Nov. 12, 2020

IS REFUSING TO CONCEDE DEFEAT ALWAYS BAD?

Refusing to accept defeat is quite normal in the US and suprisingly common elsewhere.

Since Covid 19 we have been isolated in our rural home in Costa Rica.

Despite our best efforts to avoid it, we have been bombarded by the fanatical propaganda from both sides, regarding the US election.

In early chapters of my next book, I explained how in my days as a trainee monk, two Catholic American brothers taught us their unfamiliar sports. They also showed us how to foul professionally, undetected. If caught, we were to loudly claim innocence.

In a later chapter, I describe how the partners in our US headquartered consulting firm cheated to the extent of breaking laws and putting rival teams bus drivers at riusk of prosecution.

Later, some idiot appointed me as a team leader in some field sports for the partners. If we lost an event, I was expected to scream and shout, arguing with the referee. This was difficult for me.

Brought up in the UK, my state school taught the supposed standards of sportsmanship of the expensive schools of the British upper classes. Sport was a game. Accepting defeat gracefully was expected.

Later, I learned that reality at those schools was to be sneaky and always support the fellow members of the elite and "chums".

One of the advantages of lockdown is that it gives time for contemplation and research.

Here are some conclusions regarding refusal to accept defeat. Note that Sociopaths and narcissists are among the examples. Though also consider that in wars, in heart surgery and Wall St trading, behavoural scientists believe that these traits are an advantage in taking necessary risks.

In the case of elite military forces it can result in success. Think of the 101st US airborne troops. Their stand at Bastogne cost the Panzers any chance of success. Patton was a narcissist general. He refused to contemplate defeat.

In 480BC, heralded the stand of the Greeks at Thermopylae. This led to their deaths. It also resulted in the vanquishing of the much greater forces of Persia.

The Royal Marines taught us never to give in and to keep fighting. It is the norm among elite troops. Back in time, we were also told only to take prisoners if we needed information, "They slow you down and need careing for." 

Massacres by both sides in wars are common. This means that not surrendering may enhance the chances of survival. Those conducted by the winners or the dominant world powers are whitewashed.

General Custer was an Indian Killer and narcissist. His last stand was ill judged and useless, but spawned many off color jokes.

The victors decide when this behavior is fine and dandy and when not. In 1945, SS forces defended La Rochelle, till Admiral Karl Dönitz's  overall German surrender. The rest of France was liberated in 1944.  Their successful defense was not lauded.

This behavior and thinking seems prevalent in the leadership cadres of large businesses. Elon Musk and Richard Branson spring to mind.

 In poker bluffing with a terrible hand can result in success. This game is popular with the tough guys.

In general, many politicians refuse to accept defeat. In Belarus in 2020, power crazed Alexander Lukashenko is typical of many dictators worldwide. They ensure re-election with implausible majorities.

Not all those fighting to the last are malicious. The medical staff, stalwartly keeping hospitals going against all odds are an example. The medicos are hardly acting in for selfish motives, rather for the good of others.

In Vietnam, the image of self-immolating monk Thích Quảng Đức, determined to remain uptight as the flames consumed him. This electrified the US Peace movement may have shortened the War.

There is irony in some who held out against the odds. At the turn ofthe 19th Century, Victorian hero, Lord Baden Powell, held Ladysmith in South Africa against the Boers until relieved. He was wont to dress as woman whenever opportunity presented itself. Today that would be considered acceptable, but it was then.

He founded the global Boy Scout movement. He also liked to photograph naked schoolboys in the showers.

Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, the dictator of Turkmenistan, has raised an 18 meter golden statue of his favorite dog. He is clearly barking mad.