Everything Adults say about Bullying is Bullshit

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It really should come as no surprise that I was bullied in school, though I know a lot of people have had it far worse than I did.

From simplicity’s sake, I’ve reduced the bullying stories I’ve heard to three basic classes:

1. Sporadic or short-term bullying. This bullying lasts less than two years and/or involves fewer than five bullies. A typical case: “After moving to a new school, two girls were mean to me for about four months, but they got bored after Christmas.”

2. Long-term bullying. These kids are consistently at the bottom of the social totem pole, for years on end. They have few to no friends; most other kids are indifferent to cruel toward them.

3. Intense bullying. The bullied child is beaten; assaulted; raped; frequently told they should commit suicide; or frequently threatened with physical violence, rape, or murder.

My own experiences lie in Type 2. I can only imagine what a hellscape life has been for folks subject to Type 3.

If there’s anything I hate, it’s lies, and oh boy, do grown ups ever lie to children about bullying. The lie generally goes something like this:

“Everyone gets bullied in school! You just have to learn how to deal with it. If you ignore the bullies, they’ll get bored and stop. And besides, they’re only bullies because they feel bad about themselves. If you could just make them feel better about themselves, you’d become magic friends!”

“I hate like the gates of Hades the man who says one thing and holds another in his heart.” Achilles, Iliad 9.314.

From a recent article in the NY Post:

  • About a quarter, or 24 percent, of girls said they were bullied compared to 20 percent of boys.
  • A higher percentage of white students — 24 percent — said they were bullied than black, Hispanic or Asian students. Twenty percent of black students said they were bullied compared to 19 percent of Hispanic students and 9 percent of Asian students.

Some lies, like the ones about how animals are kinder and more altruistic than humans, are basically sentimental slop that’s probably harmless. But the lies about bullying are a slap in the face to a kid who’s already been slapped in the face, and so deeply offensive.

Bullying is not just something sad kids do to entertain themselves. Bullying is an emergent feature of the control mechanisms of the social order. Or to put it another way, where there is hierarchy, someone is at the bottom, and that is the kid who gets bullied. Bullies, by definition, are higher-status than the kids they bully, because without status, they could not get away with bullying.

And bullies do not have low self esteem; people with low self-esteem hole up in their bedrooms and don’t talk to other humans except via the internet. Bullies have so much self-esteem, they believe themselves entitled to violently dictate the entire social order around themselves.

Seriously, have you ever looked at a picture of Hitler and thought, “If only he’d been a little more self-confident, he wouldn’t have invaded Poland.”?

High status comes in many forms, such as height, wealth, or gregarious aggression. Low status also comes in many forms, like being trusting, short, or shy. Low status people generally remain low status even after switching schools, ignoring the bullies, or otherwise following adult advice.

In a conflict between two people of unknown status, we can tell which is which by the excuses others make for their behavior. If the low-status person is the aggressor, then there will be virtually no debate. The majority of people, especially the elites, will all agree that the low-status person is to blame. If the high status person is the aggressor, then even a neutral finding that the low-status person is not at fault will not be believed, and the elites will make every excuse they can to rationalize the high-status person’s behavior. This is because the elites agree with the actions of the high-status person in putting the low-status person in their place and so preserving the social order.

Man is a political animal, after all.

Yes, I am talking about grown ups, not just kids. Bullying doesn’t go away just because you leave school. It is a fundamental aspect of human social relations. It probably can’t be eliminated, and it’s possible that trying to fully eliminate bullying would just backfire in some horrible way. We should, however, use our understanding of bullying to identify who is–and isn’t–at the bottom of the social totem pole.

(To be clear: we live in a nation of 320 or so million people (or I do, anyway.) There does not exist some great big ladder with each and every person’s absolute position ranked relative to everyone else. Different groups, times, places, etc., have different rankings; your status may be very different in Mississippi than in Oregon, or different if you’re hanging out among college students or church ladies.

Indeed, if we had some sort of absolute system, we might have less bullying, as status-displays and making sure the outgroups stay down could be less necessary.)

