Wednesday, July 15, 2015

many of today's leaders aren't - so what are they?

medium |  So what gives? What happened to this generation of leaders?

There is something very different about many of today’s so-called leaders. And it is not merely that we, or they, are the helpless victims of “late capitalism”, or any other number of modish buzzwords, for, like every kind of buzzword, that sophomoric grad-school 101 level non-explanation does not illuminate much at all, except perhaps our own outmoded beliefs.

It is that they are demagogues. Let’s review what “demagogue” actually means. Here’s a decent definition:

“a person, especially an orator or political leader, who gains power and popularity by arousing the emotions, passions, and prejudices of the people.”
Let me explain why that’s important, using the example of the 80s. A generation of conservative politicians then — Thatcher, Reagan — and the like — ripped up and rewrote social contracts wholesale.

So what is the difference between them — and the Merkels and Schauebles, Osbornes and Camerons, Jindals and Jebs, of today? A very great one indeed. There was great intellectual and perhaps moral support for the decisions the leaders of yesterday — in the age of modernity — took. Here’s a simple example. We may disagree now over trickle-down economics, since prosperity hasn’t trickled down. But at the time there was at least a reasoned position in support of it, built on a consensus amongst thinkers. You may think of the Laffer Curve as a simple illustration: it may have been proven largely wrong now, but at least there was an effort to produce a reason to slash public services then.

The neo-demagogues of meta-modernity are very different. There is no serious intellectual, moral, or ethical support for their decisions at all. There’s not a serious economist left in the world who agrees with their economic policies; political scientist with their social policies; etcetera. As a simple moral measure of how far today’s not-quite-leaders have slunk, consider: even the Pope—in his much celebrated Laudato Si — has challenged them to rise to today’s great challenges.

Demaogues are irrational, insensible, not beyond reason — but scurrying in the abyss deep below it. They are simply, as the definition simply says, “arousing the passions and prejudices of people”. Let’s take immigration as a simple example. David Cameron’s government has literally banned immigration in the UK. But decades of the logic — not to mention evidence — confirm that immigration only benefits advanced economies. So demagogues do not act rationally or sensibly, reasonably or sanely — whether in terms of economics, morality, politics, or anything else that might justifiably be called a system of thought. Why not? They prey on our emotions; they exploit our biases and prejudices; like magicians, they devour our fears and dangle before us our wishes. They are sorcerers of our animal beings. Pumping the bellows of unreason, they stoke the dark fires that burn deep in the human soul.

It’s true: empiricism alone can never guide us in the human world — but still, we must struggle not merely to be prisoners of our biases and prejudices. And that is precisely what demagogues reduce us to. Unthinking servants of our own worst selves. The selves that, instead of thinking, dreaming, wondering, rebelling, defying, creating, loving — are filled with spite, greed, jealousy, fear, and, at last, hate, of the self and the other, of god and man, of life and death alike.


BigDonOne said...

..."So what gives? What happened to this generation of leaders?"

Well, it doesn't help when those with true leadership potential are snuffed before they have a chance to actually lead....

CNu said...

Crisis yes. Leader no. Musical chairs on the deck of the Titanic will decide whose circle(s) are valid on the basis of survival.

Constructive_Feedback said...

* Merkels
* Schauebles
* Osbornes
* Camerons
* Jindals
* Jebs

DAMN!!! He tricked me again.

Is there anyone missing........................................

Just DAMN!!!

Ed Dunn said...

President Obama is a leader as well as Pope Francis.

CNu said...

The Hon.Bro.Preznit has grown into his nobel peace prize very persuasively, hasn't he? Mad as it makes these warsocialist neocon devils guilty of the biggest military blunder in U.S. history - Preznit Obama has pursued his own peaceful international agenda and managed to reverse 60 years of cold war with human and resource rich Cuba and Iran.

Constructive_Feedback said...

Libya coup - No protests from Pan Africanists

Yemen War of Rendition - I will post a video showing the migration from Horn of Africa to Yemen for a respite from death, only to see the U.S./Saudi war tr

CNu said...

Um..., Bro.Feed,

Isn't this a protest you need to lodge with NATO? Wasn't NATO the primary driver (France/Italy/UK) behind crushing Libya pursuant to its members corporate interests?

Preznit Obama (preznit of America, not Africa mind you) had little choice but to play along with his European CORPORATE allies, as the European allies had played along with his tard predecessor.

When it was Preznit Obama's turn at bat, he drove and demonstrated the preferability of the intelligent diplomatic approach over the preferred tard "show of force", overseer chokehold policy of "regime change". Tard regime change has proven itself to be the most idiotic and serially failed policy - OF ALL TIME!!!

Constructive_Feedback said...

Brother CNu - you are becoming infected with "Colonization".
Your sworn desire to "Fight The Conserve Tards" has impacted your ability to see the big picture.

IF OBAMA HIMSELF said "My #1 Foreign Policy Failure Was Lybia".
IF The MUNITIONS chart shows WHO in NATO dropped the most ornaments on the land of the "Medu Neter" - that enjoys popular reference in "Africana Studies Programs" at "The University"

Why is it then that you ask me to think that The US Commander In Chief is demure in this multi-national coup on an African nation, suggesting that I should "TALK TO THE BOSS"?

Isn't it RACIST when a White person walks into a retail franchise, walks past the Black guy with the tie and then goes to the White guy with a service uniform, asking him "I Need To Speak To Your Manager That Runs This Place?"
Please articulate why your scheme is any different?

Did you see the "War Is Not The Answer" people asking Obama to join their protests against NATO leader Anders Fogh Rasmussen?
Or did they expect that the CIA agents embedded in country would relay this to THE BOSS?

Did You Humans Crack This Isht And Then Hide It From Yourselves 70 Years Ago?

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