Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Obama’s Opposition to Corporal Punishment Needs to be Finished by Grassroots

Barack Obama's Education Secretary just sent a long overdue letter, which should be welcomed, calling to end the use of corporal punishment in schools. This should receive much more attention since the implications go well beyond corporal punishment; it also leads to much less violence in the long term since this method of discipline teaches children to use violence to solve their problems.

Statistics showing a correlation between high murder rates and where they use corporal punishment in school overwhelmingly show how counterproductive it is. Between six and eight of the states with the highest murder rates are among the nineteen that still allow use of corporal punishment and only one or two of the ones with the lowest murder rates allow it; but they use it the least. (The letter cites sources that say there are still twenty-two states allowing corporal punishment; however I found this source, School corporal punishment in the United States which only lists nineteen to be more reliable, more explanation on this below.) In 2015 the fifteen states that use it the most were among the twenty five states with the highest murder rates and six of them were among the top ten. One of the remaining states, Kansas, only barely made it into the bottom half and they don't allow use that leaves red marks which some of the Southern States may. 

The following is an excerpt of his letter which went out November 22:

King Sends Letter to States Calling for an End to Corporal Punishment in Schools 11/22/2016

U.S. Education Secretary John B. King Jr. sent a letter today urging state leaders to end the use of corporal punishment in schools, a practice repeatedly linked to harmful short-term and long-term outcomes for students.

“Our schools are bound by a sacred trust to safeguard the well-being, safety, and extraordinary potential of the children and youth within the communities they serve,” King said. “While some may argue that corporal punishment is a tradition in some school communities, society has evolved and past practice alone is no justification. No school can be considered safe or supportive if its students are fearful of being physically punished. We strongly urge states to eliminate the use of corporal punishment in schools– a practice that educators, civil rights advocates, medical professionals, and researchers agree is harmful to students and which the data show us unequivocally disproportionally impacts students of color and students with disabilities.”

There is a wide consensus from teachers’ groups - including both the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association – as well as the National PTA, medical and mental health professionals, and civil rights advocates that corporal punishment has no place in our schools. Eighty organizations, include the National Women’s Law Center, are releasing a letter this week calling on states and policymakers to end this practice.

“It is a disgrace that it is still legal in states to physically punish a child in school. Students are subject to corporal punishment for something as minor as cell phone use or going to the bathroom without permission. And students of color and students with disabilities are disproportionately victims of physical punishment,” said Fatima Goss Graves, Senior Vice President for Program at the National Women’s Law Center. “Not only does corporal punishment inflict pain and injury, it also stifles students’ ability to learn. Policymakers must eradicate violence against schoolchildren and instead foster learning environments that are safe and productive. This barbaric practice must end.” Complete article

Few sociology studies about contributing causes to violence are absolute, including the correlation between corporal punishment and domestic violence or even murder, partly because there are many contributing factors which need to be sorted out; however this correlation is far core conclusive than most, and there's an enormous amount of additional research available which cross checks it using different types of research. The following map shows where corporal punishment is used most often and they're in the states that also have among the highest murder rates:

According to this map the four states that are in the lower half plus Arizona which just barely comes in the top half at twenty fifth in 2015 use corporal punishment the least among those states that use it at all. One of the other leading contributing factors is almost certainly abandoned inner cities which both Missouri and Louisiana have along with the use of corporal punishment and they're consistently high on the states with high murder rates and Maryland and Delaware also have a lot of abandoned inner cites which is probably why they're in the top ten even though they don't allow corporal punishment in schools.

