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Bill Burr Says ‘Not’ Hitting Kids Is Hurting America

The stand-up comic's take on spanking is wrong, but he makes a terrible argument in the funniest way possible.

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In recent years, spanking has become one of the most divisive issues in parenting. It is a necessary form of discipline or simply child abuse? On last night’s episode of Conan, stand-up comedian Bill Burr added his two cents to the debate when he argued that parents not hitting their kids as much as they did in the past has made our country worse off.

“What do you think of parents now?” Conan asked Burr. “How do you compare them to parents in the 1970’s?”

“It’s just completely — the kids have so much power,” Burr explained. “It’s like ridiculous. Half of these kids, I’m like, I look at what happened to me and I’m looking at a kid and I’m like this kid’s going to be punted across the grocery store and it just never happens. They just don’t get hit, and I think it’s hurting this country.”

This is, of course, a ridiculous and untrue argument. Leading experts and the preponderance of research make it clear that spanking a child hurts them both physically and psychologically. However, anyone familiar with Burr’s work knows that being right or wrong isn’t really the point of his comedy.

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Bill Burr is one of the most hilarious and controversial stand-up comedians working today, and he’s made a career out of making intentionally offensive arguments and winning over skeptical audiences with spurious logic that’s equal parts absurd and hilarious. Most of the time, Burr doesn’t even really seem to believe what he is arguing. He just likes playing Devil’s Advocate, and nothing seems to delight him more than being backed into a corner and talking his way out of it.

So, does Burr really think our country is worse off because kids aren’t being hit? Probably not, but that won’t stop him from jokingly advocating for it onstage. That’s what he does best. Just maybe think twice before letting him babysit your kids.