"Bully": the new "Nazi"

June 22, 2012 by  

You are a bully if you say that you disagree with this article…or if you don’t read it at all. But don’t worry, I’m a bully too if what I’ve written here offends you. At least those are implications of the new meaning being given to the word “bully” by today’s reds.

Truths and falsehoods are said about people every day and, every day, people are praised or condemned. Until recently, such statements did not constitute “bullying” unless they were false or vicious. The person who was spreading the falsehood that Sarah “has cooties” was bullying Sarah because it was dishonest and, therefore, vicious. Spreading a falsehood that John’s genetic make-up makes him stupid or dishonest was bullying, because it was false and, therefore, vicious.

However, over the last few years, the Reds have been attempting to destroy that distinction. They now assert that bullying does not have to involve the false or the vicious. Bullying, the reds now imply, includes any comment that someone does not want to hear or does not want others to hear.

In Ontario, Canada, the reds’ assault has manifested itself in a number of legislative measures. In 2010, a new law required employers to have and enforce policies not only relating to workplace violence, but also to “workplace harassment”, which the legislation defined as “engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome”. Say enough words that you ought to know annoy or distress someone in the Ontario workplace today, and you are engaging in “workplace harassment”. It does not matter whether the statements are true or false. It does not matter whether the statements amount to praise or condemnation. It matters only that you ought to know that they are annoying or distressing to one or more of your co-workers. For example, if a known vegan overhears from time to time a co-worker speaking with others about how skillfully his son shot a buck or hooked a fish, that hunter/fisher arguably could be engaging in “workplace harassment”. Similarly, if a known lover and wearer of leather clothing finds it annoying or distressing to hear her vegan colleagues talk about the cruelty of wearing animal skins, those vegans arguably are engaging in “workplace harassment”. I leave it to the reader to guess which of these scenarios is more likely to cause the reds to spring into action.

More recently, Ontario introduced what it called “anti-bullying” legislation for schools. In part, the new law prohibits schools from prohibiting students from forming gay-straight alliance clubs. It also gives students the right to call those clubs “gay-straight alliance”, even if the school’s purpose is, in part, to inculcate a code of values that condemns homosexual activity as morally wrong or sinful. The government’s alleged reason for introducing the provisions in question was that homosexual students are sometimes bullied for being homosexual. The province’s Catholic schools, however, see the move – especially the bit about the naming of gay-straight alliance clubs – as one instead calculated to undermine their ability to inculcate a Catholic code of ethics. Clearly, both parties are correct. Homosexual students do sometimes get bullied for being homosexual, and forcing Catholic schools to host clubs called “gay straight alliance” is an obvious attempt by government to defeat the inculcation of the belief that homosexual activity is wrong or sinful. However, it is far too easy not to see the forest for the trees in this situation. This new law isn’t truly just about combating the inculcation of Catholic views on the ethics of homosexual activity. In truth, it is a precedent for a post-modernist attack on the practice of inculcating any absolute code of ethics; an attempt to require the inculcation of moral relativism even in religious schools; an attempt by government to get more of them while they’re young.

The new “bullying” concept is not confined to legislative measures. In the news, on the street, and in our legislatures, “bully” increasingly is fulfilling the role that the word “Nazi” used to fulfill, before playing the Nazi card came to be seen widely as evidence of the player’s intellectual bankruptcy. More often than ever before, those who call a falsehood a falsehood, a truth a truth, better better, worse worse, wrong wrong, or good good are called “bullies”. Speak as though you know something, or dare to praise or condemn something or someone, and you quickly may find yourself accused of bullying.

In fact, even failing or refusing to consider someone else’s statements can get you labelled a “bully”. In Canada’s Parliament, the governing Conservative party holds a majority of the seats. They can pass bills into law without the support of the members of other parties. When the government recently introduced a budget bill stuffed with a lot of measures having doubtful relevance to the budget, the House Leader of the socialist New Democratic Party (“NDP”), Nathan Cullen, claimed that the Conservatives’ refusal to amend the budget to better suit NDP preferences made them bullies. The NDP having intentionally delayed passage of the budget bill into law so as to protest the Conservatives’ disregard for the whims or views of the NDP, Cullen explained his party’s delay tactics thusly:

“One of the ways you give them pause is by causing them pain. If you let them get away with it and you back down from a bully, then the bully will bully again. They should feel every vote as far as I’m concerned.”

