Friday, 19 October 2012

The deficit of leadership

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Leadership should be moral and can be charismatic: a moral leader is motivated by at least some aspect of striving for the transcendental goods: beauty, truth and virtue; a charismatic leader is such because they are personally dominant and elicit deference.

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As I look around at leadership in the modern world, it is striking how many leaders are neither moral nor charismatic - and this applies to the leaders of nations, and of most large institutions and organizations.

It is clear that leadership is now, in general, conferred-upon individuals rather than elicited-from those who are led.

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The immediate cause is obvious: bureaucracy and democracy as mechanisms of decision - in other words committee vote.

Such processes, being impersonal, are amoral (hence actually im-moral); and being impersonal do not respond to personal qualities in individuals.

Committee voting procedures select people, at multiple levels of power, who perhaps no single member of the committee regards as adequate either morally or in terms of dominance.

These inadequate leaders then form further committees, or create choices for a range of majority voting systems, which select further inadequate people.

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This is an instance of the death spiral of modernity. We cannot escape the meshes because modernity is process, and the process continually installs inadequate leaders, and the inadequate leaders work by means of the corrupting processes by which they themselves emerged (and they cannot help but do this; since they are inadequate to do anything else).

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