No Neutrality – There are No More Safe Paths

Exclamation MarkM*A*S*H 4077th was a TV show, and in my humble opinion, one of the best TV shows ever.  Running from 1972-1983, M*A*S*H featured the Korean War/Conflict, a mobile Army surgical hospital, and some of the funniest stories I have ever laughed at.  The central character was Hawkeye Pierce, who held a no-neutral zone policy where death was concerned.  Not that death did not arrive occasionally, but that as a surgeon on the front line between life and death, he refused to be mediocre, refused second place, and refused, utterly, to quit as long as there was any chance that his skills could save a life.

Inheritance Cycle(Series) · OverDrive: ebooks, audiobooks, and videos for libraries and schoolsIn the Inheritance series of books, Christopher Paolini uses the line, “The world is round, and the sky is empty.  There are no more safe paths.”  Another character who accepted no compromise refused a neutral stand, even in the face of great personal injury and sacrifice, and refused to allow suffering if he could prevent it using his skills.  I know both are works of fiction, but the lesson and principle remain true: there are no neutral zones and no more safe paths.

The Korean War/Conflict/Police Action ended in a demilitarized zone (DMZ) and a treaty.  Neither side victorious, neither side a loser, and neither side were satisfied.  Worse, ending the conflict in a compact and a DMZ left future generations the problems that initially caused the war to begin; thus, allowing China to have a puppet state to engage in LICLIC is driven by ideological passion, is supported by a person, government, nation, business, etc., with monetary means from a place of security, and attacks innocent people mercilessly.  LIC is guerilla warfare like nothing practiced in the jungles of Vietnam.Watch M*A*S*H 1972 full movie on 123movies

No Neutrality

To be brutally honest, there was never any neutral zone anywhere in the world after the Korean conflict.  The DMZ has been regularly tunneled under, troops have crossed to cause terror, and the war still rages across the Korean Peninsula.  Worse, after Vietnam, the world saw the attempted domination by the United Nations, which has failed gloriously.  Then “superpowers” were selected, the G-7, was tried, NATO, and so many other globe-spanning attempts to bring a neutral zone into existence, where no neutrality is possible.  Governments have interests, these interests shift, and in the shifting, enemies are made, and allies are won.

- inspiration from nature - aesthetic, calming - vibrant reds and greens making the neutral ...In nature, there is no neutrality.  Never has been; never will be.  A flower cannot decide one day not to bloom or delay blooming, for then it dies.  The same is true of animals, show me a neutral animal, and I will show you the predator who hunts that animal.  Why the human race thinks there can be neutrals is beyond my kin.  For humans must also answer to the laws and rules of nature, there is no neutral zone.  Nowhere on the planet can you find a gray spot where darkness and light do not conflict.  The place is either light or dark, hot or cold, dry or wet, with no middle ground, safe spot, or protected zone.  Go to the Jungles of Vietnam and find a location where the air is not humid, the temperature is not hot, and the jungle is friendly, kind, and supportive of all creatures, without regard for predator and prey; and I will sell you a bridge to the moon, made by rainbows and unaffected by gravity.

Some have made the erroneous claim that America was a neutral party in WWI.  Except, before we joined the war, we sold supplies to both sides.  That is not neutral, that is not informed neutrality, and it is not ethical or moral.  Legal, but many times legal is not moral or ethical.  Worse, we made the same decision in WWII.  Even worse, we have compounded the idiocy of neutrality through our actions since 2000 in the United Nations.

There are no more safe paths.

United Nations - World Ocean CouncilThe United Nations was a failed idea from the beginning and remains a bad decision to this day!  Worse, the bullish ignorance of the rules of nature, coupled with the failure of the Rule of Law, has left many a representative government across the world wondering who their allies are.  If a nation wonders who its allies are, it absolutely knows who the enemy is, but too often, the line between enemy and ally is murky and distorted.  With trade, global banks, globe-spanning businesses, and government interests constantly shifting, charting a course through these environments for a country is not an easy job.  However, the problem is not so much outside one’s borders as inside one’s borders.

Sure, India and China, and Pakistan have an active border problem, egged on by China, and influenced by social media.  Sure, the world still has tin-pot dictators and religious fanatics willing to cause mayhem and trouble at the slightest opportunity.  But those claiming social justice, working for equality, and hiding behind laws while committing acts of violence, are more pressing problems.

