Reading Dr. Richard Strauss’ (Sunday Tribune) take on a recent column in which I highlight the bias in the American Academy of Pediatrics’ attempt to demonize spanking, I was reminded of philosopher Elbert Hubbard’s definition of the ad hominem argument: “If you can't answer a man's arguments, all is not lost; you can still call him vile names.”
Instead of defending the AAP’s position or even critiquing mine, Dr. Strauss instead chooses to point out that I am a Christian, counsel from a biblical foundation, do not counsel with people who are involved with other counselors, do not accept third-party payment, believe in traditional child-rearing principles, and a reviewer for the Huffington Post did not like one of my books.
What any of that has to do with my research-based opinion concerning the AAP’s position paper is beyond me.
After this attempt at who-knows-what, Dr. Strauss calls for the Tribune to stop running my column. There’s a reason it is currently the longest-running syndicated column written continuously by one author, and it is not because I pander to the likes of Dr. Strauss.
To be clear: I have not and never will recommend spankings.
I do not believe they are essential to proper child discipline. The primary reason I don’t recommend them is because most parents who spank do so such that nothing of value is accomplished (but accomplishing nothing of value and causing harm are two different things).