Friday, September 29, 2006

Heard it all before...part two

I cut & pasted the comments from the last post to this one because it’s an interesting discussion and I’m too tired to whip up some other thought – this habit is like a Martha Stewart Living spree gone bad.

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Civility: is it a lost cause in America? Even Newt Gingrich reflects on the disappearance of this key element in the production of good works, public policy and otherwise. (Why Newt Is So Much Fun to Watch, Time Magazine, April 16, 2006)

"If Republicans just talk to other Republicans, there's a tendency to get so ugly about the other side that we go overboard. Same with Democrats," Gingrich said at Franklin Pierce College. "You get campaigns that are just noise. But if you have to stand next to each other onstage, you tend to be more civil. There's a better chance of having a real dialogue."

comment & response

C.R.

I read the letter on the Safe Schools site. Do you have a link to the actual legislation that will be considered?

I.E.

The legislation considered in the previous General Assembly may not be the same legislation considered in the next General Assembly. For reference, General Assembly link is at the bottom of the post.

John

Thanks for the link love and the critique.

Yes, I know full well this is about the LBG-TG-TS agenda. As Seinfeld said, not that there's anything wrong with that.

And, to cite myself, would I have been as gay friendly if I hadn't been bullied?

PS. I wasn't "slightly" geeky. I was EXTREMELY geeky. :)

I.E.

Thank you, and I disagree with the implicit gay agenda buried in last year's bullying legislation, it cheapens the issue, but I do like Seinfeld & geeks..

Anon

Anti -bullying legislation is just another effort to disintermediate (with the State) individual moral responsibilities. People who behave badly should be policed by their peers, families, and voluntary associations (e.g., a church they respect), not by the guys with the guns. Police have enough to do, I would think. Does the left prefer we hire more police, in order to staff the Manners detail?

Of course, let's not forget the importance of a little random cruel hazing on achievement later in life. This latter, capricious comment is offered only half in-jest.

Manville

I.E.

Glad to have readers from Jersey. Go Red Knights.

Bullies beget bullies who beget bullies and on we go. It’s not something we should tolerate, I certainly don’t tolerate bullying from my family and friends.

It’s difficult to argue the need for “manners” police, but we do police schools for drugs and “violent” behavior. So when does a manners problem cross the line into violence? And if we selectively chose our associations based on the group’s acceptance for our behaviors, then the concepts of manners and violence are perfectly changeable from group to group -- relativist mush at its finest.

It’s curious to think that “a little random cruel hazing” is the stuff that dreams are made of, really, a good number of experts might disagree, pointing to all sorts of pathology (here, here, here).

The Real Sporer

Would there be less ennui and more enthusiasm for, at least, the Republican Party, if we stood for more as a party? I think so.

Its time we start drawing the real world distinctions between Republican governance and Democrat governance, because one of the two is going to win and the parties haven't been this far apart since the Civil War. The tragedy is our cyber/reality show TV culture is so utterly dependent on immediate and trivial gratification that they turn away from even the responsibilities of self government.

I.E.

Sounds good. But to do so requires a civil discourse among the ranks. Can and will that happen in a culture that seems ambivalent, at best, about the role of society to impose standards of civility in schools? I don’t know. But I like to think anything is possible. We do seem to be able to reelect a guy like Jim Leach to Congress every two years.

For the record: I was that little girl in second grade who stood between fat & slow Arnold and the bullies when the teacher left the classroom for those five long minutes, and I believe Arnold was unaware of his sexual orientation at that time.


HF 367 Establishing state and school antiharassment or antibullying policies. HF 367 - companion to SF 406 - both similar to HF 382 and SF 2365.


Comments:
Fortunately, I don't live in Jersey.

The following is bullying:

"Hey, peanut, you little shrimp, I wanted that last carton of chocolate milk -- and I'm taking it."

(Prematurely pubescent boy grabs milk from sensitive ectomorph Manville-type, who ain't going to grow until he's 15.)

Miss Ennui, do you really wish to have the police handle this one? Really?

***

A huge issue, in making "bullying" a "crime" is that it will destroy significantly the capacity to lead. Unpleasant as they are, many people are simultaneously both brilliant and important -- and hard and nasty with their subordinates. (Your Miss Martha sure rates here.) Martin Scorsese, for example, is a nasty, selfish, noisy SOB. By the measure of what you're discussing, I think, you're saying these people are criminals. I'd just as soon they were not criminals, and I'm looking forward to Marty's next movie. (I understand it features bullies.)

Boorishness is not a crime, so far, except in certain clubs in Greenwich, a Dalton board of trustees meeting, the Chevy Chase Club, maybe the Des Moines Art Center. In Germany it is illegal to throw a few imprecations around, even in a bar; I'd provide an example but don't know what your vulgarity threshold is here. But, safe to say, you don't call someone in Germany a bad name in a bar, not legally, anyway.

Let's stop trying to create objective standards for bullying, and instead require more of each other. Being shunned socially for being a boor and a bully is far more effective than a cop writing "bullying" tickets.

--Manville (as in Manville Heights, Iowa City; present resident WashDC)
 
Love the banter, but I'm not buying the logic.

Manville 1.0 & Manville 2.0, I appreciate repetition in argument, it's usually a most effective political tool. However, the logic doesn't work for me.

The first premise -- that good leaders often engage in boorish or bullying behavior -- is not necessarily fact. I direct you back to the orginial post and the here, here and here set of links for clarification, with fair warning that they are just a posteriori facts, irrelevant to political sales. Certainly, a number of successful people have adopted habits of cruelty that extend beyond what Machiavelli deemed ethical, yet it's not a universal requirement for success. I suggest that intellectual acumen, time on task and intensity of effort are better indicators of success. But don't tell Chet, he might become discouraged.

The issue at hand is the disagreement over whether taking moral constructs and placing those in a legal framework is a good idea. Manville 2.0, you are rightly offended by the obscure NYC liberal leaning cultural institutions sensitivity to PC thinking (Iowa huh?)and the German's over reach, but I suggest, given a culture saturated in effete thinking inspired by the likes of Derrida and Foucault, that a singular sense of what is correct behavior is often a construction. Hence, it is not difficult to find places where utilitarian ethics are the norm and those with a more rigorous response to moral questions are often the ones shunned.

To the extent that we are living in a post-modern world, there will always be attempts to reassert elements of a moral framework in the broader sense. We're talking about bullying but we could replace the concept with other moral questions; simply take your sentence, "let's stop trying to create objective standards for bullying", and replace the word bullying with abortion, marriage, prayer, etc and you can see that it's silly to think that a political argument is anything other than artful relativist spin.

BTW - What is so wrong with Jersey? Id take a mansion up by the Highlands any day -- a beautiful home with a dock & saltwater in the backyard.
 
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