where a social worker gives demerits to Marge and Homer’s household for “toilet paper hung in improper overhand fashion.”

The second reason–and this is probably true for both the right and the left–is that you can’t even think of a solution by reasoning from your political views. “Adults shouldn’t beat kids” is universally accepted, but your views on taxes or your reading of Ayn Rand or that latest anti-Pelosi meme doesn’t give you anything helpful in actually stopping adults from beating kids. Without a political solution, it tends to fall by the political wayside.

Here are my previous recent posts on related questions concerning child abuse.


The definition of "beat" is key when making the assertion “Adults shouldn’t beat kids” is universally accepted. This was the fundamental reason for banning slapping children in various countries, as many people who used to hit children would always argue that they were merely using good old fashioned discipline measures. When slapping was acceptable, those who actually did hit children in a fashion that could be considered beating had the ability to hide in a crowd, or argue that the single time that was noticed was exceptional.

Breaking a child's bones was never accepted. Lleaving a red imprint of a slapping hand on a child's face? A (now diminishing) number of people considered that a sign of the sort of firm parenting necessary to raise well behaved children.

Your last sentence is one of the reasons that I don't speak to my father. Incompetence parenting.

Imagine admitting this. I’d honestly be less embarrassed for you if you admitted to taking your cousin to prom.

And imagine someone who thinks the person who was hit has some reason to be embarrassed, instead of the clearly incompetent and undisciplined parent.

You strike me as the sort of person who would drive a tank into the house to make a point to a 7 seven year old who refuses to do eat all their peas.

No I’m someone who was sparked twice in my life both times to prevent behavior that could have harmed myself neither of which I did again. I don’t yield to anyone in terms of having a high self regard. But I don’t think it was my iron will that helped me overcome it. It’s probably more just not being a bitch.

I agree that torture is always moral when it is done to you.

I think the authors premise is wrong. He doesn't oppose child abuse passionately he is merely saying that. If he really meant it his actions would speak for themselves. Instead he merely uses the issue to wrongly denigrate others. He is a phony.

I think your comment just goes to show that some parental work is never done

And we have to read his self-soothing anger here for his therapy. Bummer.

Anger rofl? I’m rich with a big dick. I haven’t had anything to be angry about. Jealousy is a bitch. Your mom was probably a bitch too. Mine is awesome and so is my dad.

Most rich people with big dicks are always posting angry nonsense on nerdy message boards. So we know you are telling the truth, like everyone on the internet does.

Foolish idiot people. Republicans are pro corporal punishment aka torture. I'm not even against it, especially when it's the torture of Republicans.

Tfw you’re so easily triggered by an obvious troll you embrace physical violence of your near out-group

He also wrote that he is not against corporal punishment even within his in-group, assuming that is the proper term du jour.

The level of autism required. It’s astounding.

This is definitely prior

Suggest adding the whipping post to America’s system of criminal justice and most people recoil in horror. But offer a choice between five years in prison or 10 lashes and almost everybody picks the lash.

That was a quote. You can tell it was not me because it is a well structured sentence. I just forgot the quotation marks.
I am just throwing it out for debate.

What number of lashes would break even with a 5 year sentance?
10 doesn't seem so bad, but what if it was 1000 lashes?

Or maybe if it was a 1-month prison sentence, people would pick the prison over the lashes.

That's what makes markets. There's probably a satisfaction price somewhere in there, and it would be different for each person depending on their indifference curves.

Of course the thing with punishment is you don't really want the person being punished to be selecting their preferred punishment - that's not the point of punishment. It's to make you not want to do the thing you are getting punished for again.

You want to choose the ratio which makes the criminal roughly indifferent between punishments, then choose the punishment which has the least negative impacts on other people.

So if you can lash someone 50 times to avoid housing them in jail for 5 years while still having the same deterrent and punishment effect, that's a huge win for the rest of us.

The right IS opposed. Disgust and moral revulsion are the key emotions here, and a justifiable righteous desire to see justice done, in cases of abuse. But the right, if one must generalize, is not as loud as the left.

Seething vs the left’s shrieking?

But when mild to standard physical punishment (mild spanking, making kids stand in the corner, banishing them to their room and so forth) became criminalized, it nearly criminalized,?the right saw this as an infringement of parents’ right to punish within the family. It’s not immediately the state’s business except in egregious cases. (I hasten to add I’ve never had to spank my children.)

+1 what makes for abuse is not easily definable.
As for alcoholics total abstinence from corporal punishment might be good for some, but in the case of corporal punishment more is lost that with alcohol as corporal punishment tends to get over much quicker than the alternatives. That means restoration can much be quicker. I was spanked and swatted and I see little harm in it. I spanked my boys a few times. If a parent is using daily or more they are probably like a bad teacher, bad at controlling their child and need some help from someone like that TV nanny.

Mr. Foster offers no evidence for his premise or his conclusions, at least not in the excerpt. It is constructed on a standard caricature of conservatives.

Spanking is physical punishment. Having children stand in a corner or stay in their rooms is not, and most certainly has not been criminalized. Hastening to add this is not about locking a child up their room for days/weeks/months/years.

And what do you do if the children reject your punishment and decide to not stand in the corner? Do you have some non-physical way to exact this punishment on the children?

In my country, if I don't pay my red light ticket camera fine, they'll eventually take it out of my wages/unemployment benefits/pension. If I don't have any of those three things then I get off scott free and will probably destroy society.

If you don't have wages or other wealth to confiscate, you probably don't have a car to drive through a red light. Problem solved! No destroying of society today.

I can have a car, I can make make money off the books to keep it, legally, semi-legally, or illegally. Or I can get rid of it. Of course, if I go through enough red lights I'll lose my license and driving without one of them can result in jail time. But for just fines they generally only go after income and leave wealth alone. So I'm free to cause society to collapse via my existence. This strange, dirty, bearded man with a car and a valid license who goes through bins for deposit bottles and doesn't pay his fines will cause society to collapse as every emulates his example.

What works very well with our kids is to threaten them with not letting them watch Paw Patrol in the evening. (Usually, they are allowed to watch Netflix for half an hour or so before diner.) This works better than anything else we have tried.

Not everyone has push over kids that won’t have the makings of a varsity athlete.

But you have the makings of a star varsity troll.

Lol that’s from Sopranos

Who cares?

Yes prior, I wouldn’t expect an autist to understand why people drop references to pop culture.

Sure, and it does not involve hitting. Holding a child is not hard, and every parent has experience with it starting from a very early age.

Discipline is an interesting subject, but if you were not practicing it consistently from an early age with a child, starting with slapping/spanking/using a belt at age 5 will not be very helpful. And anyone thinking that such methods are completely appropriate for a 2 year old is clearly someone unconcerned about beating a child to get the results they desire.

Corporal is simply an attempt at a short cut when it comes to teaching children.

Imagine trying to analyze this issue without any reference to Waco. This guy is probably 55-60 so he fucking lived through it. I wasn’t even born yet and I get this. The low t/ lower IQ lefties got extremely harumphy at my suggestion that driving a tank into a home schooling convention would enjoy broad left wing support if a democrat was president (and secret support accompanied by cynical condemnation if a republican were president). But they quickly followed it up with those white clingers had it coming any way. A lot of incipient James Hodgkinsons around- many of them with badges. Doesn’t take much to set them off.

The home schooling community in Massachusetts is very leftist and SJW. There is hardly a unified liberal anti-home schooling position. Teacher’s Unions dislike home schooling for obvious reasons of self-interest, but that is not motivated by liberal political philosophy.

While not motivated by liberal political philosophy, anti-home schooling is strongly supported by the Democratic party because of their long ties to the teachers' unions. Because liberals support the Democratic party for other reasons, they support anti-home schooling in practice.

This happens a lot. The Democratic party is anti-civil service reform and greater efficiency because of its support from public sector unions. By supporting Democrats, liberals oppose any drive towards improved government services (as opposed to more services). Many conservatives are fine with allowing most abortions, and would be comfortable with much more restrictive gun laws, but by supporting the Republican party, which is tightly wedded to anti-abortion and pro-gun lobbies, they are supporting those efforts.

