Montreal, November 15, 2010 • No 283


Harry Valentine is a
free-marketeer living in Eastern Ontario.



A Theory of Bullying


by Harry Valentine


          The new school year had barely begun when stories of bullying started to circulate once again. TV host Dr. Phil McGraw, for example, hosted a televised discussion on the problem of bullying in public schools. While bullying behavior has existed in various forms throughout human history, earlier societies and religious authorities developed means by which to discourage such behavior.


          The published works of French political theorist Alexis de Tocqueville and Dr. Helmut Shoeck provide insight into envy and bullying. In his treatise entitled Theory of Envy, Shoeck advised that envy is at its most intense when people are almost equal. In The Old Regime and the French Revolution, Tocqueville theorized that the French revolutionaries who rebelled against the nobles were almost equal to the nobles. Much of the female bullying that occurs in schools almost consistently involves a girl or a group of girls attacking a peer who has more in common with her attackers than she has differences. Competition for the attention of boys or significant adults is often at the root of much school-age female bullying.

The Pack Mentality

          Female bullying is by no means exclusive to people. It often happens in the wolf compounds at large zoos where the alpha female regularly bullies subordinate females. In the wild, the alpha female wolf will often bully subordinate females that have reached sexual maturity to the point where they leave the pack. In defining envy, Shoeck advised that an envious person does not want the attributes or possessions of another person; they want to ensure that other people do not enjoy their possessions or get to use their abilities or attributes.

          In a wolf pack, the alpha female ensures through bullying subordinate females that potential competitors that are practically her equals will not use their reproductive capacity to attract the attention of the alpha male. Research into teenage female peer bullying suggests that the bullying females are often the popular girls who are well liked by most of their peers of both genders and by significant adults. Interviews with teachers indicate that female bullying is rampant in mixed gender schools and mixed gender classrooms, with less bullying of peers occurring in single gender schools and classrooms.

          The state is no innocent bystander in the phenomenon of peer bullying involving school-aged children. With rare exceptions, school attendance laws compel children to attend schools where they are likely to be bullied. Quite often, students learn ways by which to bully teachers to the point where 1 out of 3 teachers would likely leave the profession after five years.

          State involvement in the food and drug industries may also be contributing to the epidemic of bullying among school-aged children. State law in many jurisdictions often requires compulsory vaccination and immunization of children. The web page of Dr Joseph Mercola and several of his contemporaries regularly reports on problems involving various vaccines and other drugs. State law in many jurisdictions allows farmers to inject a host of growth hormones and antibiotics into farm animals that are slaughtered for sale in the supermarkets. Often the same politically well-connected pharmaceutical companies provide the childhood vaccines, the growth hormones and the antibiotics.

          Some 70 years ago, girls entered puberty around age 15, at about the time when most of them had completed their schooling. At that point, there were no compulsory vaccinations and immunizations, while most of the meat sold at butcher shops was free from growth hormones and antibiotics. Also at that time, peer bullying of pubescent girls was a rare occurrence in schools. Recently, though, there have been news reports suggesting that increasing numbers of girls are entering puberty as young as 9 and 10-years of age. It should come as no surprise that girls who become sexually mature at that age may actually engage in the bullying behavior of the alpha female wolf.

"Research undertaken internationally into youth gangs revealed that for most gang members, fathers were either physically or emotionally absent in their lives. The gang leader and fellow gang members often provide emotionally what a father and/or older male relatives would otherwise provide in a traditional or extended family."

          The combination of state control of medicine, drugs, food and education is quite literally an act of organized bullying that may actually be contributing to the growing epidemic of bullying that is sweeping schools in many jurisdictions and many nations. Interviews with several teachers of pre-teen students in one region revealed that up to 75% of their students were products of single parent homes, often with half-brothers and half-sisters in the same classroom or same grade level. Teachers admitted to spending most of their classroom time dealing with behavioral problems instead of teaching children the essential skills of reading, writing and math.

          Research undertaken internationally into youth gangs revealed that for most gang members, fathers were either physically or emotionally absent in their lives. The gang leader and fellow gang members often provide emotionally what a father and/or older male relatives would otherwise provide in a traditional or extended family. Gang members who were interviewed individually after participating in a gang activity such as a group assault or a gang rape admitted to doing so to gain acceptance, approval, validation, acknowledgement and recognition from their peers. Several gang members even admitted to not enjoying such acts and even to feeling degraded and dirty for what they had done.

Boys Behaving Badly

          Interviews with teenaged boys revealed one of the motivations behind male school-aged bullying. The bully achieved recognition and validation in the eyes of his peers and other onlookers. During an earlier era, nobody else joined into schoolyard fights between two protagonists. In the modern era, friends of the bully join in the attack against another child, for the same reasons as participants in a gang rape. They do it to look good in front of their peers. Research indicates that young boys who attend single gender classrooms that are taught by male teachers for several successive years have a very low propensity for gang membership and low incidence of engaging in bullying behavior.

          At one time many years ago, all-boys schools—private schools with all-male staff—existed in many countries including parts of Canada. Then came the affirmative action laws that encouraged feminist women teachers to challenge the hiring practices of the all-boys private schools. Never mind that the parents who paid tuition fees wanted their sons to be taught by male teachers. The state intruded in what should have been a private matter between a private provider of services and its paying customers and ignored the fact that the boys who attended these schools had mothers capable of providing a feminine perspective in their lives.

          For boys who are compelled to attend government schools where the male teacher is a vanishing breed, the only remaining institution capable of providing male leadership happens to be organized gangs. Police departments are becoming alarmed that gang membership is increasing in many large cities. State welfare policies that undermined the traditional family structure has increased the population of fatherless boys who will forcibly be vaccinated and immunized with drugs of questionable efficacy after which many will be prescribed anti-depressants that may come from the same companies that provide the vaccines, the animal growth hormones and the antibiotics. Many of them are potential gang members in waiting.

          Much of their diet will include foods laced with growth hormones and antibiotics and they will be forced to attend state schools. Retired award winning teacher John Taylor Gatto authored a book entitled Dumbing Down in which he detailed the deficiencies of state schools, state schooling and the state curricula that ultimately undermines students' abilities to think critically. Given the nature of state involvement in the numerous aspects of children's lives, it should come as no surprise that there is an epidemic of bullying underway in state schools.