Thursday, June 12, 2014

What Is Behind School Violence

By Michael Rozeff

Hamilton Bertie “Tony” Gibson (1914-2001) was a British anarchist, conscientious objector (for which he was imprisoned) and psychologist. Gibson wrote Youth for Freedom (1951), a provocative pamphlet. From this work, we may extract a theory that explains school violence, which is a worldwide phenomenon and not uniquely American. Being worldwide, youth violence cannot be explained by the means of violence used, be they guns, clubs, knives, rocks, spears, fire, or whatever.
The theory can be partly stated as follows. Children have certain behaviors that come naturally to them, instinctively one might say. If they are allowed to have a childhood that lets them vent and live through these instincts, they will develop into adults who are not unusually aggressive. But if adults make the child live in ways that go too much against these natural instincts, then the child retains its asocial and ferocious instincts into adult life, rather than living through them as a childhood stage of development. Adults then look adult and act adult but retain child instincts and behavior. As he says “The nice young men who lightheartedly fly bombers and devastate towns are simply neurotic beings who have had to wait until their twenties to give proper expression to the instincts of infancy.” Later he writes “The children who grow up with a satisfactory gratification of their instinctual life in the various phases of their development are more likely to have sound adult instincts at a comparatively early age and therefore resist the fantastic demands of the State in the matter of military service.”
The more that a culture (mainly through public schools) anywhere in the world attempts to suppress mildly aggressive or simply physical behaviors that are peculiar to children and make them behave in adult ways that restrict them too greatly, the more likely we are to observe extremes of aggression breaking out and the more that aggressive instincts will be nurtured in adults. Giving drugs to children to suppress their activities and tendencies will tend to produce a greater tendency toward excessive violence, not simply or only by the physical aspects of the drugs but also by psychological reactions to the behavior control. The same outcome will come about by preventing boys from being boys, over-controlling rough and tumble play, overly suppressing taunts, fights, shoves, pushes, and rough sports. Children need the freedom to play with other children, to shout, to roughneck, and to play all kinds of games. They need the freedom to roam around on their own. They shouldn’t be prevented from learning how to shoot rifles or bows and arrows, if this appeals to them. Vicarious video game experiences may or may not provide adequate substitutes for play; I suspect that they do not in general do so.
The basis of this theory is Gibson’s observation that children are weaker than adults, and that to survive as weak beings under the thumbs of adults, they have behaviors peculiar to being children. “The child is a gregarious but not a truly social animal; when in mental and physical health, it is aggressive to the point of ferocity and capable of a ruthlessness which normal adults do not possess. It is entirely self-centered, and its love for other persons is of an essentially different nature from the affection which an adult may feel for another person.”
Aggression in adults and therefore approval of the State’s aggressions is, according to this theory, fostered by social systems and adults that overly control children. Since public schools exercise such control, they produce more adults who support the State, not simply or only by indoctrination or false history but by psychological means that make people comfortable with violent aggression and immorality.
“The well-meaning social moralists who bring up children according to an idealized adult code of behavior have to bear their full share of the blame for the supreme immorality of adult behavior.”
“The State in its drive towards totalitarian dominion assumes more and more the aspect of a hypocritical and repressive adult controlling a lot of children. In all the aspects of State interference with individual liberty we see the nasty schoolmarm, the pompous father.”
Guns do not explain youth and school violence because it is worldwide and doesn’t always involve guns. There are other theories than Gibson’s that attempt to explain school violence. There are theories that directly challenge Gibson, arguing that childhood aggression is not a playful thing that children grow out of. They argue that aggression is learned and therefore must be countered or suppressed in one way or another by adults. But if this is true, why are Americans and others experiencing even greater school violence as the attempts to suppress it are heightened?
I think Gibson’s theory has merit. If we are observing greater school violence, it is at the same time that we observe society constricting the schools, enforcing more and more rules, attempting to feminize boys, and going to extremes to suppress even mildly aggressive, even verbal, behavior. We see greater amounts of drugs being administered to children to dampen them down. This is tending to prevent normal childhood development. In the vain quest of reducing person-on-person violence, it is enhancing it. Not only that, it is producing adults who are comfortable with high amounts of State-inflicted violence and aggression.
Michael S. Rozeff is a retired Professor of Finance living in East Amherst, New York. He is the author of the free e-book Essays on American Empire: Liberty vs. Domination and the free e-book The U.S. Constitution and Money: Corruption and Decline.
The above originally appeared at


  1. I got into a bit of a tussle with one of the male bashers at #yessallwomen on Twitter.

    While they concede that not all men are monsters, they insist that enough of us are monsters so that something should be done about us. These are well-educated, well-paid, privileged and entitled feminists, for the most part, who are used to having their way and who, believing in collective identity politics, actively promote the "rape culture" and "war on women" memes. You can see their spokeswomen on CNN most days of the week.