This is a general failure of the two-party representative government system, where vocal minorities who organize politically dominate political policy decision making. It is an argument for more participatory democracy, but that too has many problems.

It's pretty easy to turn the tables and ask about how conservatives would feel if a strange Islamic cult secluded themselves in a walled off compound and started accumulating automatic weapons, grenades, and parts that could be used to assemble improvised explosives. Or, suppose a group of Mexicans or Guatemalans with connections to gangs did the same.

The feds did some dumb things at Waco but I very much doubt the people who insist (27 years later!) on waiving the bloody shirt on this issue would grant the same latitude to a non-white or non-Christian group that behaved in such an openly criminal manner. Do blue lives always matter or does it depend on which laws they are trying to enforce and which agency they work for?

I actually think there's probably lots of such places, generally going unnoticed. Here's armed Muslims in a compound in New Mexico. The police eventually got a mysterious call pleading starvation, and the kids were apparently emaciated.


Waco is a terrible flag for anyone to wave, though, for so many reasons.

What a retarded point of view. I have zero ideological or religious sympathy for the branch davidians.

I’m black from the waist down as they say and like black people I am more upset by the deaths of my own race than other races. So what? You clearly don’t have a problem with their disparate outrage.

You sound like an honest, happy, impressive individual.

Rofl 24 year old Princeton grads with big dicks aren’t married. I’ve got way too many left wing trust fund chicks to run through.

This is you boomers problem you confuse high t charisma with trolling. The reasons I make you angry are because deep down you wish you were me. I won life’s lottery and I’m not crippled by guilt.

Feel better?

See moral foundation theory. It predicts that yes, the right cares about child abuse, but it also cares about a lot of other things and there's a limited amount of energy. The left on the other hand is stuck on protecting victims, and disproportionately cares about this, to the point where the right is pretty much left in the dust in this one.

The way I interpret MFT about this issue is that it is about respect for authority. The key elements of this are differences in views about:
1. Independence versus respect for elders
2. Obedience versus self-reliance
3. Curiosity versus good manners
4. Being considerate versus being well behaved
Those who answer respect, obedience, good manners, and being well behaved are more likely to have what is called a fixed mindset, which indicates a Conservative mindset and one that is high in respect for authority. This mindset comes from their worldview. Those have a worldview that the world is a scary place choose obedience-related attributes, and those whose worldview says that the world is a relatively safe place choose openness-related attributes. Thus, a fixed mindset and parenting style is one way respect for authority is transmitted to the next generation.
(from my new book, Persuade, Don't Preach)

It seems somewhat comically inconvenient that the right is currently engaged in a campaign of disrespectful civil disobedience arguing for openness, premised on the suggestion that the world is safer than the left says it is.

Nonsense; there's no particular energy on either side. The right defaults to opposing interference in the family, and the left fears that incidence of abuse is highest among the poor and thus disproportionate among minorities.

The right enjoys abusing women and children. They are monsters.

My mom beat me on the legs and I turned out fine. Like that memorable passage in Austin Powers. If you were beaten with reeds you'd not be so 'edgy' and actually know something useful, like what math function has the property f'(x) = x. (Hint: Covid-19 with no social distancing and well before herd immunity...there, I practically gave you the answer, right?)

Yeah, and if your parents hadn't whacked you around the head so many times you'd be smart enough to recognize an obvious bot/troll, but here we are.

I guess from your context you mean e^x but technically your statement is true for f(x) = (1/2)x^2. You probably meant f'(x) = f(x) though.

I think these points are good but still miss a fundamental point. Politics are tribal and especially now, they're based on identities. You need to get a bunch of people to form an identity around some issue so that they can agitate. But there is no real identity that you can form around child abuse like you can around gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, etc. There are a whole lot of victims but they suffer alone.

Politics are tribal

This never-ending fallacious trope. In fact, politics are the antithesis of tribal.

