A nice comment from commenter Tamerlane, expanding on my posts about bullying.
This reminded me of your posts on bullying and in many of them you justified that it is simply human nature, therefore you will never get rid of it. Yes, that is simply a fact and people need to accept it.
However, you overly emphasized that bullying had to do with either the inability and/or refusal to conform to social norms and behaviors. Which I remember thinking was true, but way too myopic. There were simply more factors. Perhaps those other factors did not share as large a percentage in terms of the causes of bullying as the inability and/or refusal to conform to social norms and behaviors, but nevertheless there were more factors that were too significant to dismiss or overlook.
I think with this post you have identified a second major factor. It is sadism. All humans are sadists, just not equally. Like everything else in nature, there is a bell curve distribution with regards to this trait.
To wrap things up, there is a third and final major factor. It is the behavior of humans in groups, i.e. human sociology. One is inclined to go along with the group lest one also becomes a victim. One is inclined to go along with the group if the pack leader (Alpha/most popular individual) is the instigator, lest one risks incurring his/her wrath due to the refusal to conform and therefore loses status in the group.
One is inclined to go along with the group and perhaps even show more cruelty and sadism than what would be considered average in that specific situation in order to gain more social status in order to move up the social hierarchy of that particular group and gain acceptance, and or more power. One is inclined to go along with the group in order to avoid being identified with the bullied and therefore lose group membership and be kicked out and thus become vulnerable to other groups.
So to put it all together:
1) Bullying is caused by the inability and/or refusal to conform to social norms and behaviors. These norms and behaviors can range anything from ethnicity, height, weight, socioeconomic status, social skills, already-perceived lower social status, etc., etc. In this way a target is selected.
2) Humans have a tendency to lord over perceived inferiors and take pleasure in their pain, i.e. sadism. This is a major motivating factor which makes the bullies act on the perceived differences of the target. Sadism gives one delight; makes you feel “big” and “tall”. It boosts your ego.
3) Humans go along with the group even if they may not individually agree with what is taking place due to group dynamics and uncountable other concepts that one can find in a sociology book. Or to put it more bluntly, most people are cattle and will moo with whatever intonation seems right/true/convenient at the moment.