Enlightened Conflict

patriotism & enforcing conformity

October 13th, 2017

constitution american-flag-all-rights-reserved-by-jade-leyva

 

Today I discuss mandating standing for the national anthem <as President Donald J Trump appears to be advocating>.

 

While I will share my views and while I doubt Mr. Trump has ever looked at the Constitution or googled “Supreme Court decisions with regard to enforcing patriotic compulsory routines” I will share what the US Supreme Court HAS said about this:

 

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“To believe that patriotism will not flourish if patriotic ceremonies are voluntary and spontaneous, instead of a compulsory routine, is to make an unflattering estimate of the appeal of our institutions to free minds.”

 

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US Supreme Court 1943

 

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To be clear.

 

normalizing america bad behavior values phoenixI stand for the national anthem.

 

I don’t burn flags.

 

I believe people should do the former and the latter.

 

That said.

 

I could give a shit if people stand, place their hand on their heart or sing along. It’s a ridiculous empty faux act of patriotism to simply do something because <a> you have to or <b> you do it because everyone else is doing it.

 

I respect the flag and the country but if you truly want to respect those who served, well, try not acting like an asshole to those who have served.

 

I respect the flag and the country but if you truly want to respect those who served, well, try conducting yourself in ways that make this country look like it’s less full of shitheads and more like a country whose military teaches dignity, honor & integrity.

 

I respect the flag and the country but if you truly want to respect those who served, well, try and act like we are not at war or our freedom is under attack from some outside enemy and recognize that the only attack we are under are from dickheads like Trump who claim to value freedom and independence but espouse conformity & hollow patriotism.

 

Beyond all of that, and whatever constitutional freedom of speech stuff you want to attach to this discussion, there is an additional fairly basic business management aspect – building an organizational culture is never about enforced conformity.

 

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“Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.”america-red-white-and-blue

 

John F. Kennedy

 

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“The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it’s conformity.”

 

Rollo May

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Yeah.

 

I admit.

 

I hate codes of conduct <in general>.

 

I have never been a fan of conformity in general … and absolutely hate forced conformity.

 

I hate dress codes.

 

I hate office rules.

 

I hate meeting rules.

 

Yeah.

 

all-of-you-aligned-self-normal-accountableI say that tied to the thought of how some people are discussing creating laws, or establishing rules, for standing for the national anthem.

 

I say that because this entire discussion isn’t just about being patriotic, and being a ‘patriot’… but enforcing conformity or specific behavior.

 

We try and do that shit in business all the time.

 

Well.

 

Leaders who do not understand how to build a strong self-sustaining organizational culture try this shit all the time.

 

To be clear.

90% of the time, enforced behavior, fails miserably.

 

What do I mean>?

 

90% of the time the desired behavior, which you have always forced & enforced, stops when you stop looking and stop enforcing.

 

At the core of ‘enforced’ is that it isn’t something people want to do, or maybe it isn’t something they naturally inherently do, and they do it because they have to do it.

 

At the core of ‘enforced’ is failure. People, in general, don’t like to be told to be honest, do things certain way and how to think. Trying to enforce organizational attitudes & behaviors works just as well as forced changes of behavior in personal Life <diets, quitting smoking, chewing on your fingernails, etc> — it does not work

 

By the way.

Here is the other weird thing about ‘enforced conformity.’

 

Failure even happens with the shit that <a> people really don’t mind doing and <b> people kind of know is the right thing to do.

 

It’s just that people do not like to be forced to do things … even things they kind of want to do anyway.

 

—————————-america fix myself

Seek to impose your will, and more men will kneel (if they’re permitted), and when they rise, it will be with resentment in their hearts.

Embrace liberty, and more men will rise, and they’ll do so with joy.

I want those players to stand.

I want to see their hands over their hearts.

But I want to see that happen out of love, not fear, and so long as the fear remains, a decision to stand means nothing but an empty victory in a culture war that will tear this nation apart.
———————————

 

Look.

 

We would love it in business if everyone did what you wanted them to do.

We would love it if everyone in a society did things the way they were supposed to do.

 

But you cannot enforce conformity and, in fact, just as the Supreme Court suggested with the national anthem in 1943 … you really do not want to force behavior. You want behavior to come from within the individual and not enforced from ‘without.’

 

Oh.

This is where the role of “social norms” can come into play.