A 'polis' is a tribe. The way to get rid of tribalism in politics isn't to eliminate tribalism, not doable or desirable really, it's to do one's best to see that everyone that is a subject or citizen of a state is in the same tribe, hence the nation part of the nation state, nation being a synonym for tribe. That used to be well understood.

This is also ignoring the fact that perceptive conservatives have noticed that despite the fact that child molestation is actually far more prevalent in non-white communities pedophilia is some how identified as a white crime. Something tells me the war on child abuse isn’t going to do much when d’brickshaw throws his boo’s 2nd son from another daddy down the stairs.

Tyler, you are part of the problem. You question others for not being PASSIONATELY in favor of something that you know that 95% of people favor. Why ask them for "passion"? Please take the passion out of "cultural" conflicts if you want to contain them. Frankly, I believe that asking others to be "passionately" in favor of something good to be stupid (per Carlo Cipolla's definition).

I agree with the two reasons given by Paul Foster, they are good enough to be applied to all "cultural" conflicts between political factions. First, most "cultural" conflicts are about the interpretation and enforcement of social norms --BTW, I hope today you are PASSIONATELY in favor of the rule of law as applied to both Mike Flynn and D. Trump based on what we knew yesterday.

Second, the politicization of "cultural" conflicts is largely due to all factions attempting that governments interpret and enforce social norms according to only each faction's view. Politics and government --and therefore "Public Choice"-- assume some definition of "the public space" but factions differ about it --today, in the US and almost everywhere, they differ sharply (the politics of "collective" fear is a good example of how factions attempt to expand or reduce "the public space" given the other factions' strong opposition).

Interesting, I was not aware that "early 20th-century attempt to eradicate the German language and culture through the public schools" were a thing.

Depends on how early 20th century one considers WWI.

Yes, it was a reaction to US entry into WWI. But the phrasing is misleading--much of the agency was self-denial among German immigrant communities to escape ostracism.

This sentence gives the game away a bit doesn't it?

..."many on the right will say “sure, flat-out abuse is bad,” they’ll assume that “abuse” will be defined eventually to include homeschooling, imparting religious views (especially on traditional gender roles), and the like. "

(Especially on traditional gender roles) roughly translates to support for abusing your children if they are gay? The nearing complete victory of the gay rights movement means this is dying out as even conservative parents realise they've lost this battle, but surely one major reason the right is not more vocally anti-child abuse is that many are in fact pro-abuse. My uncle was thrown out of his home 50+ years ago for being gay. That is child abuse which was very popular on the right (and left and in much of society) for a long time. Sure now conservatives are very concerned about their right to pretend trans people don't exist but they're still in favour of abusing their children if they happen to be trans or gender non-conforming.

Men and women are different Lefty, and you aren't going to change that by policing that fact as child abuse. But, yeah, sorry about your uncle.

Sorry you live in such a small world, stasi

The question isn't 'Why is child abuse not opposed more passionately on the Right?', the question is 'Why is child abuse not opposed more passionately on the Right in the United States?'.
The answer, of course, is that the United States are a shithole country of savages where suspects are regularly shot to death by a police force with barely any training at all, criminals are put into privately run prisons (often using solitary confinement) that don't prioritise resocialisation, some criminals are murdered by the state as a punishment, and parents are still allowed to strike their children.

The real question is or should be, why isn't there more abuse? There is tragically too little abuse in America in recent years. Abuse produces strength and resilience (do your research, look it up.). That, America's pathological "sensitivity", labeling normal behavior and normal circumstances, the normal and unavoidable ups and downs of existence, as abuse," some would argue, is the reason America has been disproportionately ravaged by COVID19. Americans need to toughen up a bit and stop whimpering about every little setback.

I feel threatened by liberals who assert they know best how to raise my kids. I am deeply suspicious of collectivization, and this includes collectively raising of children. State intervention in something as deeply private as child rearing should be rare, and while difficult today is arguably too easy.

"I feel threatened by liberals who assert they know best how to raise my kids."

"It is liberals' fault I support child abuse"


One could just write "Thanks Obama" in place of so many comments at MR.

