Identity Problems – A Frank Discussion

Several weeks back, I made the declaration that the more labels a person adopts, the harder it becomes to be a person and know who you are.  Multiple labels saddle a person with mental struggles that become physically exhausting.  Each label comes with social responsibilities, cultures, and expectations that cannot be shirked as long as a person has adopted that label.

For example, I am a dual-service disabled veteran.  Thus, I carry the cultures, expectations, and responsibilities of sailors and soldiers.  Consider what the expectations of a soldier are, and that image is part of the identity and societal responsibilities for being a veteran soldier.  Being disabled carries societal expectations, both mental and physical burdens.  Consider the Marines, and every Marine is a Marine for life!  You graduate basic training and earn the title Marine, and you will ALWAYS be a Marine!  Again, that title and label hold societal expectations voluntarily onboarded, and never will a Marine lose the attitude and social expectations of Marines.

The same is true of every single label a person voluntarily chooses for themselves.  The label will attract specific people into your social circles, but only as long as you willingly live the life expectations of that label.  Each label selected will form identities and mental challenges to meet the social expectations, a heavy burden indeed!

In a recent Tik Tok video, a person proudly declares more than 50-labels, preferred adjectives and pronouns, and identities. The video lasted more than 3 minutes, and I felt sorry for the exertion this person will face every minute they have these identities onboarded.  Another person watching this video declared that the subject claiming their labels was mentally ill; I agree with that sentiment.  Why; because the subject will never know who they are because of the noise of the labels, which includes the social pressures, the responsibilities, and the expectations.  I do not know the name of the person in the video, I would not share that video due to the privacy respect I have for others.

Who are you?

Even though current society in 2021 declares confusion between who and what a person chooses to be, not what are you.  For example, I do not like, nor do I onboard, the identity of disabled.  I am NOT disabled, handicapped, injured, and working on healing, but NOT disabled.  Consider the power of words for a moment.

The transitive verb “dis” means to show disrespect, insult, or criticize.  As a prefix, “dis” is defined as the opposite of something, depriving someone of something, excluding someone, or expelling someone.  Thus, a disabled person is either being disrespected, insulted, or criticized, deprived, excluded, expelled, or is the opposite of able.  Frankly, when we are made aware of the etymology of words, we are then more aware of why people choose to adopt or not adopt certain words and labels.  Do we understand this problem of labels just from an etymological perspective?

Regardless of plasticization, words hold power over the mind.  Words become identities, thoughts become things, and research supports that labels hurt mental processes and can permanently scar.  Yet, who and what a person chooses as their identities are not considered a problem in current society or a mental illness.  People’s choices reflect their identities to attract those in socially accepted circles.

Thus, who are you?  Who do you choose to be?  Are those identities sufficient?  While not as important as who a person is, the last question ranks a close second.  How many identities can you physically onboard and live successfully?  As a fan of simplicity and a follower of the KISS rules, as detailed by Murphy, the god of perversity, I keep it supremely simple to protect my energy levels and allow my identity to shine through.  Having only a few identities enables me to select social commitments, restrict the mental noise and exertions, and hold myself accountable to a few identities to grow as a person.

Returning to the Tik Tok video subject and their 50+ labels, identities, and preferred pronouns, we must ask, what is sufficient?  A follow-on video by this person reflected the physical exertions from conforming to identities and social pressures.  Worse, this person had onboarded several more labels and identities. They reflected the mental illness and physical drain caused by trying to live up to all the label responsibilities.  An extreme example; unfortunately, no; the pressures to onboard labels and identities have grown exponentially, mental problems are too significant to quantify, and they are growing.

Not just in America, the confusion about who a person is, the identities, and their inherent loads, have become a global phenomenon.  What are the mental health professionals doing; causing harm by not discussing the physical and mental exertions of onboarding too many identities.  It is up to the individual and parents of minor children to understand and help learn and teach simplicity in labels allows growth as a person, not more identities, but less.  Fewer identities provide freedom for growth, identity exploration and empower mental health, leading to improved physical health.

Identities

As a pre-teen, I struggled with the concept of my identity.  Religion was a curse, my family was worse, and I did not know who I was, thus strangling what I could do or become.  I got jealous of how my sister could get away with breaking the rules and thought I should be a girl.  I struggled with wanting to be a girl for several years as I learned who I was and what I wanted to be.  If this problem occurred right now, professionals would counsel me to adapt and change my body through drugs and surgery, compounding my identity problems.  Yet, what helped, was getting to know me!

I had several people help me form an identity I could be comfortable living with as I explored my options, fought to understand my role and purpose, and embraced my potential.  It took time, lots of time.  It required patience with myself, a moral code I could live in, and a desire to learn—all of which I had to develop from scratch.  My identity is forged in the fires of adversity, for the consequences of my choices during this time played a role in how I went to school, what I chose to learn, and where I found employment and socially accepted company.  Some of those consequences hang around even all these many years later.  Some consequences I have been able to live long enough to survive.

Worse, as I have learned more about myself, my identity has changed, bringing with it consequences of change.  Music, movies, humor, education, and more are part of an identity that forms a life.  Choices bring consequences; how we value those consequences (e.g., good/bad, profitable/unprofitable, etc.) will determine our eventual destiny towards understanding who we are, so we can become what we desire to see in the mirror.  More lessons I had to learn, then and only then, could the value of religion be discovered, the value of family understood, and honor and pride and commitment to self appreciated as an identity to live.  Crucial to this growth and development, I know when to cut social ties, drop music and movies into the trash, and I am imperfect in changing, but I have some lessons I would see others learn to avoid pitfalls.

      1. Commit to learning using the question, “Who am I?” as a core principle to discovery.
      2. Allow yourself time to think, ponder, and consider before committing to an identity. I always wanted to be a soldier, but I loved the ocean.  I did not understand the value of these paradoxical options, and by rushing headlong, I had to learn an identity after living that identity.  Arduous path; know first, then adopt an identity.  Let me try and simplify that with my favorite axiom,  learned as an Emergency Medical Technician, “Never take your body where your mind has not traveled first!”
      3. Comfort is key. If you are not comfortable, your conscience tells you something is wrong.  An identity should require physical strain and mental confusion.  Yes, you can delude yourself for a time/  Ultimately, your conscience, spirit, intellect, whatever you call your inner voice, will break through and tell you your identity is not mentally acceptable.  If your identity choice is not comfortable, it will affect your physical health negatively.
      4. Never stop learning; learning leads to change, and change is good!
      5. When in doubt, turn to lesson two, give yourself more time before committing to an identity.

I love hard rock, big hair bands, and southern rock.  Steel guitars, banging drums, and headbanging to an excellent beat are an identity with power.  But headbanging gives me incredible headaches.  Too much rock and roll, and I cannot think clearly, and the ability to control my thinking is paramount to me.  Do I adopt the headbanging identity or not; sometimes, I am all in for a solid rock fest.  Mostly, I listen to the inner voices and moderate my music.  See, lesson two continues to hold power and lesson four keeps me thinking how much longer will I affect my identity with an uncomfortable identity with physical pain.

Choose carefully, evaluate often, and allow yourself the freedom to grow by not onboarding labels without due consideration.  Please, consider your gender and biological sex as integral to your ultimate destiny and comfort.  Before you are comfortable in your skin, you have to be comfortable in your mind!  If you want to explore identities, explore, but explore smartly and be cognizant of the social responsibilities, expectations, and cultures inherent with an identity.  Observe those with those identities closely for the consequences of thier identity.

I cannot betray a confidence, but I have witnessed how traumatic experiences can be the impetus for forcing an identity change.  A close associate went to a party, had a mickey slipped into their drink, and woke to a new reality.  The consequences of other people’s identities can negatively impact your identity, especially if you do not know who you are!

I have never been comfortable with the hard rock, headbanging social aspects of rock and roll identities.  The illicit drug use, the promiscuous sexual encounters, and the extremes in living frankly scare the hell out of me!  But, I love the music, and I love much of the wardrobes in this identity, even though I will NOT wear makeup and cannot play a musical instrument.

Life is a journey; travel safely using the axiom, “Never take your body, or anyone else, anywhere your mind has not already traveled.”  Think, ponder, consider, and then act confidently.

© Copyright 2021 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Circling Back to Compassion – Important Additional Information

MumbleAfter discussing compassion as a tool for the leader’s toolbox, it was pointed out that compassion has been plasticized in modern society, and further discussion on the topic is required.  The intent here is to help provide practical steps for building a compassionate team, making compassionate people, and soliciting compassion as the prime response in customer relations.  There are some truths requiring stress to ensure a clear understanding is provided.

Compassion

The dictionary declares that compassion means “to suffer together.”  Intimating that compassionate people feel motivated to relieve suffering for they have felt the pain of suffering in another.  But, compassion is not the same as empathy or altruism.  Empathy is all about taking the perspective of and feeling another person’s emotions.  The taking is dangerous, the feeling is dangerous, and combined empathy becomes all about the person’s selfishness taking and feeling, not the sufferer. Compassion is when those feelings and thoughts include the desire to help, taking nothing, onboarding no selfish emotional entanglements for personal gain, simply a desire to help relieve suffering. Altruism, in turn, is the kind, selfless behavior often prompted by feelings of compassion, though one can feel compassion without acting on it, and altruism isn’t always motivated by compassion.