Different from enforcement, that promotes top-down direction, administration and monitoring, encouraging social norms can spur, and inspire … uhm … conformity.

 

It is conformity by choice.

It is having the freedom to conform … and choosing to do so.

 

This is a powerful conformity.

 

Anyway.

 

The Supreme Court got it right back in 1943 when a small group of Jehovah’s Witnesses declined to salute the flag. They were patriots but their beliefs wouldn’t allow them to demonstrate reverence for a flag <a symbol>. The Supreme Court rendered its verdict — with words that should be etched into the minds of anyone who truly cares about who and what America is:

 

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.

Those are the most famous words of Supreme Court case West Virginia v. Barnette, but it is these words which any true patriot, or leader, should ponder:

 

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Nevertheless, we apply the limitations of the Constitution with no fear that freedom to be intellectually and spiritually diverse or even contrary will disintegrate the social organization. To believe that patriotism will not flourish if patriotic ceremonies are voluntary and spontaneous, instead of a compulsory routine, is to make an unflattering estimate of the appeal of our institutions to free minds.

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In other words, the power of the symbolism & patriotism lies with the choice to honor & dignify the symbolism of a fag & an anthem.

 

In other words, compelled patriotism … the effort to force a person to say or do what they do not believe … doesn’t touch upon the true spirit of what the country stands for.

 

In other words, if I have to compel someone to be patriotic, or do acts which imply patriotism, the American Idea isn’t working.

 

In other words, mandatory patriotism isn’t patriotism at all.

 

In other words, the government cannot force someone to violate their conscience and they shouldn’t bully private businesses into doing what a government cannot legally dictate.

 

I will say this over and over and over again until the day I die — the cure for bad speech is better speech, the cure for bad behavior is better behavior and the cure for dealing with any ‘the American ideal (and idea)’ doubts is not bad enforced conformity.

 

We should inform, educate, and recommend policies, ideas & behavior that improve America but allow its citizens their freedom of choice.

 

For the best compliance, don’t just enforce the rules, establish the norms.

 

Yeah.

 

compromise life good want you theyI am sure some NFL owners will attempt some behavior-shaping constraints <fines, suspensions, etc.>. And they have that right as a business owner managing their own business & culture.

 

But I will tell them a secret <and I am hoping President Trump, who has never managed a business which demanded building a culture, is listening in> … that will not shape behavior but it will certainly shape attitudes <unfortunately, most likely not the attitudes truly desired>.

 

Forcing functional behavior is not always the best approach to shaping behavior.

 

Here is what any business leader who has ever run a business knows:

 

It takes your own to govern your own.

Not rules of conduct.

Not enforced conformity.

 

Lastly.

Just to conclude this piece.

 

Trump the asshat.

He has no fucking clue how to build a company culture. To him culture is having all the women wear their hair the same way, everyone wear a certain type of clothes that appeal to him and wear name tags with the Trump brand on it.

 

How do I know he has no clue how to build a culture without ‘enforcing conformity’?

 

The one people skill he has exhibited to date – it seems like Trump has this unique capability of bringing out the worst of people on actually the best of things.

 

Huh?

 

By using patriotism and pride in country <good> he encourages … well … wrong thinking, wrong thoughts and wrong behavior.

 

What he has done is bring out the worst in people who actually believe in a good thing.

 

What an asshat.

 

I would remind President Asshat what every god business leader knows about their employees and their culture … both good and evil lies within the hearts of most men (Alexander Solzhenitsyn) .

Most of us have the capacity to do great and good things … uhm … do very bad and evil things.

good bad person trust reliable

Leaders have a choice.

 

Either bring the best of the good out of people or bring the worst of the bad out of people.

 

You cannot bring out ‘good’ from within through some type of enforcement nor should you be seeking to try to ‘conform’ good.

 

Good has to be encouraged, not enforced <someone should print that off and put it on Trump’s mirror so he can see it every morning>.

nights bigger than imagining

June 2nd, 2017

stars and night sky

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“And the nights, bigger than imagining: black and gusty and enormous, disordered and wild with stars.”

 

—–

Donna Tartt

 

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“This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper.”

 

T.S. Eliot

 

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Well.

 

stars and planets at nightDespite the fact most nights remain the same amount of hours, minutes and seconds day to day a sleepless night can often look bigger than imagined. I have found that sleepless nights are less about restless minds and more about capacity in a squeezed space.

