The gap between ideal and reality is rarely bridged and one of the biggest self-delusions is the suggestion that anti-bullying policy is effective. In fact, we live in a society where bullying is neither acknowledged nor recognized, consequently, the suggestion it is effectively opposed is a myth.

Bullies want to show they have power and that they are superior and they do that by exerting control any way they can. In the school yard they can be overtly aggressive. In the work place bullying is subtle and pervasive. Ever heard of ostracization? Do you know what it is? Have you ever known anybody to have been penalized for having sparked ostracizing behaviour?

Like psycopaths who are experts at manipulating emotions and insecurities, bullies intimidate by belittling, humiliating, mistreating and mocking and ostracization is the tool which provides the opportunity to fulfill this degrading process.

Not surprisingly, victims of this abuse strike back. When their simmering anger hits the boiling point, we read about it in the news but the tyrants who are responsible for the bullying which sparked the fuse are never publicly exposed.

Is it a huge surprise that the routine and constant provocations of ignorant bullies triggers a violent reaction?

If we paused to recognize the predictable, long-fused powderkeg which is never explained in the media because zombie pundits shake their heads in predictable bewiderment whenever a target of bullying ultimately explodes, we would perhaps be in a better position to appreciate the need for a more effective, anti-bullying policy.

What sparks ostracizing behaviour in the workplace? Who enables this conduct? Who tends to be its target? What precaution are in place to circumvent a tragic outcome? If these questions are not carefully considered, expect violence.

Anti-bullying campaigns invariably fail because the desire to inflict misfortune upon others cannot be eradicated by wishful thinking. The most practical way to oppose bullying is to encourage anti-bullying conduct in a routine, consistent and persistent manner.

Generally speaking, people are not very tolerant because they view the world through their own, "rose-coloured" glasses. It is therefore easy to determine that genuine inclusiveness would thwart the ability to bully. We can all use a greater awareness about people who are not "like us". As Andrew Carnegie indicated, �the tolerant person is the one who holds his mind open for new facts, new knowledge and new viepoints on all subjects."

By that standard, we are surrounded by intolerance. Mr. Carnegie clearly identified the implication of that in the following terms -this is what intolernace does:

1. It makes enemies of those who would like to be friends.
2. It stops the growth of the mind by limiting the search for knowledge.
3. It discourages imagination.
4. It prohibits self-discipline.
5. It prevents accuracy in thinking and reasoning.

Moreover it damages the character through unseen and unknown ways which limit the use of spiritual forces. That is what distinguishes us from animals and if we do not develop a spiritual dimension, whether it is religious or secular, characteristics like bullying and dominance threaten to explode,and they frequently do.

Perhaps Andrew Carnegie even defined the character that dissuades bullying tactics when he said; "Everyone mistrusts the man who resorts to subterfuge instead of dealing frankly with his daily associates. I�ve known men who were so slippery that you could not pin them down to a direct, clear cut statement on any subjects. And I have never yet seen a man of this type who could be depended upon. This sort of man does not come right out and lie but he does what amounts to exactly the same thing. By deliberately withholding important facts from those who have the right to know the facts. This habit is a form of dishonesty, which, if indulged in for very long will undermine the soundest character."

Isn't that what we all need? Don't men and women of sound character always find the courage to speak and deal directly with people in a manner that does not make them feel threatened or bullied? People must learn to follow this habit even though it may at times be to their personal disadvantage. People who resort to subterfuge to deceive others seldom have much confidence in themselves, to be able to find the courage to act appropriately. In the long run, these people who deceive others are merely deceiving themselves, and that is certainly a well understood concept -short-term pain produces long-term gain.

In the final analysis, there is a litmus test we can all use to identify bullies. Simply put, expect respect, and if you are not getting it, you are being bullied. Those who claim that you have to earn respect are simple self-deceived. But you can easily lose respect, and if that happens, it will be harder to get it back.