A Little More on Bullying
I mentioned in a recent post that, like Bonald at Throne and Altar, I actually support bullying under certain circumstances. Let me flesh that out a little more.
Actually, let me just state my rule for bullying: if it's used as a means of enforcing normative behaviors, I'm all for it. And yeah, that means giving shit to fairies and tomboys and so on.
Normative behaviors exist for a reason. Like tradition, social norms tell us provide us a measure of what is good and just, especially for those who are too stupid to figure it out on their own. Social disapproval of immoral behaviors (like homosexuality, adultery, etc.) is often a more powerful disincentive to commit them than legal consequences; there are limits to others' ability to probe into your legal indiscretions, but the stench of a social brand in some degenerate's ass can linger in a community's collective hindbrain for generations. And so it was that, for a long time, it was wholly unnecessary for governments to police morality: communities did it their own damn selves.
Of course, one can say, "Well, who are you to force the norm of traditional family on, say, some good-hearted, hard-working single mother?" But one would be an idiot for saying that, given the abundance of studies (at least one by no less-respected a medical journal than The Lancet, a casual Googling revealed) demonstrating that childen raised in single-family are worse off in pretty much every way: they exhibit higher rates of mental illness, suicide attempts, injury, alcoholism, drug addiction, and all-cause mortality, even after adjusting for socioeconomic status and parents' health. Traditional societies knew and understood that children did best who were raised in a norm-conforming household; it is only in our (supposedly) enlightened modern society that we make virtuous angels out of the sluts and cads who ruin their kids' lives so that they can find themselves (or whatever). That's why traditional societies ostracized such people while modern societies make movies about them while ignoring all the evil they bring into the world. Likewise with the destruction of traditional gender roles (in the form of flamboyant homosexuals, cross-dressers, and transgender freakazoids).
So to the extent that people bullied today are serial violators of perfectly rational social norms, they ought to be subject to social disapproval -- even quite severely so. Those who imagine there is a "right" to attend a school without being bullied are deluded: one never has a right to behave however one wishes without consequences. Accepting this fact is a key step toward maturity. I'm torn on the extent to which this ought to entail physical bullying (certainly, I think it's justified when one is being an asshole about defying social norms, as in the case of the transgender abomination that got his/her ass unceremoniously pummeled into a seizure at a Baltimore-area McDonald's recently for belligerently insisting on using an occupied women's restroom), but I see nothing wrong with quite persistent verbal ribbing.
But to the extent bullying represents mindless, irrational cruelty (for instance, assaulting those whose only crime is being skinny, awkward, smart, or whatever), it ought to be brought under control. Unlike defiance of social norms, being skinny or fat or awkward or smart really doesn't hurt anyone -- and there's no sense in punishing them for it. It's intrinsic to the nature of demographics, after all, that not everyone can be ripped, engaging, and of modest intellect). Of course, that's no reason to have to associate with them (and awkward people really shouldn't have any friends until they learn to go out and make some on their own), but again, it's no reason to subject them to punishment, either. An Unmarried Man has a good post on the topic related to fat (and pregnant) women; it's worth a read.
One may object to my characterization of bullying in defense of social norms as not only valid and reasonable but right and good as fighting fire with fire. It is, of course -- but sometimes that's perfectly advisable, as when one stops the spread of a firestorm by burning away the flammable brush in a certain circumfrence around it. It's worth bearing in mind that the same liberals who decry bullying are perfectly content to bully in defense of their own social norms, at the expense of Christians and non-sexual deviants and so on; FIRE is dedicated to fighting these types of bullying in universities, where it has the potential to devastate a person's future to an extent routine beating-up-fags stuff doesn't . If there is, in fact, something like a war going on to determine whose social values ought to be ascendant, I see no reason why one side should be expected to unilaterally disarm.
Even for the sake of the children.
Proph, Collapse: The Blog 188 Comments
[9/15/2011 3:56:30 AM]
Fundie Index: 303
Submitted By: Zosimus the Heathen