Bergdahl, America and Vicarious Learning


Bergdahl, America and Vicarious Learning

I have just finished reading Killing England, by Bill O’Reilly. This is a powerful and gripping history of America’s great Revolutionary War.

The brutality and suffering inflicted by the Patriots and the British upon one another is simply unimaginable.  The descriptions this epic conflict were frequently very graphic.

War in any age is hell-on-earth.

All Americans should read this book. It intimately details the miraculous birth of our nation.

As beloved as George Washington was to his fighting forces and to the patriot population of his time, he was ferocious in his persecution the war for U.S. independence from Great Britain. To this end, he had standing orders that those who deserted on the battlefield should be shot on the spot. Also, he normally hung traitors and spies.

In one case a British officer became a spy and was captured. Washington ordered that he be hanged. The British officer begged to die by firing squad because it was a more humane and honorable death befitting a loyal British Officer. Washington refused his pleas and the spy died a ghastly slow death kicking and writhing at the end of a rope.

Now we come to American Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl who deserted his post in 2009 while serving in Afghanistan. Search parties were immediately sent to look for him.

Interviews of officers and enlisted men who were involved in this extended search reveal that one soldier was shot in the head, another shot in the leg, and another suffered shrapnel wounds to his hand; all by the enemy fire during this intensive search for Bergdahl.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/lives-altered-forever-by-wounds-on-bergdahl-searches/2017/10/22/853473f8-b743-11e7-9b93-b97043e57a22_story.html?utm_term=.0dbb9b42b39f

Here are the heart-rending photographs of the head injured soldier, Sgt. Mark Allen, before and after terrible injury.  His amazing wife and beautiful children brighten these sad pictures. God Bless them all.

Image result for photos of head shot soldier in search for bergdahlImage result for photos of head shot soldier in search for bergdahl

Tragically Mark Allen is now paralyzed, blind and cannot speak.The man shot in the leg nearly lost his life due to blood loss. He also was a dog handler and his dog was shot and killed. The man wounded in his hand has lost much of its function.

All of this happened because bergdahl deserted his post and it was thought that he had simply been captured by the enemy.

So, now comes the verdict and the consequences for Bergdahl’s desertion and possible collusion with the enemy.

Bergdahl was given a dishonorable discharge, was reduced in rank and was given no prison time!

Now bergdahl has the gall to appeal his dishonorable discharge!

In psychology there is the principle of “vicarious learning”.  There is a strong research base that confirms what most perceptive individuals learn on their own. Human beings learn by observing what other people do and seeing what the consequences for that behavior were.

If the consequences are rewarding, the probability that the observer will imitate that behavior is increased.

If there is no particular change following the observed behavior, it is not so likely that the behavior will be imitated by the observer.

If the consequences are punishing (painful, loss of rewards, or death …which likely includes the previous two consequences), the likelihood that the behavior will be imitated is significantly reduced.

These effects are greatly magnified by a technologically sophisticated media that symbolically presents (via words, numbers or other images) certain behaviors for countless millions of observers to perceive and to assess the consequences that the acting individual or individuals, enjoyed or suffered, as a consequence.

It has commonly been said that governments and organizations cannot legislate morality. This old saying must be revised in light of  modern psychological science; it is not true.

Governments and organizations set rules that provide punishments and rewards for certain behaviors. Modern societies promulgate these behavior-consequence rules to their citizens. Observing citizens and members of organizations observe these behaviors and the consequences that those who conform enjoy and those who do not, suffer.

These conditions are sufficient for vicarious learning and the increased or decreased probability of the observers imitating those particular behaviors. When the behaviors involve moral rules, that are properly and consistently consequated with rewards or punishments, the population rate of moral behavior will increase and the rate of immoral behavior will decrease.

George Washington shot or hung deserters and traitors as a “lesson to others”. He implicitly understood the principles of vicarious learning.

Too many of our leaders have either lost this understanding, or more likely, they are corrupted and have ignored it for their own short-term benefits.

This means they are traitors.  Where is a Washington when we need one?

Wake-Up America! “Drain the Swamp”!

Get the consequences for good and bad behavior right, or continue America’s tragic decline.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D., 11/6/17

P.S., I would have liked to see Bergdahl, get 15-20 years of prison time for his desertion in a war zone and the great harm he caused to his would-be “rescuers”. His dishonorable discharge must stand.

 

 

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One Response to “Bergdahl, America and Vicarious Learning”

  1. Frank Polintan Says:

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