Aggression is Aggression is Aggression is Aggression

Tuesday, September 30, 2003
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There has been an interesting blogfest on the LewRockwell.com blog on “bullying.” I thought I’d post my comment on my blog too. I am so surprised how some people can blow off aggression between kids as being a non-issue, and think of it in an antiquated fashion such as “Hey, just teach your kid to use his fists.” Is this what they would say about a woman being raped? There is no difference in aggression between adults, or say, between high school kids.

Whatever happened to the non-aggression principle? Doesn’t Rothbard introduce this on PAGE ONE of For a New Liberty?

Understanding that principle, what’s the problem of understanding the bullying question? Bullying is not necessarily a minor problem; not when there is an attack on one’s person involved. And I think Kinsella is making it clear that he draws a line between squabbles and aggression. There is a distinction to be made between a “squabble” and a physical attack: the squabble is not a physical confrontation wherein someone is physically harmed. If Kinsella’s mother and wife disagree on what socks he should wear to a Board meeting – wife wants black, Mom wants yellow with green diamonds – that is a “squabble.” If his Mom gets so angry that she attacks his wife, bloodying her face and breaking a bone or two, there has been a violation of his wife’s rights.

Being part of an overly litigious society, even if to an infantile degree, does not mean we allow others to perpetuate what constitutes actual aggression against the person or property of another. The “infantileness” comes from all of the illegitimate cases being taken into the court systems. This “it’s no big deal” attitude says to us: “Oh, your ADD 13-year-old beat the crap out of my bookish 13-year-old for kicks, but I’d really hate to contribute to an already-packed court system, so I’ll let it be.”

There was a mention about a bully taking your kid’s lunch money, as if there is nothing wrong with this sort of theft. If a child’s lunch money is taken, whether it’s $5 or $20 or $100, you go get it back, however that is. If your child is beaten up by a bully (ie, his person is aggressed against), that is aggression, pure and simple. And aggression against the person of another is a crime, and the victim should take action against the perpetrator. And if the crime is serious enough, where restitution cannot be worked out between the parties, then it goes to a court (or hopefully, an arbitrator), where a third party decides the case.

What’s not understood about this basic axiom of libertarianism? Isn’t “teaching your kid to throw some fists back” at the perpetrator infantile? Isn’t that a bit antiquated? Sure, it makes sense to teach any kid some street smarts, but that is another issue, and this does not excuse criminal aggression. This is not a “politically correct” issue, as Kinsella’s reader makes it out to be. In addition, the reader asks: can being a victim of aggression against your person “make you a stronger person today?” And he adds, “It takes a little bit of trial to forge a character worth having.” So now, we have to have character beat into us? How about women having “character” raped into them?

Foreign policy-wise, the US of A is taking Iraq’s lunch money, and it is aggression on a far bigger scale, only there’s not a court in this country that will convict that bully. Only it’s not “character” we are beating into Iraq, it is “democracy.”

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