A scolding with physical accompaniment. Includes whipping, imprisonment, and the death penalty. When used in context of the education system, only whipping (we'll hope) is being referred to.

I suffered corporal punishment as a child. I am not, and have never been, a delinquent. In my experience, the main reasons for dealing out CP to children are incompetence and sadism. I vividly remember my primary school headmaster caning two boys in front of the assembled infant school for spitting. The man was an inadequate. He was flexing his muscles and getting his kicks by physically abusing children, and hiding behind the then lax restrictions on such things. Teachers who strike unruly children in self-defence are one thing: injury as punishment only teaches the subjects to injure others.

Michel Foucault wrote a dense book which touches on this subject (Discipline and Punish).

The difference, he might argue, is that the key part of a public caning, for instance, is public. The "criminal" and the audience participate (willingly or unwillingly) in acknowledgement of the crime. This contrasts with the modern American system of justice, where criminals are fined or imprisoned and the whole thing is a largely private affair.

I believe there's a fairly large component of emotional expediency in corporal punishment. We've been hurt, directly, indirectly, or collectively, and we want to hurt back.

In my opinion no system of justice in the world, from the amputators in Saudi Arabia to the caners in Singapore to the "hard time" Americans, holds much water morally or practically. They are not likely to "reform" or "help" anyone. The fact remains that these are the best approaches our respective societies are capable of...

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