But let’s return to the photos at the top of the post and see where this theory leads us.

In the photo on the right, Elizabeth Eckford was one of the first nine black students to break the segregation barriers and attend a white school in Little Rock, Arkansas. While we cannot exactly call the Supreme Court a neutral, unbiased group of robots immune to human passions or politics, they are supposed to try, and they found that black students like Elizabeth were in the right, and segregationists were in the wrong.

As we can see, Elizabeth continued being the target of bullying by higher-class whites, despite an official pronouncement in her favor. At this time in Arkansas, the Feds might be able to force integration, (the Feds, after all, have the bomb,) but this did not change the local social situation. Had the whites been low-status, they would not have been allowed to bully the black students, nor would the community at large have supported or excused their behavior.

In the photo on the left, Black Lives Matter advocates stormed the stage at presidential hopeful and Senator Bernie Sanders’ recent speech in Seattle, WA.

Here are some screenshots of statements from BLM supporters on the subject:

Picture 1

 

Picture 11

 

Picture 12

Picture 14

(from the BLM Website.)

Picture 1

While the BLM folks are truthful about their ultimate agenda, nowhere is there an honest admission of what is clearly visible in the photograph: a woman screaming in Sanders’ face. That is hate, pure and simple.

Obviously Sanders, as an individual, has more power than his hecklers. But his social category–old white men–is not a category that enjoys high social status. Had Sanders’s hecklers been, say, NAMBLA representatives instead of BLM supporters, it is unimaginable that they would have been allowed to take over the stage. Those whom society hates are not allowed to run rough-shod over others; those at the bottom of the social order do not get to act like they aren’t at the bottom.

 

If you find yourself at the bottom of society, you have several options:

  1. Change your behavior to project higher status.
  2. Create/join a society of people like yourself where you aren’t at the bottom.

If powerful people are lying to you, don’t care when you are hurt, or otherwise making excuses for why people like you should be mistreated, then that is a sign that you are low status.

Sanders, of course, cannot leave or change: his political philosophy supports the social structure.

 

 

 

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26 thoughts on “Everything Adults say about Bullying is Bullshit

  1. Probably the most insightful commentary on the situation I’ve read. I had to giggle at the links you included as options for those at the bottom of the social order, but I think you’re right.

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      • And they don’t have to be bullied by necessity, either.

        By the way,

        “And bullies do not have low self esteem; people with low self-esteem hole up in their bedrooms and don’t talk to other humans except via the internet. Bullies have so much self-esteem, they believe themselves entitled to violently dictate the entire social order around themselves.”

        There are exceptions. In school, part of the bullying is explained by some bullies feeling intellectually inferior. That is the hate bullying part.
        The accomplished cock of the group, who by contrast feels superior, is likely to bully the weak in more of a playful way. That is, as long as the junior doesn’t get the weird idea power should be shared equitably, and nobody should be bound to obey to others or boss them around.
        In that case, well… even the feeling-superior bullies will get seriously agitated. But this exception aside, bullying stemming from envy and a sense of inferiority is going to be much bitterer, as more of us would know if the media didn’t cover up black-on-white crime as consistently as they do.

        A particular form of bullying is the dismissal under the label of “craziness”. He who outspeaks truths incompatible with the narrative will be dismissed as insane; with as less hesitation as they know they can’t afford a debate.
        Power doesn’t argue with its subjects. It can’t win an argument.
        This happens on every level.
        See the topic of intelligence and intelligence differences in the public scene.
        Try to open a discussion on IQ on a forum of your choice.

        Rule #3 (or maybe #2): the more something matters them, the more they’ll struggle to display their lack of interest.
        “IQ means nothing” “There are no intelligence differences between groups”, “there are many kinds of intelligence, nobody is less intelligent than another” are claims that will come from the ones who more than everybody else are obsessed with IQ, sure that there are cross-group and cross-culture intelligence gaps, firmly sure that one kind of intelligence is what counts above all the others, and hate the whole of it.

