Thursday, November 6, 2014

Chicken Soup with the Civilizing Process...

In my ISIS and Ebola post one of my readers expressed confusion about my simultaneous claims that people are just animals with a thin veneer of civility, and that environment was responsible for producing criminal behavior, including bullying.  The following is my attempt to explain my position:

Humans are just animals, but they have two behavioral characteristics that make them relatively easy to civilize.  Humans are very imitative, particularly when they're young and they are also creatures of habit.

A human animal that spends its adolescence in a civilized environment will tend to imitate the behavior of those around it.  Over time, the civilized behavior consistently role modeled and enforced by the adults in its life will become a life long habit.

Family and school, the two social institutions that are supposed to maintain this civilized environment are failing to do their job.  This is especially true for the American Family, but don't expect anyone in authority to be brave enough to admit it.  In the case of bullies, parents knowingly and intentionally fail to civilize their offspring.  They consider civilized behavior to be a sign of weakness.

Your children behave themselves because you raised them to be spineless pussies.  Your children are weak and unworthy.  My children get respect because I raised them to be strong, aggressive, and manly.

This criminal behavior on the part of the bully's parents is supported and reinforced by a culture that rewards violence and cruelty while punishing and shaming those who are not violent.  The "Karate Kid" series of movies sent a clear message to adolescents that adults either cannot or will not expend any effort to maintain a civilized environment.  Victims of violence can either put up with it or they can find someone to train them to be even more violent than the bully.  A more psychotic version of this scenario can be found in the movie "Never Back Down."  Outside of movie theatres we have the NFL, MMA, and the WWE, all aggressively promoting the idea that anyone who isn't violent simply isn't worthy.

America is a culture that makes it easy for terrorists to sleep at night by loudly and repeatedly broadcasting the message that victims of violence simply do not matter.

In America, in just about any venue you can observe, the least violent or otherwise least powerful male, the one that no one fears, is almost always the one with the lowest degree of social status.  These individuals are described as "scapegoats" in my Bully Enablers post.

People behave like animals unless purposely conditioned to do otherwise.  That's what I meant by my claim that environment was responsible for producing bullies and just about all other criminals.  The environments of family and school are failing to civilize adolescents and the results of their criminal incompetence can be observed every night at 6:00 and 11:00.

As one who is civilized enough to have earned the right to complain about terrorism would be caught dead enabling a bully.


  1. I’m not trying to push anybody in any direction, just stirring the pot with what I’ve observed, for the purpose of having deeper truths bubble up. And then hopefully from such being able to create readily understood and accepted explanations for most past and potential enablers to easily and willfully embrace as being in their own best interest. If we’re good at this even penis garage airheads will get it.
    My view on temperament:

    Psychopaths: Experts believe 1-3% of all humans are born psychopaths. This is a genetically extreme personality. Only the dumb ones wind up jailed, maimed or dead. Like alpha wolves, the smart ones are hardwired to take advantage of their environment for their own selfish advantage, caring nothing about everybody else (or only that there's somebody to dominate). And they are notoriously incorrigible. They cannot be retrained or broken.

    Sociopaths: Experts place them in the next (meanest) category. They are usually born with an aggressive temperament, but much of their behavior is shaped by their environment. They can be trained/retrained to civility, but this can be difficult if they developed (grew up) in a tough environment. Think pit bulls.

    Normals: The place where most enablers come from. Most humans are by far, born normals. Usually quite trainable. There are many kinds of normals - too many to discuss here, but one is the ‘traditional’ or ‘conservative’ thinker, who are natural born behavioral mimics, rarely straying from what they learned as children, good or bad. Think typical family dog.

    Empaths: Born with unusually strong social emotions. Not necessarily social, but need to be liked, to love, caring deeply about others and the direction of humanity. The extreme version of these represent the other end of the human emotional spectrum, and I think can be as incorrigible as psychopaths but of course, in the direction of agreeableness. Think bichon frise.
    My theory:

    Enablers: I think you’re right about enablers. Even if all bullies were completely incorrigible psychopaths or sociopaths, normals outnumber them by such a margin that theoretically, bullies could easily be excluded from any society. Everything starts and ends with what the enabler mob believes and allows. Bullies are simply taking advantage of what is for them, a good thing.

    About the mob: I used to believe that mobbing or bullying started with the alpha machinations of psychopaths/sociopaths, then radiated outward towards increasingly normal people, until a tipping point of “everybody’s doing it so it must be right” was reached. But I’ve learned this is not always the case. Sometimes an aggressor (psychopath or normal) can provoke mobbing reactions in well-intentioned other normals who ‘were parented/schooled’ to defend their ‘tribe’ against threats. And the chosen scapegoat is mis-perceived or framed as a threat to that tribe. In these cases there is no alpha status reward – the reward is merely elimination of the ‘threat’. This kind of bullying may be outside the scope of this website but it’s also quite common. Think al qaeda. Or any national championship party mob that’s collectively determined the cops are the threat.

  2. So I work at a high school as a custodian, and one of the vice principals has an article about Izzy Kalman's approach to bullying taped to his wall. Just thought I'd let you know.

    - Bill Dobsy

    1. Send me his name so I can mail him a copy of my Izzy Kalman post. I won't post it of course and I'll delete your comment as well if you like.

    2. What lazy vice principal wouldn’t support a philosophy that made his job easier?

      Hey Bill, as a warning, it's best to stay completely anonymous at the high school. Don't tell anybody about this. In the odd chance the VP really is a lazy ass he might see you as a threat to his easy money and make things difficult for you.

    3. Wouldn't the vice principal love to receive a crisp, full color copy of Chicken Soup with Izzy Kalman?