if at second you don't succeed, give up
“Leadership” – traatlnse “getting ahead of the other guy” – traatlnse “fame, money, power” (the standard American definition of success) – traatlnse “fame, money, power” for any institution associated with such leadership. Leadership and honor are secondary virtues, because they are no virtue when done in the thrall of money and power and violence. Think Nazi Germany; or Chile, El Salvador and Vietnam for the United States.A conspicuous and limited challenge is seen as a fine and welcome thing in academe  always good for showing how liberal and thoughtful and moral the institution is. My institution excels in teaching both leadership and “moral capitalism.” Moral accumulation of great wealth. Academic institutions like to imagine that this is possible even while many people in this world are starving and many others (often from impoverished backgrounds) are dying in wars to protect this great wealth. (You can see why my institution was happy to see me retire, and this is yet another reason why Universities want to restrict tenure and require faculty to stick to their formal expertise and focus on publication and research grants.) I don’t claim to know the answers, but I do claim to know the problem. And recognizing the problem and making it public are the essential first steps, if there is to be any hope for future generations.Someone commented “… informal leaders, those who lead from among the ranks, can build or destroy kingdoms very effectively.” I agree that power ultimately resides in the people, which is why exemplar leaders for change often have been killed, imprisoned or in other ways repressed and marginalized by the power structure. Jesus is a good example of such leadership and of what can happen as a result. Suggesting that current church leaders are hypocritical feels hardly different today from when Jesus accused the Pharisees and Sadducees two thousand years ago.Someone also commented re self-centered leadership, that it “…very much depends on the college.” To an extent, quite true. However, to varying extents, we are all part of the system and blind to our self-deception.There is great danger as we develop a mono-culture in our society, comparable to the developing mono-culture in our food supply. This is particularly a danger for a culture based on American exceptionalism and that invests power in a few individuals. Those who control most of the citizenry simultaneously trumpet (via media domination) our freedom and individualism. Reader, know that I am extremely grateful for what freedoms still exist in this country, such that I and others of my acquaintance are alive to speak the truth as we see it. This right has been protected much more by citizens willing to speak their versions of truth (despite the consequences) than by soldiers in war, who are a “fighting machine” but not a political machine. I am grateful that in speaking our truth, we are oppressed not by death or imprisonment (for the most part), but instead (only somewhat better) by the overwhelming propaganda machine of those in power, including what is often taught and assumed in our Universities.
--Daniel Tue Apr 24 06:06:09 2012

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