The focus of compassionate people is to help without personally benefiting a person or animal in pain.  Be that pain physical, emotional, mental, etc.; the focus is always on the other and on helping as able.  Interestingly, compassion is rooted deep in the brain, whereas empathy, sympathy, and altruism are not.  Compassion changes a person fundamentally for the better, whereas research supports that sympathy, empathy, and even altruistic actions do not.  Hence compassion can be a tool in a leader’s toolbox, whereas sympathy and empathy, more often than not, are useless in building people and teams.  It is clear that compassion is intentionality, a cognizant decision to act, and the purpose is always to help.  Sympathy, empathy, and altruism are unconscious emotional desires; unless the person showing these emotions is there for personal gain, deception is intentional and conscious.

  • Truth 1. It cannot be stated enough, or more strongly, emotions are a cognizant choice based upon social cues, learned social rules, and judgments to obtain a reward.  Several good references on this topic exist, but the best and easiest originates with Robert Solomon, “Not Passions Slave: Emotions and Choice.”
  • Truth 2. Emotions are active responses, not passive, and emotions do not happen to an individual sporadically or spontaneously.  Again, several good references on this topic exist, but the best and easiest originates with Robert Solomon, “Not Passions Slave: Emotions and Choice.”

Where compassion is concerned, especially the conscious use of compassion as a leadership tool, the leader must become aware of emotions’ role and social influence and be better prepared to improve people and build cohesion in teams.  Because of compassions intentionality to render help to others, understanding how emotions are a choice and why is like putting glasses on to clarify what is happening, why, and how to duplicate or eradicate the emotional influence.  Thus, the need to emphasize these two truths, even though they are similar, are distinct and need complete understanding to best position the leader in building people.Knowledge Check!

Plastic Words – Tyranny in Language!

  • Truth 3. Uwe Poerksen, “Plastic Words: The Tyranny of Modular Language,” remains an excellent source and cautionary tale on what we are experiencing in modern society where words are captured, bent, disconnected from common definitions, and then plasticized to stretch into what that word is not intended to be used for.  There are a host of plastic words, phrases, and entire twisted languages dedicated to exerting tyranny through communication using plastic words.

Consider the following, culled from APA’s junior website, “Psychology Today.”  Please note, the article linked is the author’s personal opinion; however, for understanding the plasticity in compassion found in modern language, a better example is difficult to find.  The author insists that compassion requires using both sympathy and empathy to be compassionate.  As discussed above, sympathy and empathy should not describe or define compassion. While the words are similar, the conscious intentionality of compassion means sympathy and empathy are not, and should not, be included with compassion.

Yet, the author still provides clear guidance on compassion, insisting that compassion be ruled with logic and wisdom.  Please note, showing compassion does not mean the compassionate person needs to go into debt, sacrifice themselves, or invest to the point of exhaustion in another person.  Logic and wisdom dictate that you are not less compassionate when you govern compassion with temperance, but the reverse.  A critical point of knowledge stumbled upon while trying to plasticize compassion as sympathy or empathy; compassion requires logic and wisdom, temperance, and judgment, all conscious, active, and involved decisions to be the most effective in building people.

Finally, compassion is a two-directional mode of building people.  Both parties in a compassionate relationship are choosing consciously to engage in compassion.  Hence, both will share in the consequences; sympathy and empathy are all one-directional from the giver to the receiver, with no reciprocation.  Thus, stretching compassion to include sympathy and empathy, or even altruism, disconnects the fundamental ties of compassion from logic, and chaos ensues; where chaos exists, tyranny occurs!

Using Compassion – Focusing Upon Potential

Opportunity is potential; potential is triumph waiting for an effort to be applied.” – Dave Salisbury

The above sentiment is one of my favorite truths because of what Mumble’s Dad Memphis said in Happy Feet, “The word triumph begins with try and it ends with a great big UMPH!”  What does the informed leader do to build people?  They recognize potential, both strengths and weaknesses, as a means to grow in themselves and others.  Compassion enters when an event occurs as the emotion of connecting and building relationships.  An analogy, compassion, could be compared to the mortar used in laying bricks.  Each person and event are bricks, and by using compassion, the bricks are organized into a wall of strength.  What is the potential of a single brick in a pile; hard to say.  Organize them with compassion, and the potential becomes visible to all.

Practical Activities for Building Compassion

The following are helpful suggestions for building compassion in yourself and others.

    1. Show genuine emotion; if you’re happy, smile! If you’re struggling, let people know.  Our society has been built upon hiding what has been going on for too long.  People begin a conversation with, “How are you doing?”  The expected answer is “fine,” good,” “okay,” etc. yet, when you know how you’re doing, these answers just spread lies.  Are you building an environment where people can be honest about how they are doing?
    2. Compliments are a big part of showing compassion. Yet, too often, we cannot compliment each other without problems of sexual harassment.  The giving and accepting of compliments build trust and comfort between people.  Open the environment for giving and receiving compliments.
    3. Praise and expressions of gratitude cannot be understated as needed tools for building people. Research supports that honest, sincere, and frequent praise is better than cash for brain health and motivation.  Again, open the environment for issuing praise and gratitude.
    4. Employ reflective listening; reflective listening is listening to understand the speaker and build a two-directional solution. Active listening is easily faked; the other listening methods do not include listening, hence the need for reflective listening.
    5. Curiosity reflects a genuine interest in someone else. Ask the other person’s interests, find common ground, and build from there.  Do not forget to share.  For example, what books have you read recently?  Got a hobby, share new skills.
    6. Invest time! You cannot build compassion without investing time in yourself and with your team!  Take the time, invest the time, and employ patience.

© Copyright 2021 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Human Infrastructure – NO!

Angry Wet ChickenA particular political party is trying to force the lexicon of America to adopt that all humans pledged to a cause are to be considered “human infrastructure.”  Sure, what they are trying to communicate is the value of humans in a particular endeavor.  No one will know what human infrastructure means until the term is adopted and Americans are reduced to mindless pieces in a machine controlled by the government, paid for by the human infrastructure.

CEASE and DESIST!

I am not human infrastructure.  I am an American.  I am an independent, free-thinking, responsible human being.  Possessing a spark of divinity, freedom from government granted by the creator, and capable of remaining free provided I learn the lessons of history and apply those lessons to current events that I may present to future generations this Constitutional Republic worthy of living in and protecting.

I will NOT be reduced to human infrastructure, like a pawn in a chess game whose players are inept and deserving of scorn and contempt.  Do you understand what is happening in changing the term American Citizen to human infrastructure?  Can you guess the consequences of this if not fought by the citizens?  Do you know your identity as an American?

Words Matter

Congressional political leaders have for too long used plastic words to stretch over problems and hide nefarious designs.  But, do not believe me, take any government program and look for words you know, then look them up in a dictionary, compare their usage from the dictionary to current use, and see if there is a disconnection.  For example, infrastructure is the underlying base or foundation for an organization or system.  Take a road, any road that is the infrastructure supporting society.  The better the roads, the faster society moves, and the more transactions can occur.

Other definitions for infrastructure include basic facilities, services, and installations for a community or society.  Sewers and electrical wiring are examples of this type of infrastructure.  None of the six common definitions for infrastructure apply to humans individually or collectively.  Hence, the political party pushing this lexicon is plasticizing the term infrastructure to reduce the humanity of individuals, stripping them of identity, and robbing them of creator-provided potential.

Identity is Critical

Shakespeare taught a lesson, using some serious backward English when he stated:

What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

The quote originates from Romeo’s courtship of Juliet, as Romeo attempts to sway Juliet that a name does not matter.  Except, a name does matter, and the lesson here Shakespeare is trying to convey is that a name contains history, tradition, value, and distinguishment between others.  Lucy Maud Montgomery, in “Anne of Green Gables,” uses the main protagonist to establish the importance of a name.  If a rose was called stinkweed, would people revere the rose; of course not!  Beauty can only take a person so far; the name matters, and in granting the distinguishment of a name, the object or person gains value to others.

Now consider all the descriptions foisted upon Americans by conniving actors hell-bent on destroying identity.  African-American, Irish American, Jewish-American, many people in history were grateful to have earned the right and privilege of being called American.  My wife’s grandmother came over from Russia; she had seven boys and sent six of them to war, proudly learning English to write to her boys.  She was an American, which has been conveyed through five succeeding generations of family.  Yet, how many people now need to hyphenate to reduce their “American” attributes to fit in socially; too bloody many!

By failing to understand the value in a name, these people have been led into dangerous waters.  They are close to losing what makes Americans worthwhile and valuable, freedom of individuality.  Unfortunately, we have political leaders who cheer for this loss of freedom of individuality and identity, for they are anxious to destroy America!  But, my names and titles make me an individual; no, they make you childish and insecure, reflecting a poor education and an inadequate sense of self.  That poor education was intentional, the inadequacy of sense of self, and the culprit is the bloated government at the city, county, state, and federal governments.  These bureaucrats understand something you, with all your labels, have no clue about; a sense of self means fewer labels are needed, not more!

