Bullying has been in the limelight in recent years with high profile cases of bullied teenagers committing suicide, and celebrities and politicians pushing for “anti bullying” legislation. Of course, the heart wrenching story of some pretty young girl or bright boy driven to suicide by the cruelty of his or her peers resonates with all of us, and we sympathize with those driven to suicide, but we cannot allow the media or politicians to exploit these situations to push through their own agenda, as is always the case in any given situation.
Everyone has been the butt of a joke in the schoolyard, or the subject of bullying at least a few times, and for most of us, this is a fact of life. We grow up, we move on, no worse for the wear. Children have far less of a filter over what they say, so the fat kid is going to be made fun of for being fat, the scrawny kid for being scrawny, and the one with freckles will get it for having freckles. If not that, it will be some other characteristic; maybe they weren’t athletic enough in gym class, maybe they were overly shy. Children bully each other and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it is just a fact of life. It’s normal behavior, and prepares children for a world in which they won’t always be receiving praise and positive attention. Learning to deal with this is a crucial part of building one’s self esteem and developing a thicker skin. Some people cannot deal with this bullying, or have a thin skin and emotional problems that most likely go far deeper than a few schoolyard pranks, and one cannot blame a bully for the reaction that someone with serious mental health issues has to a few unkind words. To demand young people interact with only the most delicate of terms is to create a sterile environment devoid of any social complexity, and create a generation too fragile to handle criticism.
This idea extends far beyond our education system, but reflects our “victim politics” mentality, where rather than attempting to best one another in positive competitive ways, we are mired iwith identity politics, be it “women’s rights” or “LGBT rights”, or whatever ethnic or racial group we are insisting is the most oppressed, or suffered the most, as if there was a prize for being the most downtrodden! There are cases of obese people complaining about discrimination against them as well, everyone seems to be hopping on board the victim wagon! We are creating a society which is so afraid of criticism, so weak willed and sanitized that it is cut off from reality entirely. It is the story of the Emperor’s new clothes, played out on a global scale, where even ugliness must be looked upon as beauty simply to avoid hurting feelings or offending. Weakness, feeble mindedness, sexual perversity, mental and physical abnormalities are things to be pitied or corrected, not celebrated. Great societies make monuments to their triumphs and achievements, not their defeats and disgraces.
What we are doing now is, for lack of better terms, creating a society of thin skinned sissies and cry babies who cannot handle the slightest criticism, who are offended by the slightest politically incorrect gaffe, and instead of offering sympathy for the people who jump off a bridge or kill themselves over some prank or bullying and leave it at that, are quick to point fingers and “demand justice”. The recent case where a nurse, Jacintha Saldanha, taking care of the Princess of Wales committed suicide on account of shame over a radio show prank led to an outcry, with calls for an end to radio pranks, and punishment for the disc jockeys. I’m not entirely familiar with their program, but the two hosts played a harmless prank, nothing more. That they are being blamed for her death, the outrage in the media, is complete insanity, no one forced Saldanha to take her own life except she herself! Before this there was the case of Tyler Clementi, the Rutger’s student who jumped off a bridge when he was outed by his roommate Dharun Ravi on a web camera. The roommate has been charged with murder and hate crime, and while he certainly broke the law with regards to invasion of privacy, he didn’t toss Tyler Clementi off the bridge. Clementi did that himself, and that Saldanha did it herself as far as we know, and they have no one to blame but themselves, they made their choices. In these and many other cases, there was a media lynching and blame game that was entirely uncalled for.
Of course I am not going to pretend that every case of bullying is not a big deal or every prank should just be laughed off, there are certainly cases where bullying or pranking is taken too far, and at that point sure, parents or teachers should step in, but this shouldn’t and doesn’t require and specific legal framework. These cases are special cases, and should be dealt with individually. Much of the actual focus of the “anti bullying” campaigns though, is more related to the gay agenda than anything about typical schoolyard bullying, as most of the cases in the past few years to create attention (the Clementi one is certainly a major example) have been tied towards homosexuals committing suicide. The attention given to these gays is disproportionate by far to both their numbers overall but the media and upper echelons of our society have a far higher proportion of sexually dissolute types who use their resources to push for the gay agenda as best and as often as they can.
The world can be a cruel place, and children especially can say and do hurtful and mean things to each other, without even realizing the effect it has. But this bullying is a normal part of growing up, and sheltering our children from the harsh realities of the world is only doing them a disservice in the long run. The only way to address bullying is to encourage young people to overcome it themselves and leave it at that. Identity politics in the same turn, only harm everyone, including the groups they purport to help, as they teach us to rely on others, mainly a government handout or legal privilege to “save us” from real or imagined oppression. It is a mindset which sees a chance for political gain in every defeat and debasement and exploits every tragedy for a political agenda.