        The only people from whom you’re going to hear money has no importance to them are who worships money to the point of derangement.

        Women who’ll get the most uncomfortable if you allude to their keenness on sex are those who wet first.

        Age transforms disappointment and wrath into relatively calm acceptance. If you dismiss your will and the idea that things should match your tastes and wishes, it becomes acceptable to just stand on side and look at the turbulent merry-go-round staged by humankind.

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      • @can i say i like jazz?

        If you think black-on-white violence stems from a sense of inferiority then you are delusional. Virtually all psychometric research demonstrates that blacks actually have higher self-esteem than other races (asians have the lowest) and that violent criminals have higher self-esteem than everyone else:

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9686460
        http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bbushman/bbc00.pdf
        https://www.scribd.com/document/44727144/Dark-Side-of-Self-Esteem
        http://conservative-headlines.com/2014/12/black-americans-have-higher-self-esteem-than-white-americans/
        http://stuffblackpeopledontlike.blogspot.com/2011/01/black-people-and-self-esteem.html
        http://evoandproud.blogspot.com/2015/10/the-adaptive-value-of-aw-shucks.html

        People that are highly neurotic and have lower self-esteem (like east asians) tend to be the least prone to aggression and violence. Those that feel inferior tend to be submissive, deferential and self-effacing around those they lesser than and are far more likely to take their frustrations out on themselves (suicide, self-harm, etc.) while people who feel superior tend to act in a more dominating, egocentric and assertive manner (like blacks do towards everyone) while taking their frustrations out on everyone and anything else.
        So even if blacks were to become more successful and intelligent than white, black-on-white crime rates wouldn’t change. East Asians on the other hand are are known to view and treat whites better than their own people, especially if they are from other ethnicity.

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      • @can i say i like jazz?

        If you think black-on-white violence stems from a sense of inferiority then you are delusional. Virtually all psychometric research demonstrates that blacks actually have higher self-esteem than other races (asians have the lowest) and that violent criminals have higher self-esteem than everyone else.

        People that are highly neurotic and have lower self-esteem (like east asians) tend to be the least prone to aggression and violence. Those that feel inferior tend to be submissive, deferential and self-effacing around those they lesser than and are far more likely to take their frustrations out on themselves (suicide, self-harm, etc.) while people who feel superior tend to act in a more dominating, egocentric and assertive manner (like blacks do towards everyone) while taking their frustrations out on everyone and anything else.
        So even if blacks were to become more successful and intelligent than white, black-on-white crime rates wouldn’t change. East Asians on the other hand are are known to view and treat whites better than their own people, especially if they are from other ethnicity.

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      • http://anepigone.blogspot.com/2017/05/blacks-more-likely-than-whites-to.html

        Except surveys show even blacks think blacks are stupid. Blacks make jokes about other blacks all the time, at least when white people are not around. Most blacks will even openly admit that blacks on average are stupid. So in that sense blacks see themselves as inferior.

        Nonetheless, blacks on average do seem to have higher self-esteem. They seem to impute the inferiority of blacks to all other blacks but themselves. And then they’ll emphasize their other positive their “positive” characteristics like their swag, their huge dicks, or how much pussy they get.

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  2. Hmm. I largely agree although I find this bit problematic:

    “If you find yourself at the bottom of society, you have several options:

    Change your behavior to project higher status.
    Create/join a society of people like yourself where you aren’t at the bottom.”

    These are only options if you already possess a critical mass of efficacy. Otherwise it’s just making the individual the scapegoat of structural issues.

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  3. I have always despised a bully, and will go out of my way to interfere with one and his sport. a lot of kids get over it eventually, but my observation is that adults who are bullies were that way as children.

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  4. What you are calling “bullying” is what the bullies and their enablers, that is all people who can fit in human groups well and accept their place in the pecking-order without undergoing too much strain, all healthy people, call, well, social relations. “Emotional intelligence” is the name given to the related skills.

    It’s cute to read their descriptions of the pecking order in every mammalian group.

    How well can they picture life in the hen-house.

