Well… not exactly.
“Hazing” (the ritualistic initiation of a person into a group, usually involving humiliation and/or violence) has recently been in the news, since the death of Robert Champion. There has long been a desire by many to see hazing made illegal; recent newsworthy developments will of course only going to make the anti-hazing desire stronger. And since having often involves physical harm, that’s not entirely unreasonable.
Thing is, hazing seems to be almost a biological imperative, at least for males. In virtually every culture, there is a “manhood ritual” of some sort, a “coming of age” trial when a boy becomes a man. Sometimes these things take the form of religious ritual or a party; sometimes, the tribe gives the boy a stick and boots his ass out into the cold and tells him not to come back until he has killed a lion or a bear. Sometimes it’s a tattoo or ritual scarification. Generally, whatever it is make a hell of a dent on the boy/man’s psyche. Once he’s through it, he *knows* he’s through it. There’s basically a short, sharp shock, and his life as a child is over and his life as an adult begins.
But in modern western countries, like the US, there is no such ritual. There’s not distinct transition from Boy to Man. Graduation from high school simply leads, often enough, directly to college… which, often enough, is several years of partying (sadly, that’s not my memory of it, but your mileage may vary). And so we have the phenomenon of the “man child,” who hits thirty and has no higher aspirations than to get drunk, play video games and chase tail.
There are of course some distinct exceptions. Somehow I suspect that if you transition right from high school to having some mutant of a DI screaming at you and tossing you into mud and telling you to grab a weapon and go kill the enemy… that you’ll notice. But the military experience is once that only a small fraction of men have.
So… boys get into their late teens – time when, for most of humans who have ever been, they would be out on their own, raising kids and slaying foes and fighting off wolves and bears and badgers and lambs and sloths and carp and anchovies and orangutans – and that apparently programmed-in need for a Manhood Trial goes unfulfilled. Some go to college and enter a frat, where they get brands or tattoos or drink lethal quantities of alcohol in order to gain acceptance from a bunch of people who were not smart enough to avoid entering an organization that required branding, tattoos or ingesting poison.
Given the near universal nature of such rituals, it seems reasonable to expect that there is a genetic basis for it, much like the “God Gene.” As such, if there is a biological drive for something and it goes unfulfilled, then stupidity can be the expected result. Perhaps a case can be made that some sort of Manhood Ritual needs to be re-introduced into our culture.
Note that I’ve left out a “Womanhood Ritual.” This is not to slight the one or two wimminfolk who might read my ramblings; it’s simple recognition that while a male can slide smoothly from child to adult with no distinct and recognizable transition, the same is not true for females. Y’all have a rather obvious transition. While I’ve not been there in person when it happens, I understand it’s pretty much this: