In one of the most incisive analyses I’ve read so far on the latest social crisis known as “bullying,” AmSpec’s Daniel Flynn properly notes that, as is so often the case when people react to a perceived injustice, the reaction often becomes an over-reaction and in the case of “bullying,” those who seek to abolish it from playgrounds and social media often become the very thing they oppose.
Whether the bullying is real (the New Jersey teachers) or imagined (a politician opposing legislation), those crusading against it often descend into bullying, too. The worst bullies rationalize their bullying as anti-bullying. People’s behavior goes terribly wrong when they insist they are in the right.
Particularly distasteful is the use of deceased young people to silence dissent. Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi and Hadley, Massachusetts high school student Phoebe Prince may have been people once but are now iconic symbols wielded by demagogues. The post-Christian world makes saints of suicide cases. The Old Church granted neither funerals nor burials to those who ended their lives by ending their lives. Surely there is a happy (unhappy?) medium between venerating one who has done something so horrible and further victimizing one who is also, ultimately, a victim.
All witch hunts are exercises in group bullying. They not only make it cool to terrorize the individual bucking the group, they make it obligatory. When Hollywood, the president, and cable news anchors gang up on bullies, it’s hard not to root for the underdog.
Ah yes…witch hunts. Regular Bulldog Pundit readers are very familiar with witch hunts, having observed what the cabal known as the Conservative Leadership Council did to the Bayshore Tea Party and other Tea Party groups last year: it was classic bullying conducted via the website Conservative New Jersey with the sole intention of silencing these groups because they dared buck Steve Lonegan’s attempt to co-opt the entire Tea Party movement of New Jersey and set himself up as the arbiter of Movement Conservatism in the Garden State.
Thanks largely to my efforts, the Tea Parties were defended and vindicated while “Boss” Lonegan’s scheme was exposed for the world to see. In the process, I unmasked Rob Eichmann and Bill Winkler as nothing more than common thugs – bullies, if you will – who don Ronald Reagan masks and pose as the defenders of conservatism when it’s politically expedient to do so. In the process, I also exposed State Senator and erstwhile conservative poster boy Mike Doherty as a duplicitous weasel – and took a lot of heat for doing so because of the shocking nature of the expose.
And yet, what did we see scant months after the truth surfaced? Doherty has joined the re-election campaign of incumbent 7th District Representative Leonard Lance – a bona fide, dyed-in-the-wool, Establishment GOP RINO.
The lesson in all of this should be as clear to the parents of bullied children as it is to the readers of this website and Flynn explains it perfectly:
It’s easy to take on bullies in the abstract. They pose no threat to hit back. They make an easy mark.
What’s difficult is taking them on when they stare you in the face. The promoted method, snitching — whether to a teacher or a policeman — has traditionally been a surefire way to court, not repel, intimidation. A culture that is litigious, force-phobic, averse to family-sized families, and monitors children the way the Stasi spied on writers makes taboo the most effective methods of dealing with a ruffian: a hard punch in the face or an older brother. Thus does our passive-aggressive culture make bullying harder for adults to detect and for kids to combat.
There you have it in a nutshell: you don’t reason with a bully or depend on those in positions of authority to restrain him. Rather, you confront him with overwhelming force and make him think twice about attacking you again. But I can understand why this approach is anathema to the political and social elites: it emphasizes self-reliance and ultimately, self-defense, and that is the last thing statists want to see prevail in the civil society. What they want is complete reliance on those in positions of authority to not only provide for their general welfare but protect them from others – and ultimately from themselves.
There is a word for this state of existence: serfdom.