    How observant can they be when studying rats

    [dominant
    males had significantly higher testosterone levels than other and a much higher blood pressure.
    When a dominant male was removed from his group and kept alone his blood pressure returned to normal
    within a week, whereas the next one on the dominance ladder in the group who now occupied the top
    position developed hypertension within a short time.]

    You feel the urge to ask: come on people, how come you have not noticed this blood pressure thing and whole rat thing is true of every human company, down to the littlest dreg of detail?
    How come you fancy-dream there’s differences between life in the hen-house and in every human family, be it “family”, a class, or even a Facebook group, or even the whole of ethnic and racial groups sharing a country’s living space?

    The answer is: they can’t, since they are blessed with mental health.
    Untruths displeasure you?
    I’d bet you aren’t annoyed by your arms, legs, stomach, when by working the way they work they allow you to avoid obstacles, walk to where you want to go, take a glass and drink the water in it, digest what you have eaten, and on the whole enable your living.

    From where does it come this naughty idea the brain is there to ends different than the rest of organs?

    What the brain does is it assists us in the task of living, driving us away from discomfort, ache, and so on, while boosting our mood and welfare.
    “Reality” is the representation singles, as well as groups, realize in order to further their needs.

    Needs that nature, whose need is the preservation of the species, make them see as their needs (-as long as they aren’t Western White people, or other species turned unfit to live)

    Thus you can read on Twitter that “It was since I was 4 that I hadn’t been called kike now thanks to Trump is happening again”. #Hitlerbeganlikethistoo #whitemalesaredangerous.

    You open The Nation and read how crazy it is some whites still haven’t understood racism is a white-only fault. (Rule #2, or #1: it will be those who wrong who’ll accuse the wronged of the very wrongs they receive. Plus: things will be often called like the reverse of what they are. Racism will be “anti-racism”. Equality between the sexes will be “misogyny”. Dislike of the new despots will be “Neo-Nazism”.)

    A moment later you’ll see a tweet saying “I can be friend only with whites who hate whites”, 1 or 2 grammar errors interspersed through it, and you know from where it comes.
    #scienceisracist

    And then there is the ugly girl who couldn’t keep her virginity any longer, as late as yesterday night. She couldn’t resist occasional sex for the 1000th time; she at long last gave in.
    Today she is shrieking that he, the terrible guy she didn’t like, raped her.
    Ask her what violence exactly he made himself responsible of. If she is a good girl she’ll say “nothing”. But, you know, the terrible guy took advantage of her without asking her consent

    To the extent you aren’t cut out for acting plays, and lack the blessing of the mechanisms that, like one wrote, “turn spikes into corners on our mind”, despondency alone awaits you.

    Stepping away from the specific case, what bully doesn’t see his supremacy as fairness, and any demand for fairness or attempt at reciprocality they need to believe a response to their abuse is abuse, whilst theirs is nothing.

    They need to believe what they do out of self-centered will-to-power is unselfish.
    They need to believe the normal instincts society made them think as “lust” (what a fantastical concept: how would something that gives you pleasure and hurts no one be a sin? In facts we knew it hurt not someone, but something: society, and the ends of its rulers). Yes, they’ll get tupped at the earliest opportunity (ok, the second earliest, usually), but they’ll have to know it was “love”.
    Or “rape”. Both do their job here.

    And the show goes on, with its overall nauseating loud persistent noise and reek of vanity.
    I fell in love with him after a few chats, says the 25 Filipina who is marrying the 70 Westerner.
    You would be wrong thinking she doesn’t believe it while she says it.
    They do believe it. This is health. It would be more stress otherwise. The smoother life of the mind is achieved believing it, and they do.
    The 75 man knows she really likes him and finds pleasure in being mounted by him. He does.

    When we are young we are freer from social superstructures, and group life resembles more openly that of primate tribes. Bullying is primarily physical.
    Adults need morals, and thus need other ways to exert dominance, and find pleasure in it. They bully with money, knowledge, and other social means primarily, at least in the >100 IQ dominion.
    Since a limit to mutual fighting was needed, morality surged. When we were no longer instinct only but reason too, reason looked to minimize energy waste.

