After studying 800 toddlers aged between two and four over a four-year period, he found those who were subjected to smacking had an IQ five points lower than that of a child who wasn’t physically disciplined.
An alternative conclusion: intelligence has a genetic correlation and it’s stupider parents who beat their children.
Anyway, talking of stupid, this reminded me of New Zealand’s recent abortive citizen initiated referendum on the subject, and a discussion I’d been meaning to have here on their bizarre system.
In NZ, you don’t need a referendum to amend the Constitution – it could be done with a simple Act of Parliament. No, when the people are asked by the government to answer a specific question in NZ, it’s via a non-binding system which costs millions of dollars and involves poorly-worded questions framed by cranks being expensively put and then the results being ignored by the government.
They’ve had three so far –
- “Should the number of professional fire-fighters employed full-time in the New Zealand Fire Service be reduced below the number employed in 1 January 1995?” (Framed as a negative question because it’s easier to get people to vote “no”, even though that meant that the “yes” side was defending a proposition it didn’t propose – hardly any turnout, ignored.)
- “Should the size of the House of Representatives be reduced from 120 members to 99 members?” (Passed, a decade later still not implemented – raising another question: should there be a time limit? Should laws be enacted based on something the electorate said ten years ago?)
- And the spectacularly vague – “Should there be a reform of our Justice system placing greater emphasis on the needs of victims, providing restitution and compensation for them and imposing minimum sentences and hard labour for all serious violent offences?” (Four questions in one; meaningless, ignored.)
I know what question I’d put up for a Citizen Initiated Referendum if I lived in NZ:
“Should the Government continue to waste public money on poorly-worded Citizen Initiated Referenda?”
I’d greatly enjoy watching the “yes” campaign tie itself in knots defending that.