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The Big Answer


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Bully Nation: How the American Establishment Creates a Bullying Society

a book by Charles Derber and Yale R. Magrass

(our site's book review)

Bullying Is a Logical Result of a Win-Lose Culture

The Amazon blurb says that It's not just the bully in the schoolyard that we should be worried about. The one-on-one bullying that dominates the national conversation, this timely book suggests, is actually part of a larger problem—a natural outcome of the bullying nature of our national institutions. And as long as the United States embraces militarism and aggressive capitalism, systemic bullying and all its impacts—at home and abroad—will persist as a major crisis.

Bullying looks very similar on the personal and institutional levels: it involves an imbalance of power and behavior that consistently undermines its victim, securing compliance and submission and reinforcing the bully's sense of superiority and legitimacy. The similarity, this book tells us, is not a coincidence. Applying the concept of the “sociological imagination,” which links private problems and public issues, authors Charles Derber and Yale Magrass argue that individual bullying is an outgrowth—and a necessary function—of a larger social phenomenon. Bullying is seen here as a structural problem arising from systems organized around steep power hierarchies—from the halls of the Pentagon, Congress, and corporate offices to classrooms and playing fields and the environment.

It is almost impossible to reduce bullying without first challenging the institutions that breed and encourage it
It is almost impossible to reduce bullying without first challenging the institutions that breed and encourage it

Dominant people and institutions need to create a culture in which violence and aggression are seen as natural and just: one where individuals compete over who will be bully or victim, and each is seen as deserving their fate within this hierarchy. The larger the inequalities of power in society, or among nations, or even across species, the more likely it is that both institutional and personal bullying will become commonplace. The authors see the life-long psychological scars interpersonal bullying can bring, but believe it is almost impossible to reduce such bullying without first challenging the institutions that breed and encourage it.


Systemic U.S. Bullying Leads Our Government to the Ugly Idea That "Might Makes Right"

In the United States a system of intertwined corporations, governments, and military institutions carries out “systemic bullying” to create profits and sustain its own power. While acknowledging the diversity and savagery of many other bully nations, the authors contend that America, as the most powerful nation in the world—and one that aggressively promotes its system as a model—merits special attention. It is only by recognizing the bullying built into this model that we can address the real problem, and in this, Bully Nation: How the American Establishment Creates a Bullying Society makes a hopeful beginning.

As an empire building nation, the U.S. keeps acting as though Might Makes Right, and yet manages to reliably demonstrate that Might Makes Stupid
As an empire building nation, the U.S. keeps acting as though Might Makes Right, and yet manages to reliably demonstrate that Might Makes Stupid

To Reduce Bullying We Must Challenge the Institutions in Our Culture That Breed It

The authors believe it is almost impossible to reduce bullying without first challenging the institutions that breed and encourage it. That is absolutely correct. They believe that individual bullying is an outgrowth—and a necessary function—of a larger social phenomenon. Bullying is seen here as a structural problem arising from systems organized around steep power hierarchies—from the halls of the Pentagon, Congress, and corporate offices to classrooms and playing fields and the environment. These are without a doubt the bad examples that model bad behavior to our young.

But there is much more to it than this kind of modeling that the authors describe so competently. Normal parenting in the U.S. results in bullying or at least the predisposition for bullying in our young. Most parents spank—thereby modeling bullying from a bigger to a smaller human. Now we will go through the genesis of win-lose character formed from a win-lose relationship between parent and child:

As we explain elsewhere, even though the mother-child bonding during the first six months of life (mother or some other person who makes themselves usually available and who forms a secure and loving bond with the infant) is essential for the baby's healthy psychological well-being, it needs to be recognized that once this psychological and social foundation is laid, exclusive mother-child parenting is fraught with pitfalls and dangers of all types. Among these are overdependence, smothering, overwhelming, mystification, stifling, inadequate need fulfillment, and instilling the psychological predispositions for win-lose character development in which the child learns to be manipulative, devious, suspicious, possessive, unrealistic, uncooperative, combative, mean, obsessed with sibling rivalry and/or oedipal motivations, opportunistic, overcompetitive, merciless, unsympathetic, envious, angry, and motivated by negative power. In addition to all these negative potentials for the child's character, there are many pitfalls for the mother, psychologically, socially, and experientially. See Flat-gradient Nurturance versus Steep-gradient Nurturance for the full story.

