In his hilarious, horrifying, and profoundly insightful short book The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis assumes the persona of a mid-level administrative demon in Hell instructing his cousin, a guardian Devil on Earth, in the myriad ways to steer his client down the slick and well-trod road to damnation. At one point, the infernal bureaucrat narrator exults at just how cleverly demonic propagandists have trained the foolish humans to be on guard against the very type of wrongdoing that is least likely to happen in a given era’s Zeitgeist:
The use of Fashions in thought is to distract the attention of men from their real dangers. We direct the fashionable outcry of each generation against those vices of which it is least in danger and fix its approval on the virtue nearest to that vice which we are trying to make endemic… Cruel ages are put on their guard against Sentimentality, feckless and idle ones against Respectability, lecherous ones against Puritanism; and whenever all men are really hastening to be slaves or tyrants, we make Liberalism the prime bogey.
Currently, a fashionable outcry has arisen in chic circles against the sadly ubiquitous phenomenon known as “bullying.” While many people are, no doubt, sincerely opposed to wanton acts of cruelty and humiliation by the strong and well-placed against the weak and vulnerable, one must nevertheless be aware that taking a political stand against bullying is, at best, a bland, empty gesture, much like opposing drunk-driving, homelessness, child abuse, or pollution; worse, it is quite often a brazenly fraudulent stance, since bullies as such are in reality not the true target of most contemporary “anti-bullying” campaigns. Instead, certain political interest groups have hit upon the idea of characterizing their opponents as ipso facto “bullies,” simply because they have the temerity to oppose what is so obviously right and true (gay marriage, legalized abortion, or some other ideological hobbyhorse), which can only be a result of hateful and repugnant motives, the same kind of mean senior football jock to steal a puny ninth-grader’s lunch money and shove him in his locker.
One would be hard-pressed to imagine, for example, that a Christian evangelical coed who gets mocked and threatened by militant campus homosexuals for expressing her conservative values would ever be considered a victim of “bullying,” no matter how egregiously cruel the abuse she endures. Nor are crocodile tears shed for Whites who are viciously assaulted by Blacks, or for Catholics gleefully derided by Jews. No, the campaign against “bullying” is nearly always invoked solely when a “victim” group favored by the Left (Blacks, Jews, homosexuals) is seemingly wronged by the “oppressor” class (namely White heterosexual Christians).
Targeting “bullies,” then, becomes a thinly-veiled means of advancing a political agenda for a trendy-Left cause. We have seen such many such shameless examples of loathsomely cynical handwringing lately, usually attendant upon the reportage of some high-profile tragedy. When Tyler Clementi jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge after his roommate taped him having sex with a man and showed the tape online, activists were eager to pin the boy’s death on the ill-defined thought-crime of “homophobia.” Earlier this year, when Jared Lee Loughner shot and gravely wounded U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and killed several others, liberal talking-heads desperately tried to construe it as a hate crime provoked by certain designs on Sarah Palin’s website and a deterioration of “civility” in political discourse among Tea Partiers, when in actuality Loughner was a sad young paranoid schizophrenic with a pitifully deteriorating sense of reality and no connections to any political party or philosophy.
Now recently, it has emerged that one aspect of President Obama’s anti-bullying “initiative” involves public school teachers snooping around their students’ Facebook pages to see if they’re writing anything hurtful about their classmates. In addition to being an outrageous instance of the federal government ceding power to itself in a naked power grab (but what else is new?), this call for greater “pro-activity” on the part of educators in preventing bullying has certain transparent political, and politically correct, overtones. After all, in our homo-ideologized age, if a student ever playfully uses the word “fag” or utters the expression “that’s so gay,” he is to be brought before the authorities and severely reprimanded for his insensitivity, as well as shamed for his overall horribleness. One would be naïve indeed to think that this federally-funded Facebook-focused frenzy isn’t just another attempt to root out “homophobes” and subject them to deprogramming, the better to render the nation supine before the pitiless aggressions of Episcopalian bishops and Lady Gaga fans.
But who are the real bullies, and who the real victims of bullying today?
Certainly, old-school schoolyard bullies still exist, and will continue to exist. Weak, nerdy, ugly, and socially awkward kids will continue to be picked on by attractive, popular, confident, and secure ones. This is a shame, but hardly a travesty of justice; cruelty, unfortunately, is endemic to the human condition; it ought never be tolerated by anyone with a conscience, but we should never become so hubristic as to think we can somehow root it out entirely.
Personally, I am much more disgusted and appalled by the numerous powerful bullies who relentlessly vent their spleen against their enemies under the guise of being “anti-bully.” I mean the types of people who would throw men like Ernst Zundel, David Irving, Frederick Toben, and the “Heretical Two” in prison for expressing eccentric or unpopular opinions about historical events, or the sort who would prevent a peaceable group of well-dressed White men from meeting in a hotel ballroom in Charlotte, North Carolina, because they subscribe to certain un-kosher notions regarding the in-egalitarian nature of the races. The man who would rob another man of his freedom or livelihood because he doesn’t like the way he thinks is the worst kind of bully, since he disguises his cruelty as compassion; he’ll steal your lunch money and shove you in your locker, and all the while try to make it seem like you’re the bad guy.
The schoolyard bullies are ultimately of no concern. Their depredations can only last so long; their reign of terror must eventually end; they have no power over us that we don’t allow them to have. Once we attain the confidence needed to stand up to them, they leave us alone. But the hypocritical “anti-bully” bullies are a rapaciously hateful lot; opposing them just makes them angrier, and more prone to ever more coercive, tyrannical, strong-arm tactics of suppression.
Towards this latter group, we should be absolutely steely and relentless, showing no quit whatsoever. We must mock their stupid sacred cows, jeer at their attempts to shame us for not following their ridiculously nonsensical ideologies, and uproariously laugh at their maudlin expressions of naked cant and nauseating sanctimony.
Let us brave-heartedly bully the bullies who would psychologically brutalize us into humiliated submission. If we persist in heartily resisting these patently Screwtapian principalities and powers, I have confidence that our reward will be great indeed.