Values, Bullying and Rebellion

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Ilya Shambat

Sep 30, 2022, 9:45:18 AMSep 30
A person is more likely to do something if it is presented as something he values than if it is presented as something that he does not. If cleanliness is associated with thoroughness and excellence, which are virtues, then a person is more likely to pursue it than if it is associated with anal retentiveness, which is a flaw. It therefore makes sense to explain such things in a way that is positive and reasonable rather than in a way that is bullying or controlling. And if one explains such things in a way that is bullying or controlling, then one risks alienating the person against them for a long time.

When I was 12, I was in a summer camp, and kids were trying to get me to behave their way by telling me that if I did not I would get beaten up. This was precisely the wrong thing to do. It lead to a power struggle. Consideration is a virtue, but bullying is not. If you try to instill consideration through bullying, then consideration is identified with bullying, and what is in fact a virtue is seen as a part of the problem.

Similarly we see people attempting to get their way with their children by telling them that if they do not they will suffer consequences or die. That once again is precisely the wrong thing to do. The child sees bullying behavior and he correctly rebels against it. And even when one is right – as for example if one wants the child to work hard or to act ethically – these virtues are associated in the child's mind with the bullying behavior, and that sets off a struggle that leads to these virtues being fought against.

The correct solution is to use righful arguments. It is to explain why certain actions are rightful and why they benefit others and oneself. But if you are being a bully, you are doing precisely the wrong thing. Once again, you are identifying virtues with flaws, and that leads to these virtues being fought against because they are identified with bullying behavior. This results in rebellion on the part of anyone who correctly stands against bullying and aggression. And then the virtues themselves get a bad name, and we see the kinds of people who are naturally idealistic and rightfull against such things as bullying and aggression becoming rebels.

So we see any number of people raised in WASP culture deciding that the WASP culture is the root of all evil. It is in no way such a thing. There are many that are right with the WASP culture. However in any culture, if you are teaching your values through bullying and aggression, you will make rebels of people who are against bullying and aggression. And in America we have seen such people go to places such as the academia and foment youth revolts against the WASP culture under the names of such things as political correctness, Third Wave feminism and religion-hating ideologies. If you teach your values with violence, bullying and threats, you will associate your values in the child's mind with violence, bullying and threats. And then the youth who are against such things, identifying your values with this misconduct, will revolt against your values, even on matters on which your values are right.

In my case, I have had to search long, far and hard to figure out what actually is rightful and what is not. One example we see toward what I speak of is Nietzsche. He saw many things wrong and correctly named them, but he also attacked a number of things that were right. He spoke against “small considerations.” That is wrong. But when the real virtue such as consideration is taught as part of the same mindset as any number of actual wrongs that Nietzche correctly confronted, it is very easy to make the error of conflating it with these wrongs. So if you teach your values incorrectly, expect any number of people to revolt against these values.

The correct way to teach one's values, once again, is to explain why they are there. That way you are engaging the mind of the person, and you are making the mind your friend rather than your enemy. At which point the mind then picks up on these values and correctly applies them and communicates them to others. And then we run a much lesser risk of rebellion and a much greater chance of raising wholesome people who practice correct concepts of right and wrong.

Ilya Shambat
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