Bullying is a frequent result of steep-gradient-nurturance situations as it most accurately expresses the win-lose of one's parenting
Bullying is a frequent result of steep-gradient-nurturance situations as it most accurately expresses the win-lose of one's parenting

Steep-gradient-nurturance situations are merciless and destructive and unhealthy. They're intrinsically win-lose and produce people to whom relationships and intimacy are predestined to fail, and bullying is a frequent result as it most accurately expresses the win-lose of one's parenting. And, as the authors say, it will be modeled by adults everywhere, in sports, in politics, in government, in schools, and in corporations.

The authors make the enlightening leap from schoolyard bullies to power imbalances in American society but leave out the genesis of this win-lose acting out. It's not merely socially modeled examples that create bullies, it's also win-lose parenting with the use of such flawed methods as rewards and punishments, spanking, scolding, and authoritarianism. (What are WIN-WIN parenting methods? See Authoritative and Democratic Parenting Methods.) The trouble with sociology without psychology is sometimes it misses root causes, with a consequence of getting the cart before the horse.

The trouble with sociology without psychology is sometimes it misses root causes, with a consequence of getting the cart before the horse
The trouble with sociology without psychology is sometimes it misses root causes, with a consequence of getting the cart before the horse

Treating Bullying as a Psychological Problem is Inadequate—It's a System Issue

The authors argue that psychiatrists and school counselors have distorted the American conversation by treating bullying as a psychological problem. They show that bullying is far more. Adopting C. Wright Mills’ idea that personal problems are public issues, the authors believe that they demonstrate that bullying in the U.S. arises from a national bullying culture built around a system of vast power inequality. The authors see the impetus for the brutality of bullying as something not primarily psychological—they see it as a political problem that can only be addressed as such.

Victims of win-lose parenting that is authoritarian or uses rewards and punishments are being set up to become bullies
Victims of win-lose parenting that is authoritarian or uses rewards and punishments are being set up to become bullies

We disagree. While it may be true that psychiatrists and school counselors would get better results if they viewed bullying as a systems problem, most such professionals are not empowered to attempt to create changes beyond the therapist-client context. Although the authors would address the situation sociopolitically—and we wish them luck with that—the primary elements psychiatrists and school counselors are positioned to act upon are client and family. The system expects the therapist to "fix the problem child." Often, kids are symptomizing errors in parenting when they act out as bullies, so the only way a therapist can get results is to convince the parents to switch to nonpunitive authoritative parenting methods, which is not something parents are generally receptive to. Other times bullies are acting out the fact they are being bullied by passing it on to someone smaller than they are, thereby demonstrating the old axiom that poop rolls downhill. Yet other times the bully is in the client's family and the violence is being acted out as a cry for help.

Bullies often act out the fact they are being bullied by passing it on to someone smaller than they are, thereby demonstrating the old axiom that poop rolls downhill
Bullies often act out the fact they are being bullied by passing it on to someone smaller than they are, thereby demonstrating the old axiom that poop rolls downhill

The authors are right that a national bullying culture built around a system of vast power inequality sets the scene for bullies to arise, but it would be silly to attempt to address the issue sociopolitically without dealing with the root cause. The fact is most parenting predisposes kids to want to bully regardless of sociopolitical contexts, and the only result any sane person should expect from all this errant, win-lose parenting is a national bullying culture full of angry, win-lose people. A sociopolitical approach to fixing it will be a futile attempt to get people to pretend they're not full of win-lose anger inside and an equally futile attempt to stop the American Establishment from continuing to bully in schools, corporations, government, and the military. But even if it was practical to try to change a bullying system, which it is not, this is merely covering up symptoms—no more effective at problem solving than is a child using make-up to cover up embarrassing bruises that result from being abused at home.

At best, trying to fix the problem from the sociopolitical end of the system is a worthy adjunct to the real effort which needs to use a systems approach that involves determining the source of the bullying impetus for the individual and find a way to halt it in a very logical cause and effect way. The culture at large symptomizes the bullying problem and models this behavior to our citizens, and having such poor models is a factor in causation, but it's a secondary cause—the primary cause still being mostly family related and usually parent related.

