Bullying is easily the most underrated crime. Underrated because it happens all the time and its effects can be fatal while the perpetrator gets off free. Perhaps there is no individual to whom blame can be traced, but rather all of society. The sad reality is that only after enough teenage suicides make headlines is the crime of bullying merited enough seriousness to be brought to court.
According to Obama, bullying is “something that just shouldn’t happen in this country.” But is it surprising that bullying is such a problem in this country, given the ideals of capitalism? Driven by its “dog-eat-dog”, “every man for himself” principles, capitalism essentially sucks society dry of compassion by conditioning its members to regard the suffering of others as separate from their own. When we do not share in our suffering, we strive guiltlessly for unequal distribution of fortune, pushing for advancement of our own fortune over that of others, who are then reduced to mere facilitators of our self-interest. All this in the name of fairness and deserving the fruits of our labor.
Those born in a capitalistic society inherit a sort of inferiority complex that calls for elevating individual image and self-worth over others. But in order to elevate ourselves as individuals, we need each other to define what is valuable and create standards of conformity to which we hold ourselves. What is not the norm is to be criticized so as to allow some of us to advance over others. This is the case with bullying; bullies criticize the outliers so that they can enhance their own standing with respect to a standard of conformity that defines what is good, whether it be social, financial, or ethical. In effect, it enslaves society to the constructs of self-interest. The only means of collective freedom is through true acceptance of one another not held to any standard of conformity.
Obama’s project claims “it gets better”, but even after the recent tragic suicides exposed bullying as a crime against humanity, inferiority complexes run deep. A school official is quoted saying “I like it when gays die” :