On a slightly different note to Deane’s posting on the Referendum(b), it seems to me that underlying a lot of the arguments in this debate – in general, not necessarily on his post – is the fear by some that “the family” is being undermined … That certain people feel that this “smacking issue” is just one more way in which their (oft-called Christian) model of family is being “attacked” – not a lot dissimilar to the anxiety the same groups express that if gays are allowed to marry then somehow that will mean “the family” (ie. Christian, white, middle class, nuclear, capitalist etc.) will be threatened ..
(Just type family, slippery slope, gay marriage etc into Google …)
Somehow gay/lesbian families, or straight families which have a more egalitarian view of children/adult and male/female “roles” threaten what are seen as “traditional” families (with their “traditional family values”) … The “rise” of this egalitarian-style of family is seen as a direct (and deliberate) challenge to the traditional-style. But why is this?
I think that is a stone worth peering under – what nasty things are crawling around under there??
My suspicion is that underneath this anxiety lies the fear that what will really be lost is the authority of the father – the patriarchal right to discipline, to be the head of his home, to be THE authoritative figure in perhaps one of the few remaining places where he can be assured of this status …
And for some of these people, this of course equates with the loss of authority of the God-Father figure – once that has been “undermined” then all chaos breaks out (supposedly). And for the State to be a party to this emasculating of both men/fathers/God, then no wonder the debate is fierce!!!