I've written more about this in numerous articles in the past, including some that I'll list below; and the escalation of violence isn't the only problem that use of corporal punishment leads to. It also impairs the development of critical thinking skills and leads to increased prejudicial behavior and is used for indoctrination purposes, instead of educational purposes. It also leads to blind obedience to authority without scrutiny, since young children who're taught to obey and believe things that their parents tell them without scrutiny or face painful retaliation, in the form of corporal punishment develop patterns of behavior that stay with them for life. A couple of the researchers that have provided work that backs up these conclusions are Philip J. Greven author of "Spare the Child;" and Alice Miller author of "For Your Own Good;" their work also explains part of the reason why many voters especially in the South which came early in the primaries fell for many of the propaganda arguments of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as also indicated in the following article that focuses primarily on Trump and helps explains why his supporters believe his irrational claims:

Trump’s extremism has deep GOP roots: The correlation between corporal punishment and voting Republican 08/01/2016

In the wake of the GOP convention, there could be little doubt that the party remained in deep turmoil, especially in contrast to the Democrats. Sure, they had their own deep divisions as well, but with a far more civilized, content-rich process leading to unified public display of shared moral purpose, presented by a stellar cast of officeholders, activists and celebrities folks actually know, rather than sort of remember.

Meanwhile, the GOP was supposedly wracked by a revolution upsetting decades of conservative orthodoxy. No past GOP presidents or nominees showed up for the convention, except for the almost-forgotten Bob Dole, and a long list of conservative pundits have denounced Trump and refused to support him as the GOP nominee. There’s no end to the furor over how Trump has remade the GOP, including complaints — from Erick Erickson, Ron Paul, the National Review and Damon Linker on the right-of-center to Robert Reich on the left — that he’s an authoritarian, not a conservative. But authoritarianism has been tied to the GOP for quite some time. In fact, a chart of state results in 2004, from “Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics,“ by political scientists Marc Hetherington and Jonathan Weiler shows how overwhelmingly important authoritarian attitudes — revealed in parenting — were:

As the authors explained:

Of course, we do not argue that preferences for disciplining children are causally related to individuals’ vote choice. It is absurd to think that spanking children led people to vote Republican in 2004 … Instead, support for spanking likely emanates from a particular worldview which has a range of ramifications, including political ones.

By worldview, we mean a set of connected beliefs animated by some fundamental, underlying value orientation that is itself, connected to a visceral sense of right and wrong. Politics cleaved by a worldview has the potential for fiery disagreements because considerations about the correct way to lead a good life lie in the balance. Specifically, we demonstrate that American public opinion is increasingly divided along a cleavage that things like parenting styles and “manliness” map onto. We will call that cleavage authoritarianism.

One striking piece of evidence in the book came from comparing the results of two Pew surveys, in 2003 and 2007, which showed a significant (5.2 point) increase in polarization on a set of authoritarian-structured values and preferences, such as “There are clear guidelines about good and evil,” and “Newcomers threaten traditional American customs.” At the same time polarization decreased 1.9 on a set of traditional political values and preferences, including economic ones, such as “Government must take care of those who can’t care for themselves.” Complete article

The increase in polarization may be very similar to bigotry which I explained in Cause and Effect of Hatred is more likely in strict authoritarian households where physical punishment might be used to teach beliefs; and often parents teach their own prejudices to their kids at a very young age. Children learn to misdirect blame and fear that if they challenge their parents they'll anger them and face punishment; but if they agree with them they get positive feedback drilling in false beliefs from an early age and teaching them that they either go along with the prejudices of their parents and the crowd they live in or face retaliation; and they also learn that they're more likely to fit in with that crown if they join in the retaliation of other members who intimidate anyone that challenges their beliefs.

This article was written before the general election but it's conclusions were reflected in the 2016 Presidential Election Results; Trump won eighteen out of the nineteen states that still allow corporal punishment; however Clinton won eighteen out of the remaining thirty-one. I also reviewed the correlation between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton when I noticed a large correlation in Bernie Sanders Wins Least Violent States when I noticed that the states with the highest murder rates, which also had the highest use of corporal punishment were voting for Clinton and the states with the lowest use of corporal punishment were voting for Bernie Sanders. I didn't intend to look for this; however shortly before the primaries I had reviewed many of the contributing causes to violence by state, including corporal punishment, and when Clinton started winning in the south, which was much more authoritarian and Sanders did much better everywhere else it was incredibly obvious.

