I am not in any way trying to treat another school pupil’s suicide callously and my heart goes out to the parents of the Toronto school boy who recently committed suicide as a result of bullying at school. It is a major problem and it needs to be dealt with.
Taking the typical route of the Ontario provincial government of enthusiastically grasping another opportunity to come up with yet more laws is not going to solve the problem. If anything, it will aggravate the situation. More new laws and giving the police powers to punish people before they have a chance to defend themselves, or when they have clearly not committed any crime, is symptomatic of a police state and is not working anyway.
The blame for the problem of school bullying must be laid firmly on those that have enforced the “wimpification” of the West in general, Canada more specifically and Ontario in particular. The increase of school bullying and social media bullying are the result of kids and adults being beaten into submission by political correctness. I am not advocating a violent free for all or a return to the lawlessness of the Wild West. But I am saying that it is time to say enough with political correctness and let’s start standing up for ourselves, our societies, our nations and our way of life without being afraid of the human rights inquisitors or other enforcers of the nanny state.
When drug dealers are treated more leniently than law-abiding citizens defending their own property, when throwing a banana on an ice rink (because it had racial connotations) gets more police action than the Vancouver riots or the Caledonia occupation there is something very wrong. When schools feel compelled to ban all balls from children’s playgrounds depriving them of exercise, fun and improved hand – eye coordination, is it any wonder that we have a child obesity problem. Instead of encouraging children to get out in the fresh air, exercise and get mentally and physically fit, we are pointing them towards a sedentary life of video games and texting on smart phones.
A few other examples of how the nanny state has taken away individual rights over the last few years:
- We are told that we cannot own certain dog breeds.
- We are not allowed to smoke in our own vehicles if children are passengers.*
- We can lose our drivers licence when we have LESS than the maximum allowed limit of alcohol in our blood.
- We can have our or some other innocent person’s vehicle impounded at great expense BEFORE we have been found guilty or had a chance to defend our actions in court**
- We can be found guilty of assault and incur huge legal costs for taking action to defend ourselves and our families in our own homes.
* I no longer smoke and I agree that children should not be subjected to second-hand smoke in vehicles, but this should be promoted by education not legislation.
** Increase the penalties for excessive speeding by all means, but giving arbitrary powers to the police to punish people before they are found guilty is typical of 3rd world dictators and should have no place in a democracy.
Back to bullying and why it has developed into such a serious problem. It is dangerous for me as a baby boomer to make the “when I was at school” comparison, because if we are honest we all think that our generation had it tougher than subsequent ones did. But I think when it comes to bullying, we had much more effective solutions than the authorities are talking about now. I also accept that growing up in Africa allowed me to experience similar conditions to those that had been lost to the early stages of “political correctness” a generation or two earlier in most of the Western nations.
Firstly, we were not paranoid about violence, whilst doing everything to avoid unnecessary violence, we accepted that every human had a right to defend him or herself with whatever force was required. Secondly, we were not paranoid about guns, we saw and used guns as tools, just like a hammer. We were taught to respect and handle weapons carefully from an early age. The knowledge that I had guns and was prepared to use them certainly saved my and my wife’s lives on several occasions. Thirdly, we were taught to be self-sufficient and to sort problems out ourselves and not to complain to authorities for the slightest, minor, racial, sexual or physical insult to our dignity.
It was recognised that humans sometimes disagree, that sometimes those disagreements turn physical. But it was also recognised that if a minor physical tussle resolved the conflict with nothing more serious that a black eye or two, there was no need to involve the police and waste taxpayers money UNLESS one of the parties pressed charges. Contrast that with the situation now where in even a minor confrontation, both parties can be charged solely at the discretion of the police.
That attitude that all violence is bad, we must never consider standing up for ourselves physically, is why school bullies find so many helpless victims. Ordinary children have been so conditioned to turn the other cheek and are so afraid of being cast as violent, anti-social, competitive or uncaring that they have lost the ability to stand up for themselves. The bullies though, encouraged partly by violent movies and video games (paradoxically in a pacifist society), have no such fear. The more their victims accept their attention, the more they will persecute those victims. The only defence against bullies, whether they are school kids on the playground or dictators in fortified bunkers is to give them the same medicine they are dishing out. The moment the consequences of their actions cause them pain – physical, emotional or financial, they change their attitude or look for a softer target.
New legislation enabling automatic expulsion, will not stop the bullies, it will just transfer the problem to a new school with a new group of potential victims and allow a new generation of bullies to emerge at the old.
Yes, we had incidents of bullying when I was at school, we also had compulsory school sports which was an excellent way for youngsters to work off some of their aggressive tendencies. We had the cane, manual labour and after school detention as forms of punishment and teachers who were not afraid to resort to them. We also had a well nourished pride in our school and sense of fairness (not to be confused with softness). We also had playground fights which were generally over with little blood and no serious injuries. The sense of fairness encouraged older, bigger pupils to look out for new boys and discouraged bullying. There was some abuse of the privileges of seniority, prefects expecting juniors to run errands for example, but very little of what could be called bullying.
If there was a case of bullying, the victim would generally find an ally or a group of allies to support him in confronting the bully or bullies. A verbal confrontation was often enough to solve the problem permanently, if it did develop into a fight, older boys or prefects would stop it before it got too serious and that would be the end of it. Only very rarely did incidents of bullying get serious enough to be reported to teachers.
When the odd fight generated enough noise and excitement to attract a teacher’s attention, it would be quickly stopped. Depending on the circumstances, the combatants might be interviewed by the headmaster, a few strokes of the cane might or might not be administered to one or both parties and that would be the end of it. No calling in the police, no punishing an act of self-defence with expulsion or a criminal record. No calling in “experts” to traumatise perfectly normal kids, no endless hand wringing and continual re-hashing in the media.
In my whole high school career, I can only remember one incident serious enough for the parents to be called in and a boy expelled, I do not know what the crime was but it was not bullying. I cannot recall one incident at the school that caused the police to be involved.
It’s time common sense prevailed, give headmasters and teachers the authority to punish bullies and encourage kids to stand up for themselves without fear of being punished. We should also remember how great our countries were and what has been achieved, not allow the very fabric of our societies and the hopes of future generations to be destroyed by political correctness.
I know that there are some teachers, deep thinkers and others from both sides of the political spectrum amongst my readers, what do you think? Do you think I am being too harsh, too simplistic? Leave a comment and start a debate, I would love to be proven wrong, but I am deeply concerned that Western societies are quietly suffocating under a cloud of self-imposed political correctness and I fear for the future of our children and grandchildren.