Nontherapeutic therapy like 'let it roll off your back like water off a duck' encourages more repression, which leads to more bullying act-outs
Nontherapeutic therapy like 'let it roll off your back like water off a duck' encourages more repression, which leads to more bullying act-outs

"Fix the Kid" Psychology is Obsolete—It Needs "Fix the System" Psychology

The authors "defy usual compartmentalization of the schoolyard bullying problem to psychology, to the exclusion of sociological explanations." But they're referring to the old, obsolete psychology that sees the problem as merely a misbehaving kid. More current system approaches would never leave out sociological explanations or sociological remedies. The child operates in a system and the primary agents in this system are parents. It frustrates therapists endlessly when they get the "fix my kid" rap laid on them by an intransigent parent who is unwilling to take any responsibility for the kid he is wrecking as well as unwilling to be an active part in the fix. If they press too hard for parental change, the parent complains to the school administrator or the agency director in a clinic. The therapist is stuck with helping the kid adjust to the bad parenting by such marvelous cliches as "turn the other cheek," "let it roll off your back like water off a duck," "play a sport and take out your hostile impulses on the other team," or "buy a punching bag and show it no mercy." "Stay as far away from the abusing parent as possible" is also good advice but it can get the therapist in trouble sometimes, so it's risky.

Worse yet, there are "therapists" who are rightwing authoritarians who convince the errant, bullying child that the parents' word is law and questioning them is evil as is bullying so the next time they feel like bullying they should "count up all these parents do for you and then ask yourself if you want to dishonor their name by more bullying." (I.e., a standard guilt trip.) Some fundamenalists even pull religion into it, creating as much guilt as possible as an impediment to more bullying. These "the child is the problem" approaches merely aggravate the bullying problem and exemplify fixing bullying by bullying it out of a kid, which such parents do via punishments.

Parenting in which adults rule with Authoritarianism or rewards and punishments is why we are raising WARRIORS rather than PEACEMAKERS
Parenting in which adults rule with Authoritarianism or rewards and punishments is why we are raising WARRIORS rather than PEACEMAKERS

The authors do a great job of giving the bullying phenomenon an insightful sociopolitical context, connecting the dots in ways few writers have done before. However, since the culture at large symptomizes the bullying problem and models this behavior to our citizens, and having such poor models is a factor in causation, it is easy to mistakenly see this as a prime cause. But it's a secondary cause—the primary cause still being mostly family related. Psychology and sociology are not enemies or opposites. The authors attempt to study bullying from a sociological perspective devoid of psychology. The result is insightful sociology. The book could have been much improved had they used a social psychology approach in which sociology and psychology work in harmony to see into the bullying issue more deeply.


Institutionalized Bullying Models and Encourages Schoolyard Bullying but Doesn't Cause It

When the authors reductionistically say that institutionalized bullying in the capitalist system "are directly or indirectly responsible for much of the bullying we see in American schoolyards and among both kids and adults," they have bitten off more than they can chew. They cannot demonstrate anything of the kind. But any good therapist knows exactly what is responsible for much of the bullying we see in American schoolyards and among both kids and adults. They quickly learn what is going on in the child's home and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see how win-lose parenting results in win-lose bullying. Again, it's merely the poop rolling downhill. In our opinion, the authors' flawed leap of logic came from Yale R. Magrass having his unpleasant bullying experience as a schoolkid that did not have a satisfactory conclusion even with therapeutical intervention, so the author lost faith in the old, obsolete type of "the kid is the problem" psychology—as well he should! We feel sorry for any kid—past or present—who had to endure this Second Wave reductionism, when the Third Wave ecological-holistic systems paradigm was clearly called for. This newer paradigm sees situations holistically with the kid as merely one element in a system.