The front loading of the primaries had been reported previously and several pundits including Rachel Maddow had commented on it and that it had consequences which were becoming more obvious as the results came in. The leaks of the Podesta E-Mails indicated that the political strategists scheduling the primaries understood this, at least to some degree, when they decided to front load the primaries with Southern States to give both Hillary Clinton and what they called "Pied Piper" candidates a better chance of winning, based on the assumption that Clinton would be able to win against a candidate like Trump or Cruz.

In one of the leaked E-Mails an attachment describing their strategy says, "In this scenario, we don’t want to marginalize the more extreme candidates, but make them more “Pied Piper” candidates who actually represent the mainstream of the Republican Party. Pied Piper candidates include, but aren’t limited to: Donald Trump, Ben Carson or Ted Cruz. These are the most irrational candidates that often make many of the most absurd claims which can easily be refuted, yet their voters don't seem to recognize this.

On the Democratic side Hillary Clinton also makes many of her own absurd claims, which is why she's so unpopular; and they had to rely on much more support from the media presenting her as inevitable and even rigging many of the primaries so that independent s couldn't vote in many states or having the Southern states where she did well vote first, and even voter irregularities at the polls as I pointed out in Can Hillary Clinton win without cheating? where I found credible reports of problems in at least eighteen states favoring Hillary Clinton.

The leaked E-Mails also indicated that they knew that younger voters were less susceptible to psychological manipulation tactics they routinely use when one of the E-Mails said, "Millennials seem to have a more refined radar for political BS talk – things that sound cliché and political get tuned out." In most cases these millennials are much less likely to be raised with older stricter use of corporal punishment. Now it is down to nineteen states that still allow corporal punishment in schools but many older adults were raised when that number was much higher and it was also used much more often at home.

The repercussions of this are far more important than most people realize and it indicates that whether or not they fully realize it the political establishment is relying on the use of corporal punishment to indoctrinate children so that they'll be more susceptible to propaganda and more inclined to fall for deceptive pitches about wars that are fought based on lies.

This isn't just about the use of corporal punishment in schools; the same states that allow corporal punishments in schools almost certainly are much more inclined to use it at home, which is why they have the political support for it. This means that what they need is a much bigger effort to teach about the impact of early child abuse and corporal punishment, and provide alternatives like some good researchers including Barbara Coloroso author of Kid's Are Worth It; but instead some of the most powerful political institutions are trying to find out more effective ways to manipulate people for political reasons which increase profits and help maintain a permanent state of war.

Early child abuse leads to increased paranoia; makes people more probe to emotional appeals, including those from politicians; teaches them to respond to problems with violence; and children raised in this manner are more prone to lies intended to promote wars or get tough on crime policies that don't work, as indicated in both the books mentioned by Alice Miller and Philip Greven. These educational tactics result in adults with little or no thinking skills.

If people had better critical thinking skills would they even consider obviously corrupt candidates like Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton?

Of course many people don't like them at all as reflected in their low popularity ratings; however there are an enormous number of people that are so fed up with political scams they turn to a demagogue they think is standing up to the establishment like Donald Trump, which is why he's able to attract so many people to his rallies. Hillary Clinton has been exposed for using her own interns or interns from the DNC to attend her rallies and make it appear as if she has lots of support but she can't attract many crowds beyond this. Trump might be doing some of this; however in order to attract crowds that large he needs to attract much more people whether it is through psychological manipulation or other means. There are only so many people you can pay to make these crowds seem positive, especially if you want to keep them from talking.

As I explained previously in several Blogs including Philip Zimbardo, Lucifer Effect, Stanford Prison Experiment Corruption or Bias in the American Psychological Association and Eli Roth’s Milgram/Obedience experiment much more extensive than most people realize psychologists have been studying how to teach cadets to obey orders through boot camp training; and they've also been studying how crowds respond to demagogues in some over lapping experiments including what Irving Janis called "Groupthink." Research done by Zimbardo and Milgram was almost certainly done to improve the effectiveness of hazing in the military academies designed to teach blind obedience.

