Sunday, January 5, 2014

New Jersey's New Anti-Bullying Law is a Collectivist Travesty

In his article Bullying may not be what you think, Warren Cooper noted that New Jersey's new Anti-Bullying Law "requires bullying to be 'motivated by … any actual or perceived characteristic' of the victim" and is aimed at "what the law calls 'protected classes' of victims."

The Hunterdon County Democrat published my letter on the subject:

To the editor:

In his column “Bullying may not be what you think,” in last week’s Hunterdon County Democrat, Warren Cooper noted that New Jersey’s new anti-bullying law is aimed at “what the law calls ‘protected classes’ of victims” that “requires bullying to be ‘motivated by … any actual or perceived characteristic, such as race, color, religion.’”

What is particularly disturbing about this law is the collectivist premise behind the phrase “protected class.” This is part of a broader trend in America towards the devaluing of the individual in favor of the group as the focus of moral concern. Collectivism is the same ideology that gave rise to all of the tribal strife of history, including the Nazi and communist horrors of the 20th century.

Only individuals exist. Groups, however they are described, do not exist. Group concepts like race, color and religion are abstractions denoting a number of individuals. It follows that only individuals, not groups, can be bullied. A properly structured law would objectively define bullying as coercive interference in any individual’s rights to his life, liberties, or property, regardless of the motives of the bully or any characteristic that ties the victim to some abstract grouping.

America is the nation of individual rights, in which all individuals’ rights are protected equally and at all times. But as Cooper notes, the state’s anti-bullying law singles out certain people for protection while implicitly excluding others. This feature violates the principle of equal protection under the law. The anti-bullying law is un-American and unjust, and should be scrapped and completely rewritten.

The more we devalue the individual by associating him to some group, the less respect we will have toward our fellow human beings. I project that this law will victimize a lot of innocent children, and let a lot of actual bullies off the hook.

Related Reading:

Individualism vs. Collectivism: Our Future, Our Choice—Craig Biddle

Collectivism vs. Individualism in Letters

1 comment:

MikeKevitt said...

So, is 'bullying' coercion? It must be, if it's appropriate to make a law against it. So bullying must be an arbitrary threat of physical force, or an assault and, maybe, battery. This is true of kiddies in a playground as well as in the adult world.

I think 'bullying' is just a word thrown into it when it's kids. In that context, it's also a smear word. When 'bullying' merely means kids mean-mouthing other kids, for whatever reasons, rather than coercion, law is outa the question. Non-legally binding rules by private entities forbidding such 'bullying' can be brought to bear on it by those entities.