In the USENET newsgroup, alt.parenting.spanking, Dec. 9, 1995,
A central argument which I have been making for months is that spanking and abuse are points along a continuum of violence. I believe that violence against children, including so-called spanking, has harmful effects. An obvious consequence of this position is that one should expect to see a continuum of deleterious effects corresponding to this continuum of violence. In other words, one should expect to see more deleterious effects as both the frequency and/or the severity of violence increases. Research data which I have cited has demonstrated precisely this correlational relationship between increased incidence/severity and increased negative effects.
Hence, it is very much in my interest to continue to distinguish spanking (normative violence against children) from abuse (non-normative violence against children) in order to make a key point in my argument: that these behaviors DO differ in degree (although not necessarily in kind). If I REALLY tried to argue that there was no difference at all between legal spanking and illegal abuse I would be undermining one of my own best arguments against spanking. For this reason prospankers continue to accuse me of doing precisely this, despite numerous notes of mine which bluntly take the contrary position. It would so benefit the prospank side for me to make such a claim, that even though I don't make it, many of them, such as youreself, pretend that I did anyhow.
Another benefit for the prospank side of pretending that I am claiming normative and non-normative physical punishments are identical is that if enough people make the same accusation frequently enough, others will begin to believe that it must be true since so many people keep saying so. This diverts discussion away from data consistent with least harm from nonspanking, intermediate harm from spanking, and maximum harm from abuse - data which prospankers will avoid dealing with by any means possible. It also succeeds in periodically getting me to waste time restating my true position yet again, as I have just done in this note, rather than using that time to post still more evidence indicting the practice of spanking.