During a social studies class, an assignment was mandated in sixth grade, label yourself.  Several students labels ran for pages and pages; I was publicly called out for only having one label, American.  I figured even then; I did not need anything else as my opinions were my business, not a label I needed to carry around.  My affiliations were none of anyone else’s business, as this opens the doors for separation and discrimination.  The more we label ourselves, the more power we give to others to separate us from each other, speeding the problems discussed by President Abraham Lincoln from his “House Divided” speech.  I was a most unpopular person in school, I was too “rigid” in my thinking, and many a person took umbrage.

Jo Dee Messina sings a country song that perfectly encapsulates my response, “My Give a Damn’s Busted!”  I did not care about how insulted another chose to be then, and I care even less now.  I am an American!  Anything beyond that is icing on the cake or superfluous to the conversation.  Do we understand the principle of names and why labels are deleterious to individuals’ national safety and freedom?  When language is plasticized, separated from standard definitions to suit the purposes of a situation, the common understanding is lost; worse, the words lose their value and connection to everyone, thus speeding the destruction of society who require a common language for success.LinkedIn Image

I repeat, only for emphasis, I refuse to be reduced to “Human Infrastructure.”  I refuse to be a pawn in the hands of inept, immoral, and incompetent political leaders who could not lead homeless people into a free meal.  Americans, drop the hyphenation, join me; we need to take our country back!

© Copyright 2021 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Weasel Words – Writing and Speaking Better

cropped-laughing-owlOn Friday, an email crossed my inbox regarding how to write better and weasel words.  The term “weasel words” first appeared in a short story by author Stewart Chaplin titled “Stained Glass Political Platform,” published in The Century Magazine June 1900.  As a term, weasel words were popularized in a 1916 speech by U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt.  I often write about plastic words being stretched, twisted, and molded to fit situations and distorted and disconnected from their accepted definitions, so I figured it was time to discuss weasel words.

Weasel Words

All clipart on this site has | Clipart Panda - Free Clipart ImagesWeasels words are vague qualifiers like “generally,” “most,” and “probably” that weaken your writing and speaking, reflecting a weak mind and poor logic. Speakers and writers use weasel words to avoid making direct statements, to mystify, and use vocabulary to play linguistic tricks upon the audience.  I heard a joke about weasel words and politicians:

How do you know a politician is lying?
They are speaking
!”

How often have you heard a speaker generalize or witnessed a writer probablize and thought, “How does the writer know?”  Check the weasel words.  Since weasel words have been around for so long, many speechwriters and editors know these tricks and constantly edit them.  But, when you can catch the speaker or author in candid moments, that is when you see just how weaselly they are about the facts and their logical conclusions.Scouring the bowels of the internet | Weasel Zippers | Cartoon jokes, Political cartoons ...

Consider for a moment the following three reasons why weasel words are employed.  When considering them, remember when you have weaseled on your speeches or writing, and self-evaluate to improve:

      • Uncertainty: You use weasels when you’re confused about your point, or you’re not sure what you want to write. Ambiguous terms allow you to equivocate. The result is you get something on paper, but it is cloudy.
      • Fear: You use weasels when afraid of making a bold statement. You may know what you want to write but don’t have the depth. These words give you an out.
      • Deniability: You use weasels to protect yourself or dodge taking a stand. If you don’t say anything firm, the thinking goes, you cannot be wrong.

As I have been writing on this topic, I have considered my writing and speaking habits and improved self-editing.  I am not afraid, uncertain, or need deniability, but I desire to assert more confidently, speak and write more authoritatively, and support others through language.  Hence, the need to understand language and improve how I speak and write."Weasel While You Work" on Vimeo

Examples of Weasel Words

Frankly, I was surprised at some of the weasel words that made the various lists of weasel words found across the Internet.  Some weasel words are absolute and are fully supported, others might be conditional weasel words based upon the conversation, and others might not be weasel words at all.  Now, out of all that blathering about weasel words, which would you edit as weaselly statements?  Yes, I wrote that on purpose!

Well

Experts said Experts have claimed Experts insist
Research proves Research shows Research concludes Researchers claim
Often Probably Possibly Some
Many Could be With all due respect Usually
Basically Somehow Virtually Just

Once identified, what does a person do?  Writers have it easier, for they can revise and edit.5 Tall Tales from 1 Small Mind | Science and Dogs

An author can delete the weasel word following the pattern below:

Read the resulting statement to see if it works.

      • If the message without weasels is confusing …
        Get clarity with your ideas. Determine what you want to say and then say it!
      • If the statement without weasels is too bold …
        Do you have the authority to make this statement; yes, leave it alone. No, quote the authoritarian, and use a reference.
      • If the resulting statement without weasels has no substance …
        Ask yourself whether or not you have something to say. If not, delete the sentence. If so, see the first bullet point again, clarify your ideas, and keep editing.

Speaking and eliminating weasel words requires planning.  You have to prepare what you want to say carefully, plan your audience, prepare and practice delivering your points, and repeat until it feels comfortable.  Speaking requires remaining consciously aware, listening to yourself, listening to questions, and making choices.  Many choices will be made in the preparation and planning stages, and these planning sessions preparing to speak remain critical to mentally speaking to convince.AMID BACKLASH CORRUPT & STUPID DEMOCRATS QUICKLY SWITCH FROM 'DEFUND' TO 'REFUND' THE POLICE ...

However, experience has proven that writing rules work well with speaking, in preparing and planning the message.

Speak aloud the statement to see if it works.

      • If the message without weasels is confusing …
        Get clarity with your ideas. Determine what you want to say and then say it!
      • If the statement without weasels is too bold …
        Do you have the authority to make this statement; yes, leave it alone. No, quote the authoritarian, and use a reference.
      • If the resulting statement without weasels has no substance …
        Ask yourself whether or not you have something to say. If not, delete the sentence. If so, see the first bullet point again, clarify your ideas, and keep editing.

Having spoken publicly and talked to other speakers, it was interesting to see those who spoke well and admitted to speaking into a mirror and those who spoke okay and did not practice the speech verbally.  I learned this data point, the Rule of 7-P’s came forcibly to mind, “Proper, Prior, Planning, Prevents, Purely, Poor, Performance.”  Practice is part of properly planning to avoid poor performances.

Knowledge Check!Regardless of delivery through speaking or writing, create the time to edit.  Create the time to plan and prepare, rehearse, and carefully edit to communicate powerfully.  Stop stooping to being a weasel; you are better than that and deserve to allow yourself the ability to achieve through communicating ideas more clearly and powerfully!

© 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.

Taxes: Are We Sure We Need The Carbon Tax?

QuestionBelieve it or not, on social media, I have witnessed people advocating for Carbon Taxes for the United States and Canada in more than one or two posts.  Mentally shocked, stunned, and intrigued, but not wholly surprised by this turn of events, I have been reading some of the literature, the websites, and the emotional pleas.  May I congratulate the producers of this literature on the masterful job of marketing ideas anathema to liberty as espoused by these materials?

Before those marketing the Carbon Taxes break out the champagne and meatless burgers, let’s discuss something seriously.  When was the last tax that actually did what it was supposed to do?  What is an effective tax being collected and used at funding the government without developing the need for debt?  Name your favorite tax; if it doesn’t make the list below, leave it in the comments; I will research it, and if it is doing what it was supposed to do, I will retract this entire article and issue an apology!  I will put this conclusion against every single tax, in every government, across the globe.  The tax’s only stipulation has to be effective in every nuance of the word “effective” as listed in the Webster’s Dictionary.Lemmings 4

Social Security was an early contender and loser.  Social Security began with a considerable fund, then Congress voted itself the ability to raid the fund, paying “IOU’s,” and now the fund is all but bankrupt, and if you were born after 1980, do not expect to see a dime of forced taxation through Social Security.  Between skyrocketing costs in administering the program and the government raids, there are no retirement funds in this Ponzi-Tax scheme.Access Your Social Security Benefits Information Online | East Brunswick, NJ Patch

Medicaid/Medicare is another early contender, another tax that is directly witnessed in the paychecks of Americans, and a program fraught with fraud, laced with expenses, destroyed by exorbitant wages for bureaucrats and processes that are so byzantine that pretzel factories have fewer twists and turns.  Another Ponzi-Tax scheme that is underfunded or overstaffed to the Nth degree, and the government continues to add everything but sanity and common sense to the program.  As a point of fact, Medicare and Medicaid, being state/federal shared programs, the convolutions and responsibility for who pays make the Tasmanian devil of Warner Brothers fame look like he is strolling in a park as he walks calmly past.Medicare vs Medicaid (EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW)

Fuel taxes were a very short non-contender on this list.  The government has been pushing fuel taxes as the direct means of fixing roads, bridges, tunnels, and other infrastructure projects.  Still, there is never any money in the fund, and there are constantly terrible roads and bridges to point to that need immediate fixing.  Worse, the only solution is to increase the taxes paid, not to answer where the money went that was collected to pay for the repairs.Fuel Tax