It will be noted that the Conservatives did only what the constitution gives a majority government the power and authority to do. By design, Canada’s Parliamentary system leaves a majority government free not to give a damn what Members of a relatively small opposition party think or assert. When granted a majority, the constitution gives the party in power the ability to govern for the long range, according to principles, and relieves it of a short-term necessity to compromise principled policies with range-of-the-moment whims of pip-squeak contingents. In passing legislation such as a bloated omnibus bill, a majority government is not truly engaged in bullying (by the long-standing definition), even if opposition party members are annoyed that they were ignored, denied, or disagreed with. But the reds now assert that to ignore is to bully, to deny is to bully, to disagree is to bully…unless they are the ones doing the ignoring, the denying, and the disagreeing (see the socialist dictatorships of the 20th century for a few particularly stunning examples).

Meanwhile, in the Ontario Legislature, the reds are crying “bully” at Liberal Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) who dared to state that provincial NDP leader Andrea Horwath broke a promise to support the government’s budget bill. The Liberals have the largest number of seats, but not a majority, so they need the support of MPPs from one or more other parties. Weeks ago, it was generally understood that Horwath had promised to support the budget bill on condition that it be amended to include a tax increase on those making $500,000.00 per year or more. The budget process requires two votes. Rather than voting for the budget in the first vote, Horwath’s NDP abstained. The budget survived the first vote, but Horwath clearly had led the governing Liberals, and the general public, to believe that the NDP would vote in favour of the budget, not abstain from voting. Then, before the second vote, Horwath’s NDP unexpectedly introduced additional changes to the budget (changes made possible by the unprincipled co-operation of the province’s Progressive Conservatives), contrary to the understanding the Liberals believed they had with Horwath’s party. The Liberals asserted that, by amending the budget further, Horwath had not kept her promise. She was reportedly called a disingenuous back-stabber who had not kept her word. Horwath’s response? The Ottawa Citizen reported it this way:

Horwath later compared the language directed her way over the budget meltdown to bullying. The NDP even handed a postcard to reporters citing a Woman Abuse Research Consortium on the impact of verbal abuse in the workplace. She claimed it was the kind of action that prevents more women from entering politics.

Horwath claims that we who thought she had agreed to support the budget bill had not understood her correctly. Although she clearly caught just about everyone by surprise with her party’s last minute budget amendments – the Liberals, the media, and the public in general – to assert that she had not lived up to her deal with the Liberals is now makes you a bully (and a misogynistic bully to boot!). Let her be perfectly clear though, Andrea Horwath did not have sex with that woman, Monica Lewinsky.

What is the purpose of giving the word “bully” a new meaning? Why are the reds using the word in this way?

As usual, the answer is that they want to discourage the expression of any fact or evaluation that stands in the way of them getting something for nothing. To get something for nothing, they are implicitly or explicitly attacking the idea that anything can be known with certainty. Every claim, no matter how arbitrary or absurd, is to be seriously considered and to be treated on par with claims for which, ultimately, there is physical evidence. It follows that nothing is to be praised or condemned because every claim about what is worthy of praise or condemnation is to be treated as equally valid, hence equally not valid. Nothing being certain, and nothing being better or worse than anything else, nobody’s thoughts or actions make him more or less deserving of anything. All, by default, are to be treated as equally worthy of everything, from food, shelter and health care to love, respect, and admiration.

And so the hunter is to keep his fatherly pride to himself. The religious school is to condemn nothing but the idea of sin, and to praise nothing except the condemnation of praise or condemnation. True or good government policies are to be tempered with falsehoods or evil. The liar is to be accorded the same respect as the victim of his lies because nobody can really be certain about anything, including the meaning of the liar’s promises and – even were it true that the liar lied – nobody can say that to lie is evil when the result is that one gets what one wants for oneself or others. The open palms one man brings to the table are to be as valuable as the bread another man brings to it. The respect and admiration accorded to the honest and good woman is also to be accorded to the dishonest rotter, because nobody can say which is which. And anyone who rejects this alleged vision of inclusiveness is, most certainly, a bully.


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