The Islamic State Just Doesn’t Get It.

Well, it seems those damned Muslims in Iraq and Syria are misbehaving again.

And they’re getting worse!

WTF is the matter with those people? We’ve already bombed the crap out of them at least twice, and still they insist on their revelatory religion, and they’re only getting more committed to it, getting stricter and more fundamentalist. We’re having to go bomb them again, like we told them we would, like everybody knew we would if they acted up again. We’ve tried everything, haven’t we? We occupied them, some really present, hands on supervision, plus we’ve tried invisible death from the sky. If that doesn’t let them know that we will always know when they’re misbehaving and that we can always catch them and correct them, I don’t know what would!

We’ve shot them, bombed them, blown up whole families, even whole villages, yet for some reason, despite that we will kill and maim them, they continue to kill and maim each other. Where do they get this idea that it’s OK to do that? Who do they think they are?

It’s their Quran, isn’t it? It’s a manual for violence, and it teaches that life is cheap. That must be it. They are raised on the belief that violence can solve any problem that presents itself, and that belief is so pervasive and so entrenched that all of our righteous violence can’t seem to get through to them. It almost seems hopeless. It almost seems like we should just give it up. After all, we’ve tried everything.

But how can we? What they’re doing is so bad!

I guess we’ll just have to step it up.

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Leading by Example is Not Optional

Is that what we think? Do we say to ourselves and our peers, ‘I’m going to lead by example in this case?’

Like, the other times, when we did something and hoped no-one would see it as an example: yesterday, that thing I did? Don’t do that. Do as I say, not as I do. But today, today, I’m leading by example. This I do want you to emulate.

Like that is up to us.

I’ve enjoyed this form of literary masturbation in the past, the binocular peep show I will call the two-pronged blog, so I’ll try it again. Part One – the Middle East.

Let’s start with a harmless fantasy. How about we just get the Hell out of the ME, completely? America’s oil production is up, Alberta is already destroyed anyway, might as well milk the plateau that starts at the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains for all it’s worth, plus there’s still the Gulf. We’ve got oil here. I say we offer the Israelis some plot of land about the size of the one they have now, say Richard Gere’s place or something . . . and just walk away. Leave the various clans of Islam to sort it out among themselves. And in doing so . . .

Lead by example. We should leave them a letter or something, like –

“Dear Arabs, we’re sorry we took your oil and your blood for so long, but we’re stopping now. I don’t know why we did it, we were such pricks. All we can say is, we’re sorry. We wish we could explain it somehow, try to make some sense of it, but no, we just suck, and we’re sorry. We know that isn’t very satisfying. Of course you’re still pissed. All we can say is that we’re trying to change, and maybe, if we can be better for a few decades, maybe future generations of our peoples can have some sort of normal relationship. We acknowledge we’re leaving you in a terrible mess, but we think if there is one thing we can agree on, it must be that our efforts to clean it up only ever make it worse.

Good luck,

Love,

The West.”

and then we concentrate on getting our own house in order, see if we can’t establish something, a form of life and government that may be recognizable as an attempt to establish the Christian dream of Heaven on Earth . . . you know. Lead by example.

Because what do they see of the West over there? Conquest, war, dominance, that’s what we show Islam, and we hope that they don’t see that as an example. We don’t get to do that, we don’t get to say ‘don’t follow our example yesterday, follow it today.’ That’s not how the world works. People are watching us all the time. Everything we do is an example, we aren’t invisible until we say ‘see me now!’

Of course, part of this conversation must always be, action speaks louder than words. The world is always watching, but it is rarely listening, rightly so, of course. A great deal of what we do is far more important stuff we only say.

And so for the macro-view, geopolitics. Of course, the fractal seed, the base unit for this, is parenting. It doesn’t matter what moral lesson you are trying to teach your child if you teach it with any sort of negative stimulus, literal pain, loss of a loved object, loss of personal freedom, whatever.

Say what you will, you’re making your child’s life worse.

And your child will see it.

Regarding the Online talk about Bullying

There was a post on here recently, about a bullying incident, I think it was one that went viral, about a boy who was being bullied for bringing his My Little Pony backpack to school and the school basically told his mother he was asking for it, and he should just conform – of course I’m paraphrasing, but you’ve probably heard the story anyway.

Of course I find the school’s reaction appalling, it’s victim-blaming and all that, wrong from every possible angle.

But there was a comment stream about this story that went on forever, and I’m sorry to say, very few comments that had anything useful to say. Mostly, all the commenters wanted to punish the bullies. The school should, or the parents should . . . and that shows a disturbing lack of understanding.

Punishing CAUSES bullying.

because

Punishing IS bullying.

