Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bullying? Seriously?

Last week a truly tragic incident happened. A college student was secretly video taped having sex by his roommate. As it turns out, the young man was gay and not public about it. The roommate published the video on the internet, which exposed the victim who, sadly, committed suicide. Before I go any further, let me express my sincerest condolences to the family. This is a tragedy at so many levels.

According to our somewhat unreliable media, the roommate that did the video is being prosecuted. And rightly so. Hopefully the law is strong enough to mete out a punishment befitting the extreme violation of privacy and the tragic consequence.

Unfortunately and somewhat disgustingly, the nanny state machine wasted no time in cranking up their failing "anti-bullying" campaign, using this sad incident as their new centerpiece. These nanny staters are again grave dancing for their own benefit. They are using this tragedy to further their own importance and their sad cause. Suddenly, it is all the popular cause to yak about the evils of bullying and how we have to put a stop to it...for the children.

Well, here is a memo for the nanny staters - the children are also doing the bullying. And like it or not, bullying is part of growing up. Just like failing a class, losing at a sport, not getting a trophy or coming in last in a race. All part of growing up. All essential elements in the experience recipe for adulthood.

Sadly, the nanny staters have already chipped away at this recipe for an adult. The elimination of competitive sports at many schools. The awarding of "Certificates of Attendance" for those who simply could not pass their high school exams and did not qualify to graduate. The endless creation of "also ran" awards for those who didn't come in first. Not to mention the entire self-esteem industry.

And now they seek to further pad the cocoon of this falsely idyllic childhood dream of theirs by somehow eliminating "bullying." Of course, like most of the nanny state goofiness, bullying is not exactly clearly defined. Was the incident above bullying? Not by my measure. It was a lot of things, but bullying is not one of them. In fact, it is more the opposite, since the victim had no idea he was the victim and the perpetrator had no desire besides mischief. If anything it was a horribly nasty extension of prejudice and hate as well as a severely misplace sense of right and wrong. But not bullying.

That has not stopped the new onslaught of anti-bullying nonsense.

Nonsense? You bet. See, bullying, as awful as it can be, is a part of growing up. Of learning to fend for yourself and deal with stuff. The nanny staters have already worked to eliminate the concept of winning and losing. They have already started the process of taking away the value of achievement by granting the rewards for hard work to all, including those who do not work at things (see any and all "participation" awards.) They are already devaluing competitive spirit by removing competitive activities.

Now they think they can eliminate bullying. But without bullying, all of us would have grown up without any sense of courage or the ability to stand up to bullies. Without the adversity that bullying presents, an entire generation may grow up without learning how to deal with the adversity that is a part of every day life.

We already have a generation that has been taught it is simply entitled to everything. A generation that has gotten awards for being average of worse. A generation that has been shielded from failure by the nanny staters. An entire generation that has zero concept of failing or rebounding from failure to success. A generation that believes success is a given and will simply happen. They believe this because the nanny staters have taught them this.

Who are these nanny staters? Well, look at the media for one. How many anti-bullying specials are now slated? Hows many news programs are ignoring actual news like wars and stuff to cover the fiction of anti-bullying efforts? How many pathetic celebrities are now claiming to have been the "victims" of bullying? Ask those celebrities where they learned the assertiveness and aggression needed to succeed in show business. Any that don't say, "From a bully," are liars.

Look at our leaders. Both parties. Hurrying to jump on this bandwagon. It is only a matter of time until laws are passed criminalizing schoolyard behavior. Stupid, pointless laws, but laws nonetheless. There will be hearings and commissions. All wasting precious tax dollars on a Utopian pipe dream. As if the education system can afford any more mandates from cowardly politicians looking to cash in on the latest media craze. We already can't afford teachers and books. What will have to be eliminated for more feel good nonsense?

I had my share of bullies in school. And I pretty much ignored them. Those that forced me to deal with them were dealt with in whatever way worked. As a result, I developed the ability to run my own business and to stand my ground in an argument. I got the lesson of toughness that is not in a textbook or curriculum. I doubt I would have the ability to run my business without this lesson.

I pity these kids that won't get these lessons. Why? Because it is not a nice world out here. It is harsh and cut throat and competitive. The business world makes high school bullying look like a school dance. Sure being bullied sucks. So does losing a client or getting fired. But that is real life and life happens. It is how you deal with the adversity that counts. Not how you avoid it, and these nanny staters are big on avoidance.

So before the nanny staters further weaken our kids, ask them this: "How many people did you have to beat out for your job?" Then ask them if they think those people they beat out felt bullied. When the stammering and verbal tap dancing starts, just laugh and walk away.

For parents, teach your kids to stand up to bullies. They don't have to take it. Sure, they might get a little bruised in the process, but so did all of us. And we seem to be just fine.

As the saying goes, if everyone is special, then nobody is.

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