Born To Lead
In issue 29, we questioned our political leaders about families and the fathers role in it. But what about leadership in a global sense? Who will emerge as important figureheads in the new millennium, and how will history view their contributions? Brendon Smith provides some thoughts
Where will we find our moral leaders now?
In the beginning, there were no rules. Man was able to hunt, eat and reproduce almost at will. Pack rules developed, probably consisting of grunts regarding reliability under pressure, ability to skin a behemoth or maintain an ocean going watch.
Intense education, training and selection processes evolved over many generations, often based on religious rules, integrity, honour, a good reputation or a respectable address. Land and estate owners, along with modern media barons, controlled many of the propaganda aces and big brother faces we get to see.
Their thirsts for success and use of short term visual pleasure tools lead many into lives of barely informed unfulfilment, devoting their dreams to consumerism.
Voices who have resisted oppression, manipulation or moral decadence have often been derided in their time. History shows that it is only due to the work of strong men and women, often with the best interests of children in mind that we now have many universal common laws.
Generations have integrated and developed these laws with local customs.
These laws have led to expectations of freedom, both religious and in pursuit of pleasure, best expressed as the right to explore personal lifelong dreams providing no harm is done to others.
These are among humankind’s most cherished moral achievements, examples and sacrifices by a few to protect for ongoing generations the peace of a happy heart.
Now women have fought in the wars and occupied roles of similar prestige, proving to be just as capable of misuse of power, certainly better at maximising sympathy for perceived wrongdoings and reminding me of an old man’s wise words, “For all the horrible, ruinous things man has been, why would such a lovely, warm and quietly proud gender want equality or sameness with them”.
With the confusing distraction of having to defend ourselves from powerful women, the current total lack of male moral leaders makes this vacuum seem more like a black hole.
Without the aging but magnificent Mandela, late great John Paul and still fondly remembered Martin Luther-King, our generation seems very short of inspirational leaders.
While most popular sports have their treasured role models, even cricket, the game of lords has had their txt, sex and betting scandals. There is no doubt that sports help develop character and team spirit, but the rigours of leadership in modern professional environments can lead to less than ideal excesses.
In other cases, the captain of one of Australia’s leading teams was having an affair with his vice-captain’s wife, British soccer clubs are being run into receivership by trophy hungry owners and a top referee has retired after receiving death threats from irate fans.
With the most famous stars admitting liability, infidelity or this month’s drug abuser filling tabloid space, it is no wonder today’s youth are bereft of moral leaders.
Beyond sport our political bastions have been less paragons and more self-serving, victory seekers with little concern for the fallout. The UK’s Blair had to sack his spin executive after one too many misinformation slips while the Bush family is reported to have shifted it’s entire fortune out of their oil business and into military shares just before 9/11.
In local terms a seven year planned agreement between forestry, ecology and local employment representatives to mill only older trees and replenish the environment was trashed. The partners were told bad luck because apparently 51% of voters polled said that they would agree to a total ban on all native tree felling in N.Z.
Meanwhile the UN’s supposedly cheeky but very respected leader has been cast in a bad light due to his son’s involvement in back hander’s for allowing Iraq’s back door oil trade. Big business owners have been duplicitous in reporting profits from thin air yet paying little or no taxes due to clever residency and ownership arrangements.
Luckily Elton has got in behind AIDS funding, Sting has stuck up for the environment and Bono hangs strong with many trade starved and debt laden nations. Apart from these few, and the odd inspirational lyric, the amount of bling and singularly dimensional girls in most new videos makes music a less than reliable area for finding moral leaders.
The me-now generation has adopted the new rules quickly, why wait years to gain a reputation and acceptance when you can lease the red boxter today and enjoy the fruits this weekend. The symbols of success are easily achieved, but who remembers the systems and rules that established safe cities and secular freedoms for most of the modern world?
Even in our commonwealth monarchy, apart from the largely benign elders, we have a series of broken marriages, celebrity hang-ons and dysfunctional children while the only sympathetic soul with the public is now a dead princess. The heir to their throne, with apparently unbreakable will to succeed his dear mother, has recently married his former mistress.
In order to do this, he had to convince his nation’s church leaders to agree to a fundamental rule change allowing divorcees to marry. They celebrated this in a civil hall before family and friends joined them for a separate blessing.
All this from a guy who has shown little genuine enthusiasm for the limelight, while his good looking, so far morally sound eldest son is almost every person’s pick for preferred next crown wearer.
Surely, even the plain but reportedly intelligent Charles could have seen the opportunity to concede the throne, allow his son a fair run and live ever after with a happy heart?