Are Bullies the Real Problem?
Wolves, Sheep & Sheepdogs
Take one look at your news feed, and you will be quickly convinced that our culture is out of balance. Our social structures have crumbled, and nothing seems to make sense anymore. Logic and reason have been replaced by feelings and emotions, which are always fickle and deceptive. However, I believe there is something more “elementary” to blame.
I believe that one of the things that would put everything back in balance would be a new influx of your garden variety bully.
You all know them, you probably have one in mind. Maybe he bullied you in school, or you remember seeing him bullying others. Now, before you write me off entirely as a lunatic, please hear me out.
Human society must maintain a delicate ecosystem. When particular strengths or weaknesses are overemphasized, we have systemic problems that last for generations. I think the movie American Sniper explains the core of my argument very well. To paraphrase,
There are wolves. These are the bullies, those who terrorize and feed on others to meet their own needs. They are predators, and they intend to do harm.
Then there are the sheep. The sheep are the weaker ones. Though not strong in the physical sense, they often have a lot to offer within the ecosystem. But in some ways, they are defenseless.
Then you have the sheepdog, the sheepdog is fiercely protective but not naturally violent. He is loyal and friendly. More importantly, he is the one who maintains the balance of the ecosystem.
Wolves may cause some minor problems, but the sheepdog will never let the wolf kill the sheep. The predator may threaten them or growl at them, but the sheepdog will not let them harm the sheep.
One of the most essential tasks (besides protection) that a sheepdog fulfills is teaching the sheep how to deal with the wolves in their lives. They teach them to stand up for themselves and have courage.
In our current social environment, we have made two major mistakes.
First, we define any show of strength or force as bullying. Our society lumps the sheepdogs in with the wolves as dangerous beasts. We accuse the sheepdogs of wrongdoing when actually they were doing the right thing. They were disrupting the bad behavior of the wolves. But we say to these helpful sheepdogs, “How dare you bully the wolves!”
The second major mistake is that we have replaced these young sheepdogs with parents and bully-shaming campaigns. Parents, administrators, and the media have forced their way into the ecosystem with the good intention of protecting the weak. But in their misdirected, but well intention act, they weaken the children and never allow them to grow into young men and women who can defend themselves.
We have started “Anti-bullying” campaigns to protect the defenseless. Still, it seems that over the last couple of decades, this strategy has actually increased the bullying problem.
Why? Because parents are fulfilling this critical task of protection, and they have not allowed the children to learn to govern themselves. Kids need to learn how to live and function in a harsh world filled with wolves and bullies.
They need to learn how to stand up for themselves, and they can’t learn that from their mom and dad. They have to learn it from their peers.
They have to learn it from the good kids that will stand up for others. Otherwise, they won’t know how to cope when someone disagrees with them. This explains the creation of safe zones and the viral videos of SJW tantrums that fill the pages of youtube.
Bullying will never go away, it is part of our fallen nature. We don’t really have to bring back the bullies (they have never left). But we must train and empower the sheepdogs to protect the weaker ones and stand up to the bullies.
This is how the world works. We are cheating our children and teaching them to rely on a system that can never protect them from all of the wolves in the world. It’s time that we bring balance back to this delicate ecosystem. Teach your kids to recognize bullies, but also teach them how to stand up for themselves and others.