When Obama inaugurated a conference on bullying by announcing that he too had been bullied, he made the one confession that no world leader should ever make. At least not a world leader who ever hopes to be taken seriously. But by this time it was doubtful that there was a world leader who didn't know that Obama could be bullied. Many of them had been rather successful at bullying him already.
We may grow up, but we never entirely leave who we were behind. The bullies will always be with us. Their bullying may become more sophisticated, but the old dynamic never really goes away.
When Obama spent half his correspondents dinner taunting Trump, it was a sight you could easily see in any school cafeteria. The difference is that he chose to do it in a forum where he had no fear of being answered back, using lines written for him by a writer from the Daily Show. It was bullying of the cowardly sort. Which just goes to show you that some of the bullied, harbor a secret wish to be bullies themselves. But when they get the chance to be bullies, they still practice it in a cowardly way.
Compare Bush's willingness to laugh at himself in a double act with Colbert at that same dinner years earlier, to Obama taunting his rivals when they're prevented by decorum from answering back. Just as he did to Paul Ryan. This is how a man who can dish it out, and can't take it, acts. And that's the difference between a man and an insecure child who never really grew up, whose emotional compass is still tethered to his childhood memories. Who still dreams of repaying minor slights and takes every criticism personally.
Obama may hold conferences on bullying, but he is the worst sort of bully, too cowardly to do it without a lot of protectors and plausible deniability standing between him and his targets. How many Republican car dealerships were targeted under O's car company regime, and what about the pass given to the New Black Panther party's voter intimidation tactics, or launching Operation Rushbo against one of his more vocal critics. Or using 'teabaggers' to describe his opponents. To say nothing of the thuggishness by teachers in Wisconsin. Strip away the billion dollar political machine and you're left with something that looks a lot like High School.
The obsession with childhood bullying is another misguided application of social engineering to children. Obama may speak of creating "an atmosphere at school where children feel safe". But no amount of government intervention can prevent kids from being bullied. And no government officials can teach them to stand up for themselves. Children and teenagers have their own culture apart from adults, and no matter how many bureaucrats poke and pry into their lives, they can never find their way inside. Instead of protecting them against bullies, the injection of bureaucracy becomes its own form of bullying.
After the Columbine Massacre, all the conferences on bullying yielded a Zero Tolerance madness that criminalized everything from toy soldiers to plastic knives to playing cops and robbers. Six year old cub scouts have been suspended for bringing camping equipment to school. Arrests have been made for shooting rubber bands. Advil and Midol have become controlled substances. An 11 year old was suspended because the chain on her Tweety bird wallet was found to be long enough to qualify as a weapon. Another 11 year old died because zero tolerance policies prevented him from carrying an inhaler. A National Merit Scholar was arrested and expelled because she had misplaced a kitchen knife on the floor of her car.
There will be no conferences held on this type of bullying, because it is practiced by the conference attendees, the school bureaucrats and teachers, and the public officials who enable them, against the children placed in their care. And their only solution to every problem is more of the same. More bureaucracy and more regulations. It is a form of bullying that most Americans have become terribly familiar with. And it is worse than any ordinary bullying, because while you can stand up to an ordinary bully, defying the government bureaucracy at every level is much harder.
As go the schools, so goes a nanny state in which everyone is treated like children. Subjected to constant regulation and supervision. Treated like incompetent wards of the state who need to be told what to do at all times. The cradle to grave state treats those at the grave, much as it does at the cradle, as nuisances who need to be brought into conformity with paragraph 19, section 32, subsection 92B of their marching orders circa this week. American history is the story of people who tried to escape the governments that were making them miserable, only for the bureaucrats to make it over anyway.
The nanny state promises that we will no longer be bullied by big business, and then gets down to the job of bullying us so thoroughly and relentlessly that the only escape is death. And not even then. For dying doesn't free you of the tangle of laws and regulations. It just puts your conscious mind beyond their reach. Like the protagonist of 'Brazil' your soul may escape, but your body is left behind under their authority.
