A libertarian inclined blog for teachers and learners of all ages. Comments, emails and links to other educational stuff welcome.

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Next entry: Free physics
Previous entry: To avoid being a terrorist ...
Wednesday December 19 2007

In my opinion, bullying is caused by people being trapped inside groups.  Thus, when bullying occurs of a sort that the victim cannot punish into silence with a burst of massive retaliation, the victim cannot do the obvious alternative, which is to get out of there.

It does not make sense to say that bullying is “caused” by the weapons and the means of communication used by the bullies, not because this is straightforwardly untrue, but because it is not reasonable to propose or expect the abolition of such things.

I wonder if it even makes sense to say that “cruelty is the problem”.  You’ll not abolish that either.  However, the right to avoid cruelty is often lacking but can often be created and asserted, and it would often be nice for other reasons also.  It is thus reasonable to regard the absence of such a right as the “cause” of bullying.

But what if you don’t think it reasonable to propose the right of children to avoid uncongenial company, because you regard such juvenile freedom as a sledgehammer to crack a nut, a cure worse than the disease, a creator of more problems than it could ever solve?  Then you will regard the above thoughts, at any rate as applied to the lives of children, also to be unreasonable, even if in some sense true.

Jackie D suggests “swift harsh punishment”.  Indeed.  But what if the bullies are the official punishers of bad behaviour, the ones in charge?  What if the official punishers punish the freelance retaliation against bullies by their victims?

UPDATE (via Instapundit): What if the people supposedly in charge are the ones being bullied?  (The dark side of tenure?)