This type of education, or perhaps I should say indoctrination is similar to corporal punishment and escalates on the same principles. People that are raised with it are much more likely to think it is an acceptable form of behavior. This includes Lynndie England who was taught to obey orders and when she did and eventually someone needed to be blamed she took the blame for the Abu Ghraib scandal when none of the people making the decisions at the top were held accountable including George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton who both should have known that the reason for that war was based on lies, which they encouraged. Clinton said she was fooled by Bush; but Scott Ritter and Mohamed ElBaradei both reported that there were no weapons of mass destruction; if they wanted to know they weren't there they could have and would have.

According to 'What happens in war happens' 01/02/2009 "her mother once hit her so hard with a table tennis bat that it broke, but considers that normal for West Virginia. 'I mean, yeah, we were brought up right. If we were out of line, we got spanked. We got privileges taken away. We had to do chores, dishes. Mow the grass.'" She may not realize it but this is part of a process that teaches children to blindly obey orders from authorities without question. She was taught in a manner that discourages critical thinking and is often used to teach menial workers to do simple tasks, which is what she did before joining the military. It's hard to know if she might eave developed more critical thinking skills if she had been educated better from an early age; but allowing people in leadership roles to take advantage of her without accountability for them and giving her all the blame for obeying, which is what she was taught to do is outrageous.

The blind obedience, and gullibility of the masses was recognized by Hermann Göring when he had the following exchange about seventy years ago:

Göring: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country. additional Hermann Göring quotes

This quote is widely cited by many anti-war advocates; however it doesn't apply to everyone; many people do stand up to their leaders when they start wars based on lies, which is all wars, if you review the details since at least WWII. As both Alice Miller and Philip Greven have argued, if children aren't raised in an abusive authoritarian manner they're much less inclined to fall for these lies, or vote for the politicians that mislead us.

There are very good researchers trying to figure out what educational methods are in the best interests of society and how to teach how to avoid escalating violence; however there are also researchers that are more concerned with studying how to manipulate people for the benefit of those with the most political power. Unfortunately the political establishment, media and military give more influence to the more manipulative researchers; and in some cases even try to marginalize the more sincere ones, especially if they speak out against policies supported by the political establishment .

This is almost certainly a major reason why many polls say that the most trusted part of our government is the military even though we fight one war after another based on lies; and if you research the military they have among the highest rates of scandals, especially when they act in secrecy. This doesn't mean that all of the military shouldn't be trusted; most people that join it have good intentions and aren't responsible for this. However they're taught to obey without question and not to challenge their superiors, even when tehy accept orders from corrupt politicians or get involved in financial scams or other types of fraud.

Even though most of the veterans are sincerely concerned about the best interests of our country a lot of the trust in the military is almost certainly based on emotional appeal and propaganda, not fact checking. Regrettably that trust in their leaders is routinely betrayed.

A lot of the research that they do doesn't fit the strictest definition of a conspiracy, since it isn't secret; however the traditional media almost never mentions it. This research is more widely available in the academic world to people that use it for their own purposes; and in some cases good researchers try to warn members of the public about how they're being manipulated. However these good researchers get little or no help from the traditional media and when they're mentioned at all they're often labeled as conspiracy theorists and stereotyped with less credible fringe conspiracy theorists that don't do nearly as good work, like the ones that Donald Trump often cites as his sources.

John B. King Jr. deserves credit for speaking out against corporal punishment; but why did he wait so long? And why hasn't Barack Obama spoken up himself, which would have drawn much more attention? He could have done much more to inform the public by speaking about it but he hasn't mentioned it at all, that I know of. He left it to his Education Secretary without even trying to help introduce him so he could speak to a larger audience and he waited until after he was a lame duck president before King spoke out.

One thing they fail to mention in the few articles about this is that it followed years of pressure from the grassroots before they even did this. If you Google "Corporal punishment in schools petitions" perhaps with "Barack Obama" included you'll find that grass roots people have been trying to draw attention to it for years, if Barack Obama or John King spoke up sooner they could have done much more to educate the public.