In Maine, as a kid, we had a DARE program.  The program was doing a good job and helped to keep kids off drugs.  In November, the election carried a tax addendum that parents and teachers all got behind to push to approve because the program was doing a good job.  The following January, directly after the tax went into effect, the government announced that the DARE Program was being canceled as too expensive.  The tax was not returned, not canceled, and is still on the books as a valid tax for the taxpaying public, but the program has been dead since the mid-1990s.  A similar event occurred in Utah, Arizona, and I would bet several hundred other places as well.Geauga County Sheriff - Law Enforcement - DARE Program

Sales tax, do they promote sales; no.  Does a sales tax improve sales; no.  Does a sales tax help those who sell goods and services; no.  Does a sales tax aid the area the sales tax is collected in regarding sidewalks, street maintenance, sewers, etc., for the common good and improvement of society; no.  Why do we have sales taxes?Bookkeeping & Tax Puzzle Pieces: Payroll and Sales Taxes

Inheritance Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, etc. – better known as the class of death taxes, are more interesting contenders for this list.  Do inheritance taxes promote or demote savings, spending prudence, and family wealth?  Go on; I will wait; you can discuss this amongst yourselves for a moment. … Need more time.  No worries.  I can wait.  …  Since the government began charging inheritance taxes, less people have saved money, fewer people leave money to their family and friends as it causes long-term problems for the living.  The social aspects of this single tax are so incredible; we could spend several years describing the fallout and never cover all the details.Death And Taxes Quotes. QuotesGram

Excise taxes – also referred to as “Sin Taxes.”  These are taxes, not fees, passed onto the consumer by the soda, fast food, tobacco, and alcohol manufacturers to prevent kids from using these products that the government collects and then misspend.  No, these are direct taxes that raise the final costs before and at the register that everyone thinks is a good idea to deter people from using those nasty products.  Except, how many people have been stymied by the taxes on sin products; research claims the number to be a statistical zero.  This means that when the error margin is taken into account, the number is too small to be statistically significant enough to measure.  Puritans passed this logic into tax code; thank them the next time the government figures you should pay more for a Playboy than a National Geographic, more for a pack of cigarettes and a six-pack of beer.  Since fast food is considered a sinful commodity, sin taxes apply, are you eating less fast food because of the sin taxes and sales taxes?  By the way, are you losing weight from the height of taxes on your sin foods and drinks?

Wealth Tax – Did this tax increase the number of wealthy people; no!  Did the wealth tax make taxes more “fair” and “proportionate” for the lower and middle class; nope!  Did the wealth tax equal anything; no!  However, the tax did help increase the number of tax lawyers bilking people making money out of their hard-earned dollars to hire them and defend their fortunes.  Ask Majority Leader Pelosi how many she has to hire and keep on retainer to avoid taxes; oh wait, she is exempt.  But her husband’s income isn’t.  How many tax lawyers, accountants, bookkeepers, and money managers does he have to hire to prevent him from paying taxes?  Just remember something, according to the government, your cellphone is considered a luxury, and is charged a wealth tax.  I know people who live out of their motor-home, they are considered homeless, but their home is charged a luxury tax rate.  They do not have any other home to live in, and live year round at various campgrounds as they save enough to move down the road.  They are not rich, they sold everything, bought a used motor home to pay the bills, they are not retired; unfortunately, they are not alone in America either.  Think the language is skewed where taxes are concerned; I do!OMG, They're paying a wealth tax over there - millionin10

The government already collects a significant amount of taxes classified as “Environmental Taxes” on everything from fuels and oils to chemicals, aerosols, bottled gases, and firefighting retardants, among many other products.  There are environmental taxes on the fuels you and I use in our vehicles, the trucks that carry our goods to market, the farm machinery raising animals and grains for markets, and that power the ships sailing the oceans.  How much cleaner is the water and air with these taxes?  These taxes were intended to help protect the environment; instead, these tax proceeds flowed into mysterious accounts and then into murky government payments.  Now the government wants to increase taxes with a carbon tax to protect the environment.  Are these environmental taxes going to disappear if a carbon tax is implemented?  I did not see this mentioned in the literature; surely, that was a simple oversight, and the government will correct their mistake and eliminate taxes no longer needed.Revenue from environmental taxes in EU reached nearly 360 billion EUR - Finance and Markets

Here’s a fun exercise, search the phrase “effective taxes,” and you find how language has been plasticized where taxes are concerned.  An effective tax is an average tax.  Not that the money went where it was supposed to go, not that the tax effectively funded the government without producing debt, simply acknowledging that you paid the average of everyone else.  Think the government was effective in using your tax money?

Knowledge Check!Do you see a commonality here?  Failure to fulfill a purpose leads to increases in taxes, fees, surcharges, and other tax schemes, and the money never goes where it is intended.  Honestly, can you trust the government to accept your hard-earned money and create a healthier environment?  I have my doubts.  Feel free to correct me.

© 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.

Rights, Liberties, Freedoms, Responsibilities, Privileges: A Definitive Declaration!

Knowledge Check!In a previous post, I wrote about the principle of self-control and liberty in law; I did not realize the turmoil caused by not understanding the difference between a right, liberty, freedom, where responsibility enters, and how these principles work together.  My apologies; I learned these differences as a child and never considered that others might not be able to detail, define, describe, and delineate between these fundamental principles.  My plan originally with this article was not to provide a definitive declaration; then, I researched some of the claptrap online being passed off as learned scholarly discussion and was disgusted!  Thus, my aims and intents changed; I would see this article be referenced and used to aid in clearing up the confusion generated by word plasticity and modular language tyranny.

Along the way, I will include both links and resources for further study for your ability to grow and feel confident in defending rights, liberties, freedoms with responsibility and dedication.  Only through learning can we, the owners of representative governments, begin to change government direction and regain our liberties and freedoms!

RightsApathy

The founding fathers of America understood rights and called them inalienable.  There is a reason for this; rights cannot be taken away.  An individual can give rights away, but because a right is inalienable, it means a power greater than the government has distributed these rights, and all are equal in their possession of these rights.  Inalienable specifically refers to rights that cannot be surrendered, transferred, or removed permanently from a person.

How does a person give away an inalienable right; they refuse to accept that a right is inalienable.  Consider the US Bill of Rights, a document full of those inalienable rights or rights that cannot be surrendered, transferred, or removed permanently from an individual.  Consider one of the first inalienable rights discussed in the US Bill of Rights, religion.  What you believe is your choice; nobody can, or should, have the power to tell you what you believe.  Belief transcends thought into a unique place inside your brain; some would call it a soul.  Depending upon your flavor of religion, a soul could or could not exist.  I am not writing a definitive declaration about religion, I am writing about rights, and your personal belief where religion is concerned is fundamental to you expressing yourself.

Plato 2Is the distinction clear?  A right cannot be stripped from you by anyone, ever unless you choose to deny your inalienable rights to that particular right.  For example, the US Bill of Rights declares your ability to defend yourself is an inalienable right.  You choose how to protect yourself, e.g., guns, fists, sticks, knives, alarms, police, etc.  How you choose to defend yourself is your inalienable right, and you deserve to be protected in your rights to self-defense.  If a person attacks you, you have the inalienable right to self-protection.  This is established through case laws.  How many women have been physically, sexually, and mentally abused by a spouse or partner, who then took action to defend themselves and were acquitted at trial; too many to mention in a declaration on rights.  Just know, you have a right to self-defense, and this right can never be stripped from you by anyone but you.

Liberties

Liberties are a little more complicated to define and detail.  Some applications of the word liberty include freedom from confinement, servitude, or forced labor.  Whereas liberty is also a power to act as one chooses, even if that action breaks a society’s accepted standards, i.e., laws.  Liberties can also include unwarranted risks, deviations from facts (lies), departing from compliance to the accepted and proper methods of prudence.

The Duty of AmericansIn most societies, you can purchase and legally become the owner of an item due to the purchase.  Thus, liberty allows you to become free to use that purchase however you desire.  Until the use of that purchase interferes with someone else’s inalienable rights.  For example purchase of a baseball bat is legal, mostly around the world.  Use that baseball bat for its intended purposes, i.e., to play baseball or softball, and the government does not infringe upon your liberties.  Use that baseball bat outside its intended purposes, to break windows, cause injuries or property damage, and you can lose your liberty and your property.

Imperative to understanding, liberty can be taken by force through the law, government action, and or improper use of liberty.  Perform an imprudent act, and someone is going to take your liberty away.  For example, in Hong Kong, China has ruled that freedom of speech has been curtailed.  While freedom of speech is an inalienable right, China refuses to honor free speech as an inalienable right, and Hong Kong peoples suffer.  The people of China and Hong Kong can still speak their minds exercising their inalienable rights, but taking these liberties to exercise their rights, has been strictly and violently enforced by a government refusing to believe people have inalienable rights.

PatriotismThus the confusion and complication in defining and detailing liberties.  Liberties can be taken and refused; liberties can be eliminated by government force and social changes.  Liberties are not inalienable rights or even a right.  You do not have a right to liberty.  You may pursue happiness, but achieving happiness is not a right, freedom, or liberty.

