Questions I’ve been asking: Child rearing

Doug N. Bruce
 
If you read my first article (way, way back when) you know that I was asking questions about our culture’s views of violence. I made some remarks regarding the inconsistency of our culture’s stance on violence. I used the topic of NHL vs. UFC to start to make a point. It seems there are two trends being pulled in opposite directions. On the one hand is the tendency to regulate our culture so as to improve it and on the other is our demand for personal freedom to do what we want. Clearly these attitudes are at odds with each other. 
 
This got me thinking about child rearing. Most people of my generation had to deal with the trauma of being spanked. I for one, though almost perfect as a child, ended up on the wrong end of a wooden spoon on a regular basis. In today’s world I would have been snatched from my family and my parents sent to prison. (Today because of public opinion, any form of physical discipline is considered by many to be unacceptable or even illegal.) Of course, the issue arises because physical abuse of children is truly a horrendous problem in our society. It’s the numbers of abused children that drives the issue. The argument is made that spanking children teaches them to be violent. There is a logic to that.
 
On the other hand, check out the level of violence on TV and video games. My parents (who spanked me) would have been appalled (as they sat in their prison cell) by the graphic violence that is allowed into our homes (not counting Bugs Bunny and Road Runner!). Attempts to lessen the violence on TV is held in contempt by the entertainment industry – a war on our personal freedoms. As a culture, we have largely bought into their arguments. Censorship is a dirty word. 
 
I am old enough to have witnessed a progression in the ethics of my culture. Change is certain. What we are changing into is less clear. How do we decide which voice to listen to? Do we become a freer society or a more controlled one? What are these decisions based on? 
 
Are we bound to follow the loudest voice or the voice of the entertainment industry or of government? Are we to decide our morals democratically? What if I think the crowd is full of idiots?