I agree with B Psycho's note on The Last Man to Believe This Motorcycle Jacket Is Cool's WSJ bit on bullying: the inevitable outcome of every attempt at critical thought by anyone ever associated with Reason magazine is to determine that but for a few nosy schoolmasters and regulatchiks, everything is fine; eliminate a few administrative agencies, flatten the income tax, and ceteris paribus, it's all good, bro. The fact that more zero tolerance policies and hamhanded legislative brickbats lobbed aimlessly in the direction of bullying are worthless or undesirable or, to use a liberal coinage, counterproductive, does not necessarily imply the absence of a problem for the kids at the wrong end of the jungle gym.
There is one particular Gillespian sentence that could stand a little bullying itself:
None of this is to be celebrated, of course, but it hardly paints a picture of contemporary American childhood as an unrestrained Hobbesian nightmare.Of course, from an anarchist rather than libertarian perspective, that is to say, from a perspective interested in something other than crafting a state apparatus friendlier to the lifestyle preferences of a minor cadre of collegucated white dudes, American childhood is a Hobbesian nightmare--for whatever reason, poor old Hobbes got adjectized into the opposite of what he advocated; properly speaking, Hobbesian ought to refer, admiringly, to something very much like totalitarianism; and that is the experience of childhood in America, an endless skein of muy loco parentis dictators-manqués with interludes of self-policing straight out of the even nuttier adult world--children enacting the depravity of their governors upon and amidst themselves.
To look at childhood today and say that it is gentler, positively improved from the past because fewer kids worry about getting black eyes in the sandlot after school is to look at, oh, let's say race in America today and conclude that shit's just fine for black people because look, ma, no Jim Crow. Of course Jim Crow was replaced by an even more pernicious and pervasive drug-war/prison-complex--replaced deliberately, I might add; likewise, children today are ever more hemmed in by much subtler but altogether more ubiquitous schemes of coercive and compulsory normalization. The direct linkage to suicide and the know-nothing pathology of "epidemics" notwithstanding, the idea that children today have it great because you heard this story about helicopter moms living in the dorm with their college-aged daughters is plainly ignorant, and the mechanisms and institutions of childhood development all conspire to do what society does: to instill deference to authority, suspicion of dissent, intolerance of idiosyncrasy, and an attitude of uniform compliance to accepted norms with the instinct to segregate and deride anyone who deviates from them.