Consider the purpose of government as detailed in the US Constitution’s preamble:

“… In order to form a more perfect Union (Government), establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

Consider also the purpose for the US Bill of Rights, as the first amendments to a brand new constitution:

“… Prevent misconstruction or abuse of its (US Government) powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added, and as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.”

The government creates liberties, calls these rights, and then attempts to confuse the problem.  For example, welfare benefits as currently understood (2021) are significantly different from welfare benefits understood in (1920) America.  Today, people on welfare benefits consider their government-provided support a right when in actuality, it is barely a liberty.  Most importantly, those welfare benefits can be restricted, removed, curtailed, curbed, and denied based upon the whims of government.  This is why welfare is not a right and barely a liberty.  Welfare benefits are barely a liberty because someone else has to pay for the privilege of supporting another person through forced taxation (legalized theft).Life Valued

Freedoms

Freedoms are even more complicated, and freedoms have been made more challenging to understand purposefully by political design as a means to steal liberties and rights from individuals, under a myriad of different names, i.e., social justice, equality, freedom, and civil liberty, etc.  Let’s start with civil liberties, which are neither a right or a liberty, regardless of the politician pushing the name.

LookCivil liberties are freedoms you pay the government to enjoy.  For example, driving a car requires a license.  By issuing licenses, the government can control the population, even though driving is considered a privilege, a right, and is often confused with “freedom of the open road,” which is two lies for the price one.  Another example is marriageMarriage throughout human history has been a tug-of-war between religion and government.  As a point of reference, marriage ceremonies are unique in the human condition anthropologically speaking.  But, as a civil liberty, the government can restrict you from marrying your pets, marrying objects and can grant and deny marriage privileges as it deems appropriate to the political situation.

The state does not recognize some religious ceremonies for marriage, which means that marriage is null and void under the state’s control. Yet, under that religious belief, that marriage is binding.  Consider China again; China refuses to honor Christian marriage ceremonies as valid under the law and several other religions and religious traditions.  Thus, civil liberties are at best an approved and licensed government action, not freedoms, liberties, and rights.  As the saying goes, “The government giveth and the government taketh.”

quote-mans-inhumanityFreedoms are often defined as political independence, which is fine insofar as civil liberties are concerned.  Freedoms entail several other qualities that the government cannot give, take, invent, or delete.  True freedoms do not need legal support from case law to be enjoyed.  True freedoms include living without restraints, acting without control or interference, and not being bound by conventions, rules, and authorities.  It cannot be stressed enough, even though liberties and freedoms share some components, they are merely similar, not identical.  In trying to push liberty and freedom as equivalent, the tyranny of language is discovered to sunshine disinfectant.  A right, especially those inalienable rights, are not freedoms or liberties to be granted and removed at the power of authority, and the distinction should be clear.

Privilegesquote-mans-inhumanity-2

Privileges are easy to understand; privileges are permission granted at the request of an authority to grant limited power, responsibility, or situational control over something.  What is a driver’s license, the privilege to drive, which can be revoked at the whims of the government issuing the privilege (license).  Civil liberties are a privilege granted by an authority; ownership is not conveyed, legal responsibility extends only for the controlled use under strict supervision by the authority.  For example, while a state employee, I was granted the privilege of operating a state-owned vehicle, provided I followed all the rules set forth by the state issuing that privilege.  Ending state employment ended the privilege of operating that government vehicle.  Easy enough to understand, a privilege is not a liberty, freedom, right, or inalienable right.

A privilege also contains immunity from commonly imposed laws, standards, and social constraints.  Think of the police officer who makes a right turn across multiple lanes of traffic.  To conduct their job and fulfill their duties, police officers sometimes have to break laws to enforce a greater law or protect the safety of others and are immune from breaking those traffic laws that the rest of us must follow.  However, even in this instance, a privilege is not freedom, a right, or liberty, simply authority granted immunity when on the job to act in a manner that supports public safety and enforces the state’s authority over driving privileges.

The Role of ResponsibilityPresident Adams

Responsibility is a word that gets thrown around too often where the definition is muddied, and the intent is to harm and control someone else.  Responsibility is nothing more or less than the condition of being required to account for one’s actions, behaviors, and the consequences of the same.  For example, a defendant in a courtroom can be required to account for and make restitution for behaviors, actions, and consequences that were out of compliance with societal norms; we call this type of responsibility justice.

On a less extreme example, a child is out throwing rocks, the rock thrown breaks a window, who is responsible, the child or the parent?  The child should be held responsible and taught accountability; however, society is moving more and more towards holding that parent responsible.  Except, does this hurt or help the child stop throwing rocks?  Now, I have heard parents proclaim that throwing rocks is a right of passage for children, and the child should not be responsible for the consequences.  Therein lay the problem with freedoms, liberties, privileges, and rights, the role of responsibility.

Exclamation MarkIt has been said that my freedom of speech ends where your nose begins.  Thus, I cannot exercise my freedom of speech through physical violence, or I lose my right to speak and, more likely, some freedom and property as well.  Thus, the role of responsibility begins with knowing the extent of and limitations formed around rights, freedoms, liberties, and privileges, for ignorance of the law is not an excuse.  Our responsibility of living in society is to know the rules that form the laws and the social constraints of that society.

For example, the people of Germany have worked hard to make their country beautiful, and the principle of living in a Germanic society is In Ordnung.  If something is out of order, for example, litter, the person creating that situation outside of order is publicly shamed.  In America, the societal norms have been beaten and hindered, so that a person coming into America illegally has the rights, as granted by the government, not to learn the language, learn the culture, or even assimilate.  Whereas those coming legally into America are required to learn, adapt, and assimilate into America.  Thus, the role of responsibility can be used selectively to provide civil liberties to one group while withholding those same rights from others based upon political conditions.

Conclusion

Image - Eagle & FlagRights, especially inalienable rights, are yours as provided by a higher power than the government.  Liberties are the power to act without constraint, provided your exercise of liberty does not infringe upon the inalienable rights of another.  Freedoms rest upon political independence, something feared by every bureaucrat and power-mad politician in history.  Privileges are permissions granted by a higher authority to conduct business or fulfill a purpose.  Civil liberties are not liberties, but privileges can be taken away by authorities and social changes.  Regardless, the role of responsibility is inseparably connected to rights, liberties, freedoms, and privileges. One day, accountability will be demanded for the responsibilities connected to how a person used their liberties, freedoms, rights, and privileges.

References

Leadbeater, C. W. (1913). The hidden side of things. Wheaton, IL: The Theosophical Publishing House.

Lieberman, M. D. (2013). Social: Why our brains are wired to connect. NY: Oxford University Press, USA.

Poerksen, U. (2010). Plastic words: The tyranny of a modular language. NY: Penn State Press.

Paine, T. (2008). Rights of man, common sense, and other political writings. NY: Oxford University Press.

Tucker, W. (2014). Marriage and civilization: How monogamy made us human. NY: Simon & Schuster.

© 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.

Buzzwords and Canned Phrases – More Tyranny From Plastic Language

Stretched WordsPlasticized words make the most trouble.  Unfortunately, public education in America does not appear to care; public educators are some of the worst abusers of words, disconnecting words from meanings to achieve an agenda, which is practicing mental terrorism.  Poerksen (1995) discusses this phenomenon in some detail, and the need to be more cognizant of the problem is a small part of the solution. For example, Poerksen (1995) brings up the term ‘strategy’; the context might not be clear. Without specifying the intention and meaning, the audience becomes lost quickly but lost with confidence and lost doing what they understand.

Hitler’s Germany was famous for plasticizing words to make socially unacceptable actions acceptable with no negative consequences. For example, consider how cattle cars were used in the transportation of Jewish Citizens and other humans deemed useless, by plasticizing the term “cattle,” the Jews could be eliminated, society could believe what they were doing as acceptable, and the political agenda of Hitler was pushed forward, because a human of different religion, handicap, and so forth has been dehumanized to the level of cattle.Non Sequitur - Plasticity of Language

Poerksen (1995) is correct in labeling those who intentionally destroy language through plastic words as tyrants and tyrannical actions.  Mao was an excellent speaker, but his deceiving methods included making words plastic to cover abuses of people, destruction of lives, and to help his followers feel good about what they were doing. Likewise, ex-President Obama used a TelePrompTer because extemporaneous speaking is not his forte and because of the plastic words which were bent, twisted, and molded to deceive.  We all remember the promises of Ex-President Obama where ObamaCare is concerned.  However, what is fading from the collective public memory are the plastic expressions lauded upon Bergdahl to justify nefarious actions.  Bergdahl is a tiny example of how Ex-President Obama manipulated language to hide, obfuscate, denigrate, and deride the American People.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)3-direectional-balance

If you are going to work in a department with such an auspicious title as “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Department (DEI), one might imagine that you have a clear and present understanding of the power of words. But, apparently, those working in DEI either have an agenda and desire to be tyrants or are uneducated in the power and ability of words.  Draw your own conclusion, but I present in totem an email received earlier this week while I was out of the office.