What is the number of parents who home school? What is the number of children who are abused? I'm sure the latter dwarfs the former. Conservatives should be willing to risk home schooling (which I don't think is a realistic risk) to fight child abuse.

Liberals should be willing to vocally support home schooling to fight child abuse.

I'm sure that they would if that was necessary for policy action.

Home schooling is, at most, a marginal issues for liberals.

It's not a coincidence that the reasons leftists give you for why you shouldn't spank your children happen to be a list of qualities that leftists lack that keep them from being normal people.

Anarcho Tyranny

Any "War on Child Abuse" will just mean social workers getting all up in the business of how middle class white people discipline their children. Meanwhile, it will do nothing about underclass (especially ethnic minority) child abuse which is the main problem (some single mothers current boyfriend hitting her kids).

This is the key here. Many conservatives are wary about unequal protection under the law due to being in the class that get blamed / made an example of when it comes to most social ills. Imagine devote, public Christian conservatives living in a place like Austin having to fight the full power of Child Protective Services for the right to have custody of their children after a spanking when the case worker is most likely a homosexual graduate with a degree in gender studies with an agenda that has nothing to do with protecting children. The power of CPS in Texas on such an important issue of custody of your own children, and the lack of checks against it, are horrifying.

It's about the lack of trust in the government, and unequal protection under the law.

Does the right promote child abuse? I guess if you mean corporal punishment, a middle-class conservative family is more likely to defend that than a middle-class liberal family. If you're talking about really serious abuse, however, it can be a different story. I knew a guy who worked for family services. He said the goal of the entire system is family reunification, regardless of the potential for harm. The folks who run this system are not from the right end of the political spectrum.

Maybe the Right should oppose child abuse more. The number of SJWs who have Borderline Personality Disorder and suffered some form of abuse as a child is likely quite high. Less child abuse = less mentally ill SJWs.

There will always be the 20 something year old females with the daddy issues. No amount of child abuse regulation will eliminate that.

Without a political solution, it tends to fall by the political wayside.

I forget who said it, "Where there is no solution, there is no problem."

haha really? google Jessica Yaniv

Straussian interpretation of child abuse, anyone?

Tyler and his comrades have worked tirelessly to ban conservatives from the public sphere, and many conservatives (myself included) have responded by leading our own lives. I'm not going to put myself out to help other people's children knowing that the Cowens of the world will attack me as racist, sexist, transphobic, etc. Our children do fine.

Like TC's comrades in the Federalist Society?

Because there can be no doubt that Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, and Samuel Alito continue working tirelessly to ban conservatives from the public sphere.

Tyler is in the Federalist Society? He isn't a lawyer, I don't think he's eligible to join. But yes, professional economic organizations work tirelessly to demonize and exclude conservatives.

Is there some awful uptick in child abuse I haven't read about? I'm under the impression DFCS is alive and well for such cases.

Paul Foster is just plain wrong. Some of the most conservative activists push for the harshest measures. If there is any resistance on the right, it is because proposal often violate basic Constitutional rights.

This is truly a "have you stopped beating your wife" framing. The Right must be at fault when dysfunctional people enabled by transfer payments act dysfunctional and parasitic.

I do not think it is that simple.

I would guess that most child abuse has as its root causes addiction/substance abuse, mental illness, and non-genetic relatives living in the same home as children. Issues that Mormons can tackle, but no one else really.

What does "opposing passionately" look like?

I mean, if I were to advocate locking up all Roman Catholic priests for ten years, would that be passionate enough?

And what, exactly, is "child abuse"? I am automatically suspicious of phrases that seem to lump together a great variety of behaviours. No doubt such phrases supply wonderful opportunities for virtue-signalling but do they advance analytical thinking about social problems and how they might be ameliorated? I doubt it.

I’m on the far right and I oppose child and spousal abuse so much that I have “calmly discussed it with strangers in public when they struck their child” on multiple occasions. I don’t care what you think your reasons are, you threaten a child in front of me and you and I are going to “discuss” it.

