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Waiting for Great Leaders

June 17, 2021

The decline into violence and homeless encampments in SFA, Portland, Denver, NYC and Seattle suggests an opportunity for national leadership.

That leadership has yet to appear, but sooner or later someone or a group of concerned citizens will take up the call.

Suspension of the Constitution of the United States, as was attempted on January 6, 2021, is one possibility. Imposition of martial law is another, but the best solution is good elective leadership.

Nations can live for many years without great leaders. Too often there are none to be had. And those often celebrated as “Great Leaders” are just “famous.”

I attribute the dearth of leaders which the United States experiences today as a sign of decline of American political culture for which remedies are not easy to find.

As in previous years, the U.S. Military engenders candidates for political office and there are many Iraq and Afghanistan veterans seeking office in upcoming elections. If they went to one of our military academies, they were trained to be engineers and skilled in military science. Political philosophy, Constitutional law and the history of American government are not parts of their concentrated studies.

And that is important.

Our business classes are even less prepared for public office.

The duties of government office cannot be served as if they were a business. There is law, the Constitution, the history of our foreign policies that lamentably led to deaths of Americans in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq. All that must be studied if we are to avoid present and future failures.

The world is a dangerous place and preparing to defend our country from its enemies requires more than financial, marketing and even management skills.

Our political movements are a third source of leadership.

The Progressive movement gained traction in the late 1890s and spread like a  cancer throughout the body politic, propelled to power in the Presidency of Woodrow Wilson and expanding during the Great Depression and the leadership of President Franklin Roosevelt.

The great counter to the Progressives found life in a virile “Conservative Movement,” deeply patriotic, anti-Communist and resolved never to fight another war unless victory was our goal.

Its penultimate leader caused us to desire to “win one for the Gipper.”

For thirty years, from the 1950s through 1980, the “Movement” generated leaders through education of conservative students in colleges throughout America and by national youth organizations. Many who filled the appointive offices of President Ronald Reagan’s Presidential Administration came up through “the Movement.”

Over the following forty years, that stream of leadership was lessened and, today, when we look around at the political landscape of state governors and members of Congress we see that our politics is marked by  mediocre but ambitious men and women. Few are philosophical–or even well-read–political or economic conservatives.

We who are well-read and educated political conservatives continue to wait for great leaders.

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