June 24, 2020
By Jon N. Hall
In his 1970 Playboy interview, the celebrated writer Robert Graves floated a nifty idea on how we should bring up young people. Interviewer James McKinley asked Graves, “Are there any circumstances under which you would condone the use of drugs by people not of a priestly elite?” Graves responded thus:
Well, I have an idea which might be useful. I think that at the time Protestants have their confirmations and Jews have their bar mitzvahs, about the age of 14 or 15, children should be isolated and put under very strict discipline for three weeks. They should be fed very little and kept away from all distractions. Then they should be given the sort of treatment one got in the ancient Greek mysteries. They should be purged and frightened and then given a harmless hallucinogen. While under all that, they should be taught the moral rules of life.
What exactly did Graves mean by “purged”? There are several definitions for “purge” in The American Heritage Dictionary, but they can all be summed up as the removal of something unwanted, (like dead people from voter registries). Perhaps Graves meant that children should be given an emetic to make them vomit, or something to cause them to evacuate their bowels. One imagines, however, that Graves was more interested in purging youngsters of bad ideas.
In any case, the rigors of the “ancient Greek mysteries” Graves referred to are much too soft for today’s hardened children. You see, many of today’s kids have never experienced much in the way of discipline, adult authority, and such. Many of today’s young adults have never even been spanked when they’ve misbehaved, so they don’t know what it is to be “frightened,” as Graves recommends. Had they simply been spanked for bad behavior, perhaps they’d have a little impulse control and think twice before looting businesses and torching police cruisers.
When entertaining the thought of committing a crime, today’s young people do not have an “inner No” to remind them of the consequences of their acts. No inner voice warns them that their behavior might garner a beating from Dad. That’s because there is no dad. The dissolution of the nuclear family must be laid at the feet of Democrat policies that go back decades.
So today’s violent youngsters need something rather harsher than Graves’ quaint remedy (indeed, his recommendations were probably too soft even for 1970.) But America doesn’t need to look to ancient Greece for guidance. To find a cure for the growing disorder we see in the streets of America’s cities, we need only go back to the 19th Century. But spanking isn’t enough for an adult. What misbehaving adults need is flagellation.
The authorities need to mete out to adults the punishment they should have received as children. For some time now, I’ve thought that we need to return to corporal punishment, not the caning that is still used in parts of Asia, but public flogging in the town square using the old cat-o-nine-tails or bullwhip. If it was good enough for the Royal Navy, it ought to be good enough for the rest of us.
Such tender mercies wouldn’t be given for trivial infractions, but for egregious ones where serious lessons need to be learnt. Decent Americans might come to support this solution because of the growing disorder in America. We see growing disrespect for law enforcement in our “premier” cities, such as New York, where hooligans douse policemen with buckets of water. Years before the current spate of lootings, New York experienced flash mobs (aka flash robs) where gangs of young people swarm and overwhelm stores to steal merchandise. We all pay for such theft in higher insurance premiums that get passed down to the customer as higher prices. Such behavior should not go unpunished. And part of that punishment could be a public flogging, performed just before perps are sent to prison. Recidivism would get perpetrators extra lashes. As with everything else, if we want order and domestic tranquility, there’s a price to be paid.
However, Amendment VIII of the Constitution forbids “unusual punishment.” Well then, let’s make corporal punishment usual again, something that lawbreakers can expect. Some elements in American society feel they can do the most atrocious things with impunity. That’s partly because they (correctly) see the authorities as weak, too namby-pamby to do anything about their vile deeds. They can steal, destroy property, and beat their fellow citizens senseless, and they rightly figure that the government isn’t going to bring them to account.
Lest one think that the idea herein is some satiric “modest proposal,” the political left should consider what deeds they would deem fit for flogging, (other than voting Republican). Would New York Democrats have been fine with flogging, say, Osama bin Laden? (Perhaps Osama wasn’t spanked enough as a child.) Would leftist historians object to the flogging of Laszlo Toth? That’s the gentleman who in 1972 took a hammer to Michelangelo’s Pietà.
The “woke” mob currently controlling America’s streets can’t be concerned with such vandalism and desecration as Toth’s. In fact, Shaun King, an apologist for Black Lives Matter, has just recommended destroying the stained glass windows of our churches; seems the depictions of Jesus are too white for him. (Shaun may be a bit of a self-hater, as he himself appears rather white. Also, as might be guessed, Mr. King grew up without a father in the house to spank the mush from his mind.) There’s no reasoning with these people, and they must be brought to heel. The only thing that might possibly have dissuaded them from their crimes is the fear of pain and public humiliation. But we’re “too civilized” to deliver the lash nowadays.
If public flogging “just isn’t done” in the sophisticated America of 2020, then what kind of punishment do progressives recommend for the criminal youths terrorizing our cities? If they can’t think up any appropriate punishment for these “victims” with a taste for mayhem, then allow me to present another idea for punishment: hard labor in chain-gangs, followed by intensive studies after supper when they would be “be taught the moral rules of life,” as Graves urged.
But some might object that “that’s not who we are.” If so, then “who we are” is a people who allow kids to burn down their cities with impunity. “Who we are” are Blue State residents who don’t recall governors who release hardened criminals onto their streets because said criminals might contract the Wuhan virus in prison. “Who we are” are sheeple who have allowed tin pot fascist governors to take away their basic constitutional rights, whereby going to church is more likely to land one in jail than turning America’s cities into a war zones.
A lot of Americans seem to be rather deluded about who they really are. To fix that, I recommend a round or two of self-flagellation. Birch branches will do.
Jon N. Hall of ULTRACON OPINION is a programmer from Kansas City.