Well, bully for anti-bullying programs. After spending countless millions instituting them nationwide, a university study has concluded that it isn’t just that they don’t work.
They actually increase bullying.
The head researcher of the study, University of Texas at Arlington criminologist Seokjin Jeong, did not start out as a critic of anti-bullying programs, mind you; on the contrary, he expected to find that they’d mitigated the nation’s bullying problem. Much to his dismay, however, he learned that students in schools boasting anti-bullying programs were more likely to be bullied than those attending schools without such programs. CBSLocal.com reports on his explanations for the findings, writing:
Jeong says they [anti-bullying-program videos] may actually teach students different bullying techniques — and even educate about new ways to bully through social media and texting.
Jeong said students with ill intentions “…are able to learn, there are new techniques [and gain] new skills.” He says students might see examples in videos and then want to try it.
According to Jeong, some programs even teach students how to bully without leaving evidence behind.
In other words, the programs could perhaps be called Building a Better Bully 101.
But this comes as no surprise. It much reminds me of a boy I knew who had been diagnosed with “ADHD” and given a book on ADHD children’s behavior. It was a book his mother would soon take away because, as she told me, he was starting to imitate the proverbial “ADHD-afflicted” boy in the book. Then I remember the man who explained the effects of the sex education he received at age 11, saying, “The first thing I did was run home and b*** the girl next door.” Perhaps this is why an illegitimacy rate that was four percent in the 1940s has, after decades of Kinsey-fraud sex education, exploded to 42 percent (and rising) today.
In fairness, it’s not clear from the CBS article whether bullying actually increased in districts that instituted anti-bullying programs or if the incidence of it merely was greater than in districts that never took such measures in the first place; if the latter, the phenomenon’s explanation may simply be that localities more plagued by bullying are more likely to institute anti-bullying programs. Whatever the case, however, there’s much wrong with this approach.
First, it’s no secret that such programs are often used as Trojan horses for the homosexual agenda. After all, while children are bullied for a host of reasons, these programs frequently place inordinate focus on students bullied because of their real or perceived sexual bent. And how do anti-bullying programs seek to eliminate this? Often by teaching kids that homosexuality — and “transgenderism” and whatever else has been assigned the latest psychobabble neologism — are just as legitimate as normal sexuality. This is why homosexual activists such as Dan Savage can cruise the lucrative anti-bullying talk circuit. (Ironic, too, since Savage is himself a bully who calls anyone opposing his agenda “bigots” and “homophobes.” He likely knows full well that many on the other side have substantive disagreements, but he also knows that such hurled stones can bully others into submission.) Yet even anti-bullying programs’ explicit and more innocent underlying philosophy — the notion that arming students with “knowledge” can remedy bullying — is flawed.
Did you ever know a genius who drank himself to death? I did. I can assure you it wasn’t because he was ignorant of alcohol’s effects. And most of us have known people who were intensely aware of smoking’s dangers but couldn’t put down the cigarettes, or someone who knew well that he was digging a grave with a knife and fork but couldn’t avoid the junk food. Knowledge is wonderful, but those who consider ignorance the source of all woes overlook what the great sage Confucius alluded to when saying, “It is not that I do not know what to do; it is that I do not do what I know.” There is something, you see, called temptation.
None of us are Mr. Spock. We’re beings with an emotional realm and basic urges, which are a siren far more seductive than cold intellectual understanding. For what is instilled in us early is generally incorporated into our emotional framework and thus is difficult to buck. As C.S. Lewis once explained:
No justification of virtue will enable a man to be virtuous. Without the aid of trained emotions the intellect is powerless against the animal organism. I had sooner play cards against a man who was quite skeptical about ethics, but bred to believe that "a gentleman does not cheat," than against an irreproachable moral philosopher who had been brought up among sharpers.
But it isn’t just man’s weakness — there’s also ill will. Put simply, good people use knowledge for good; evil people use it for evil. Were this not the case, everyone would assume that Iran would only use its knowledge of nuclear fission to create electricity.
As for bullying, the immediate solution is simple: discipline. Punishing the transgressors harshly enough to deter the behavior works every time it’s implemented correctly. This is why Singapore has virtually no crime.
Of course, this would require a change in policy and mentality. First, teachers must have the authority and will and wisdom to go lighter on the carrot and heavier on the stick. This would require the support of parents, with the understanding that if you’re going to place your child in another authority figure’s care, the latter acts in loco parentis. (If you can’t accept this, then homeschool your kids — something of which I’m a great supporter). Barring this type of authority, we shouldn’t be surprised when teachers rationalize away bullying for fear of confrontation and lawsuits.
We also must dispense with the psychobabble “rehabilitation” approach to bad behavior, something all the rage despite being wholly contrary to good psychology. That is to say, famed psychologist Erik Erikson defined stages of psychosocial (moral) development that children move through and pointed out that during a certain stage, kids only grasp that something is wrong if they get punished for it. Until then, moral arguments generally fall on deaf ears — and, unfortunately, some people never ascend from this stage.
To make matters worse, true “moral” arguments are rare today. I remember once when a young boy started flashing the light switch on and off in the lobby of a former workplace despite the presence of numerous adults. While my remedy would have involved a different kind of switch, his father said somewhat dispassionately, “Stop that, it’s… annoying.” Note that there was no reference to moral absolutes, to transcendent principles, which would have involved saying something such as “It’s wrong” or “You’re being bad.” All the father could do was reference how other people might feel about the behavior and speak of a perspective of theirs: It’s “annoying.” This reflects moral relativism, which is what results when Truth is removed from the equation and nothing is left for guidance but people’s feelings.
The problem? The boy is a person, too, with his own feelings. And his disco misbehavior certainly wasn’t annoying to him — it was fun.
Likewise, what reason other than consensus preference do we give kids today not to engage in bullying or any other form of evil? We have raised them on relativistic messages transmitted 24/7 via the schools, the media, and popular culture, but then expect that they will abide by the behaviors “we” feel are important. They have their own feelings — their own untrained emotions — and people who don’t believe in morality won’t respond to moral appeals. They will only respond to force.
Ironically, that what I’ve explained here wouldn’t shake liberals from their ideology proves this article’s thesis. For the set that most ardently claims that people can be reasoned out of bad behavior are themselves most resistant to reason.