    Mutual fighting, in-tribe specially, is waste of energy.
    Today demanding your points and the “group’s leaders” points be the object of real debate is a waste of energy (time).

    The pecking order you seem to hate (as it led you to be bullied. I know bullyism too, as should be manifest) is… what best serves nature in achieving its ends.
    Pay heed: aren’t the bullies those best capable of advancing the entire group’s interests, safety et al.?
    Yes, they are.
    ANd those who are bullied, the physically frail early and the socially clumsy and/or candid-minded later, wouldn’t they be the worst, to practical purposes? Sure.

    One day you realize free will may likely be but yet one more concept produced by the human mind to assuage its insatiable vainglory, and stop being mad at them, both the roosters and the hens, who love the roosters and will go at the free chicken who asks everybody have the same dignity and nominal rules applied to them in the same way, even more angrily than the roosters.

    The inability to self-deceive, the will for justice and the feeling of equality (equality of dignity and of rules; not equality of % of PhDs and NASA engineers per racial group), the ability to see one’s abuse as justice and the others’ reaction in kind as outrageous injustice, … that’s what makes life as it has been until now run, both at the individual and racial level.

    Thoughts, “values”, ideologies… all tools, in the battle for survival and power.

    Yes, they rationalize it all. Again. They need to act as they do, and at the same time they need morals and the belief they are following them, which means they need to be in full denial regarding what they do.
    They do both, if their minds function regularly. And they live.

    The sensitive philosopher or artists sees and suffers, and so does the free soul which can’t cope with dominance and power dynamics. The others battle, shriek, fight (some with the fist in street riots, some with the grey matter). they live.

    Truth is the name of the rarest illness of the mind. Stand clear of it, if you are lucky enough to be capable. Or life might be not so easy an enterprise.

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  5. I was mostly in category 1 as a kid. It’s kind of amazing I wasn’t bullied more, especially considering how introverted/timid/low testosterone I was.

    I actually think this was because I was black and went to largely white (or mixed-race) schools. In post-90s PC world, it doesn’t look good for whites to bully blacks (usually).

    Nowadays I go to Pumpkin Person’s blog to get bullied by the Philosopher. Speaking of which, have you checked his blog out? I think you might be interested in some of our discussions over there!

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    • I read PP’s blog faithfully but often take too long to come up with a good response to a post to make any good comments. Plus the comments section there is kind of intimidating to just jump into. 🙂

      You probably had some likeable qualities–or maybe just the kids you went to school with thought you were pretty ok. I was talking to an Asian friend the other day who got bullied pretty badly. As a newcomer at the bottom of the pecking order, he had a lot to deal with. (Some Asian parents don’t seem to realize just how aggressive American kids can be and so don’t teach them things they need to know about dominance and standing up for themselves.)

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  6. I think Hanna Rosin had an article about bullies a few years ago. I can’t find it through a simple Google search. But she wrote about how a certain class of bullies from wealthy, well-connected backgrounds differ significantly from the traditional stereotype of bullies being low-class, big, slow, and mean. Upper-class bullies usually rely on manipulation and verbal intimidation rather than physical intimidation (or assault). They’re also often well-liked by their peers, and even by authority figures like teachers.

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    • Well, the stereotype of bullies being big, slow, and mean is just a fantasy concocted by people who were bullied (and people with no experience of bullying at all) to make themselves feel better. “That kid who was mean to me was just dumb!” “That kid who throws rocks at you is just insecure, sweetie.” Bullying is just part of the social order. It’s the high-ranking (or mid-ranking) kids putting the low-ranking kids in their places. Even the “low class” bullies I dealt with as a kid used primarily verbal intimidation (one favorite tactic was telling other kids they had a poisonous spider on their backs.) Of course physical intimidation is more of a boy thing. But physical violence is costly–teachers might see it, too–whereas name calling, mocking, lying, etc.–is cheap.

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