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    The Neutral

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    Chapter 16
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    There is known to me a prominent business house that by the very force of its directness and worth has incurred the enmity of many rivals. In fact, there is a very general conspiracy on hand to put the institution down and out. In talking with a young man employed by this house, he yawned and said, "Oh, in this quarrel I am neutral."

    "But you get your bread and butter from this firm, and in a matter where the very life of the institution is concerned, I do not see how you can be a neutral."

    And he changed the subject.

    I think that if I enlisted in the Japanese army I would not be a neutral.

    Business is a fight--a continual struggle--just as life is. Man has reached his present degree of development through struggle. Struggle there must be and always will be. The struggle began as purely physical; as man evolved it shifted ground to the mental, psychic, and the spiritual, with a few dashes of cave-man proclivities still left. But depend upon it, the struggle will always be--life is activity. And when it gets to be a struggle in well-doing, it will still be a struggle. When inertia gets the better of you it is time to telephone to the undertaker.

    The only real neutral in this game of life is a dead one.

    Eternal vigilance is not only the price of liberty, but of every other good thing.

    A business that is not safeguarded on every side by active, alert, attentive, vigilant men is gone. As oxygen is the disintegrating principle of life, working night and day to dissolve, separate, pull apart and dissipate, so there is something in business that continually tends to scatter, destroy and shift possession from this man to that. A million mice nibble eternally at every business venture.

    The mice are not neutrals, and if enough employes in a business house are neutrals, the whole concern will eventually come tumbling about their ears.

    I like that order of Field-Marshal Oyama: "Give every honorable neutral that you find in our lines the honorable jiu-jitsu hikerino."
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