Civilization is a pretty thin veneer, really.
Bullying and coercion is not just a school-yard thing. It’s everywhere and even at the highest levels.
This report on Australian surgeons was released a few months ago, uncovering bad behaviour from people we would normally think of as being outstanding and pretty darn smart. So bullying works even on people at the top of the pecking order, and in supposedly the most caring of professions.
We humans are a gregarious lot, and we pretend we’re all rational, but the pressure to conform and fit in is intense. Even for rational souls it’s easier to say nothing. No wonder the climate science debate is loaded with namecalling, bad manners, and petty mockery. Politicians and newspaper editors often don’t speak up because they are afraid of being called stupid or a “denier”.
Bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment are rife in the surgical profession, a damning report has found.
Half the surgeons and trainees who responded said they had been victimized.
We are winning the debate on the science, but we need to win the social war too:
Although about three out of five registered trainees surveyed said they’d been bullied, making complaints was widely believed to be “career suicide”.
Sexism was entrenched and endemic and sexual harassment pervasive, with women reporting they felt powerless to protest.