Friday, June 06, 2014

What Is Not Being Said About Bullying

Bullying is extremely destructive and leads to a host of social problems. The ruin of a child's self esteem in this manner can lead to everything from under achievement to substance abuse and suicide. It is an important step forward that schools have finally recognized this problem and began combating bullying.
Problem is, these steps do not go far enough, to the root cause. Nor can they, for to do so would bring into question the very nature of the system we live under. Politically and economically, this system is based  and run  on bullying. As long as you give in to the bully, you will get off lightly. Try to stand up for yourself and the beating commences. So too in the adult world of work and politics. A tiny minority own and control the wealth of society and this wealth in turn allows them to control the system of government. The workplace is not a democracy, but an autocracy where you are ordered around. If you should disagree, you are threatened and often subject to verbal abuse. If you challenge the system, the state will be used to suppress you, which can entail verbal bullying, assault and kidnapping. (arrest and possible prison) Any minority that questions the system's methods or priorities will be subject to insults and abuse in the media. This may lead to gullible members of the public verbally or physically assaulting the minority or engaging in some other sort of bullying.
Consider as well our political system. Less than 40% of the electorate can force their views upon the remaining 60%. And force they will cheerfully use, the police and the army if need be. If this isn't bullying, what is? The only way to end this political bullying would be to institute a more consensus-based system.
Furthermore, hierarchies engaged in domination, such as management, police, military, prison or any other bureaucracies that deal with the public, tend to attract bullies. This is not to say that everyone, or even a majority of those involved in such hierarchies, are bullies. A large enough minority will be found in these institutions to make life hell for those who get in their clutches. The highly authoritarian and “tribal” nature of these institution's culture will also mean they will be all but impossible to root out. (Think only of residential school victims, borstal inmates, police women and women soldiers and what they have had to put up with in trying to get their voices heard.)
The only way to truly eliminate bullying is to eliminate the authoritarian social relations that create this abuse.


Anonymous SteveH said...

wise words, larry. This is the missing perspective when people wring their hands over bullying and fail to see that the system around them daily drills into our children's heads the concept that if you are big enough, or rich enough, and hold the power, you can - and should- do what you want. It's only business, after all!

1:01 PM  

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