12 Things You Should Never Say… And What To Say Instead

It’s easy to say the wrong thing when you’re under stress or a problem arises. Take a pause to reframe your response:

        1. That’s not my problem. ‘I recommend you speak to_____’
        2. But we’ve always done it that way. That’s a different approach, can you tell me why it’s better?’
        3. There’s nothing I can do. I’m a bit stuck, can you help me find other options?’
        4. This will only take a minute. ‘Let me get back to you on a timeframe.’
        5. That makes no sense.I’m not sure about that one – can you give me some more details on your thinking behind it?’
        6. You’re wrong. ‘I disagree and here’s why ______ what do you think?’
        7. I’m sorry, but…. I’m sorry about that… next time I will _____’
        8. I just assumed that. ‘Could you clarify what your expectations are for me?’
        9. I did my best. ‘What could I do better next time?’.
        10. You should have... ‘It didn’t’ work – here’s what I recommend next time…’
        11. I may be wrong, but... ‘Here’s an idea…’
        12. I haven’t had time. ‘I will be able to get this done by…’

And if you have said something you regret, here are three steps to quickly recover:

        1. Apologize. Be sincere for any upset or confusion you might have caused
        2. State what you didn’t mean. Admit your error, explain what you did not intend to do or say.
        3. Say what you actually meant. Explain what you really intended to say or do.

Please note, no grammar changes were made in copying and pasting this email; I changed the format to emulate the original. So now, let us carefully examine, without judging the grammar, the canned phrasing presented here along three lines: applicability, usefulness, and value.

ApplicabilityDetective 3

When discussing applicability, we are looking for situations where the canned phrasing offered is better than being natural, admitting error honestly, and moving forward from the current position in a constructive manner.  I fully appreciate that the 12 bolded phrases might not be the best way to state something.  However, the lack of applicability for the canned replacement phrases does not improve the situation.  Imagine a situation where the offered canned phrase would work, and I will show you a real-life scenario where it was tried and failed miserably.

Drawing upon more than 20 years of experience in and around call centers as a subject matter expert, as a customer relations expert, and published author, I can certify that canned phrases do not improve situations, nor can they cover mistakes.  Canned phrases stick out like a red dot on a white cloth!  The customer can hear the canned phrases, and the canned phrases will result in negative consequences!  Hence, this information from DEI fails the smell test before ever launching as a potential solution.

UsefulnessLook

When discussing the usefulness of a tool, the first aspect to always note is that any tool should feel comfortable, almost as if it was an extension of yourself.  Tools are intention incarnate; we select tools to perform tasks we cannot perform without the tool.  For example, hammering nails into house framing requires a hammer.   Not just any hammer, but a framing hammer, specifically designed for the job, framing, and because all framing hammers are not manufactured equally, should feel like an extension of your arm and hand.  The same is true for words; words are tools employed to communicate and should feel like an extension of yourself, be personal, and be helpful for the intent of delivering a message.

Again, we find the DEI email and canned phrases not passing the smell test.  Take any single item in the list above and try to use the exact phrase in a sentence with a friend or co-worker, and you will find yourself struggling to personalize that phrase.  Worse, saying it aloud makes you struggle with the offered grammar. So again, try personalizing that phrase; can you find any variation that feels natural to your method of speaking?  If so, you have used the offered phrase, but does it add or detract to the conversation when applying that phrase?  Herein lay the problem, some of the proposed phrases might work with individual variation but still cannot be used for a positive result.

ValueAndragogy - The Puzzle

Value is the sum of the application and usefulness of a tool to create opportunities to advance the situation to a solution positively.  More to the point, the value remains in the hands of the tool user, not the suggester of canned phrases. Thus, the tool’s value is not found in what has been created but in the usefulness and application to the tool’s user.

For example, while working in a call center, the agents were instructed to fit as many “keywords” into a conversation as possible.  The Quality Assurance Department (QA) was counting how often these keywords were used, so the pressure to perform was on the agent.  QA found that the offered words were often used in a single sentence to begin or end the call, and more often than not, when used during a call, led to call escalation.  Hence, the value of the terms was lost on the customer and worsened customer relationships.  Instead of releasing the agent from using keywords, the business managers doubled down.  The management team had no clue about the usefulness of the words as tools for communication and disregarded the need for tool personalization.  When negative results occurred, they compounded their error.  10-years after this disastrous decision, the agents are still forced to use tools that do not fit, the customers have continued to leave in droves, and the management team still struggles to understand why.

Knowledge Check!Application, usefulness, and value are how you measure tools, any tool.  From a tape measure to a hammer, from a computer to computer software, from words to headsets, the tools must meet these three criteria. Unfortunately, buzzwords and canned phrases do nothing to build value, enhance enthusiasm, or build cohesion into an impetus to motivate.  Often, buzzwords and canned phrases do the exact opposite, and failing to understand applicability, usefulness, and value is the problem of those insisting upon terminology, not the audience.  It cannot be stressed enough, plastic words lead to mental terrorism, and terrorism always leads to tyranny!

Reference

Poerksen, U. (1995). Plastic words: The tyranny of modular language (J. Mason, & D. Cayley, Trans.). University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press.

 © 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: “Constructive Criticism” – Killing The Lie!

Bird of PreyPoerksen (2010) provided sage counsel regarding how language plasticity leads to tyranny. Unfortunately, when discussing criticism, the tyranny of “constructive criticism” is displayed, and it is time for this lie to end, permanently!  Let me state, for the record and unequivocally, criticism never constructs positive behaviors!  Criticism doesn’t change simply because an adjective attempts to make criticism less harmful.

Criticism

Criticism defined, provides key insight from the common definition, “The expression of disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes.”  Disapproving based upon perception and expressed through words, looks, actions, and behaviors; this is criticism, and the best people in the world to criticize are the British.  IIf I call the British extremely critical and claim that is a compliment to the residents of the British Isles, those in Scotland and Ireland will understand, and no adjective in the world can make this criticism “constructive.”  As a point of reference, I draw this conclusion about the British from history, but knowing that does not make the criticism less accurate or less painful. On the contrary, I think the British have come a long way in changing their critical behaviors, actions, and manners and applauding them for their growth.

NO FearThe remaining definitions in the term criticism expand nicely upon the point that criticism and being critical can never be “constructive.”  “The analysis and judgment of the merits and faults of work.”  “A person who expresses an unfavorable opinion of something.”  The etymology of critic, which is the root of criticism, comes to us from Latin criticus, from Greek Kritikos, from kritēs ‘a judge’, from krinein ‘judge, decide.’  Never forget criticism, or the act of being critical originates from personal perception, a choice to be judgmental and critical.  The intent is to pass judgment upon something, someone, or someplace with the intent to cause personal harm or sway the opinions of others.

Constructive

Being constructive is “serving a useful purpose, or tending to build up.”  As noted above, criticism cannot be constructive because the adjective “constructive” is the polar opposite of criticism, which tends to tear down, demean, and depress.  Yet, when business leaders begin to write annual reviews, they are told to constructively criticize their employees, to sandwich criticism between praise to make the criticism less painful, and to construct comments in a manner that showcases strengths while not dwelling on the criticism.  Why; because this is the “scientifically approved” method for leadership, provide “constructive criticism.”  Except, criticism is a personal opinion and can never construct anything!

Why are we discussing criticism?Why

09 June 2021, in my company email box, I received an email, considered a “Thought of the Day,” from no less an auspicious source as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Department (DEI).  If anyone knew the damage of tyrannical language, I would think those in DEI would have a clue.  Yet, by their email, it is clear that DEI continues to drink the Kool-Aid and act the tyrant where language is concerned.  The email attempts to define destructive criticism and constructive criticism and then provides steps for distinguishing between the two forms of criticism.  Completely forgetting that criticism can never be constructive and will always be destructive.  From the email, we find these two fallacious concepts:

      • Destructive criticism: is undermining and can cause harm. There is no upside or way to positively spin what is said/written because the critic does not have your best interest at heart. It is destructive criticism that gives people fear of criticism in general.
      • Constructive criticism: is designed to be helpful and is based on valid facts/observations. It’s meant to help you grow and become stronger. It’s not always positive, but it can help you to see things in a new light. The critic almost always gives it based on their experience and genuinely wants to help out.Anton Ego 4

Using the definitions provided, can you see the tyranny?  Are the problems with plasticizing criticism behind the adjective “constructive” evident?  Do you understand the term plastic language and how plasticizing a word can destroy a person? Finally, ask yourself, does the professional critic write to “help the subject” of the criticism out, or do they criticize for another purpose entirely?

undefined1960, Doris Day’s movie, “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies,” has a character who moves from being a professor of acting at a college to being a theater critic.  The movie is a comedy and delightfully shows the problems with criticism.  Better, the film underscores how criticizing never leads to constructing a person, a reputation, or an industry.  A more recent example of the problems with criticism can be found in the Disney/Pixar animated movie “Ratatouille.”  Anton Ego is the critic of restaurants, and his name strikes fear and dread into the hearts of the cooks and chefs in a restaurant.  Anton Ego is a tyrant who employs criticism as a tool for his own ends.  The final criticism of Chef Gusteau’s Restaurant near the end of the movie is a stunning example of how criticism can never be constructive!