Win-lose relationships are unhealthy for everyone; they are preventable; they may produce warriors but they do not produce good citizens
Win-lose relationships are unhealthy for everyone; they are preventable; they may produce warriors but they do not produce good citizens

As the authors see it, "A failure to bully workers into accepting low wages and the loss of other benefits also reduces profits, since increases in wages and benefits are drains on profit. This is a structural reality faced by all capitalists, whatever their personality, and it demonstrates the need to move from a psychological paradigm to one focusing on structural imperatives. . . . At least since the nineteenth century, American capitalists have seen the competitive process as a form of social Darwinism, in which the strong overcome the weak and the best triumph. Thus, the rich deserve all their wealth and blessings, whereas the poor deserve their low station and misery. Since the market is seen as a Darwinian selection process, it is only natural and good that the rich—those who have proved their worth—assume control over the society as a whole. The system will not function unless the poor learn that they deserve their fate; workers must be bullied until they embrace this Darwinian view that they are inferior and deserve their fate." (Source: How Unchecked Capitalism and Massive Inequality Made America the Bully Nation, Alternet, Charles Derber and Yale Magrass)

The authors are convincing that 'the system will not function unless the poor learn that they deserve their fate; workers must be bullied until they embrace this Darwinian view that they are inferior and deserve their fate'
The authors are convincing that 'the system will not function unless the poor learn that they deserve their fate; workers must be bullied until they embrace this Darwinian view that they are inferior and deserve their fate'—it's simply the law of the jungle!

The Neoliberal Capitalist Marketplace Requires Bullying

Obviously the structural imperatives of being a capitalist in a highly competitive neoliberal capitalist marketplace require bullying, and the move from a psychological paradigm to a structural imperatives paradigm makes sense in analyzing the worker-boss relationships. Nothing in a boss's psychological makeup needs to be key to the matter. But in a world facing the ravages stemming from corporatocracy greed and violent lust for power and wealth at any cost, it is important to ask ourselves why the heads of corporations refuse to give the little guy a break. The authors say that unless they outsell their competitors by being even more greedy than they are, the Darwinistic survival laws will kick in and they'll be eaten alive by competitors. That is indeed the business reason why they refuse to give the little guy a break. But there has to be a psychological predisposition to constantly rake in multimillioon dollar salaries while the little guy in his company is suffering and cannot pay his rent or medical bills or electric bill and yet the corporation gives no benefits or insurance that would help.

The megacorporations fight worker organization and unionization at every turn and so far the law enforcers have sided with management, not workers—it's been that way since the 1800s
The megacorporations fight worker organization and unionization at every turn and so far the law enforcers have sided with management, not workers—it's been that way since the 1800s; here a burger flipper wishes unions could help

Does this sociopathic greed and meanness and selfishness and lack of humanity and absence of compassion come with the territory? Were these bigwigs BORN this horrid? Nope—it takes seriously win-lose parenting and/or abuse to ruin a kid this badly. A person with a soul who cared about people and his country and was loving to his family would find a way to improve the lot of the little guy somehow. The only way the corporate bigwig would ignore the suffering of thousands—even millions—is if he'd been raised in a win-lose way where instead of developing integrity and character and wisdom and compassion, he mainly developed the talent for being manipulative, devious, suspicious, possessive, unrealistic, uncooperative, combative, mean, obsessed with sibling rivalry and/or oedipal motivations, opportunistic, overcompetitive, merciless, unsympathetic, envious, angry, and motivated by negative power. See Flat-gradient Nurturance versus Steep-gradient Nurturance for the full story.


Donald Trump Is the Poster Child for Bullying and Greed

Donald Trump wants you to respect his authoritah
Donald Trump wants you to respect his authoritah

Donald Trump was raised in this win-lose way and he enjoyed fighting kids but was obsessed with winning, and he's the poster child for the "win-at-any-cost" corporation bigwig except that he seems to be almost a caricature of the bigwig—a larger-than-life version that instead of being merely greedy is ravenously greedy, instead of being mean and uncompassionate is extremely mean and uncompassionate, and instead of being self-centered is obsessively so to the point of narcissism, demagogeury, and possessed of dangerous tyrannical tendencies. A poster of him on any bigwig's wall would be a cautionary tale about letting the darker side of his nature overpower his humanity. Of course, if he is a greedy capitalist who exploits workers, that ship has already sailed—he's already let the darker side of his nature overpower his humanity.

