Bullying, Humiliation and Exclusion Are All Part of the British Culture. How Does This Assertion Sit with Our Duty to Produce Trained Soldiers for the Front Line by Running Hard, Relevant and Fair Training?

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Bullying, humiliation and exclusion are all part of the British culture. How does this assertion sit with our duty to produce trained soldiers for the front line by running hard, relevant and fair training? First, it is essential to understand that the larger British cultural psychology exerts its oppression through mostly subtle forms of psychological warfare. Repression of emotions, fastidiousness, fixation on decorum and protocol, and elite classism are all fixtures of the British school system and of British adult society. This is no accident -- the hallmarks of British socialization are present in military training as well. In the case of the military, the bullying, humiliation, and exclusion are achieved through both subtle and overt psychological warfare, and even violence. As military expert Dr Hans Pols observes, “cultures of denigration and harassment have existed in all army training camps.” (Das, 2004) Why is this the case? Surely these characteristics do not exist arbitrarily in either British society or the military itself. The overarching reason is a conceptually simple one: an historical preoccupation with maintaining the culture of superiority: “Throughout history the superiority of the winners has been connected to a denial of feelings -- what, in the British Empire, was called the ‘stiff upper lip.’ The conquerors of nature and ‘natives’ claimed their right to the world as their possession because they had first conquered themselves.” (Davey, 1999) With respect to the military, specifically, what is the point of such institutionalized human denigration in our organizations? According to Dr Pols, the implicit philosophy behind bullying and denigration is based on the idea that to be capable of dealing with the rigours of battle, soldiers need to be toughened up by being subjected to conditions that test their resolve and resilience. Also, to create an effective army, soldiers need to lose their individuality and personality to become...
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