Obama's promise of a safe atmosphere for every student reeks of the same thing. A paranoid hothouse in which a wrong word, a wrong look or a wrong implication can result in criminal prosecution under a new wave of Zero Tolerance enforcement. This vision of PS Stalag 17 is being realized not just in schools, but everywhere. The EUSSR has its political prisoners, and so will we, as any hindrance to public order becomes a crime. Bad ideas are held responsible for causing violence. The logic of Crimethink that arrests students for having something that is not a weapon, but has some common conceptual resemblance to one, dictates that a bullseye on a political map is the same thing as an assassination plot.
In the name of maintaining that hothouse atmosphere, independent traits or atavistic behaviors must be rooted out. The only properly safe nation is one in which all the people are sheep, and the guns are in the hands of the ranchers and the wolves. But from a sheep's perspective, the only difference between the ranchers and the wolves, is that the ranchers keep them alive longer than the wolves. Once the wolves come or the ranchers grow tired of them, the sheep have no survival skills left. Those were wiped out in order to keep a safe atmosphere for the herd.
European newspapers frowning at the sight of Americans loudly celebrating the end of Bin Laden posit that Americans and Europeans have different values. But it's not so much a matter of different values, as of different governments. European governments have built their stifling nanny states and declared many normal human behaviors to be against their values. But their ancestors would have taken issue with such a characterization of European values. As would the Italians who spat on Mussolini's upside down dangling corpse. American values are individualistic. And though the chains of political correctness creep over their shoulders, they still react like free men and women, rather than children afraid of being taken to task by their elders.
The new European values say that violence is bad regardless of its attribution. That only savages kill and relish a victory over an enemy. But when the traits of the fighter and the warrior are rooted out, then you are left with a nation of sheep. Ready for the taking. Europe has made itself safe enough to attract a southern and eastern breed of wolf. Lupine immigrants whose values are genuinely atavistic and who eagerly feed on nations of sheep.
That is the problem with locking up combative instincts and confiscating guns. Sooner or later you will need them. The world is not a hothouse, it is an ongoing struggle for land, life and resources. Countries do not exist because the UN mandated it, but because their people fought and died to make it so. Teach the people to be sheep, and the countries will not long survive their first encounter with the wolves. The American violent now atavism frowned on by the elites of the EUSSR is what stood between them and the wolves. It may end up doing that again before another centuries comes to its end.
The hue and cry over bullying carries an echo of that same fussiness. A philosophy in denial about human nature. Every defense against oppression ultimately becomes its own force of oppression. Books of regulations can be a far more ruthless form of oppression than a punch in the face. And a bureaucracy charged with rooting out modes of behavior quickly becomes the worst bully of all.
The editor of the French left wing paper, Libération, wrote of "this base, uncomfortable joy, unprecedented in a democracy, that blew yesterday over the streets of New York." But such joy is rooted in democracy. The French ought to know that better than anyone else. Or has Monsieur Demorand completely forgotten the words of his own national anthem, that speaks of triumphantly watering the fields of France with the "impure blood" of her enemies. Freedom, national and personal freedom, is fought for by men and women who are not only willing to die for it, but are willing to kill for it. Not with the mechanical distance of bomber pilots, but the violent passion of human beings who refuse to submit to their enemies.
No democracy will survive for long without that "uncomfortable joy". It will either be consumed by the wolves from without or from within. The hothouse society is a nation of wimps. Easily bullied, always looking to some authority, some international law for its protection. When it is struck, then it takes refuge in its own moral superiority for not resorting to violence. Eventually it forgets how to hate and remembers only how to fear.
For a nation not to be bullied, its people must know how to stand up to bullies. Not to go along with them. Not how to understand their point of view. Or how to run and tell someone in authority about them. But how to fight back against them and win.