The only differences are who’s doing it and why. The differences are: children are not authorized to punish and the reasons they punish are not sanctioned. The process, and the rationale are the same, and are as follows:

someone (a kid) does something that some more powerful person (bigger kid/bully, or parent/authority figure) judges to be wrong, and the bully/authority figure imposes some sort of hurt on them, it’s that simple.

Every time an adult punishes a child, they not only demonstrate and teach the process, but they make the punished kid feel helpless and powerless, thereby creating in him a need to find someone else to do it to, a need to find a situation where he feels he has some power again.

An example follows, and there will be a quiz afterwards.

Billy gets defiant at dinner and refuses to eat his vegetables, something his parents think is wrong, so they punish him, by banning him from the internet for the evening. This tells Billy that he lacks the power of choosing to play online when he likes, or eat what he likes, shows him that the exercise of power is a socially acceptable thing, and that it is the method his parents use to modify his behaviour, to stop him doing something they think is wrong.

Now Billy goes to school the next day, he’s with his friends, and he sees someone doing something he thinks is wrong – wearing something “wrong,” doing something that Billy has judged that he wouldn’t do, something that seems wrong to him.

The quiz:

1. What have the adults taught Billy to do in this situation?

(Bearing in mind, perhaps the parents have told Billy not to bully – but, action speaks louder than words. What have they SHOWN him?)

2. What pre-existing need does Billy have that this situation may appear to him to fill?

. . . now here’s the tricky part . . .

3. What will punishing Billy again do?

It may be debatable whether there are behaviours that can be improved by punishing – but the behaviours that are actually CAUSED by punishing, they can’t be.

 

Punishment helps to teach kids right from wrong – not.

. . . everyone thinks that normal stuff. It’s a silly myth if anyone thinks there is some huge group of people out there who thinks “aw, screw it, I’m just gonna let my kids do whatever the hell they want.” Most people believe what you’re saying, that we need to use some kind of disincentives, to teach right from wrong – and still, this is the world we get. A world where we all seem to perceive ourselves as evil, naturally bad, and requiring some force or control to whip us into line, a world where high school kids torment one another to the point of suicide. A world where even the good people of the world seem to feel killing “bad” people is OK.

Bullying as Punishment

the world runs on authority, on force. The army, the police, schools, corporate hierarchies, parenting, parenting, parenting. Family structure. Punishment and discipline is a system by where we control unwanted behaviour by force, and punishment, which, punishment is defined as dishing out unpleasantness to the misbehavers in order to motivate them to change their ways.

This is pretty much a definition of bullying. The bully punishes the victim. The bully justifies this punishment by listing the victims’ misbehaviours, or the victims’ family’s, or race’s, or faith’s misbehaviours.

This is punishing behaviour, this is bullies doing what their parents did, doing what the police do, I mean the bully’s behavior is VERY CLOSE to that, closer than any of us would like to think. I’m saying the bully feels he is doing what he sees around him, that in the parlance of some schools of psychology, the bully is getting his power back, after some authority figure has taken his power from him.

So, parents, schools going to the bully kids and telling them to stop is a joke to these kids. They see it as just more ‘do as I say, not as I do.’ So do I, for that matter. I, for one, would love to see someone ask the kids if I’m right about that. Don’t take my word for it. Ask the kids.

Parents don’t think they are bullying. We have a consensus about what is acceptable punishing behavior, and we really cannot seem to draw parallels with our legitimate punishments and other similar behaviours. If we can’t, if we won’t see how bullying is an extension, an extrapolation of our punishing ways, then there is very little hope that any of our conversation about bullying, any of our attempts to combat it will get any traction, very little hope of our ever solving a problem if we refuse to understand it in the first place. Surely, someone has noticed that speeches that don’t acknowledge this difficult truth have not had any dramatic effect on the bullying phenomenon? I think any approach that doesn’t include this idea would be considered empty and hopeless, at least to any group that lives under threat or reality of punishment – like our kids.

Long and short, if we don’t stop ‘bullying’ our kids at home, we will never stop their bullying, that should be obvious. I don’t know why it isn’t.

Many nations have outlawed corporal punishment, in Canada, we are in the process of outlawing it, and I can see the next step, that we will someday realize that the damage caused by punishing behaviours generally outweigh any benefit, and when we all stop anything like bullying, so will our kids. Until then, we will fight this bullying thing in vain, fighting it in the schools, and causing it at home.

So now, there are programs, task forces, plans and research, all government money spent to figure out this embarrassing problem, and if we don’t try to stop people from the use of punishment – corporal and otherwise – on our kids at home, we are wasting all those resources. And that is a sad, cruel joke, one that the parents don’t understand, and only our kids are laughing about. Not in a good way.