Timothy Birdnow In a recent article at American Thinker Elise Cooper argued for new programs and more school involvement to reduce bullying. As she rightly points out bullying is on the rise in modern America, and the temptation to turn to psychologists, schools and government is strong - even for conservatives. I fear the notion that bullying can be stopped through governmental programs is misguided. Laws and programs cannot and will not work because they address the wrong issues, or try to treat symptoms of a deeper malady.
What is bullying? What are the characteristics of a bully? What are the motivations and behaviors of a bully?
WebMD defines bullying as follows:
"Bullying occurs when a child or children repeatedly harass, intimidate, hit, or shun another child who is weaker physically or has less social standing. Bullying often involves verbal or physical aggression and may include hitting, shoving, or taking money or belongings." And they list the characteristics of a bully: " * May witness physical and verbal violence or aggression at home. They have a positive view of , this behavior and they act aggressively toward other people including adults. * May hit or push other children. * Are often physically strong. * May or may not be popular with other children around their same age. * Have trouble following rules. * Show little concern for the feelings of others. Many bullies think highly of themselves. They like being looked up to. And they often expect everyone to behave according to their wishes. Children who bully are often not taught to think about how their actions make other people feel."
Research by psychologists at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs pretty much confirmed these characteristics were common in bullies. According to the paper:
"A variety of studies have dealt with psychological disturbance in bullies and/or victims. Kumpulainen, Rasanen, and Henttonen (1999), in a longitudinal study of 1268 children aged 8and 12 years studied at two time points for incidence of bullying behavior, found that children who bully had significantly more psychiatric symptoms than other children. Specifically, bullies exhibited greater psychopathology on externalizing disorders and greater hyperactivity than controls. Additionally, Craig (1998) found that bullies exhibited more antisocial behavior and physical aggression than non-bullies, but they also exhibited lower levels of anxiety. In contrast, victims showed increased depression and anxiety. Bullies, in Craig’s study, did not show elevated levels of depression. All three Axis I hypotheses were supported.
The bullying group produced significantly higher means than the controls for Conduct Disorder, Oppositional Disorder, and ADHD scales, and all had large effect sizes. It was hypothesized, in general, that some personality disorders would be more prevalent in the bullying group compared to controls, and this hypothesis was partially supported. However, the finding that the bullying group was elevated (compared to controls) with a large effect size on the Histrionic scale was somewhat surprising. Therefore, a post hoc t test item analysis was conducted for the eight items on the scale. Interestingly, the item representing Criterion 7 ends-IV-TR ‘‘is suggestible, i.e., easily influenced by others or circumstances’’ produced the highest t value of the eight items, and it had a large effect size."
See Table 1 for the actual numbers:
The Coolidge et. al. paper theorizes about neurobiological differences that may "cause" this behavior, but one could as easily argue that the behavior caused changes in the brain chemistry and structure; work by Jeffrey Schwarz of U.C.L.A. and others on neuroplasticity suggest that the brain may often change to accommodate thought patterns. So bullies hold certain common characteristics.
One thing that has always struck me was the similarity between the common schoolyard bully and the rapist. Consider; both seek to torment their victims through emotional and physical abuse. Both seek to feel empowered at another’s expense. Here is an overview of the psychological profiles of rapists. Note the similarities between rapists and bullies. These same characteristics hold true for serial killers
. Rapists and serial killers generally cannot be stopped by persuasion or counseling. I am not suggesting bullies will turn into rapists and serial killers, but that there is a common underlying cause . It then becomes a matter of degree.
The sexual revolution has hypersexualized our youth and at the same time destroyed the family. Out-of-wedlock births have skyrocketed here in the United States and, indeed, worldwide. Children with married parents frequently are babysat by the television as the parents - tired from working to pay for the new cars, the Mcmansion, the latest gadgets and technology - just don't have time for the kids. And now, more than ever, children expect ever more in the way of amusements and status symbols while the parents feel the persistent squeeze of an ailing economy.
And what is that babysitter teaching the children? Easy, no consequence sex, violence, vengeance, and extraordinarily bad manners.
Hypersexualization, it should be pointed out, is a shared characteristic of rapists and serial killers. And the accompanying abortion is the ultimate form of bullying; the weakest among us are destroyed by the strongest simply because they are an inconvenience. What does that teach the children?
