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Fri Mar 25, 2016, 12:32 PM

 

Bullying For Goodness

I have learned a lot about bullying in the last few years and some thanks to DU. My below text is my attempt to put some of what I think I've learned down in writing. I would greatly appreciate comments as I may be way off. I am posting this here because I view this Group as the Progressive Group were we can post progressive ideas and have discussions w/o the disruptions.

Bullying For Goodness

Bullying can be defined as the abuse of an imbalance of power.

We run into bullies everywhere in our everyday lives. Our first experience was probably at school as children often vying for dominance. It seems natural and may be human nature. Maybe those tribes that had an authoritarian social structure survived and those that didn't, didn't.

Our schools don't handle bullying well as we've seen time and again where the victim is often punished in lieu of the bully. Why is this? I think that we've evolved to live in a bully run culture. It isn't just our schools but most of our institutions don't handle it well either. We've all experienced case of coaches, bosses, family, friends, that abuse others verbally, emotionally and in some cases physically.

Let's step back a little because I don't think we can have a discussion of bullying without including authoritarianism. I believe that bully-ism is part of authoritarianism.

Here's a definition of authoritarianism (from merriam-webster.com):
1. of, relating to, or favoring blind submission to authority.
2. 2. of, relating to, or favoring a concentration of power in a leader or an elite.

Does that sound familiar? Bob Altemeyer has written a great book, “The Authoritarians” (free on the internet). He provides a great insight into authoritarianism which is important to the discussion of bullies.
More about authoritarianism http://www.democraticunderground.com/127710250

As mentioned above we are introduced to bullying (authoritarian domination) from an early age. Some parents bully their children. Some teachers bully as do scout leaders, coaches, and other authorities that children deal with at an early age. Many of these people don't even realize that they are bullying. Some do it because it's easier for a leader to dominate.
Bullying is deep seated within our culture. The USofA has been a bully nation since the beginning. The Native Americans were bullied, Mexico was bullied when we took the southwest from them. The Monroe Doctrine is bullying personified. Many of our presidents were bullies, like Woodrow Wilson, for example. And Theodore Roosevelt even used the term “Bully, bully”. Ok, sorry for that. Some look to make heroes out of bullies like Dirty Harry and Jack Bauer because they rationalize that they are bullying on the side of goodness. Vigilantism is bully for goodness. And we've seen that right here in River City.

The Stand Your Ground laws normalized bullying for goodness. All one has to do is decide they represent goodness and they get a free hand.
The Zimmerman case is a great example. He was protecting the neighborhood from perceived badness. He got away with murder because he was perceived as on the side of goodness.
Bullying is common on message boards. People form groups that make themselves feel safer. If they think another poster is on the wrong side of goodness (maybe doesn't agree with their worldview) they will ridicule and hound (bully) until they get a response that they can point at as challenging goodness (sexism or racism). This gives them the justification they need to do whatever is necessary to get the poster banned. Bullying is ok if done for the sake of goodness.
“Research indicates that adults who bully have personalities that are authoritarian, combined with a strong need to control or dominate.” (Wikipedia)
Some bullies are arrogant and domineering while others will use bullying as a tool to boost self esteem by siding with the dominate bully.
Subordinate bullies may not be brave enough to aggressively bully but will support the dominate bully by ridiculing the victim and egging the dominate bully on. In this we can clearly see mob mentality. The individual bully is emboldened by the pack.

Some observations about bullies.

I have seen this first hand. A strong dominate bully will acquiesce to a perceived stronger bully. And the weaker bullies will become dominate bullies if they find a weak enough victim.

In the bully mindset, if one is bullied they rationalize the need to seek a bigger bully for help with revenge. For example, if a child is bullied they may go to their older, bigger sibling to fight for them. This cycle can continue and escalate out of control on a large scale as we've seen in the middle east. Who is getting even with who?

When a dominate bully is confronted, they are quick to play the victim card. They are, after all, really cowards and only bully those that are weaker.

Unless physical danger is involved, stand up to bullies but never sink to their level. Don't justify fighting them on their level. Keep strong to your principles. “Never wrestle a bully in the mud. You will only get dirty and they love it.”

This is intended to evoke a discussion about what I see as a significant problem.

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Response to rhett o rick (Original post)

Fri Mar 25, 2016, 12:58 PM

1. One more observation

You don't have to win a fight with a bully, you only have to bloody his nose in the process. Once he realizes you can hurt him at all, he'll leave you alone. But you do have to hurt him, land one lucky punch even if you're beaten to a pulp.

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Response to rhett o rick (Original post)

Fri Mar 25, 2016, 01:02 PM

2. Hrm. Minor curtique

I think in many cases throughout your OP, "dominate" should probably be "dominant".

It's a interesting read... interesting enough to get me to start analyzing my own behavior, and that of many others on this board.