Or maybe the simplest answer is correct:. Conservatives like child abuse. I mean they are the ones running the churches that are full of diddlers, right?

Why not try to offer the assembled something other than imitations of a snotty adolescent?

Go to your room, Benny

they are the ones running the churches that are full of diddlers, right?

No, it's been clear for some time that the Pope is extremely left-wing, to the point where "marxist radical environmentalist" isn't out of the question as a description of where he'd like to move thing...

I'd be fascinated to know what is the 10th planet motivating these posts. The problem with the child protective system is that it's run by ill-educated halfwits. Having dealt with the graduates of schools of social work in other venues, I have no clue why anyone would any one of them in charge of a Chia pet. Instead of addressing that problem, Tyler's on a whinge about 'conservatives' being insufficiently exhibitionistic about opposing some fuzzily-defined phenomenon.

From my perch, there are two primary reasons the left doesn’t more passionately oppose single parenthood. The first has to do with parents’ rights. The general progressive view is of a group of conservative ladies who think they know better than single moms ....

Does every damn thing in this country come down to politics? To projecting evil views onto people we do not know and never will meet?

We have sorted ourselves ourselves into tribes that make up stories about our perceived enemies so we can sneer at them and congratulate ourselves for being so much better.

Getting a little tired of it.

This is where we are now, chimps throwing poo at each other. I blame the internet. It wasn't this bad before.

Socrates called it. The written word is bad for communication. Too much context is lost. The internet compounds by adding anonymity.

the new focus on child abuse is a straussian attempt to avoid facing the evidence that the fbi/liberal snitch narrative is not looking too credible!

rasmussem poll - "liberals more likely to snitch than conservatives"

I've tried to avoid corporal punishment with our kids, but honestly, sometimes my older toddler seems to actively want to be spanked. One of the few times I spanked her was when she was throwing a raging temper tantrum over not wanting to go to bed. After the spanking, she calmed right down and went to sleep. It was weird. It was like she was intentionally testing our limits. She got spanked, was happy, and went to sleep.

It's a spectrum...beating a kid until they bruise or slapping their face or embarrassing them with public abuse is awful. But a couple of quick swats on the bottom to get their attention once in a while isn't abusive at all. And yes it's toddlers where you will need to do that once in a while. By around age 9 you shouldn't have to do even that anymore if you are a good parent.

I am not sure if such kids really exist as in I just read about them, but what about 19 year old college students who need a 'safe space', complain of 'microaggressions', seem to expect they will not be laughed at when they complain of such things, and more or less throw a temper tantrum if not catered to, and actually seem to get their way when they throw said temper tantrum, since I guess people who run the college they go to aren't concerned with their well being.

Since parenting is about how one's kids turn out when they are adults, 18+, not how pleasant they think their home life is when they are 8, when will such young people be described at least as poorly brought up?

So the summary here is basically: the right doesn't more vocally oppose child abuse, because they aren't 100% sure what other people mean when they say "child abuse" and whether that definition includes or will be expanded to include traditional physical discipline such as spanking.

And yeah, the debate about child abuse these days, to the extent anyone gets excited about it, kind of does revolve around a culture-war difference between the left and right over whether spanking is child abuse. Nobody gets passionate about anything unless it pushes their partisan culture-war buttons.

I think your emailer is correct about the right's fear of giving pols the ability to define abuse. What politicians and the left are afraid of is that African Americans are more likely to use corporal punishment (both by parents and African American managed schools). Asians, too, do quite a few things that whites, in particular, would consider abusive parenting.

In short, the debate about abuse and corporal punishment is generally had by and about white folks, but the rules would disproportionately affect people of color.

It is not accurate to say that the right does not oppose child abuse. Rather, it's that they don't support the current "solution" to child abuse, which is just another form of child abuse: the policy of the separation of children from their parents (who in many cases have been falsely accused). There are numerous, very successful parent education programs that are proven to prevent child abuse, and have been around for decades, yet the state seems to have no interest in promoting these.

Because it would force right wing parents to admit that high school football is child abuse.

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