Celebrating United Nations Day: 5 Interesting Facts You Should KnowTruth be told, even in Eragon and M*A*S*H, there were never any “safe paths.”  The main characters had to realize this truth before they could grow mentally sufficient to overcome their dilemmas.  The same principle holds for every person in the world; we must realize there is no such thing as neutral zones, safe spaces, and safe paths.  We must individually choose a side, know why we chose that side, and then defend our choice from continued attacks.  LIC is war, and this war will only worsen until bigger weapons and nations fight against nations and begin actively throwing ammunition at each other.

Which side do you choose?

I stand for the Constitutional Republic of the United States of America.  For all her faults, and they are legion, this Constitutional Republic remains the world’s best answer to the problems we face collectively.  I swore the oath; I took the pay; I know what and who I stand for.  Do you?

Knowledge Check!Please note, I do not ask this question lightly.  In making that choice, I am automatically an enemy to every social justice envious person inside America’s borders.  Including at least three US Presidents, the current House and Senate Majority leaders, and legions of others who drink the Kool-Aid and worship at the church of American Hate.  Yet, I willingly and ably make that choice, support my choice, and can defend that choice easily.  I have learned a few things, and I will list them for your consideration, strengthen you in your choices, and hopefully help raise awareness of the dangerous times we live in right now.

      1. Educate yourself. I repeat myself only for emphasis, K-12 education has failed you, your children, and your parents from at least 1900.  This was done intentionally to rob you of your liberty, freedom, and ability to choose.  You must choose to begin educating yourself.  Read books, ask questions, use search engines to discover sources and materials.  After learning something new, teach it, that you may then learn it more perfectly.
      2. Evaluate your fortifications. Your home is your first line of defense, and the best defense is a solid offense.  What is coming into your home that is anathema to your choices and breaks your defenses?  Strengthening your defenses includes your family, and the axiom remains true, your family is only as strong as your weakest link!  Thus, build your family.  Build an environment where standards can be high, the conversation does not become violence, and the free exchange of ideas is the ultimate power.  Persuasion sometimes doesn’t need words, just actions repeated, exemplifying the principles you cherish and will defend, after building your family and home fortifications, aid in building your community, then state, then nation.
      3. Building fortifications is not enough! Once built, fortifications need to be maintained.  See step 1; we must continue to educate ourselves, ask questions, demand answers, and search out through the best resources new knowledge to discuss and use to build your home, community, state, and nation.
      4. Using your home, practice! Practice discussing ideas, having wonderful discussions, and using the tools available to explore and build ideas into standards and principles worthy of defense.  Invite people who will uphold the standards into your home, especially if they disagree with you.  I know of no better house guest than a person who will agree to disagree, who around a table of food will have an in-depth conversation and discussion.
      5. Boldness, not overbearance. I cannot stress this enough.  I am not perfect at being bold but not overbearing, but I keep learning.  Boldness is standing and defending your principles without resorting to raised voices, theatrical banging on tables and podiums, and without any type of force.  Never forget the following from Neal A. Maxwell, “discouragement is not the absence of adequacy but the absence of courage” [emphasis in original].

US Army Logo "This We'll Defend" 12" x 18" Aluminum Sign | BUDK.com - Knives & Swords At The ...Seek opportunities to practice standing for that which you know is right and will defend.  The US Army’s official motto is, “This we’ll defend!”  What will you defend?  Why will you defend it?  Who are you defending it against?  When you know these answers, then the US Army’s motto becomes your personal motto, your brand, and your courage to defend it will increase!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: CHANGE! – Let me Explain

Bird of PreyAs a fourteen-year-old, I was wandering around an office supply store in Belfast, Maine, and came across a bookmark I thought had an interesting statement on it:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

I thought that saying was pretty neat, and it helped me begin a process in my own life of learning how to learn and challenging change.  Over time, I began to suspect something out of place in the pattern that quote/prayer was claiming; I do not believe there are things I cannot change!  I know that if a person refuses to change, I can do nothing until that person chooses to change.  But, I remain convinced that there is nothing man has made that cannot be changed.Leadership Cartoon

As a building contractor, I learned that the same tools I am using to destruct a building are the same tools I will employ to construct a building.  An important point where change is concerned, structures can come down, structures can be built, but the human element rests upon their own decision to change or not.  However, many times the structures can influence the individual to change.

Detective 4In the US Army, I noticed something powerful; when living in a Korean War-built Quonset hut, my fellow soldiers and I had moral problems, experienced depression, and struggled.  But,  when we moved into new barracks, many of these problems ceased almost immediately.  Thus cementing a lesson, the environment plays a role in personal feelings and influences desires to change.  In the US Navy, this was more poignantly learned.  I slept in Crew Berthing Three, the rest of the engineering department slept in Crew Berthing Two, and I hated going in there.  Between the smell, the lackadaisical attitude towards maintenance, and the general disorderliness of the compartment always left me feeling depressed.  So, even though I slept in the same berthing as Deck Department, which included the Boatswains mates, the berthing spaces were neater, cleaner, and better all around.  Environment matters and influences personal desire to change or not to change.

