Should men be allowed by law to discipline their wives?
12 July 2016, 17:06
There is an English law that allowed a man to beat his wife with a stick so long as it is was no thicker than his thumb. In 1782, Judge Sir Francis Buller is reported as having made this legal.
Edward Foss, in his authoritative work 'The Judges of England', 1870, wrote that despite a searching investigation, 'no substantial evidence has been found that he ever expressed so ungallant an opinion.' Although British common law once held that it was legal for a man to chastise his wife in moderation (whatever that meant), the 'rule of thumb' has never been the law in England.
The origin of the phrase 'rule of thumb' remains unknown. It is likely that it refers to one of the numerous ways that thumbs have been used to estimate things - judging the alignment or distance of an object by holding the thumb in one's eye-line, the temperature of brews of beer, measurement of an inch from the joint to the nail to the tip, or across the thumb, etc.
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I got to think that if the family is considered as an administrative unit of the larger society and men the heads of the home, shouldn’t they also be allowed to chasten or make some moderate punishment to the household? If so, what could that be in our modern society, without crossing the line of domestic violence?
What is the rule of thumb or accepted disciplinary actions that come with his headship? Is it determined by the wife’s goodwill or limited to driving the family to church, paying the bills and taking the door at night? I’m still musing.
Male leadership is more about influencing others by being a good example. That means inspiring others to follow along willingly, setting goals for the family and boundaries of acceptable behavior and also agreeing on consequences for bad behavior. Thumps-up for those men who have figured this out.
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