I might also suggest that Bullying can be defined as the abuse of a perceived imbalance of power. Might be pertinent, might not, depending on what depth and which direction the OP is intended to go. The reason I'd suggest adding "perceived" is that most often, and almost always implied... at least when it comes to bullies.

In example; I could act the klutz after being pushed by a brutish bully at a bar... to most, the bully would seem to have the upper hand, and thusly, would be seen as the dominant power almost immediately. However, the second time the bully tries to push, a quick deflection of his hands followed by a palm-push to his chin, and a quick kick to his calf, and it becomes evident that the bully, who's now lying stunned on the floor, never really had any power at all (actually happened).

Anyway... it's just a thought.

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Response to Bubzer (Reply #2)

Fri Mar 25, 2016, 01:14 PM

3. Thank you very much for the comments. I will look at the "dominant" vs. "dominate" but

 

you are most likely correct. And I completely agree with the "perceived" imbalance. I have had to evaluate myself and was surprised to find that I wasn't innocent. Once I figured out that self-righteousness played a big part in bullying, I noticed that I was often rude and ridiculed those that I thought were bullies, because, of course, I thought I was on the side of goodness. I think there is a tendency for some to think they have to teach the bullies not to bully by bullying them.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #3)

Fri Mar 25, 2016, 01:24 PM

4. Actually, thats a very similar conclusion to what I came to about myself.

I tend to have very strong opinions, unlike any other political junkie...it's crazy, I know

But seriously, I can identify numerous occasions where I thought I was advocating for a good cause... and so, I didn't think too much on what I was doing. I'm pretty sure I've bowled over numerous people in a bullying fashion... and that disturbs me quite a bit.
Especially as someone who's tried to be outspoken against bullying.

Damn you for making me get self-analytical!

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Response to Bubzer (Reply #4)

Fri Mar 25, 2016, 03:28 PM

8. Some times when we have very strong convictions we think we can justify our

 

actions to get others to agree with us. But if we reflect that our convictions mean nothing if we don't heed our principles. I have learned a lot here. How many times have I seen other posters ridicule or mock someone and get upset myself only to realize that I also have a tendency to do the same. Of course I can rationalize that they are bad and "deserve it" which, I realize is exactly what they think. That reminds me, I should have said some thing in my OP about "they deserve it". The bullies favorite phrase. "I was picking on them because they are racist and I am sure, therefore they deserve the ridicule and mockery". Every mob that took someone out to be burned at the stake rationalized that the victim "deserved it."

Progressives rock.

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Response to rhett o rick (Original post)

Fri Mar 25, 2016, 01:53 PM

5. have you read Aaron James, Assholes - A Theory?

 

Interesting book. Probably relevant to your post.

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Response to tk2kewl (Reply #5)

Fri Mar 25, 2016, 03:15 PM

7. I just put it on hold from the library. Thanks. nm

 

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Response to tk2kewl (Reply #5)

Wed Apr 6, 2016, 11:39 AM

12. I am reading it now. One major difference between assholes and bullies are that bullies

 

are basically cowards and need the backing of followers and crash without them. Assholes don't need followers. It's not that they are necessarily braver than bullies but they just don't care about anyone but themselves. They don't necessarily get pleasure out of the pain of others, they just think they are entitled to do what might cause harm to others.

For example, where a bully will drive his pickup in the left lane looking for an opportunity to crowd someone off the road, and take great pleasure from it, maybe reliving it in coming days, the asshole will just drive in the left lane and whenever he decides he needs to, he will crowd you off the road and honestly wonder why you object.

Of course there is cross-overs.

Thanks for the recommendation for the book.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #12)

Wed Apr 6, 2016, 12:16 PM

13. you are right about that...

 

i hope you enjoy the book. i found it entertaining and informative...
maybe even a bit introspective too

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Response to rhett o rick (Original post)

Fri Mar 25, 2016, 01:53 PM

6. An eighth grade bully ceases to be a bully after a

bunch of forth graders jump on him. Even though the other eighth graders only allow four on him at a time. Tag team.

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Response to rhett o rick (Original post)

Sun Mar 27, 2016, 03:57 PM

9. Great post.

 

And to think,Trump fits Bully Stereotype to a tee. Remember some interviews of Trump years ago,and my response was,the guy has a major Bulling issues going.

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Response to Wellstone ruled (Reply #9)

Sun Mar 27, 2016, 04:20 PM

10. It's easy to be a bully if one is Wealthy. nm

 

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #10)

Sun Mar 27, 2016, 04:55 PM

11. Sad to say it is a common

 

behavioral trait among many Wealthy. Have met many who are very aware of their power and are able to us it to the positive. Here in the Southwest we see the more common wealth bully and it is not pretty. And looking at their families and cultural backgrounds,appears it was a learned aspect of their families for generations and their children are carrying it forward. My reference to Trump and his offspring come to mind as a example. We have a neighbor who is the Horticulturist for a certain Property on the Strip,and she deals with the present Trump generation. Stories abound and they apparently are just as nasty as their parent.

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