The past few years have seen an explosion of "problems" that somehow weren’t problematic in the past. Bullying has taken center stage as one of the problems that "experts" say requires societal action.
Every child, from time immemorial, has had problems with the innate cruelty of children. Every child has likewise inflicted cruelty upon other children. Such is the nature of the beast, in this case Homo sapiens, and the eternal struggle for dominance and status that defines the species. There has always been the need to balance human behavior with the societal need of peaceful coexistence but as the "anti" mentality replaces rationality the human trait of struggle for status has been labeled a pathology known as bullying.
Needless to say a true bully is a despicable cowardly creature, one that uses superior brute strength against a physically weaker opponent who poses no threat. The bully, like all children, needs to be taught how to survive in society in a manner that is both self-assertive and respectful to others. There is a place for corrective action to curb behavior that is dangerous to the bully’s victims as well as harmful to the bully himself.
Unfortunately the "zero tolerance’ mentality is very quick to label behavior that is typical of all children as intolerable, and to enact social policies that, when all is said and done, counter and run roughshod over the human spirit. Boys particularly, since their nature is to scuffle amongst themselves, have been falsely labeled as bullies whose "anti-social" behavior needs modification in the form of psychotropic drugs such as Ritalin.
The effect of the severe clamping down of so-called bullying, according to one author, is pernicious to both perpetrator and the supposed victims.
‘Children are not always nice to each other, but people are not always nice to each other. The world is not like that. One of the things in danger of being lost is children spending time with other children out of sight of adults; growing a sense of consequence for their actions without someone leaping in,’ says Tim Gill, a former United Kingdom government adviser.
He argues that mollycoddling children by labeling "unpleasant behavior" as bullying is stopping them from building the skills they need to protect themselves. He objects to the promiscuous labeling as bullying behavior that is actually teasing or squabbling amongst children. Attempting to protect children from all unpleasant behavior retards development that is crucial for dealing with people in adulthood.
Predictably those with a vested and financial interest in "solving" the bullying "problem" are incensed with Gill’s commonsense ideas. A society where traditional behaviors, such as smoking tobacco, is frowned upon and criminalized, is one that will resist returning power to the people. Such a society is devoted to the concept that a tiny, self-anointed elite is entitled to run the world on principles that ensure its pre-eminence. This elite, of course, is the most horrendous example of bullies who brutalize their fellows through intimidation, control and brute force.