We often think of strength as something to do with standing strong, tall, powerful, and dominant. The problem is that much of that strength is really weakness masqueraded in power. Strength comes from something deeper when a person stands up for what is right even when the odds seem insurmountable. Those are the types of leaders our nation needs....not the one's who give lip service to problems only once everyone else seems to be "on board". Developing a more powerful nation requires a more powerful sense of purpose.
Let me give a scenario. A group of people engage in a previous theft and abusive type behavior and try and hide that behavior when discovered by further aggression. Damaging children, encouraging others to engage in violence, lying, pseudo-domestic religious and ethnic terrorism, political based bullying, defamation of character, false police complaints and seeking the counsel of a close friend in law enforcement that has their own trail of criminal intrigue.
There comes a time when you must simply say "no!", "not anymore", "your behavior is grotesque and is damaging a lot of people". Sometimes telling people with maladaptive personalities that may have narcissism and sociopath tendencies "no" leads to all types of group aggression. It was easy to sew group aggression because of the racial and religious differences and deep seated psychological distortion that hasn't been dealt with since childhood.
Strength isn't about telling people what they want to hear because you want to be liked. Its easy to look like a "super stud" when you have a group of supports that lack critical thinking and are all too willing to prove to each other their self-worth. True toughness comes from inside one's soul and through their history of standing up against insurmountable odds to do what is right for Americans of every background. Our current political environment doesn't recognize true strength in the same way it recognizes "lip service".
Where would our nation if we didn't have people who stood up to the Natzis, ISIS, Segregation, and other mental plagues on the earth? We would be considered cowards and our experiment of freedom and equality would have long perished under our inability to see the bigger picture of foot dragging and cowardice. Thank God we have a history of people willing to stand up for whats right when its needed.
Standing up for what is right means one must first understand the different between right and wrong. That is not an easy task to step outside oneself and our social networks to see things from a higher order thinking level. They have the ability to ponder issues on a deeper level and make choices that lead to the best outcomes. That is not an easy task when few will raise a finger to do what is right until it becomes popular. Their value systems are embedded in their networks.
Our nation is on a better trajectory now and it will need new leaders who have the capacity to think about right and wrong long before large moral and market corrections. They don't need to be a minority in a racial sense they only need to have a value system that seeks truth and justice and the moral backbone to do whats right in the face of adversity. Standing up for right is the right thing to do, shows strength and perseverance, and is a sign of maturity.....the type of leadership this country currently needs as our world goes through rapid transitions.
Here are a couple of abstracts on maladaptive personalities and how "bad apples" encourage other to lower their value systems based on lack of perspective. People who can see outside this are worth much more than people who are stuck into a rigid social structure that requires strict adherence. We should raise our value systems to break down these networks into something more functional and stand up when things are not right.
Aggression is CounterAdaptive
Unjustified aggression is rooted in our biological past based on testosterone and serotonin. What we find that is aggression is both emotional and physical in nature. Those that engage in such behaviors are seeking to obtain some goals.
Consider (Vetulani, 2013)....
Abstract: Aggression is the most frequent social reaction among animals and men, and plays an
important role in survival of the fittest. The change of social conditions in the course of development of human civilization rendered some forms of aggression counteradaptive, but the
neurobiological mechanism of expression of aggression have not fundamentally changed in
the last stages of human evolution. The two different kinds of aggression: emotional, serving
mainly as a threat, and rational, predatory, serving for the attainment of goal in the most effective
way, have different anatomical and neurobiological background and reciprocally inhibit each
other. Aggression is modulated by several neurotransmitter and hormonal systems, of which
key role is seemingly played by testosterone, a hormone involved in domination behavior,
and serotonin, whose deficit results in increased impulsiveness.
Poor Friend Networks Encourage Criminality
When friends are too close and don't have outside references they create "clannish" mentality that leads to increased dysfunction and criminality of the entire group. So lets say that someone's identity is tied to sports playing in high school and they developed a friend network around that group. As people share experiences together and create ties objective viewpoints go out the window. If a member intentionally spreads false rumors and there are people in the group that may doubt such comments they will be muted because the entire group takes on a dysfunctional viewpoint.
This is one of the reasons why it is so important for people to have a different kinds of friends with a divers background. In this case, all of the friends were part of the same group, same race, relatively the same background, and do not have a lot of education. Their identities are tied to their high school and are not welcoming to outsiders. Worse...some members of the group have a history of hostility and inappropriate behaviors to outsiders so anytime a disagreement occurs those that have a different race, religion, background or even where a different brand of clothing (i.e. HH vs Armani) or like a different sports team (i.e. Lions vs. Packers) are quickly targeted.
Consider Gino vs. Galisnsky (2012)....
In four studies employing multiple manipulations of psychological closeness, we found that feeling connected to another individual who engages in selfish or dishonest behavior leads people to behave more selfishly and less ethically themselves. In addition, psychologically connecting with a scoundrel led to greater moral disengagement. We also establish that vicarious justification is the mechanism explaining this effect: When participants felt psychologically close to someone who had behaved selfishly, they were more likely to consider the behavior to be less shame-worthy and less unethical; it was these lenient judgments that then led them to act more unethically themselves. These vicarious effects were moderated by whether the miscreant was identified with a photograph and by the type of behavior. Importantly, we establish a general process of vicariousness: psychological closeness produced both vicarious generosity and selfishness depending on the behavior of the person one feels psychologically connected to. These findings suggest an irony of psychological closeness: it can create distance from one’s own moral compass.
Strength isn't about blindly following others but trying to do what you think is right no matter what happens. Our Justice system and the people in our country have a responsibility to think about the long-term value of developing a system of fairness and equity that leads to national buy in and economic development based on the truer Capitalism. They do not have a responsibility to protect a certain class, people, or background. Holding people accountable isn't always about putting people in prison but it could be about getting people the help they need and requiring amends for their behavior.
Vetulani, J. (2013). Neurochemistry of impulsiveness and aggression. Psychiatria Polska 2013, tom XLVII, numer 1 strony 103–113 https://www.psychiatriapolska.pl/uploads/images/PP_1_2013/ENGverVetulani_PP1_2013.pdf
Gino, F. & Galisnsky, A. (2012). Vicarious dishonesty: When psychological closeness creates distance from one’s moral compass. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 119 (1). https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0749597812000477