This is the fourth in an occasional series of posts asking sometimes awkward questions. Some topics are trivial, some serious, and others vital. I’d love you to join in any ensuing debate using the comments at the foot of the posts. Enjoy!
Why Do We Keep Appointing Leaders?
We’re living in pretty tumultuous times, aren’t we? Here in UK we have the uncertainties of an incompetent government led by an unelected leader dealing somewhat poorly with a Brexit situation we should never have experienced. Liars and mountebanks misled British voters into believing they could change things for the better by promoting a deal no one will ever be able to deliver. In USA, an arrogant, narcissist has emerged as a leader with no experience beyond his poor business dealings, who arrived through a series of lies and, as he would put it, ‘fake news’ reports and ‘alternative facts’, which is another term for lies. China suffers under the rule of a communist dictatorship that routinely imprisons and kills its detractors. Syria is led by an unpopular figure willing to destroy the country and kill thousands merely to hold on to power he clearly doesn’t deserve. Russia has a leader who bullies and, it is alleged, kills, to get his own way. North Korea is suppressed by a ruling family so scared of opposition it even kills its own members. Need I go on?
The world is bedevilled with leaders who are at best self-serving narcissists and at worst megalomaniac dictators willing to sacrifice millions in their pursuit of power.
And it isn’t just in politics that we suffer these figures of power. Look at the way so many business empires are led. Incompetence, corruption, theft, tax evasion, slavery posing as employment, and lying to customers are all hallmarks of many businesses. Sport is wracked by corruption of the organisations supposedly in place to control it. The churches in their various forms, are ruled by figures who are either antediluvian, prejudiced, ignorant, dictatorial or a mixture of all these qualities.
So, why do we continue to place these patently unsuitable people into positions of power? As far as I can see, the answer is simply that our current systems of control are designed to be self-protective regardless of the effects they may have on the majority of citizens. In any given state, the only legal route to change in government is through that government. And we all know the truism that turkeys don’t vote for Christmas, don’t we?
So, is the situation hopeless? I don’t think it is: not absolutely, anyway. From time to time, those of us in democratic (a much abused term) states are given the opportunity to elect new representatives. Note that the term here is ‘representatives’, not leaders. We can, if we wish, continue the patterns of the past by putting back into power those who have consistently let us down in the past. Or, here’s a thought, perhaps we could shock the system by voting for those outside the establishment, those who represent smaller political parties, or who stand as independent candidates. Of course, this would require some radical rethinking and even some radical changes to our own behaviour. But, hey, could such a system result in a new bunch of representatives that could actually make a worse job of ruling than those traditional fools we constantly put back into power? I frankly doubt it.
A short while ago, I was ‘accused’ of becoming too radical. Is that possible? Only radical change will bring about the alterations our societies so clearly need. I don’t pretend to have the answers, but I do believe that if we allow our current methods of selecting leaders to continue we will promote more and more unsuitable candidates to positions of power. And that will impact on us, the common people, in increasingly negative ways. Just look at the growing wealth gaps in most nations.
Maybe you have the answers. One of mine is that we replace leaders with a group of decision makers and appoint heads of state with no power and for ceremonial purposes only. Let’s open a debate and discuss the possibilities, no matter how strange or, dare I say it, radical? The comments section below is there for your thoughts. Express them.