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disdain the things you don't have / the idea of the concept

 JUDGMENT By acknowledging a petty problem you give it existence and credibility. The more attention you pay an enemy, the stronger you make...

 JUDGMENT By acknowledging a petty problem you give it existence and credibility. The more attention you pay an enemy, the stronger you make him; and a small mistake is often made worse and more visible when you try to fix it. It is sometimes best to leave things alone.

 If there is something you want but cannot have, show contempt for it. The less interest you reveal, the more superior you seem. TRANSGRESSION OF THE LAW The Mexican rebel leader Pancbo Villa started out as the chief of a gang of bandits, but after revolution broke out in Mexico in 1910, he became a kind of folk hero-robbing trains and giving the money to the poor, leading daring raids, and charming the ladies with romantic escapades. His exploits fascinated Americans-he seemed a man from another era, part Robin Hood, part Don Juan. After a few years of bitter fighting, however, General Carranza emerged as the victor in the Revolution; the defeated Villa and his troops went back horne, to the northem state of Chihuahua. His army dwindled and he tumed to banditry again, damaging his popularity. Finally, perhaps out of desperation, he began to rail against the United States, the gringos, whom he blamed for his troubles. In March of 1916,

 Pancho Villa raided Columbus, New Mexico. Rampaging through the town, he and his gang killed seventeen American soldiers and civilians. President Woodrow Wilson, like many Americans, had admired Villa; now, however, the bandit needed to be punished. Wilson's advisers urged hirn to send troops into Mexico to capture Villa. For a power as large as the United States, they argued, not to strike back at an army that had invaded its territory would send the worst kind of signal. Furthermore, they continued, many Americans saw Wilson as a pacifist, a principle the public doubted as a response to violence; he needed to prove his mettle and manliness by ordering the use of force. The pressure on Wilson was strong, and before the month was out, with the approval of the Carranza govemment, he sent an army of ten thousand soldiers to capture Pancbo Villa. The venture was called the Punitive Expedition, and its leader was the dashing General John J. Pershing, who had defeated guerrillas in the Philippines and Native Americans in the American Southwest. Certainly Pershing could find and overpower Pancho Villa. The Punitive Expedition became a sensational story, and carloads of U.S. reporters followed Pershing into action. The campaign, they wrote, would be a test of American power. The soldiers carried the latest in weaponry, communicated by radio, and were supported by reconnaissance from the air. In the first few months, the troops split up into small units to comb the wilds of northem Mexico. The Americans offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to Villa's capture. But the Mexican people, who had been disillusioned with Villa when he had retumed to banditry, now idolized hirn for facing this mighty American army. They began to give Pershing false leads: Villa had been seen in this village, or in that mountain hideaway, airplanes would be dispatcbed, troops would scurry after them, and no one would ever see hirn. The wily bandit seemed to be always one step ahead of the American military. 

By the summer of that year, the expedition had swelled to 123,000 men. They suffered through the stultifying heat, the mosquitoes, the wild terrain. Trudging over a countryside in which they were already resented, THE FOX A'il) THE CRAI'ES A starving fox ... saw a cluster Gf luscious-looking grapes of purplish luster Dangling above hirn on a trellis-frarne. He would have dearly liked thern for his lunch, But when he tried and failed to reaeh the buneh: "Ah weil, it's rnore than likely they're not sweetGood only for green fools to eat!" Wasn 't he wise to say they were unripe Rather than whine and gripe? FABLES, JEAN DE LA FONTAINE, 1 621-1695 Gnce when G. K. Chesterton's eeonornie views were abused in print by George Bernard Shaw, his friends waited in vain for hirn to reply. Historian Hilaire Belloe reproaehed hirn. "My dear BeUoe, " Chesterton said, "f have answered hirn. To a rnan of Shaw's wit, silen ce is the one unbearable repartee. " THE LITTLE, BRüWN BOOK OF ANECDOTES, CLIFTON FADIMAN, ED., 1985 LAW 36 301 TI IL \CiS "'oll TIIE C ,\ IWI:'iI,: K An ass had once by some aecident lost his tai!, which was a grievous afflietion to him; and he was everywhere see king after it, being fool enough to think he could get it set on again. He passed through a meadow, and afterwards got into a garden. The gardener seeing him, and not able to endure the mischief he was doing in trampling down his plants, fell into a violent rage, ran to the ass, and ne ver standing on the ceremony of a pillory,

 cut off both his ears, and beat him out ofthe ground. Thus the ass, who bemoaned the loss of his taU, was in far greater affiiction when he saw himself without ears. FABLES, PILPAY, INDIA, FOlJRTH CENTlJRY rm: I'IWIl IC\ 0\ Onee, when the Tokudaiji minister of the right was chief of the imperial police, he was holding a meeting of his staff at the middle gate when an ox belonging to an official named Akikane got loose and wandered into the ministry building. It climbed up on 302 LAW 36 they infuriated both the local people and the Mexican government. At one point Pancho Villa hid in a mountain cave to recover from a gunshot wound he received in a skirmish with the Mexican army; looking down from his aerie, he could watch Pershing lead the exhausted American troops back and forth across the mountains, never getting any closer to their goal. All the way into winter, Villa played his cat-and-mouse game, Americans came to see the affair as a kind of slapstick farce-in fact they began to admire Villa again, respecting his resourcefulness in eluding a superior force_ In January of 1917, Wilson finally ordered Pershing's withdrawal. As the troops made their way back to American territory, rebel forces pursued them, forcing the US.

 Army to use airplanes to protect its rear flanks. The Punitive Expedition was being punished itself-it had turned into a retreat of the most humiliating sort. Interpretation Woodrow Wilson organized the Punitive Expedition as a show of force: He would teach Pancho Villa a lesson and in the process show the world that no one, large or small, could attack the mighty United States and get away with it. The expedition would be over in a few weeks, and Villa would be forgotten. That was not how it played out. The longer the expedition took, the more it focused attention on the Americans' incompetence and on Villa's cleverness_ Soon what was forgotten was not Villa but the raid that had started it all. As a minor annoyance became an international embarrassment, and the enraged Americans dispatched more troops, the imbalance between the size of the pursuer and the size of the pursued-who still managed to stay free-made the affair a joke. And in the end this white eIephant of an army had to lumber out of Mexico, humiliated. The Punitive Expedition did the opposite of what it set out to do: It left Villa not only free but more popular than ever. What could Wilson have done differently? He could have pressured the Carranza government to catch Villa for him_ Alternatively, since many Mexicans had tired of Villa before the Punitive Expedition began, he could have worked quietly with them and won their support for a much smaller raid to capture the bandit. He could have organized a trap on the American side of the border, anticipating the next raid. Or he could have ignored the matter altogether for the time being, waiting for the Mexicans themselves to do away with Villa of their own accord. Remember: You choose to let things bother you_

 You can just as easily choose not to notice the irritating offender, to consider the matter trivial and unworthy of your interest. That is the powerful move. What you do not react to cannot drag you down in a futile engagement. Your pride is not involved. The best lesson you can teach an irritating gnat is to consign it to oblivion by ignoring it. If it is impossible to ignore (Pancho Villa had in fact killed American citizens), then conspire in secret to do away with it, but never inadvertently draw attention to the bothersome insect that will go away or die on its own. If you waste time and energy in such entanglements, it is your own fault. Learn to play the card of disdain and turn your back on what cannot harm you in the long run. Just think-it cost your government $130 million to try to get me. I took them over rough, hilly country. Sometimes for fifty miles at a stretch they had no water. They had nothing but the sun and mosquitoes .... And nothing was gained. Pancho Villa, 1878-1 923

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