"It all started when he hit me back."

It’s often been said that the lessons learned on the playground translate surprisingly well to the real world. (I know I’ve said it before.)

One thing that has come about to be “common knowledge” and I happen to disagree with is that fighting is the worst possible outcome to a disagreement. It seems that as soon as the fists start flying, the teachers step in and administer discipline equally to all involved parties.

I think this is exactly the wrong approach. It apportions blame equally, when often the responsibility isn’t even. In many cases, there’s a clear aggressor and a clear defender, and the school system is treating them as morally equal.

In my opinion, one thing worse than fighting is unchecked aggression. In a fight, both sides take their lumps. But when the aggressor is the only one using force, then only the innocent gets hurt. And we shouldn’t be teaching our children to respond to imminent threats to simply seek an authority figure — they might not always be around.

There’s a cliche’ among the left that goes along the lines of “what if they held a war, and nobody came?” It’s simple and appealing, but extremely unlikely. A far more likely outcome would be “only one side came,” and then there is no war, either — just brutal, unchecked aggression. Witness Germany’s expansion into Czechoslovakia and Austria before the invasion of Poland triggered World War II. It was that unchecked aggression that encouraged Germany to keep going. The lesson learned was that there was no price to be paid for aggression — a mistake that ultimately cost millions of lives to correct.

Yes, fighting is bad. And yes, war is horrible. But sometimes it’s the least worst option available. And the world isn’t a playground — there aren’t any teachers to run to, and the United States is the biggest kid around.

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23 Comments

  1. goddessoftheclassroom May 26, 2005
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