 

Huh?

 

Let me tackle squeezed first.

 

In general the world is a pretty vast place and our lives can seem fairly inconsequential. The good news about this is that within all that vastness there is a lot of room to let some of the more horrible or horribly mundane crap just slip by.

 

The bad news occurs when all of a sudden Life, and the world, shrinks and you feel squeezed. And this can happen a lot easier than one may think.

 

Ponder what I am going to say as “the big squeeze.”

 

Everyday everyone faces some naturally occurring ‘shrinking’ aspects which in and of themselves can’t shrink your Life enough to matter. Let’s just say this is the daily grind of work, chores and family & Life commitments. Some things go well and some things don’t.sometimes the smallest things

And then, of course, there will be a day or two where the things that “don’t” significantly outnumber the things that “do.” because this is day to day shit I view this as getting squeezed from the sides. They kind of suffocate you a little.

But set that aside for a moment.

 

And then there will be some days where you have that ad hoc shit you have to plan to get done … the faucet is dripping, the car engine light is on, someone hit the mailbox, crap like that. 95% of the time this kind of shit never goes as planned. It takes too long or it doesn’t get done right the first time or … well … suffice it to say … the easy stuff never gets done as easily as you would want.

And then, of course, there will be a day or two where the things that never get done as easily as you want actually end up just not going right. This is stupid little shit … but maybe think about it as maybe getting squeezed from underneath – an unexpected aggravating shift on the ground below you.

But set that aside for a moment.

 

And then there will be some days where you turn on the TV or maybe scan the internet news breaks and … well … some shit has hit the fan. Your country has made some monumental decision that seems to shift its place in the world.

Some nutjob terrorist has committed some heinous act to innocent people.

Some “thing” happens that feel like a shift in the bedrock of ‘what is.’ It may not directly affect you but you sense that it is a monumental thing which will most likely affect you <even though you aren’t sure how yet>. This is big shit … this just makes you feel a little like the weight of the world has gotten a little heavier and the world as you have known it has become a little murkier. You are getting squeezed from above.

But set that aside for a moment.

 

life big squeeze

 

Now.

 

I will now get to capacity.

 

Let’s assume on one day all there of things happen … you get squeezed all on one day. Oddly, this becomes a test of your capacity <which implies largeness>. And, yes, maybe it is about largeness. As in how large you can remain as you get squeezed.

 

Some nights it isn’t easy to not get suffocated.

Other nights you find your capacity and push back a little.

Most nights you find just enough largeness to not get … well … too little.

 

But the nights in which all three aspects I outlined squeezed you I would suggest … well … the word ‘forlorn’ comes to mind.

 

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“Oft hope is born when all is forlorn.”

 

J.R.R. Tolkien

 

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I use forlorn because I associate it with capacity as I am discussing it today.

Forlorn has a sense of shrinking to it in that the good in Life seems to shrink forlorn bird in a cage squeezeand that which is bad seems to grow and you are left with that wretched forlorn feeling which dogs you throughout a sleepless night. Forlorn seems like it is more appropriate than lonely or lonesome in that it specifically embraces a senses of wretchedness and desertion or abandonment … in my mind … ‘despairing of the arrival of a friend … in this case … a friend called Hope.”

 

To me … all of what I just shared with regard to squeezing and capacity captures the essence of the worst of the worst sleepless nights.

And, if I were a betting man, I would bet we have all had a few of these.

 

Ok.

Here is what I know.

 

Most of us get through these nights. Despite the vast emptiness of a night, more vast than we imagined it should be, we cast about among the chaos of the stars and find some light.

I like to think of it as we clamber through the clouds and exist.

 

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“I will clamber through the clouds and exist.”

 

—-

John Keats

 

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And the outcome of most of these nights, in addition to being tired, is out of the gauntlet of forlornness we seem to come out with a degree of hope. point where too tired despair night get to work

 

Hope for a better day <at minimum> and maybe Hope for something better <at maximum>.

 

In other words, out of the bigness which seems to squeeze us if but for a moment we rummage through a sleepless night … one black and gusty and enormous, disordered and wild with stars … and come out a little less black, a little more calm, a little more ordered and a little more focused on some star.

 

 

Enlightened Conflict