The Question Of Authority

When I look at American politics, of the many crises we face, I think one of the major ones is the crisis of authority.  Namely – who should be listened to?  Who has the authority.

Despite the political dynasties we do have in our country (which doesn’t please me frankly), family lines are not well-established, authoritative ways to find leaders.  We fall back on that all too often, of course, but as royalty has taught us you don’t want to invest in genetics.

“Making Money” seems to be a popular measure of leadership, or at least “having money.”  There is at least the assumption of business sense if one has/made money.    Then again making money doesn’t mean you can actually do any other jobs, and you may just be a greedy person.

There’s the “anointed by God” idea, but we don’t seem to buy that despite the fact it gets dragged into politics.  Also since everyone is claiming God, it has a kind of dilution effect.  Also down deep, I think most people know they’re BSing about this.

“Expertise” in something should be a recognized reason for leadership, but that’s often a problem as well.  I could probably go into excessive details on that, but roughly I chalk it up to anti-intellectualism and the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Of course, we could actually look to leaders that make things work and measure it.

“When the aged wear silk and eat meat and the masses are neither cold nor hungry, it is impossible for their prince not to be a true King.” – Mencius, Confucian Philosopher

That was 2300 years ago.  Might be something to consider.

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at, nerd and geek culture at, and does a site of creative tools at He can be reached at