Wednesday, 10 August 2011


I'm on a train between Birmingham and London so I'm using it as an opportunity to update the blog.
In yesterday's Mail John Macleod wrote about the belt. He's against its use.
He begins his article by describing the history of its development, then moves on to give us various anecdotes which are examples of abuse perpetrated by ignorant people.
He offers us this quote: 'All it did was condition young people to accept violence in their daily life as a norm'.
Violence? Come on John, surely you know the difference between violence and chastisement? The modern understanding of violence is perpetrated by the kind of people currently rioting in England.
When a responsible person applies reasonable chastisement he does not abuse. He does it with the good of the miscreant in view. When God chastises us he does it in love, for our good.
'But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards and not sons.' (Hebrews 12: 8).
'Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.' (Proverbs 22: 15).
There are many other texts in the Bible (particularly in Proverbs) which make the point.
I was belted all the way through school, from primary one right to the end. I believe the primary one beltings were wrong, but the rest? I conclude I deserved them.
Does it mean it is wrong, just because certain individuals choose to abuse?
This principle is fundamentally flawed.
I would argue (and I am far from alone) that this principle is the root cause of the current rioting.
The softly softly approach. Treating criminals with Kid gloves.
Hug a hoodie eh? There's probably not too many getting hugged at the moment.
John tells us that the best way to punish bad pupils is to exclude them from the classroom - that this must be the 'ultimate sanction'.
I couldn't disagree more. In fact, I would say, rubbish.
I can tell you from personal experience that the sharp pain of a belting is a wake-up call and the public humbling included in it is a necessary part of the experience.
'Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.' (1 Timothy 5: 20).
Before the chastisement there is boldness, but afterwards the recipient is suitably humbled - which of course is a good thing (though I can remember a certain school friend to whom it seemed to make no difference - but he was the exception rather than the rule).
John finishes off his article with the words: "We now, rightly, raise our children in the absolute knowledge that hitting others, in any circumstances, is always wrong.'
John, this statement is extremely is dogmatic.
And extremely wrong.
What if we had applied this principle with Hitler?
What if you were to apply it with regard to being physically attacked, or in witnessing someone else in that situation.
John, kid gloves don't work in the real world.
I think the current situation in our country with regard to unemployment, even without the rioting constitutes an emergency situation. You must fight fire with fire. These rioters have crossed the boundary. They have made the decision to wage open warfare - always a dangerous decision to make. The government is more than entitled to remove the gloves.
Never mind opinions - necessity dictates - manpower on the streets is required. Use the army. And if the army is too busy with its other commitments, then bring back national service - far better than the dole - and useful too.
Richard Littlejohn got it right three pages later in the same edition:
'If there's poverty, it's spiritual poverty, moral poverty and poverty of ambition.'

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