Re: Bullying

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Kirkwood: “Lawsuits over bullying? Whatever happened to defending yourself with your fists?”

I’d say, whatever happened to not feeling sorry for people who are sued when they are actually responsible for damage done to others. Whatever happened to taking the side of victims–without exception–over that of the violent thugs, predators, and other outlaws of society?

Self-defense, and other measures are not mutually exclusive. What’s wrong with suing someone legally responsible for damage to you or yours? I’ve yet to see a principled, libertarian-based argument against the notion that bullying is a clear instance of exactly what libertarianism opposes: violent invasion of rights, which should not be tolerated. Aggression should be countered with punitive force and restitution should be made.

The degree of the punishment and amount of restitution, should of course take into account proportionality concerns, but that’s just a detail. But let’s err on the side of the victims. I have an idea: expel the thugs among us and put them in school with other like-minded thugs and let them beat the hell out of each other. Fine with me, let’s separate the the riff-raff thug children of jock parents from civilized children of civilized parents.

If the parents of a thug get sued by the parents of one of his many vicitms, instead of whining about it, they ought to figure out how to teach him that thuggery is intolerable.Another followup: another reader writes:

“Stephan, you ask, “Why is there no outcry over this? Why is it tolerated?”

“Gatto writes, ‘Children are made to see, through school experiences, that their classmates are so cruel and irresponsible, so inadequate to the task of self-discipline, and so ignorant they need to be controlled and regulated for society’s good. Under such a logical regime, school terror can only be regarded as good advertising. It is sobering to think of mass schooling as a vast demonstration project of human inadequacy, but that is at least one of its functions.’

“The problem of bullying is a symptom of the failure of both compulsory-schooling (as distinct from education; thank you, Mr. Clemens) laws and unilateral-personal-disarmament (“gun control”) laws. Compulsory schooling violates the principle of freedom of association; restore the freedom of (non-)association, and the problem of bullying “withers away”.

“I also think being bullied amplifies and focuses one’s desire simply to be left alone, so libertarianism’s attraction for the bullied might be described as ‘”leave me alone” writ large’.

“> Certainly, kids should be taught self-defense. But sometimes the kid
> is too small or weak.

“Well, right there is an explanation for why so many kids bring guns to school.

“I have long thought that the reason “an armed society is a polite society” is very simple: because in an armed society, those who are impolite are dead, at the very least.

“> If the parents of a thug get sued by the parents of one of his many
> vicitms, instead of whining about it, they ought to figure out how to
> teach him that thuggery is intolerable.

“I agree completely; sadly, I fear that the more likely response will be the same as that of most businesses — blame lawyers for the problem instead of their own behavior, and then hire other lawyers to “game the system” to shield them from consequences instead of changing their behavior.”

2:57 pm on September 30, 2003