The shadow government
The shadow government

The U.S. Is the Poster Child for a Bullying and Greedy Nation

John W. Whitehead believes that there is a conspiracy between government and mega-corporations to bully the masses into compliance with their agenda. And he is right! It is called the corporatocracy and it is an aspect of the shadow government—a government that is eroding our rights and freedoms so that all those with any objections to their actions will be afraid to act. They don't care if we bitch and moan, but they want us to know that even thinking, emailing, or talking about rebelling against these corrupt ass clowns will not be tolerated. See Battlefield America: The War On the American People.

When the elites turned the U.S. into an oligarchy, reduced our freedoms, wrecked other countries, wrecked our democracy, and spewed more propaganda than truth through lying media, the bewildered herd merely chased shiny objects and stayed bewildered
When the elites turned the U.S. into an oligarchy, reduced our freedoms, wrecked other countries, wrecked our democracy, and spewed more propaganda than truth through lying media, the bewildered herd merely chased shiny objects and stayed bewildered

In order to get cheap resources for our corporatocracy, we destroy democracies, install dictators friendly to our multinational corporations, wreck environments, and bully others mercilessly. This getting of cheap resources by extreme cheating and atrocious moral values allows us to compete in markets by evil deeds. Internationally, we employ the value that might makes right, but, unfortunately, we end up proving that might makes stupid. . . . The bewildered herd didn't get the memo, therefore rising up against their deceivers. Instead, they kept doing what the elites wanted: texting and YouTube-ing and Facebook-ing and video-gaming and arguing over fake news and . . . they were too distracted by shiny objects to think or organize. So why did this death of democracy and total thought control of the bewildered herd go unreported? Why did the most important thing ever get ignored? Because media were too busy dutifully spewing elite propaganda that everything was just fine, and the herd made the fatal mistake of trusting these sellouts. Which kept them bewildered. So why would the elites do this horrible, unpatriotic thing to the United States of America? Greed. Fanatic, all-consuming, obsessive, infinite greed. See How the World Works.

Bush and Obama loved playing God, swatting to death anyone they don't like the looks of and making the U.S. look like the Great Satan the Islamics see us as
Bush and Obama loved playing God, swatting to death anyone they don't like the looks of and making the U.S. look like the Great Satan the Islamics see us as—yet another way of bullying other countries by killing anyone who might be a terrorist

When WikiLeaks first came to prominence in 2010 by releasing 2,325,961 top-secret State Department cables, the world saw for the first time what the US—an extremely two-faced bully—really thought about national leaders, friendly dictators and supposed allies. It also discovered the dark truths of national policies, human rights violations, covert operations and cover-ups. See The Shadows of Power: The Council on Foreign Relations and the American Decline.

The U.S. military is a classic case of bullying of the small by the big, and it is shameful—it is a blight on our historical record that fails to show up in history books, which are pressured to spew the party line, the CW, the cover stories
The U.S. military is a classic case of bullying of the small by the big, and it is shameful—it is a blight on our historical record that fails to show up in history books, which are pressured to spew the party line, the CW, the cover stories

What gave the thugs from the United States the right to come into Nicaragua and pay contras to conduct terrorism, wrecking the country, torturing or killing the dissidents, wrecking all the benevolent social programs, putting the country in debt, robbing their resources, interfering with their legitimate leadership? Nothing did. But when greedy corporatocracy oligarchs from the U.S. decide they want to rob a banana republic, they tell the CIA and then proxy terrorists are hired, authoritarians are installed in the illegitimate government to do the will of the corporation, and let the exploitation begin. This is bullying of the small by the big, and it is shameful. It is a blight on our historical record that fails to show up in history books, which are pressured to spew the party line, the CW, the cover stories. But there are history books that are brave enough to tell the truth: The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and the Truth about Global Corruption and The Concise Untold History of the United States.

When greedy corporatocracy oligarchs from the U.S. decide they want to rob a banana republic, they tell the CIA and then proxy terrorists are hired
When greedy corporatocracy oligarchs from the U.S. decide they want to rob a banana republic, they tell the CIA and then proxy terrorists are hired

The World Court condemned the United States for supporting contra terror, but the U.S. merely laughed. Then the U.N. Security Council condemned the United States for supporting contra terror, but the U.S. merely laughed. Then the U.N. General Assembly condemned the United States for noncompliance with the World Court ruling, but the U.S. merely laughed. This vote condemning the United States for noncompliance with the World Court ruling to cease supporting contra terror would have been shocking news in the U.S. except that it was not reported here. What WAS reported was that the salaries of U.N. workers were far too high!

True investigative journalism upset the elites, since shining light into the shadows of the elite's nefarious activities was anything but welcome
True investigative journalism upset the elites, since shining light into the shadows of the elite's nefarious activities was anything but welcome; their solution was to control the mainstream media!

The Concise Untold History of the United States was written by two men of great integrity who researched what really happened in the last half of the 20th century as opposed to what we were told happened in the media and history books. Finally, Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies tells the astonishing story of elites spending the last century (since 1915) using propaganda to control the media and therefore the public's cooperation with elite empire building plans which greedy elite oligarchs use to rob not just the citizens of other countries but of the U.S. as well. The idea is to bully the media into abandoning truth seeking and investigative reporting and force them to back empire building plans of warmongering neocon fanatics out to accumulate as much wealth and power and control as they can. They were happy to use our soldiers as cannon fodder and start up a phony War on Terror to give them "credibility." See Freedom of the Press—an American Delusion.

Warmongering neocon fanatics were happy to use our soldiers as cannon fodder in their efforts to accumulate as much wealth and power and control as they could
Warmongering neocon fanatics were happy to use our soldiers as cannon fodder in their efforts to accumulate as much wealth and power and control as they could

OBomb'em Bullied More People Than Any Other President

Obama wants you to believe I AM NOT A CROOK, but you know better—he should have been impeached! He bullied more people than any other president
Obama wants you to believe I AM NOT A CROOK, but you know better—he should have been impeached! He bullied more people than any other president

The Obama White House has investigated more whistleblower cases than all previous administrations combined. No one crosses them, no American that is. . . . This White House’s bullying of the media is an attempt to commandeer and manipulate the news. From sequester to the IRS scandal to Benghazi, the White House has had their hand in controlling what the public hears and sees. They manage the press and have all but eliminated any threats from potential whistleblowers. Derber and Magrass admit OBomb'em bullied more people than any other president. (Source: Obama’s White House Continues to Abuse, Threaten And Bully the Press) See also: The Smear: How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, What You Think, and How You Vote, Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama's Washington.

Whistleblowers who report suspicious or illegal behavior end up harrassed, blackballed, punished, investigated, detained, abused, threatened, or even chased out of the country
Whistleblowers who report suspicious or illegal behavior end up harrassed, blackballed, punished, investigated, detained, abused, threatened, or even chased out of the country

Truman was a bully with an A-bomb, and that was a very bad thing. If only Truman wasn't an ignorant racist who hated "Japs" and felt good about bombing them with A-bombs and putting U.S. Japanese in American concentration camps to work as slave labor. Psychologically, Truman was a glasses wearing wimp who had gotten bullied in school and the "Japs" gave him a target for repressed rage he had never dealt with or admitted. That's a hell of a reason to drop A-bombs on two cities, killing or wounding over 225,000 people!

As Carl Sagan says in Cosmos, " . . . a certain kind of mind and character was drawn to the military applications of science and mathematics—people who liked big explosions, for example; or those with no taste for personal combat who, to avenge some schoolyard injustice, aspired to military command . . . "

Carl Sagan
Carl Sagan

Trump, Dubya, OBomb'em, Truman—Reasons Enough to Examine the Mental Healh of Potential Presidents

This surely gives our nation a critical reason to examine the psychology of potential presidents—a lesson Japan learned the hard way when the Japanese efforts to surrender fell on deaf ears while Truman proved his manliness by incinerating hundreds of thousands of humans. Now we have Trump, a bully and proud of it—it's how he achieves more "wins." Since dozens of shrinks have judged him mentally ill after he took office, perhaps after the fact is an insufficient way of filtering out undesirables.

"This is yet another reason why we need to move beyond the ruling paradigm. Psychiatry claims scientific expertise, but there is a growing challenge to the scientific validity of the profession itself, as well as its diagnoses and drugs. Psychiatry has succeeded in creating a medicalized world for children, with millions of youngsters on drugs or in therapy. But whether this is a solution to bullying—or good for children—is problematic at best, and such treatment can often do more harm than good," say the authors. We couldn't agree more. See Reclaiming Our Children.

