Spare the Rod

If you’re a native English speaker you’ve probably heard the expression “spare the rod and spoil the child”, interpreted for centuries by schools (and sadistic parents) that the Bible supports whipping, caning, using a ruler to slash knuckles, tying a log to a child’s back, tawsing (a form of whipping), imprisoning children in stocks, flogging and being imprisoned in a cage (large wicker basket) as acceptable forms of discipline for children.

Of course, as I’ve said many times before, only atheists read the Bible. The actual text in Proverbs (13:24) says “He that spares the rod hates his son” which implies that my parents and millions of likeminded others must “hate” their children. The bit about “spoiling” your kid if you don’t whip them actually comes from a 17th century poem that was written to flatter the dandy fop King Charles II of England.

Nonetheless, the phrase popped into my mind when I saw this article yesterday reporting (using antique Romanian orthography) on the bizarre new legal strategy that Sorin Apostu’s lawyers are advocating.

A partial translation:

Specialists in criminal law say that the new Criminal Code [set to become law soon] has reduced sentencing for corruption and that since in criminal cases the most favorable legal penalty is always applied, Sorin Apostu could benefit from this change in the law.

For example, concerning bribe taking, currently the law says that the punishment is between three and 12 years. Under the new Criminal Code laws, the punishment for bribe taking is between two and seven years.

For influence trafficking, currently the law says that the punishment is between two and 10 years but under the new Criminal Code, the punishment will be between two and seven years. Legal experts say that the sentencing rules under the new Criminal Code could benefit Sorin Apostu and there is a chance that he could thusly have his sentence suspended.

Now why in the fuck the new Criminal Code would have reduced sentences for corruption, bribe taking and influence trafficking is beyond my ability to comprehend. What I do know is that Sorin Apostu is a scumbag who is two years into his three and a half year sentence for a whole host of crimes of bribe taking, corruption and falsifying documents. I remember with supreme delight going to the courthouse two years ago with the ProTV team and enjoying every second of seeing this asshole being brought to justice.

I’ll also note here that, while everyone piled onto Apostu after the DNA swarmed on his house and found money “hidden” under bath towels, as far as I know I was the only person who publicly outed this guy for his shenanigans before he was arrested. I was hardly the only one aware of his activities as I witnessed him effectively tell a roomful of foreign investors that they’d have to grease his palm if they wanted to keep doing business in this city.

But I digress.

Sadly, all good things must come to an end
Sadly, all good things must come to an end

In other news, via a rather obscure article on a Timisoara media site, I see that they’ve now outlawed a variety of acts in public schools.

Again, my partial translation:

Students may no longer be kicked out of the classroom during class or forced to sit in the corner or be forced to remain on their feet during class. These forms of treatment are now considered to be “degrading treatment” [and prohibited under the new law].

Actually if you look into the law itself (PDF) under section 25, referring to article 48 (of the original 2004 law) it says:

Corporal punishment and other degrading forms of treatment in schools is prohibited

And this only became outlawed in 2013? Jeez!

The one typical Romanian experience I never had a chance to undergo myself is being a student in public school but clearly from this new change in the law (plus dozens of media stories over the years) it’s obvious that a whole lot of punishment, including physical discipline, is still quite prevalent. A good (Romanian) friend of mine actually looks back fondly on the physical discipline he received as a child, believing (much like Victorian-era schoolmasters) that “sparing the rod spoils the child” and that somehow beating people makes them learn better.

My views on education are usually classified as “scandalous” or “ridiculous” simply because I’m able to distinguish between an experience that starts off as a lot of fun and enjoyable (when a child is very young) and then proceeds to become a real torture, something abhorrent at worse and boring at best. The fact that teachers have to beat or humiliate their students doesn’t surprise me at all because everyone (almost) universally hates school by the time they graduate.

I don’t give a fig for pretty much anything that is called “education” after about age 7 or 8 when the basics are assimilated, knowing how to read and write and understanding and using numbers. Once you know how to use these basic tools (verbal and mathematical literacy) you can build (learn) anything you like. Most of what passes for formal “education” after this point is nothing but soul-crushing repetition and short-term memorization of useless cultural detritus that masks the instillation of obedience and respect for authority under the guise of learning.

So now Romanian children will have to be bullied in new and more humane ways while their stupid leaders get a free lesson on the definition of moral hazard, leaving just an uneducated American writer to discuss Suetonius with a homeless kid who dropped out of school because everyone else is too busy to waste their time on such boring things :)


2 thoughts on “Spare the Rod

  1. Yeah, I got my share of the “rod” (sometimes literally) mostly in school in the eighties…Some teachers even called me “obraznic”!


  2. You views on corporal punishment are spot on,(although in my youth after pulling a particularly hilarious prank,being caned in front of the entire school helped me lose my virginity shortyly there after).

    Being a Brit living here in Romania I would not comment on the bribery guy,although he does sound like a prick.

    My wife however teach,s English literiture to university entry levels so your views on education passed the age of 7 or 8 are bullshit.


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