We Need Better Leaders

It’s incidents like “this one”:http://www.boingboing.net/2008/04/29/7yearold-boy-removed.html that demonstrate to me that there is a general sense of paranoia in American culture these days that borders on insanity. In the article linked above, you have a father who mistakenly ordered a hard lemonade for his 7-year-old son, followed by the hysteria of the ballpark guard and the local judicial system. This case is demonstrative of the fact that parents are considered villains until proven innocent, at least in the eyes of our legal system.

Having worked briefly in the social services system, I know there are parents out there who are either negligent or deliberately abusive (and sometimes both); so the existence of a social services system is both justified and necessary. But what I think the current set of laws forgets is that parents are human and sometimes make genuine, honest mistakes – as the father in this case seems to have done. But rather than deal with this as a mistake, the courts overreacted and demonized the father, immediately assuming the worst and raised his case to a ridiculous level that seems, to me, to be completely unnecessary.

This sort of thing goes right along with the current trend of political correctness in our society that people are now afraid of making smart and right decisions in favor of making stupid, politically correct decisions that will, in theory, offend the least number of people. It makes me wonder at how such people ever got to be our leaders, and it frightens me not a little bit that we’ve given them so much power over our day-to-day lives. Common sense, critical thinking, and wisdom seem to be skills lost on the vast majority of people in power nowadays, and what we’re left with are spineless puppets who would rather cater to poll numbers and public opinion[1]. It makes me afraid, very afraid.

fn1(footnotes). Don’t get me wrong – I do want our leaders to pay attention to what the people want, to an extent. We do, after all, elect the leaders that we hope will have our best interests in mind. But when you end up with leaders who are faced with the kind of foolishness presented in this case, and who won’t act on with a certain level of wisdom, then I question whether said leader should be sitting in that particular seat of power.

4 thoughts on “We Need Better Leaders”

  1. And just think Jim, you’re NOT living in the Ami SouthEast!! Yes, the ‘I’s and ‘S’s have taken over (http://www.discprofile.com/whatisdisc.htm).

    The ‘I’s seek the fame, the ‘S’s follow ’em. Everyone else is anti-social, the greatest crime in Ami-land. Hollywood (and all your ‘I’ minions), you can stop now.

    What was that? Did I hear Deutschland calling? Hope of rationality, what?

  2. I hear about nonsense like this time and again. Apparently there was a single mother in Kentucky who had her kids taken away unjustly, and when she hired a lawyer, CPS took away the lawyer’s daughter and threatened to take away the rest of his kids if he helped her.

    Both these issues and the women who cry rape (ala the Duke Lacrosse issue) are creating a major problem. Rape happens. Child abuse and neglect happens. It’s very unfortunate and very wrong, and the perpetrators of these crimes need to be found and stopped. But the influx of erroneous claims and the blood thirsty nature of the prosecutors and CPS is making it harder and harder to weed out the ones who really need to be stopped. Women crying rape are now looked at as crying wolf. And child protective services has almost no credibility in my mind.

    Apparently part of the problem is that CPS gets money from the federal government based on how many children they take away from their parents. How screwed up is that.

    They’ve thrown habeus corpus to the wind. We’ve thrown ‘innocent until proven guilty’ to the wind. All because of a lust for blood. It’s really sad, and it is the very thing that makes me afraid to move back to the USA.

  3. I’m frustrated by just how little truth is valued in American culture these days. People would rather redefine everything in terms of what makes them feel good rather than what is actually true. It’s these *BLAM!* postmodernists with their ideas that there is no such thing as truth, that everything is a narrative to be interpreted from one’s own viewpoint and perspective. Mark, I’m afraid you’re right that those of us who despise this approach to truth end up keeping our mouths shut far too often.

  4. Now this is interesting Jim, because I would have jumped on the “corruption” bandwagon a la Mike over blaming such an incident on PoMo’s “absolute subjectivity” (my term) directly.

    I’m quite a fan of PoMo generically, so long as it’s not the “absolute subjective” variety; that is, infused with a chunk of objectivity. At the same time I wholly reject “absolute objectivity” of Modernism. A nice mix has always been (a) reality (b) safest for society.

    It’s tough because the US (and france!) were built upon “truth in the hands of (defined by) the masses.” I like that and hate it at the same time. But truth-per-the-masses is entirely different than truth in the hands of the leadership, which ends up being a dictatorship, which is what you’re fussin’ over (local dictatorships of judges/authorities).

    Localized crap-leadership occurs:
    1) When the masses don’t (a) understand the consequences of their dumb choices or (b) are too far removed from the authorities to properly judge them. In the words of Jessica Hagy of indexed.blogspot.com fame: “I don’t know any of the political candidates any more than I know any one of the Desperate Housewives.” Government as Fiction anyone? ;)
    2) When one of the masses (who has an absolute-subjective perspective) gets into leadership, can we expect him to be ‘fair’? No, He’ll see as he has always seen, like the masses have taught him. But get this, he is now an enemy of the masses, though a product of it: Present Concern.

    Seriously, Plato was right when he said democracies degenerate into dictatorships by their pride.

    Now, I don’t want absolute subjectivity (especially in the hands of leadership, as just stated) nor absolute objectivity (which can never exist in the masses unless they’re all dumb together: likely). I just want sanity. It is likely that we all want some base-level objectivity (though what do we do with those who can’t define it, or communicate it, yet they still have voting power?), but that ultimately doesn’t matter if no one is hearing us, if leadership won’t have it, if the masses can’t understand it. This is the trouble with all heirarchical structures: lost in translation, and the trouble with a diseducated society valuing only their own decadence.

    Please, can we have an educated society? Think of it.. America was NOT founded upon education-for-all. That was a 100year+ afterthought.

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