Bait & SwitchFrom the DEI email, we find something very interesting in the Constructive vs. Destructive questions; the lack of the term “criticism” in the constructive criticism questions. Instead, criticism has been subtly changed to “feedback” in every place the term criticism should reside. So, for example, the first item under constructive is stated, “Feedback and advice from others are essential for growth and success.  Look at criticism as a learning opportunity.”  Better still, the third item in the constructive list states, “Detach yourself from criticism.”

Your ability to understand and refuse to play word games promotes operational trust in an organization, brings stability to teams, and establishes you as a person willing to learn.  Learning thwarts tyranny, and the tyrant has to give ground.  Never lose the moral high ground!

Knowledge Check!Fighting tyrannical modular language, or the plastic word games people play to control an audience, I suggest the following:

        1. Question terms used—demand logical answers.
        2. Know words and definitions; if unsure, ask SIRI, look the terms up in multiple dictionaries, but don’t rely upon one source for an explanation.
        3. When in doubt, practice #2, then #1 until you are less confused. I have found those working to plasticize words cannot stand scrutiny.
        4. Sunshine disinfectant works when tyranny is found; put the tyrant in the sunshine and watch them emulate a vampire in the sunshine!

Freedom requires a willing mind and a courageous heart; you are never alone when you take a stand against tyranny. So stand and watch the tyranny begin to fall like a rock slide.  Be the tiny rock that starts something big!

Reference

Poerksen, U. (2010). Plastic words: The tyranny of a modular language. Penn State Press.

© 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: Progressive vs. Regressive – Sales Taxes

Flying BuffaloAny time a debate about taxes arises, the terms progressive and regressive get thrown around like popcorn in a food fight.  Whether or not those speaking, even know, or care about the definitions, implications, and repercussions are different topics and one I will not hazard a guess.  My intent here is to help you know and better understand the terminology as we discuss the broader topic, sales taxes.  Please note, since the early 1900s, the word progress has been twisted by tyrants, plasticized by the media, and manipulated into means one thing to one person and a different thing to a politician.  Of all the terms plasticized for tyranny, progress is one of the most egregious examples.  Just like the term “Buffalo-wings.”

Progressive

Progressive and progressivism is a political philosophy that empowers a more extensive and more intrusive government, a government without any shred of decency, and a government that is as intrusive as possible into your daily life.  Progressivism has been the catchphrase for all sorts of political hooliganism and liberty theft at all levels of government.  These abuses by the government have been made possible because, as everyone knows, progress, the root of progressivism, is a good thing.Angry Wet Chicken

Progress is defined as moving forward or onward towards the desired destination.  Also, progress can be advancement or development towards a better, or more complete, “modern condition.”  Archaic definitions sometimes provide critical insight into a word, and in this instance, the archaic meaning of progress was a state journey or official tour, especially by royalty.

Without the political connotations, Progressive means something relating to or characterized by progress, making use of new ideas, findings, or opportunities.  In the classroom, progressive relates to an educational theory marked by an emphasis on the individual child, informal class procedures, and encouraging self-expression to the point of sacrificing educational opportunities.  The meaning of progressive also refers to making progress, moving forward or advancing, increasing in severity or extent, expanding the base rate of something, and a few other definitions specific to the sciences of computers and lenses for glasses.Angry Wet Chicken 2

President Woodrow Wilson (D) was a progressive, and many of his political detractors were regressive.  The distinction was drawn on a political scale to aid in differentiating and scorning political opponents who were concerned about the spread of government.  We need to be clear, any time anyone talks about progressive taxes, they are discussing expanding the base tax rate.  Making tax increases sound more pleasant is a key to twisting the meaning of words and exercising tyranny on a population.

Regressive

As you might have probably guessed, regression is the exact opposite of progression.  Regressive as an adjective relates to the production of regression, decreasing the rate as the base increases, and is characterized by simplification of structures in an evolutionary process.  Regression is the action of regressing, and regressing relates to the act of reasoning backward, moving backward to a previous, and possibly worse or more primitive state, but it is also a privilege of going or coming back to something.

Emotions and Language

Emtional Investment CycleThe terms progressive and regressive are a perfect example of how emotions and language mix.  Without knowing all the definitions of a word, people will choose to use the sound of the word to decide whether the word sounds harsh or pleasant.  For example, progression sounds good, and regression sounds bad, but progress has roots in royalty taking a trip, and regression is a privilege or returning.  Hence, one of the main themes in these articles has been and continues to be how to control your emotions to improve your decision-making, the need to read, the opportunity to learn and keep learning words to empower conversation and knowledge.Apathy

When emotions rule, people like President Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, George Bush II, and many others with conspiring congresses get away with fundamentally destroying the fabric of America.  One of the tricks used against the citizens of America and in many democratically elected governments across the globe has been using language and emotions to enact reigns of tyranny.  Let us face facts, the IRS and the Federal Income Tax are not progressive; America did not move forward by paying a tax that fundamentally hurts people in their wallets.  Education reform and progressive schools did not improve America’s ability to compete globally on reading, writing, and arithmetic.  The progressive ideas from the late 1800s to shut down literacy among government-mandated schools did not improve America!  Frankly, we should count ourselves lucky to have the opportunity to regress on these fronts.

Sales Taxes

Bird of PreyOf all the progressive ideas needing to be eliminated, the sales tax sits at the highest pinnacle for regression.  Consider this, in states with the highest sales taxes, the sales tax is a pyramid where the final consumer winds up paying taxes on business-to-business transactions, dynamically increasing the price of the final goods or services delivered.  Business A buys raw goods from Business B and sells these goods to Business C to make small parts.  Business A buys these goods from Business C and sells them as finished goods to a consumer.  In a sales tax pyramid, the government gets paid at the end of every transaction; thus, a product in Vermont will be less expensive than a product in South Dakota, due precisely to the sales taxes paid by Businesses AB, B, and C during the manufacturing process.  Thus, the top five states in the United States with the highest sales taxes have a tax pyramid scheme in place, and the end consumer pays through the nose for everything!

In states with a less broad sales tax base, the sales tax remains egregious but more silent in how it steals your money!  According to the states with tax pyramid schemes, those with a less broad sales tax base are considered regressive, and those with the highest sales tax base are called progressive.  Either way, the sales tax continues to be the silent killer of ingenuity, innovation, job growth, and so much more.  Because people expect to pay a sales tax as a condition of making a purchase, the sales tax has become the majority of the fuel price paid to power a car, the hinge upon where jobs are produced, and part of the reasoning for populations to flee from.Plato 3

From an article on sales taxes by the Tax Foundation, we find the following important information:

“Narrow sales tax bases reduce collections, but more importantly, they make the tax less neutral and less economically efficient. Many states exempt certain goods (like groceries or clothing) from the sales tax for political reasons, excluding many consumer services (such as dry cleaning, haircuts, or tax preparation) largely by historical accident. Most states instituted their sales taxes during the Great Depression when services made up a much smaller portion of the economy. Since then, the portion of total U.S. personal consumption dedicated to services has grown significantly, while the purchase of goods has declined. This trend has contributed to the erosion of states’ sales tax bases over time, an unintentional base narrowing that puts upward pressure on sales tax rates.

Remember, sales taxes going up are considered progress. Reducing or eliminating the sales tax, which is the right path forward, is deemed to be regressive, based solely upon the sound of the terms being used.  Broader tax bases are not equitable, but many economists, especially those Keynesian Devotees, will claim broader tax bases and pyramid tax schemes are progressive, equitable, and helps the rich pay their “fair share.”  How can a person tell that sales tax schemes do not work to make “equitable” tax bases; “Curiously, a policy expressly designed to inject progressivity into sales taxes—an exemption for groceries—largely fails to accomplish its purpose. Studies suggest that the exclusion of groceries beyond the necessary exemption for food purchased using SNAP or WIC does not favor lower earners.”

Plato 2While the Tax Foundation does an admirable job pitching for “right-sizing” the tax base to make sales taxes more “equitable,” they miss the forest for the tree.  Sales taxes are a silent killer and need to be regressed from American purchases at the earliest opportunity!  Taxes never produce progress!  Write that on your hand, and use that hand to correct the behavior of politicians who want “progressive taxes,” a “federal sales tax,” or want to improve tax burdens progressively.  When did American goods stop being traded, and manufacturing jobs were exported when the income tax started!  Why do people not want to live where they pay high sales taxes because of the progressive nature of sales taxes, the other progressive tax structures, and the only entity winning is the government.

Knowledge Check!America, we need to regress from the state where the income and sales taxes have taken us.  We cannot afford the government largess stolen from workers anymore.  We cannot afford the size of local, county, state, and federal governments.  Until the taxes are regressed, which would be a huge opportunity to realize, we will continue to be treated as the property of the government, and I, for one, am done being owned and forced into indentured servitude just to pay for the government who abuses me!

© 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: Clearing up the confusion! – Understanding the Government of America

Bird of PreyRepresentative Deb Haaland (D) sent out an email while a US House of Representatives member claimed America is a “Constitutional Democracy.”  I will endeavor to correct this confusion using simple terms; for Representative Haaland’s benefit, please allow me to elaborate.  Along the way, let us explore a few connected topics, including the plasticization of words and how that breeds tyranny.

