John Rosemond has been writing advice for parents since 1976; he appears in some 200 newspapers around the U.S. He’s a licensed psychologist whose question-and-answer format resembles Dear Abby and others in the advice field such as Dr. Oz or Dr. Phil. But the State of Kentucky isn’t going after any ot those; it is going after Rosemond.
Kentucky’s Attorney General and state licensing board have demanded by letter that he stop publishing his column in Kentucky; they claim that he is practicing psychology without a license, since he is licensed in another state. Mr. Rosemond now has to pursue a lawsuit in Kentucky if he wishes to continue publication there. Mr. Rosemond says he has the right to publish his opinions under the free speech provisions of the Constitution. Kentucky’s AG disagrees. So what’s going on?
The Kentucky AG and licensing board aren’t explaining, so we have to guess. I’ll leave the guessing to you; we’re just reporting facts here. One fact is that after all those years of writing his column, speaking and writing more than a dozen books, Rosemond has attained a very visible eminence in his field; when he speaks, folks listen. Another fact is that the parenting gurus on the political Left, with their emphasis on self-esteem and permissive parenting, often dislike what he has said. That is the mindset permeating many state and local Child Service organizations and Rosemond is not diffident in airing his disagreement.
He brooks no excuses for kids ill-behaved in public; he has said young kids don’t belong in restaurants. He believes that parents who try to be their kids’ friends are foolish; that isn’t a parents’ role. He is, in short, a sort of updated version of: “Spare the rod and spoil the child,” though he doesn’t advocate beatings. You might think he pushed child torture though, from some of the things the more permissive child authorities say about him.
He’s not big on ‘reasoning’ with very young kids, either. Parents should lay down consistent rules and stick to them. When kids inevitably test those rules, it should cost them, again predictably and consistently. Sit very young ones in a corner, confine slightly older ones in their room sans toys or amusements, put them to bed early. And don’t negotiate; the parent is the law. Some refer to his prescriptions as “Biblical.” From the tenor of their writings, they seem to be among those who classify “religious” as equating to “ignorant and out of date.” Rosemond laughs at them and has altogether too many disciples.
In an Albuquerque Journal report on the case, a New Mexico official was quoted saying that the state’s regulatory boards lack jurisdiction over a general advice columnist; their authority runs toward cases where individuals are being treated. The columnist, he though, has First Amendment rights, as Rosemond’s lawsuit against Kentucky asserts.
My question is: Should government use its power to silence public presentation of opinions that (we presume) it doesn’t like, or its clients don’t like? This seems to me (an opinion, not necessarily a fact) similar to the IRS pursuit of right-wing political organizations.
As promised, I have reported the facts to you so far as I have found them; I’ll leave to you what to think of it. I believe it calls for some thought.