Well my cynical side got the better of me when I read the article in the Coeur d’Alene Press today (see here) about bullying alongside the announcement that former president H.W. Bush had witnessed a faux marriage of two women in Maine. So I penned an unsubmitted letter to the editor on the “bullying” issue that is all the rage in our media right now:
In Praise of Bullies
It seems the Coeur d’Alene School District is concerned about the presence of bullying in the schools. But I’ve been thinking that we should be more sympathetic toward bullies – that perhaps we should even praise them.
Now lest you dismiss me as a kook, just consider my argument for a moment. Last night my children and I watched an astounding documentary on the types and habits of eagles. We watched with amazement as a fish eagle swooped down on a flamingo, bore it to the ground, stood on its neck and killed it. Survival of the fittest on display. But then an interesting thing happened – a pair of much larger and stronger golden eagles swooped in and drove off the fish eagle, stealing his kill. It seems the golden eagles hadn’t attended the workshops on bullying offered by the school district.
So here we were watching this documentary on eagles when suddenly the thought struck me – hey, I’m just a distant cousin of the eagle! According to the official curriculum of our government educational system, as a human being I am not fundamentally different than an eagle. I too have evolved from that first bit of protoplasm by random processes and natural selection. I’ve gotten to where I am by natural selection and the survival of the fittest. So why shouldn’t stronger humans simply use their strength to take what weaker humans have obtained? Why not imitate the golden eagles?
After all, consider those golden eagles. Big, majestic, strong: they are clearly the evolutionary superiors of the fish eagles; no fish eagle measures up. And with bullies – maybe it’s the same. They’re usually bigger and stronger – okay maybe the majestic part is missing. But, hey, you can’t have everything in one package.
But if it’s true, as the schools teach our kids, that human beings are simply very sophisticated animals, then why not imitate the golden eagles? After all, the macro-evolutionary myth is used to reinforce various other morals. We’re supposed to care for the planet because she’s given us birth. We’re supposed to treat animals nice because they and we are cut of the same cloth. So why choose just these morals? Why not the “bully moral” as well? Bullying is okay because golden eagles push fish eagles out of the way and eat their flamingos. Perhaps we could call it the flamingo moral to avoid the “b” word. After all, if there is no moral standard that stands over and above our eco-system, then it seems that we should be willing to speak in praise of bullies.