"I think it's pretty hard to argue you need to beat a child 3 years old or younger,'' ... . "Is it OK to whip a 1-year-old or a six-month-old or a newborn?''
Well, I suppose it is true that it's hard to argue you need to "beat" or "whip" a young child. But no one's arguing for that. They're arguing for spanking. And yes, spanking a child 1 year or old or younger seems pointless and cruel. But 2 and 3 year olds are a very different story.
I'm not sure I understand Virginia Postrel's comment, though:
Spanking, like gun ownership, is one of the characteristics of southern culture that non-southerners find barbaric. It persists in diaspora, especially among those who don't assimilate into the dominant culture of, say, California.
It's a "southern" thing? I have virtually no connection with the South, and I've always thought of spanking as the norm, assorted hippies excluded.