    They were prompted to action by the Sandy Hook school shooting ("Those could have been OUR kids") and came out swinging after Elliott Rogers went on his shooting spree, having declared his desire for revenge on women who'd spurned him ("That could have been ME.")

    These women seem to feel no sense of responsibility or accountability for or complicity in anything that the American empire or our government does, at home or abroad, although, as a class, these ladies are among the primary beneficiaries of American violence. Their concern is only for themselves, and they seem to regard ay suggestion that these school and other shootings might be some kind of karmic blowback for the violence that we, the people, perpetrate or turn a blind eye to as the most vile misogynistic sexism.

    Here is the narcissism of degenerate progressivism writ large on the social media stage. As for permitting boys to be boys, it will never happen among this crowd.

  2. People, regardless of age or species, become violent when caged with other people. Schools are architecturally and procedurally similar to prisons. When imprisoned, humans fight just like pigs in a pen. The psychological theories regarding children's capacities for love and aggression being somehow different than adults' is, excuse me, a load of bull. The only difference is that some adults possess wisdom. If a person is capable of learning from and forgiving his/ her mistakes, then that person has grown into a self-actualized human being.

  3. The State will never be a suitable substitute for a Father, no matter how many wierdos and sick little statists wish it.

  4. Schools are where LBGT values define morality. I wonder if one of the reasons why you see adults acting badly in public schools is because of the psychological crushing of men and female values by all of the gay clubs, LBGT clubs, = clubs, and so forth. The schools give these groups top priority for fear of not being in compliance with equity and inclusive issues. None of these are civil rights' clubs. These are sex clubs masquerading as civil rights clubs. My take is that single male and single female teachers in an effort to retake their identity will act out to confirm what it is that defines much of who they are. There is the male persona and a female persona. Artists adopt different personas to complete interesting work. Some adopt the persona of a Dashiell Hammett or Christopher Hitchens or Hemmingway or a Tom Cruise or a Mr. T. or a John Wayne, others are Einsteins, Frank Lloyd Wrights, and Edisons. It’s creative play that can readily be used for creative production. But the LBGT comes along and distractively anchors its values and shames anything antagonistic to it. Schools crush gender inspired persona. In men and in women. Kids will join clubs to protect their identity. Single adults behaving badly is like acting out. For the time that they are misbehaving with minors, they see it as lifestyle and not a breach of morality or etiquette. They’re enjoying the company of younger kids, and why not? I mean life isn’t structured so that you hang out with people of your own age and your own sex. That’s anti-life. Two kinds of sexual misconduct are reported in the media--heterosexual sex and psychotic perversion. Hence, the kind of sex that is held up as Platonic beauty is LBGT sex, sex that does not involve children. Imagine having on campus a club that celebrates the surgical rearrangement of what is natural to you and the energy that comes from that persona, as a man or as a woman, to negotiate the world and then have a public-sanctioned institution tell you that there is something wrong with you because of the very thing that you take pride in. Schools are sensitivity training grounds. And amidst this cesspool that glorifies sex instead of personal accomplishment, kids get confused and shamed for raising legitimate questions what might be deemed intolerant and disrespectful. Is it no wonder in a world where evil is never held to account that kids and adults badly want out of these concentration camps named after presidents? Rozeff's review of Gibson is excellent and refreshing.

  5. I am truly sorry that you posted this article which states. The more that a culture (mainly through public schools) anywhere in the world attempts to suppress mildly aggressive or simply physical behaviors that are peculiar to children and make them behave in adult ways that restrict them too greatly, the more likely we are to observe extremes of aggression breaking out and the more that aggressive instincts will be nurtured in adults.

    Obviously that statement is incorrect.

    Antisocial behavior comes out of repeatedly crossing numerous moral and ethical rubicons, and comes to be ingrained and comes to be motivational.

    Criminal and psychopathic behavior patterns become habits in adolescence; and then become the ongoing centerpiece of one’s adult life to the point where some are morally insane and/or criminally insane individuals.

    I live in the inner city, at the very bottom of the social ladder, and am continually taunted by men and infact now even women who quite literally live as animals.

    I do not favor public schools beyond the fifth grade.