Monday, November 5, 2012

On the State Enterprise of Creating Bullies

[This article originally appeared on the blog on October 16, 2012]

It’s a funny culture we live in. I’m at a loss for words to otherwise describe the regular bouts of collective hysteria that follow the deaths of strangers. To the best of my knowledge this came about around a decade ago, when MSN’s Instant Messenger was all the rage. I recall the “collective mourning” of my friends for a missing Western Ontario girl when her corpse was found. The phenomenon baffled me then as it does today in the case of Amanda Todd—the Vancouver teen who committed suicide as a result of having been “cyber-bullied.” It’s not that I don’t care about lives being lost, it’s the nature of the responses of the “mourners” that gets me: teary eyed vigils, Facebook posts, and of course the inevitable calls for authorities to “do something about it.” It all ends a week or two later, when a new tragedy occurs somewhere far from home, and the circus repeats itself.

Perhaps because I grew up being bullied, I never saw bullying to be the sort of out of hand problem that it is being touted to be. I just saw it as an exercise in character building. As someone who was fully ostracized by the society I lived in as a result of my family being declared enemies of the state (due to my parents’ “unimpeded commercial cooperation” with enterprises from abroad), it’s sometimes too easy for me to prescribe a dose of “get over it” to the bullied. Getting a shaking over your lunch money is one thing, but it’s a wholly different ball of wax when the State is orchestrating your demise. Of course, each person being a unique unit means that everybody’s tolerances for abuse are different. That given, what is to be said about rookie NDP MP Dany Morin’s (Chicoutimi-Le Fjord) proposal for a “national anti-bullying strategy”?

Morin says that “his own experiences from being bullied as a teen show the ‘scars are permanent’ and something must be done.” This may be so, but how is his proposal of non-partisan legislation supposed to end bullying? By declaring it illegal? Murder is illegal, yet it happens. So is theft, but it fails to stop Government, the Bank of Canada and street peddlers, among others, from doing it. While Canada’s parliamentarians ponder how to solve yet another problem beyond their ability to solve, it seems abundantly clear that they will not turn to Mises’ conclusions from A Critique of Interventionism as a guide.

Rather than composing more meaningless legislation, perhaps Mr. Morin and other believers in the myth of Government as the solution to every problem ought to consider Government’s role in producing poorly brought up citizens; for, bullying is precisely a problem of domestic upbringing. A good domestic upbringing requires a stabile family and parents (or grandparents) to spend many hours with their young. The “women’s revolution” which started in the late 1950s has meant that the concept of the stay at home parent has come to be a figment of the past. Not that it would matter anyway, as government regulation keeps lowering the age at which children must be handed over for social conditioning.

Truth be told, the profession of motherhood has been killed not as a result of women’s loose morals or desires to be free from the “shackles of parenthood”—that natural instinct present in practically every female of any species. Rather, despite the great forward strides that Western societies have made toward increased prosperity, Government has made it increasingly difficult for the populace to make ends meet. In 1987 Robert Batemarco wrote:
Over the past two decades, economists have observed and become professionally concerned with falling rates of economic growth. To many young people today trying to establish homes and raise families, that concern is not merely professional. Despite their greater investment in education than any previous generation and despite the extent to which two-earner households have become the norm, this generation, by all indications, is likely to be the first in US history not even to maintain, let alone improve upon, the standard of living enjoyed by their parents.
The trend has not changed 25 years hence. Why? The welfare state has grown larger, meaning that the workforce participation rate has dropped (indeed, this is how the unemployment rate has dropped of late, despite no earnest economic upswing)—in spite of higher eligibility rates! Indeed, improved technology has rendered many formerly considered “disabled” or “invalids” employable; yet more Westerners today collect some sort of government assistance which induces them to shy away from earning their keep. Half-literate single teenage girls are encouraged to breed for the reward of a social assistance cheque. Increasing effective taxation rates, including BoC targeted inflation of “2-3% annually,” unnecessary safety regulations, crony environmental and zoning laws, etc., have pushed businesses away from Western countries, thus reducing the potential to grow prosperity. Yet, Government keeps coming up with means to keep families from spending time together: be it through easy money for “upgraded” education or housing (so that the young can move out of their familial home); or through imprisoning citizens for hours or days at a time in some license granting bureau; or through the inducement of earning an income by manning said bureaus, to give but a few examples.

All this is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg, since, the ultimate problem concerning bullying is the fact that bullies tend have no concept of private property—a consequence of the educational system, to be sure. In order for Government to make its looting of the public palatable, it must condition its victims to accept its bullying as a socially necessary deed. Thus, notions of private property must be abolished, and the kernels of bullying implanted in the souls of the next generation.

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