A Republic finds its history lodged in the writings of Plato, who called a republic “possessing the structure and composition of the ideal state.”  James Madison provides America with the only definition needed for America to be a republic, “We may define a republic to be … a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people; and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure, for a limited period, or during good behaviour [Emphasis added].”  A republic is a government system where the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them.  Finally, a republic is recognized by the head of the government, not being a monarch or other hereditary head of state.

America has a Constitution that leaves all the power of the government in the hands of its legal citizens.  Legal citizens are not impostor aliens or terrorists captured on a battlefield; thus, US Constitutional Rights do not apply or cover these entities.  A Republic is formed around the principle that through property ownership, freedom is generated.  A Republic requires time, majorities that clearly surpass a simple majority, and when personal property is threatened or removed from individual citizens, that Republic slips into a democracy.  A Democracy cannot climb into being a Republic, but the Republic can be reduced to a democracy.Look

Democracy is associated with the “rule by the people,” or a simple majority wins.  The associations of democracy have become more twisted since the mid-1930s.  Therein lies the problem, democracies have existed under the feudal system of government, the communists have tried to instill democratic changes, and dictators like Maduro in Venezuela have employed democracy for personal enrichment and citizen enslavement.  Democracy, other than being dangerous, is the belief that simple majority rules for everyone.  Winston Churchill is correct, “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”  The reason democracy is dangerous is the belief that people control the rule when they have nothing to do with the ruling.  The “Rule of Law does not bind rulers of a democracy”; they are only restricted by statistics reported in opinion polls, which Mark Twain aptly called “Damned lies.”Finest Hour

Consider the United Kingdom, which is a “Democratic Polyarchy” as they have a hereditary monarch ruler, and a democratic parliament; when the people demanded an exit from the European Union, the supposedly democratic parliament stymied and thwarted the people’s will to keep the United Kingdom in the European Union.  Venezuela is a democracy where the constitution was destroyed for personal power.  The country was bankrupted for the enrichment of the few, and the people are now left starving, wondering where their country went.

America’s founders were interested in creating a representative democracy under a republican form of government to protect the property rights of individuals that generate the most freedom for the most people.  Under a republican form of government, everyone is first bound by the rule of law; in America’s case, the code we are all united under is the US Constitution.  Even the government must answer to the lowest of citizens.  Important to note, a Republican form of government does not mean that the Political Party “Republicans” are the party to rule exclusively.  The plasticization of words and terms continues to create confusion where politics is concerned.Patriotism

America was never expected to be a direct democracy, where Representative Haaland (D) is basing her erroneous statement regarding America being a “Constitutional Democracy.”  Here is where the fallacy resides, a constitutional democracy would only require a simple majority to enact new clauses in the constitution.  America’s Constitution requires ¾’s of the individual US States to ratify a Constitutional Amendment after the Constitutional Amendment has won supermajorities in the US House of Representatives and the Senate.  Thus, any fourth-grade student who has passed American history can tell how and why America is NOT a “Constitutional Democracy,” as stated by Representative Haaland.  “Constitutional Democracy” is fallacious, deceiving, and meant to create confusion in the populace.  Since Representative Haaland (D) and Senator Udall (D) continue to disregard their constituents, I expect more but have come to realize they will not adhere to providing a higher level of respect for the offices they individually hold, representing their constituents across the political spectrum.The Duty of Americans

Property – It’s Not What you Think!

Since we discuss the rule of law, republics, and other related topics, let us dig a little into an item that is killing America and her freedom, the loss of private property.  Charles Reich, an American legal and social scholar as well as an author who was a Professor at Yale Law School, writes a paper every American citizen needs to read and be concerned over, this paper is referenced below, and the link is active.

Detective 4Starting in the 1930s, during the “Great Depression,” changes were made to America’s methods of governance by the President, a willing media, and sycophants in the Senate and House.  Establishing the Federal and State Government’s ability to rule by largess; picking winners and losers based upon obeisance to a bureaucrat’s whims, wishes, and will.  Reich lays out this history, walks the reader through the laws, and makes the case that because of democratic rule America’s Republic has been reduced to a feudal system where the government decides who gets the largess and who does not.  With the Federal and State Governments making these decisions, businesses do not compete fairly upon their own merits but upon how much taxpayer money they can bamboozle from Uncle Sam.  Unfortunately, the entire system hinges upon reducing private property ownership and the freedoms private property allow to feed the ever-hungry beast of Government consumption.Image - Quote Poltics is Dirty

A perfect example is found in K-12 Schools.  When a school insists they need more money from the taxpayer, they blame poverty and race as to why their students cannot learn unless more money is poured into a failing school to purchase a “magic bullet,” e.g., an expensive new toy, technology, or program—providing three lies in one, and excusing designed incompetence for the failure of students who the teachers have abused.  Race governing ability is the first lie.  Poverty dictating intellect forms the second lie.  More money needed in K-12 Education is the third lie.  The designed incompetence that allows or encourages a teacher to pass a student that does not meet the standards of learning is an abuse of students, not a problem of funding, and not a problem of the teacher, but a lack of parental involvement and student engagement.Government Largess

Here is government largess in action; if the school board does not adhere to the lies of race and poverty affecting intellectual ability, that school does not get more money.  Repeatedly, we see these lies vociferously declared in the media that poverty and race are holding a school/student back, and the government needs to spend more money.  In reality, leadership in the school, reinstating the teacher’s authority, and respect is required for those schools, not more government largess.  Indeed not another program or technology that no one can afford will fail to achieve the sales pitch.

ApathyThus, America needs to demand change through the ballot box, insist that freedom and private property are returned to the people. Those representatives who have no moral center, or cannot serve their constituents from both parties equally, are removed from politics; indefinitely!  Since America is a Republic and not a democracy (yet!), the problems in representation can be solved.

Plastic Language is Tyranny!

Stretched WordsShakespeare (2016) used Hamlet to relate a line that frequently applies, especially when communicating online, “… thou doth protest too much, methinks.”  Too often, those intent on misusing words are protesting too much about something.  On social media, every communication, every interaction, and every person is a threat to the intellect of the one protesting and must be lorded over, trolled, and publicly shamed.  A recent example of this the world witnessed during Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation process, where the judge’s children were physically and verbally assaulted—using a warping of legal rights, guaranteed justification for the assault.  A careful review of any newspaper, news broadcast, and many politicians speaking will evidence the plasticization of words to justify actions, e.g., President Clinton, “Depends on what your definition of “is” is.”  Words to couch a threat while seeming to be helpful and friendly, or worst of all hide abuses of others through twisted logic.  Every time words become disconnected from standard meanings, society crumbles, language becomes useless, and the consequences are multi-generational, which is precisely what transpired in recovering Germany after Hitler’s demise.

Andragogy - LEARNI had the great personal pleasure of speaking to a senior citizen from Germany who lived through Hitler’s oppression and the recovery of Germany post-WWII, and the person I spoke with affirmed the most challenging social problem was relearning words and definitions to communicate without the taint of Hitler’s Germanic Language.  Hence, we can draw several lessons from this experience; language is trained.  It can be retrained; relearning language is a social problem fixed through social interactions and personal knowledge, and personal responsibility and accountability remain pre-eminent in communicating correctly.  Another lesson from my experience, history repeats itself, and those with dastardly designs will always corrupt language to gain the advantage before showing their true colors as tyrants.  Every single despot in recorded history has employed plastic language to lull the population into acquiescence before demanding loyalty and destroying that civilization, society, or culture.

Word Plasticity is LIC!LIC 2

I cannot stress this point enough; LIC (Low-Intensity Conflict) is a type and style of warfare hosted by a wealthy or politically protected party for the demise of a population through “diplomatic, economic, and psychological pressures.”  Language is a social construct.  As discussed above, where Germany had to rid itself of twisted words and phrases from the Nazis, the social construct of language is generally the first step in advancing psychological warfare against a population.  Recognizing the plasticization of language is the first problem in fighting LIC.  How was Maduro able to lull the entire population of Venezuela into false security while he destroyed their constitution?  He employed psychological warfare through the plasticization of language.  Cuba, China, USSR, and every other tin-pot dictatorship employ the same strategy, twist the language, and conquer the people.

Knowledge Check!Representative Haaland (D), now Interior Secretary, was employing plastic words to hide her tyrannical ambitions, calling America a “Constitutional Democracy.”  The United States of America is a Constitutional Republic with democratically elected representatives.  If America is to survive as a Republic; the citizens need to understand where plastic language is employed, understand their government form, and insist that the democratically elected representatives will realize the same.  Recognizing LIC is the first step, and the depth of LIC being enacted against America has been allowed to grow until America is in dire straits and dangerous waters!  The American Republic must re-embrace private property and refuse what has been done since the 1900s by presidential fiat and complicit Congresses under the heading of “progressivism.”

Reference

Charles A. Reich, The New Property, 73 Yale L.J. (1964). Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/ylj/vol73/iss5/1

© 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.