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The Ultimate Irony About Leadership

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The ultimate irony about leadership is that people are always hopeful a good leader will come along, so they perpetuate the different political systems that determine how national heads of state gain power.

That is ironic because people rarely get the leader they hope for, and it’s usually because they have naive expectations, or because they are gullible and swallow false and empty promises, or because power often corrupts even the relatively good heads of state. That's what power usually does.

Of course, there have been a few notable exceptions. Thomas Jefferson, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and Jimmy Carter come to mind, and there have been some other pretty good ones who actually had the best interests of all the people at heart and truly meant well. But truly good leaders have been few and far between. And there’s a good reason for that.

People have not yet learned how to establish government that is actually of the people, by the people, and for the people. So they settle for a "democratic" government by a divisive partisan pretender to the throne, or they are forced to settle for a dictatorial autocratic ruler, or even a tyrant.

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Sometimes people think they want a conquering hero, so they swallow the rhetoric of demagogic scoundrels who take refuge in religiosity and/or patriotism, appealing to emotions, prejudices and fears, and labeling a convenient scapegoat as an "evil enemy" or "the problem." Then the people are surprised when power is abused by that corrupt and deceptive Pretender to the throne.

History of divisive, bad and harmful leadership has been repeated countless times, replaying the same old themes, the same old promises, and the same old outcomes.

So, the problem is political leadership, how and why we get it, and how the power that we give leaders almost invariably corrupts them — if they weren’t already corrupt in the first place by a lust or desire for personal power, wealth, and domain.

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The solution is truly representative government, at the highest level of government, which no nation has now. And that brings me to the point of this article.

Consider why in the Book of Tao, Lao Tzu wrote: "As the for best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate." ... "When the best leader’s work is done, the people say, ‘We did it ourselves!’"

Also consider this, which a very wise poor man wrote in January 2002:

"The problem is that our antiquated political systems are either competitive and adversarial or totalitarian and dictatorial, and, therefore, most of our leaders tend to be proud and presumptuous. In fact, far too many have been more or less corrupted. And it’s not just the corruption that comes from the money and power that fuels and drives partisan politics and totalitarian regimes. It’s also the corruption that comes from the original egotistical desire for the power of high office, because a truly wise person would not assume and act as if he is smarter and wiser than his fellow man, or fight for personal power over them. A truly wise person has real faith and is motivated by universal good will and brotherhood. A truly wise person works as an equal and values cooperation, consensus and collaboration to achieve common goals for the common good. Above all, he/she seeks to create an environment of mutual respect and kinship. That certainly does not describe our present leadership."

"Now, of course, those who do assume they are smarter and wiser, who do seek the power of high office to further their own partisan political agenda and rule over those who disagree, simply follow a very old tradition. They think they are doing the right thing, because that’s what ambitious men have always done to make their mark and try to save the world. But they really do not realize what they do. They do not realize they have indulged in egotism, and they do not see the error in striving to gain personal power in an attempt to play hero or ‘savior’ or ‘king.’ They actually, albeit unwittingly, fall into temptation [indulging in the "forbidden fruit" of the mind], and do not realize they betray God by trying to play god."

That was quoted from the introduction to a book titled Real Prophecy Unveiled: Why the Christ Will Not Come Again, and Why the Religious Right Is Wrong, by Joseph J. Adamson, published in January 2002 by iUniverse, Inc.

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In that same book, in Chapter 16. On the Nature of Leadership, Good and Bad,, Adamson wrote: " ... when we allow and accept leadership from those who seek and fight for power [over others], and gain it by hook or by crook, we miss opportunities to have good leadership. You see, the best leaders are humble people who do not seek power or authority and may not seem like leaders at all." (And here he quotes Lao Tzu’s statement about the best leaders, which I quoted above.)

Then, speaking of that quote from Lao Tzu, Adamson wrote: "Can you see how profoundly true that is? People really do need to be able to say, ‘We did it ourselves!’ This is certainly better than when the people are misled and divided by bad leadership. It is far better than when they believe a good leader is responsible for their success, and it is far better than when the people feel helpless and hopeless when such a leader is gone!"

Continuing: "That’s why the Old Testament of the Bible says, ‘Be wise and consider the ways of the ants, which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provide food in the summer and gather in the harvest.’ It’s also why the OT of the Bible says, ‘if you want a king, you reject God.’ We know that is true, if we think about it. Deep in our hearts we know it. It is self-evident and obvious. Even though we love the idea and the image of heroes and saviors and legendary good kings, the statement that we should be able to say, ‘We did it ourselves’ rings absolutely true, and it rings loud and clear. That is why we hold the concept of government of the people, for the people, and by the people as an ideal."

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I've studied theology and its relationship to government for many years. A few years ago I stumbled upon the web site of an author who I felt was on the right track, and I've monitored it since then. Now I feel he has finally gotten the message (more...)
 

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