The paradigm at work here is obviously the Second Wave's old, mechanistic-reductionistic paradigm, with its tired, simplistic, reductionistic, win-lose perspective, its genetic determinism, its tread-worn approaches that see evils to be conquered rather than systems to be holistically addressed, and its lack of balance. And Big Pharma sees a huge opportunity as millions of kids act a bit too lively for parents and teachers who need them to sit still and shut up and not bother anyone. The authors are 100% correct—this is quakery, it is wrong, it is stupid, and it is unfair to kids. Psychiatry should be ashamed.

Big Pharma spreading 'good health via medicine' across the land
Big Pharma spreading 'good health via medicine' across the land

"One obvious harm [of psychiatric drugging] is that it moves attention away from the real causes of bullying, as we will discuss. A common social and political assumption in the psychological paradigm is that bullying is mainly caused by misunderstanding, by a lack of communication," say the authors. This is rarely true, and the authors are right again to be sceptical. Bullying is about acting out win-lose family dynamics in which the kid is repeatedly subjected to the LOSE end of the equation. Therapy can help both victim and bully, but if the idea of misunderstanding is the guide or worse yet "the kid's brain is defective so let's drug it," the outcome will not be good.

The authors see our best hope not in psychology but in restructuring society—an ambitious idea to be sure! They say "This does not mean that psychological approaches to dealing with individual bullies or victims of bullying should be eliminated. The key to the sociological imagination is the relation between social structure and individual character. Militarized capitalism, operating through transmission institutions such as schools, the military, and the family, plays a pivotal causal role. Thus, interventions in school policies, in the family, and in interpersonal and intrapsychic dynamics are part of any reasonable antibullying approach."

They go on: "But our analysis suggests that these will be, at best, a bandage rather than a cure—an approach to symptoms rather than the underlying disease. If our new paradigm is correct, the ultimate causes lie in our political economy, and we cannot expect deep and meaningful change until we change our system of capitalism. Of course, we need to treat the military, the school, and the family as parts of the political economy. Making such a change is a formidable challenge." (Note: according to MC wisdom, the very last thing society needs is well-intentioned social engineers "restructuring society" for any reason. The MC wisdom says individuals and families may choose to revamp their lifestyles so their lives work much better but absolutely NO social engineers, politicians, or social workers are allowed! For more about this, see F.A.Q.s and MC Articles.)

We say drugless psychological therapeutic approaches are best to deal with bullying, the authors prefer sociopoliical ones
We say drugless psychological therapeutic approaches are best to deal with bullying, the authors prefer sociopoliical ones

The Most Important Change Needed in Our Country Is to Let Go of the Ludicrous Hitlerian Goal of Global Dominance

The authors state that perhaps the most important change needed in our country is to let go of the ludicrous Hitlerian goal of global dominance. We couldn't agree more. Noam Chomsky agrees too. See Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance.

"Many Americans, though, have begun to embrace an antibullying culture. This counterculture is particularly strong among groups-such as women, LGBT people, and people of color—who are frequently subject to systemic bullying. Many teachers at all levels of the education system endorse the antibullying culture and critique bullying's authoritarian undertones. But even these Americans still have to live in the existing system and must abide by its rules. . . . We need to build a new, more democratic economy, end militarism, and reject the authoritarianism of a bullying culture. Trumpism is just the visible tip of the bullying that drives our core institutions and culture. . . . No matter who sits in the White House, and as long as the United States embraces militarism and aggressive capitalism, systemic bullying and all its effects—abroad and at home—will persist." (Source: How America’s militaristic, capitalist culture led to Trump, Charles Derber and Yale R. Magrass, Salon)

If you wish to understand everything about bullying EXCEPT the root cause from which it springs, read Bully Nation: How the American Establishment Creates a Bullying Society. If you wish to understand the root cause from which it springs, see Flat-gradient Nurturance versus Steep-gradient Nurturance. For info about bullying on the internet, see Cyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy Teens. Here are Facts About Bullying.

Charles Derber is professor of sociology at Boston College. Yale Magrass is chancellor professor of sociology at University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.