HomeArticlesAnti-Bully Legislation Hurts Child Development and Community Harmony

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Anti-Bully Legislation Hurts Child Development and Community Harmony — 2 Comments

  1. “We are all born with instinctual behaviors that must be socialized.”

    There is a political bandwagon to get tough on school yard bullies , on predatory mortgage lenders and … some union bosses. Perhaps the evolutionary origins of bullying are found in the principle of predation; predators must eat their prey in order to survive. This idea is extended as the survival of the fittest – the strong survive in competitive societies. Class competition and the desire to wield power over subordinates and the powerless is common social behavior. Anti-bullying legislation is well meaning but it cannot eliminate what seems to be an evolutionary inclination.
    Thus, the conclusion , ” we are all born with instinctual behaviors that must be socialized.” In other words, the socialization process or learning process would lead to self restraint and to resist the instinctive and aggressive urges to behave powerfully over weaker persons. In childhood educators would encourage kindness and suppress aggressive behavior. However, in adulthood and in any competitive environment an aggressive or strong will is encouraged. The dilemma with anti-bullying legislation is that it punishes children for acting like adults. Punishment is a type of sanctioned revenge. Somewhere in the minds of the Columbine High School killers was the notion of revenge – murderous payback for their twisted thoughts of having been bullied. Anti-bullying legislations seems to play into this cycle of bullying and getting revenge. In this light we ought to give second thoughts on the motives of why anti-bullying legislation is a bad approach to childhood aggression.

    • Robert, I think you are very correct about these dynamics. There is an additional aspect of the political bandwagon effect related to government grants and the funding of new bureaucracies and government-dependent NGOs. There are some NGOs and others that change the name of their activities to whatever is the current fad for funding. For example, before Jimmy Carter became president, there was a lot of grants given for nuclear disarmament programs. When Carter was elected, his emphasis was on human rights. I was working with the National Council of Churches in New York at the time and many of the offices and NGOs there changed the names of their organizations and the purposes of their grant applications from “peace and disarmament” to “human rights” because that was where the fashionable political funding could be found. Today, I believe some of these same types of rent-seeking behavior are using anti-bullying rhetoric because of its popularity.

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