Meanwhile children are becoming increasingly conscious of their status on Facebook and the other social media, and a bad rating from a peer can crush their self-esteem. Instant electronic fame has become the operating principle of the computer age, and the youths of this country are desperate to possess it at any and all costs. They post pictures of themselves naked, or doing some very crazy or stupid things, hoping someone will notice them. Their sense of self-worth is increasingly bound up with the fickle opinions of the peanut gallery in cyberspace, at a time when their parents hold little influence over their values. The children are increasingly emotionally fragile in a world that is increasingly course and vulgar, increasingly hostile.
Liberalism has done this. It has atomized our society through appeals to selfish impulses and self-absorbed thinking. Feminism has turned men into not just unnecessary accoutrements but into actual liabilities, and boys are taught in schools that they are natural predators. If you are a natural predator why should you not follow your true course? Liberalism also teaches that "if it feels good, do it" and we hear all about how we have no right to judge anyone. If judging is wrong and men are natural predators why not be a bully? They are taught the futility of self control. They are taught that everything is a disease or hardwired into their brains, be it homosexuality or ADHD or drug or alcohol abuse or even criminality. They are just born that way! Why not act out on their anger? Children are taught that there is nothing beyond the animal nature, no soul, no eternal judge. Why not bully? And children, no longer chained to the mundane chores that used to accompany youth, have the energy and time to stalk and abuse others. Meanwhile modern psychological thinking says we must not correct them for fear of damaging their tender sensibilities; we have to give them trophies for participating and thus take the struggle out of any activity. That struggle built a sense of self-worth and channeled their energy into something productive. They now have no real challenges in their lives, and seek the recognition that once came from sports or work elsewhere. Oh, and we are told we must never, ever physically discipline a child.
It is a society where the rules are ever fluid and there is no objective right or wrong. It is a society where children must find their own way, stumble blindly through a jungle of ravenous beasts out to devour them, and the adults will not give them any real guidance because too few believe there is any objective reality. It is a society where, as Lisa Fabrizio points out, children do not know who they are
.Is it any wonder that, with the triumph of Progressivism in our world, bullies are on the rise?
Consider Saul Alinsky:
"Pick the target freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."
What did Alinsky, father of modern political radicalism, mean? He meant bully those who disagree with you. And Alinsky was simply codifying older Leftist precepts, such as "political power flows from the barrel of a gun". And the President of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama, was an ardent fan of Alinsky. Obama has always put this into practice, too, winning all save his campaign against the Stockholm Syndrome John McCain by destroying his enemies personally. The youth of our generation see this.
They saw the Democrats remain silent when Progressives called George W. Bush Hitler or Dick Cheney Darth Vader. They saw no objections when books about assassinating Bush were hailed as highly entertaining. They have seen the politics of personal destruction first hand. If those in authority - their leaders and teachers - see nothing wrong with bullying why not?
Progressives, I might add, really do not care to stop it any more than they worry about crime; it serves their purposes. They can impose more government control. How long before cameras are in all of our schools ostensibly to stop bullying? The real purpose will be to prepare the next generation for permanent government surveillance. And of course gay rights has latched onto bullying as a tool to pass laws and establish special protections, to promote the gay agenda. Consider how Dan Savage - anti-bullying Czar - bullied Christian children who disagreed with his gay rights agenda. .
So how do we stop it? Schools are not the answer. Schools are bullies in their own right, often insulting and ridiculing children who dare disagree with the Left.
My mother was an elementary school teacher in the old days, and her solution to bullying was to simply turn her back when the bullied child finally balled up his or her fist. Today my mother would be OUT, and likely face lawsuits and perhaps be prosecuted. But letting the bully take a punch was the traditional way to control bullying, along with a wooden paddle judiciously applied. Today we are told that "violence does not solve anything" and that it merely perpetuates the problem. Well, violence solved the problem with Nazi Germany, and while letting a bully take a few punches may not solve all problems, it certainly solves that particular act of aggression. Today programs and zero tolerance policies do nothing but reinforce the bully, because he can do it stealthily and feels empowered with the ease with which he gets away with it. If he gets caught they will say he is sick, and put him on medication at worst.
No, the only real solution will be a long, laborious return to moral precepts and principles. We have to reverse the insanity of liberalism, which will take time and an enormous amount of effort. Bullying is ultimately a moral and spiritual malady; it cannot be solved by law or psychology or medication. Our schools and institutions have made the bullying epidemic, and they will be as powerless to stop bullying. It requires discipline, something that our Progressive friends refuse to allow.
Oh, yes, and it requires a return of God to our schools - something they will never, ever allow. Without a moral code, an absolute standard then why not?
(Thanks to Jack Kemp for timely advice with this piece.) Read more from Tim and friends at www.tbirdnow.mee.nu