Bullying, especially in the last decade, is a subject in the foreground of just about every educator’s, parent’s, and children’s group in America. The liberal left and the media regularly passes along one sad story after another about someone who was supposedly bullied and driven to drastic ends, while state after state passes new laws and regulations against so-called bullying in any form. The definition of bullying changes from day to day, but the main consensus has been:
“Bullying may involve physical action, words, gestures, or social isolation. Although bullying may involve direct, relatively open attacks against a victim, bullying frequently is indirect, or subtle in nature (spreading rumors, enlisting a friend to assault a child.” (State Laws and Policies to Address Bullying in Schools, by Susan Limber and Mark Small, School Psychology Review, 2003, Volume 32).
Bullying can and does happen in America, but the liberal left and media organizations are telling people that it’s worse than the reality. According to the above definition, bullying could be anything from not wanting to play with another student to saying that you don’t like someone in the presence of another kid. The liberal left would have you believe that every person, especially children, has the right to never be angered or have their feelings hurt by another person for any reason. That world does not exist in reality, and trying to force people into accepting it has caused more harm than good.
The left would also have people believe that more government regulations, laws, and programs is the only way to lessen – or stop what it calls bullying completely. The unfortunate truth is that no person has the right to never be saddened, angered, or be in a situation where they feel like someone else has power over them. Basically, anti-bullying programs say that whenever you or someone else does anything that you or they don’t like, you or they are a bully. For example:
A group of kids are having lunch together. Someone they don’t know comes over to their table, even though there are other places to sit, and tries to eat their lunch at that table. The other kids tell the newcomer to buzz off. The kid in question feels slighted and tells a teacher that those kids are bullying her. In many schools there are now policies in place that would have all of those other kids brought in to the school counselor, their parents notified, and the incident will be placed in their permanent records.
Some on the liberal left might argue that the moral thing to do would have been for the kids already at the table to shut up and allow the intruder to do whatever she wanted – that the moral decision would have been to leave the kid alone. Even Aristotle knew over two-thousand four hundred years ago that a government cannot legislate morality, or make its citizens morally virtuous. For a government to even suggest what might be moral beyond the rules in which societies need to function is on the borderline of tyranny.
Even worse is that those who advocate anti-bullying legislation are in fact bullying those they claim to be fighting. Bullying is often said to be a product of hate – yet to hate the bully is to become the bully. Why advocates of anti-bullying legislation don’t see this point is a mystery. Imagine a world where citizens are arrested for flipping someone the bird, or not allowing another person to join the bowling team from work gets them fired and fined. That world isn’t too far away for most of America, and is already here for a few states.
Other liberal left groups argue that bullying has caused more suicides than normal among teens. It’s simply not true. Think about it from a psychology point of view. Those who commit suicide usually have deep emotional problems already. In some cases those emotional problems may indeed be from constant bullying for years, but there is no proof of the cause being solely from bullying beyond political rhetoric and media suppositions. There have always been teens who commit suicide. Some do so because of lost love, some because they perceive their home-life as being untenable, and yet others as a way to get the attention they thought they deserve just because. In all those cases, an argument can be made that bullying (as defined by many anti-bullying laws) was the cause.
So what are adults looking for when they cry out for anti-bullying legislation in schools? Simply put, many are looking for revenge. Some of them may have been bullied as kids, and many more feel that they’re being bullied, even today, from a myriad of sources. They can’t control what happened when they were young, or change what’s happening to them now, so they look for an outlet to vent their rage. That venting usually comes at the expense of the school districts, who can be sued because of the very legislation being passed.
The solution to bullying is simple. Stop calling everything bullying, let teachers get back to teaching, and read the Constitution of the United States of America. People have the right to say they think someone else is an idiot, and Congress does not have the enumerated powers to legislate morality. In every other case, allow the kids to stand up for themselves. They will live a far richer life by learning to deal with these situations themselves. In cases of true bullying, there were already rules in place.