As my injuries have worsened with age, my ability to rebuild engines, build or destruct structures, and operate heavy equipment has been reduced dramatically.  But, the lessons taught have remained, there are people I cannot change, but there is nothing that I cannot change.  My wife asks me all the time why do I write articles for a blog.  My answer is rooted in the Serenity Prayer quoted above; there is nothing I cannot influence to change.

Andragogy - LEARNToolsThere are people who I have met who will never change.  One comes readily to mind, I was homeless on the streets of Auburn, Washington, after leaving the US Army in S. Korea.  I had a job but no place to stay.  One night while wandering to keep warm, I met a homeless man who refused to change.  He was homeless by choice, not because of any drinking or drug problem, not because he was not smart enough to get a job and improve his living conditions, but because he chose to be homeless.  He said, “I am who I am, and I refuse to change just to please society.”  A very intriguing thought occurred to me then and has repeated often, am I choosing to be homeless, or am I choosing to grow?

I choose to be a lifelong learner; this commitment sprang from this conversation with this homeless man in Auburn, Washington.  I committed to several principles knowing that I could more greatly influence my environment as I changed myself.

      1. Be Curious
      2. Focus on Active Looking
      3. Review and Redraft
      4. Improve memory and recall
      5. Change your perception

Because there is nothing I cannot change, I know the power of small pebbles in a landslide.  I know the power of tiny snowflakes in an avalanche.  I understand how a small rudder can turn an enormous ship for good or ill.  Nothing man has made that man cannot unmake, remake, fix, correct, or influence change.  There are people no one will ever influence due to moral agency, individual perception, and the valuation of consequences.  But, the environment around that person can be changed, and opportunities provided to encourage a different mindset.

GearsCase in point, an engineering shipmate of mine, was kicked out of Crew Berthing Two for smelly feet, which led to smelly shoes, which upset a lot of people in Crew 2.  He was forced to come live in Crew Berthing Three.  Why did he have stinky feet, a fungus was growing on his feet, and he had never been taught how to care for his feet.  He could wash them 100 times a day, but because he did not know how to care properly for his feet, nothing would change, and his feet would stink.  When my shipmate chose to change, we taught him about foot care, he went to medical and got some fungal cream, and he purchased new shoes and socks.  Why were his feet not a problem in Crew Three; we had better, and took better care, of the ventilation system than Crew two.Courage

Those engineers in Crew Two could not understand that the environment influences behavior, and the influence of behavior led to negative consequences.  The move to Crew Three changed the environment physically and led to an eventual change in mindset for the person.  Could Crew Two have had better ventilation; absolutely, if the members living there desired it.  Since they individually decided not to have better ventilation, the consequence was a smellier and more nasty berthing space.  Environment plays a role in behavior and influences people for good or ill.  We can affect the environment, but we cannot force change upon people who refuse to change.Behavior-Change

Leading to the final thought, why do we need “wisdom to know the difference?”  I  can change the environment around me.  I can change me.  I cannot change other people, but I can change other things and influence the people after changing those things in the environment, causing problems.  Let us examine this from the viewpoint of the Department of Veterans Affairs.  The administrators (people) are causing moral issues and distress in the employees.  Some of the employees like being morally repugnant. Others are ethically obtuse because of job security. Others remain true to themselves and stay in the system to help affect change.

Life ValuedHow does a person change a system built by man; start with the environment, which in this situation are the processes, procedures, and methods of conducting work.  A leader arrives and begins influencing people through how they perform their work.  Then begins the fundamental operations of training to new standards, including ethical, moral, and logical processes and procedures written down.  Then, that leader begins holding people, not written processes, accountable for their actions.  Shortly every person will be faced with a choice, change or leave.  Hence, cleaning and correction become a natural function of the environment, and change is made where many have claimed; change will never happen.

Knowledge Check!As an industrial and organizational psychologist, I know this is the path forward as I have applied these lessons in my own life.  Changing people, like destructing and constructing buildings, does not occur magically.  Plans are made, planning is carried out, and fundamental change occurs through the environment.  Use the pattern:

      1. Be Curious
      2. Focus on Active Looking
      3. Review and Redraft
      4. Improve memory and recall
      5. Change your perception

Watch what happens!  It is amazing to see and possible to change.  Nothing cannot be changed; only people choosing not to change cannot be changed.  But people are not the environment, and the environment can influence people!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.