Many years ago, I was walking through a suburb of Prague on the way to visit a friend, and witnessed a child aged nine or ten push his friend off his bike. The bike came crashing down and the victim howled. I had no idea what the provocation was, but I did not like the way the aggressor strutted away in triumph. So, unable to express my thoughts in Czech, I went over and delivered the aggressor a smart smack. He looked mortified and cried in turn. I went on my way.

Had I the language skills, I might have taken the boy aside for a therapeutic chat, attempted to establish the causes of his actions, his motivations, his mental state, his inner psychological condition, his social and psychiatric needs – but only after delivering the smack. The smack was important because it showed the child that, judged by prevailing social standards, by adult standards, the action was wrong, that wrongs are punishable, and that, one way or another, punishments hurt. For who does not have a psychiatric condition? Whose actions are not determined in a causal chain – at least, when judged ex post facto? What monster is not in need of therapy, nurture, respect, rehabilitation?

Besides, since time immemorial, adults have disciplined children. The mother delivered her child a sharp rebuke, a smack if it did the job, the child cried, the lesson was learned, everyone moved quickly on. No grudges were born, and no emotional harm was caused – that is, until psychology was invented.

It seems to me that the society which cannot distinguish between an admonitory smack and a violent assault, a pass and a sexual assault, a joke or insult and psychological torture, is rotten to the core. The youngest child learns he can act with impunity, chuck stones, vandalise, shout abuse at passers-by, raise merry hell, because no-one will dare intervene. As for social workers or psychiatrists, he can run rings round them. Instead of personal moral values, which it is the business of every responsible citizen to uphold and enforce, and which are the bedrock of a free society, we have a public crusade for ‘social justice’ administered by an army of bureaucratic functionaries.

And, so to Scotland, where the smack has now been criminalised. Scotland, once a bastion of common sense, is now it seems in the process of transitioning to a new sort of society inhabited by a new sort of person: non-violent, non-sexual, non-aggressive, non-offensive, non-acquisitive. But once all normal human emotional responses and needs have been eliminated, the individual banished, what is left? A totalitarian state where all are under permanent surveillance and in permanent psychiatric care, led by a monstrous butch Pollyanna with a Bay City Roller hairdo, accompanied by an army of social enforcers and behavioural engineers.

No, I don’t think I shall be visiting Scotland anytime soon.

Author: James Montieth

First published in The Salisbury Review:

Original articles published in the Salisbury Review or on our website are copyright and the property of The Salisbury Review. They may however be reproduced, shared, published in part or their entirety provided their origin is acknowledged. Wherever possible a link to the Salisbury website ( should be included in the acknowledgement.

If you have enjoyed this article, please consider subscribing to The Salisbury Review:


Close Menu