October 10, 2013
John Rosemond is America’s
guru of old-school parenting.
the North Carolina-based family psychologist has combated indulgent kid care. Rosemond
is all about discipline and consequences. Helicopter parenting? Being “best
friends” with your children? He’ll have none of that.
The author of several
bestselling books, Rosemond frequently appears on radio and television
programs, and writes a weekly column for McClatchy-Tribune.
Back in February, he responded to a plea for help with a “highly spoiled
underachiever.” Acknowledging their role in raising a high-school junior who
was “failing two classes and borderline in the rest,” the teen’s desperate mother
and father pledged their readiness to “do some drastic things.”
recommended that the punk’s room be stripped “down to bare essentials, taking
away any and all electronic devices,” and that “all … his privileges, including
driving” be suspended until he “improved his grades to no less than what he’s
capable of and sustained the improvement for eight weeks.”
Sound advice. But
offering it was illegal.
brat-busting column ran in the Lexington
Herald-Leader, Thomas Kerby Neill penned a letter of complaint to the Kentucky Board of Examiners of
Psychology. The retired head-shrinker and Lexington resident grumbled that Rosemond’s
advice was “unprofessional and unethical,” and could make “an already depressed
child become more depressed.” Besides, the columnist wasn’t licensed in the Bluegrass State. Thus, Neill
requested that the Board “ask newspapers carrying Mr. Rosemond’s column in
Kentucky to either discontinue using the term ‘psychologist’ to describe Mr.
Rosemond, or to carry a disclaimer that states, ‘Mr. Rosemond has not met the
professional criteria to call himself a psychologist in the state of
on a personal vendetta against Rosemond or a surfeit of free time, Neill’s tantrum
should have been tossed into the Board’s circular file.
Rosemond got a letter from Kentucky’s
attorney general, informing him that state law “restricts the practice of
psychology and the use of protected words such as ‘psychologist’ only to those
persons credentialed” by the Board. The columnist had three weeks to sign and
return a “Cease and Desist Affidavit and Assurance of Voluntary Compliance.”
The document stipulated that he would never again practice psychology in
Kentucky without “a valid credential from the Board,” nor “use in Kentucky the
term ‘psychologist,’ ‘psychological,’ or any term specified in [statute] or any
title or description of services in a manner that implies or would reasonably
be deemed to imply that [he is] licensed in Kentucky as a psychologist.”
considerations alone make yielding to the dictate difficult. Rosemond
doesn’t distribute his work to Kentucky
newspapers -- McClatchy-Tribune does. Neither does he control which newspapers
in the state run the column. Besides, what about the used bookstores that sell
his titles? And the interviews he’ll give elsewhere -- whether on television or
radio -- that might make their way into Kentuckians’ ears? However unintentional,
Rosemond’s one-man crime wave cannot be
if Rosemond is guilty of illegally engaging in the “practice of psychology” in the
state, what about Dr. Phil?
Dr. Laura? Dr. Ruth? Dr. Drew? They have
audiences in Kentucky,
yet are not licensed there. Shouldn’t cease-and-desist actions be taken against
knuckle under to bureaucratic thuggery, Rosemond sued. The Institute for Justice is representing the
columnist. Their case against the attorney general’s office and the Board is
simple: “Defendants’ actions are unconstitutional because the First Amendment
does not allow the government to censor newspaper opinion columns on the basis
of their content. Nor does the First Amendment allow the government to prohibit
anyone from making a truthful statement such as ‘John Rosemond is a family
is not an anomaly. The Institute represents many professionals and
entrepreneurs who have been targeted by state boards and commissions that prefer
cartel-preservation over free speech. In D.C., Segway-mounted tour guides are suing over
the requirement that they obtain a city license. In Dallas, a
hair-braiding instructor is resisting the mandate that she become a
state-licensed barber. In North
Carolina, a paleo-diet blogger is fighting possible
prosecution for “assessing and counseling” on nutrition.
licensing is problematic on its own. The claim that it guarantees delivery of
quality services is flimsy -- think educrats
-- and as economist Morris Kleiner told The
Wall Street Journal, it’s often a tool to “restrict competition and obtain
vocational bureaucracies violate a scared civil liberty, it’s time for legal
action. Unlimited government is about to receive some tough love from John
D. Dowd Muska (www.dowdmuska.com) writes about government, economics, and technology. Follow him on Twitter @dowdmuska.
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