Barack Obama has been part of the political establishment that tried to rig the election for Hillary Clinton. Like many of his other efforts to support progressive causes it has been mostly rhetoric without much action. He could have done much more to give people with more educational background on this subject to get their point across. Passing laws to ban corporal punishment in schools is, of course very important; however it is much more important to do more to educate parents about alternative methods of raising their children. Even if Barack Obama couldn't get legislation past the Republican's he could have helped that without the legislation; and if the public understood the subject they might have put more pressure on their congressional representatives so that they would have supported it.

Instead they continue studying how to manipulate the electorate for the benefit of their campaign contributors. This is much easier if voters don't develop critical thinking skills at an early age.

Obama administration makes last-minute bid to end corporal punishment in schools as Education Secretary says paddling is a form of 'criminal assault' 11/22/2016

The following are some links to past articles of mine on three related subjects followed by additional related stories:

Child abuse leading to escalating violence

Contributing causes to crime and how to prevent them

Propaganda and psychological manipulation research including Fundamentals of Psychology and Obedience to Authority research

Ironically the Satanic Temple has been able to take advantage of religious support of corporal punishment to make themselves seem like the lesser evil, and perhaps in some cases they are the lesser evil. However many children might be more inclined to turn to Satanism if they've been abused by their own parents and they might switch from one superstition to another. In some cases violent felons including "Rod" Ferrell and Richard Ramirez are badly abused as children and turn to Satanism or a Vampire cult as part of their crimes, or at least they claim to. These two were both taught to adopt irrational beliefs as children through abusive means and that other things like Satanism were evil; however when they were outraged by their own parents or those that taught them they switched to the opposite briefs which they were taught to avoid without scrutiny.

Ironically, in some cases their education designed to steer them away from Satanism might have backfired when they rebelled against authority figures without rational scrutiny; if they had been taught critical thinking skills from an early age this would have been less likely. Their violent tendencies probably ahd more to do with early abuse than the beliefs they adopted either before or after rebelling.

The Satanic Temple Starts it’s Own Child Protection Program 11/24/2014

Paddling out of vogue in big cities, persists in rurals 11/25/2016

Alabama’s school superintendent on paddling: Time to consider alternatives 11/23/2016

Alabama State Law Shields Fired School Contract Worker From Charges 11/24/2016

Georgia School Paddling Case Highlights Continued Use of Corporal Punishment 04/15/2016

Should Teachers Be Allowed to Spank Students? A Texas school district changes its corporal-punishment policy — by expanding rather than limiting teachers' rights to paddle students. Is spanking really the best way to discipline kids? 10/01/2012

A closer look at corporal punishment in U.S. schools, especially the North Carolina HB 853 and SB 874. 12/0/2016

Death Penalty Information Center: Murder Rates Nationally and By State based on FBI statistics

Feds ask Louisiana to ban paddling in school 11/30/2016 Though all districts in metro New Orleans have abolished the practice, it's still strikingly common statewide: More than 1 in 5 Louisiana schools paddled students in the 2013-14 school year, according to federal data.

The associated article above which claims there are twenty-two states that still allow corporal punishment includes South Dakota, New Hampshire, and Maine; however most stories prior to that since 2011, when New Mexico banned it, only list nineteen according to School corporal punishment in the United States. Since the laws passed at the state level vary it might explain the discrepancy based on how it was interpreted; however both New Hampshire and Maine ban it clearly and only make exceptions for when there is an imminent problem, which sounds like if a child is being physically disruptive in class which is also included in Vermont. South Dakota seems to be more lenient, although according to the map above even if they do allow it they practically never use it. Some schools in many states make exceptions for private schools, probably mostly religious, and it may be necessary to look up each state to find that out.

Corporal Punishment in Public Schools, by State

Find Law: New Hampshire Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Laws

Find Law: Maine Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Laws

Find Law: South Dakota Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Laws

Find Law: Vermont Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Laws

Find Law: Kansas Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Laws

Find Law: Mississippi Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Laws

Find Law: Florida Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Laws

Your Guide to Corporal Punishment in Florida Public Schools In 2009, former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist signed legislation requiring school districts that still use corporal punishment to review the policy at a School Board meeting every three years.

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