In his most recent post, Greg Cochran quipped that since corporal punishment is a quiet issue these days, it likely works. EDIT: That is, it works in keeping kids in line at school, and only that. Needless to say, the map of states with legal corporal punishment in schools follows the Map of the American Nations (from Wikipedia)
Red = allowed; blue = not allowed:
The “Dixie” nations of the Tea Party as discussed in the previous post again make an appearance. School corporal punishment is clearly a Deep Southern, Greater Appalachian, and Far Western phenomenon.
This should not be surprising. The Southern nations were founded by two much more aggressive groups of fore-bearers than the northern nations were, the Cavaliers and the denizens of the English-Scottish border areas (also see Flags of the American Nations). Indeed, while the “home” states of those two groups, Virginia and West Virginia, currently ban corporal punishment today, they were among the most recent states to ban it.
However, it’s worth taking a look at how often corporal punishment is actually used in schools in these states:
The states with high incidences of corporal punishment all have significant non-White populations, primarily Black (see M.G. on that here). We can safely assume that Black students receive most of the punishment in these states.
Those states which have nearly all-White populations – mostly Greater Appalachian ones – seem to use the punishment on a much smaller share of students. This is consistent with the notion that the Scotch-Irish and Cavaliers are violent with respect to other Whites, but considerably less violent than other groups, such as Blacks.
Cochran suspects that corporal punishment might work; perhaps the reality is that it works best for the more aggressive (and hence more troublesome) groups. I suspect it’s largely unnecessary for the more peaceable northern Whites (aggressive later arrivals to the North notwithstanding).
EDIT: For the record, since I didn’t make it clear, I am not a fan of corporal punishment myself personally. That said, for the peoples in the South, and perhaps certain people of color, it may be an effective solution for them . I see no reason to expand it to the North or change anything overall.
Edit, 9/16/14: See also from the Audacious Epigone, on racial differences in support for corporal punishment:
Spanking, too, has a racial component. Namely, blacks are its strongest advocate. The following table shows the percentages who agree that spanking is justifiable, by race.
See also my further discussion of the American Nations: