Martini: shaken not stirred

 what happened to leadership?  

It seems that there has been a deterioration of leadership in general during the past few years. My friends in US military service have lamented the loss of strong, cohesive leadership--and many have taken early retirement because of it. Business leadership seems to be in a constant state of uncertainty as the corporate world struggles unsuccessfully with a myriad of new challenges, such as increasing white collar crime. Educational leadership seems mostly impotent and useless. Not long ago during a sporting event at our children's elementary school, we witnessed firsthand what's happening to leadership in schools. During a race one child ran across the center of the oval to arrive well in front of the others. Terrified of hurting his feelings by informing him that his behavior was wrong, the school awarded him the blue "First Place" ribbon. Political leadership has fallen into disrepute and corruption. Even the office of the President of the United States--once seen as the most admired and most powerful position in the world--has lost its luster.

This leadership vacuum is, I believe, just a symptom of a greater problem. Social engineers have been trying to shape a new definition of leadership for decades. I don't know whether it first began to take hold with Marxism in 1842, or if it's more complex than that, but it is clear that the commonly held world view throughout North America is pretty close to what Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels had in mind. It's a philosophy (you could even call it a religious belief) that there is no such thing as the supernatural, and thus that all convictions about behavioral standards are meaningless.

Once the idea takes hold that life has no supernatural or spiritual dimension, then all conflicting viewpoints become unfashionable. Under the right circumstances, they are even considered dangerous. These people argue that there are no absolutes when it comes to standards, yet their argument is itself an absolute. Real leadership can only exist when people recognize that a standard of behavior is necessary.

Although there have always been dishonest leaders, I believe people will only follow someone if they're convinced that person will make the right decision when facing a crisis. And making the "right" decision means knowing the difference between the right one and the wrong one. So leadership requires both an ability by the leader to determine the difference between right and wrong and by the followers to know that such a difference exists. Unfortunately, today's social engineers are trying to rob society of that distinction, and thus of leadership itself.

It used to be that even dishonest people gave lip service to the value of honesty. Today many people scorn and laugh at honest behavior. Those who value integrity are referred to as trouble makers. And those who suggest that there is such a thing as right and wrong behavior are deemed to be enemies of the state. As a Canadian citizen, I've watched with interest the conflict regarding US President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial. Although I'm well aware that this whole process has become tainted with partisan politics and thus disqualified itself, I've also noticed how the population of the United States as a whole has supported an act of purgery. When an ordinary individual or civil politician lies under oath, the people cry for justice. But when the President acts the same way, they defend him.

How can leadership exist in such conditions? How can justice exist? How can a civilization stand strong?

When I was growing up a plaque in my home read "All it takes for evil to rule the world is for enough good men to do nothing." I believe what we're seeing today is the result of enough good people doing nothing. Busy with their families, their careers, and their finances, too many people ignored the social changes being put in place throughout our schools, universities and through rapidly applied political policies.

No wonder we're left with a leadership vacuum. If nobody was willing to speak up while these changes were implemented, how could we hope that people would speak up now that they're in place. My question now is, how do we fix it? Perhaps a younger generation will grow up seeing the danger of a society without a foundation. Perhaps the aging baby boomer generation will step up to the plate in their retirement. It's also possible that these attitudes must run their course until the American civilization collapses in ruins. Impossible, you say? Ask the Phoenicians, the Babylonians, the Greeks, and the Romans how impossible. At the height of their strength, nobody could imagine any of these civilizations crumbling either. And yet, where are they now? What happened to their leadership?


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