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Dr_Zaius

Goodness vs. Competence in Leaders

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Thought this was an interesting article at Unherd.

Is a good leader who is a bad person better than a bad leader who is a good person?  That was one of my thoughts during 2016, when it became clear that a lot of people who thought Trump was a pretty awful person were nonetheless inclined to vote for him.  Obviously, ideally we'd like good leaders who are good people, but with all of humanity's flaws, they can be a bit hard to come by.  When the two traits come into conflict, which one should win?  

I put this thread in the politics forum because I suppose it belongs here, but I hope it doesn't devolve into a Trump-centric back and forth.  I thought there were some good examples of the dichotomy in the article : Steve Jobs, Henry Ford, LBJ.

Edited by Dr_Zaius
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For the record, I'm still not entirely sure where I fall on the spectrum.  I think I lean that the lower the position, the less important personal goodness is.  If I work in a factory, I'd rather have the line manager be a jerk who gets things done than a nice guy who's totally clueless (assuming his jerkiness is within reason, he's not physically hurting people, etc.).  I have a lot more trepidation about CEOs, governors, etc. because they can set such a cultural tone with a lot of cascading effects.  Of course, terrible leadership can have its own cascading effects...

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Who is the good leader who is a bad person?   Because Trump just said tonight at his town hall that “herd mentality” will solve covid.   

He’s clueless.  And he doesn’t know the difference between the truth and a lie.  Ask Woodward.   He’s the worst “leader” in modern American history.  

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“I always wanted to downplay the virus. I always did, I still do. Because I didn’t want to create a panic.”

- Trump

”I didn’t downplay it, in fact...you could say I up-played it, when you look at my actions. with the ban on travel from China...”

- also Trump

 

 

 

 

- more from the global leader of the Free World:

 

STEPHANOPOULOS: You were saying it was going to disappear.

TRUMP: What?

STEPHANOPOULOS: You were saying it was going to disappear.

TRUMP: It is going to disappear. It’s going to disappear, I still say it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But not if we don’t take action, correct?

TRUMP: No, I still say it. It’s going to disappear, George. We’re going to get back – we’re not going to have studios like this, where you have all of this empty space in between.

I want to see people, and you want to see people. I want to see football games. I’m pushing very hard for Big Ten, I want to see Big Ten open – let the football games – let them play sports.

But no, it’s going to disappear, George, and I say this –

STEPHANOPOULOS: But Dr. Fauci said we have to be prepared for – we have to hunker down. We have to be prepared for a possible second wave.

I understand that you don’t want to panic people, you said you want people to be calm. You’ve often talked about Winston Churchill and FDR, and they did reassure people, they were strong. They did keep people calm.

But they also were straight. They said this war is going to be tough, it’s going to be a real fight, we have to persevere.

TRUMP: When Churchill was on the top of a building, and he said everything’s going to be good, everything’s going to be – be calm. And you have the Nazis dropping bombs all over London, he was very brave because he was at the top of a building. It was very well known that he was standing on buildings, and they were bombing. And he says everyone's going to be safe.

I don't think that's being necessarily honest, and yet I think it's being a great leader. But he said, you're going to be safe. Be calm, don't panic. And you had bombers dropping bombs all over London.

So I guess you could say that's not so honest, but it's still a great leader.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So do you think it's OK to be dishonest?

TRUMP: I'm not looking to be dishonest. I don't want people to panic. And we are going to be OK. We're going to be OK, and it is going away. And it's probably going to go away now a lot faster because of the vaccines.

It would go away without the vaccine, George, but it's going to go away a lot faster with it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: It would go away without the vaccine?

TRUMP: Sure, over a period of time. Sure, with time it goes away.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And many deaths.

TRUMP: And you'll develop -- you'll develop herd -- like a herd mentality. It's going to be -- it's going to be herd-developed, and that's going to happen. That will all happen.

But with a vaccine, I think it will go away very quickly.

Full transcript of ABC Town Hall with President Trump

Edited by BobbyLayne
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7 hours ago, Dr_Zaius said:

Thought this was an interesting article at Unherd.

Is a good leader who is a bad person better than a bad leader who is a good person?  That was one of my thoughts during 2016, when it became clear that a lot of people who thought Trump was a pretty awful person were nonetheless inclined to vote for him.  Obviously, ideally we'd like good leaders who are good people, but with all of humanity's flaws, they can be a bit hard to come by.  When the two traits come into conflict, which one should win?  

I put this thread in the politics forum because I suppose it belongs here, but I hope it doesn't devolve into a Trump-centric back and forth.  I thought there were some good examples of the dichotomy in the article : Steve Jobs, Henry Ford, LBJ.

It depends on what you mean by "bad."  Steve Jobs and LBJ were #######s, but they weren't malevolent.  On the contrary, they both wanted to do good in a macro sense and were perfectly willing to be jerks in a micro sense to make that happen.  If a particular leader is good at his or her job and wants to make the country better, but happens to be a lousy person in other aspects of their lives, that's basically okay with me.  (By all accounts, Amy Klobuchar falls firmly in this particular category).

On the other hand, you have people like Hitler and Stalin who were also bad-but-competent in a very different day.  I assume we can all agree that we don't want that type of leader.

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I assume the question is in reference to someone who, regardless of skill at leadership, has nevertheless attained a leadership position?

To me, the answer is pretty easy.  I don't want someone who is malevolent, as Ivan stated, at the controls with the capability to actively do damage on purpose.

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7 hours ago, zoonation said:

Ask Woodward.

Bob Woodward tells Anderson Cooper that he doesn't think Trump's "got it straight in his head what is real and what is unreal."

Cooper says it's "pretty terrifying" that the president doesn't know the difference between reality and fiction.

https://twitter.com/justinbaragona/status/1306033850389327884

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9 hours ago, bigbottom said:

Is this like the Hot Crazy matrix?

You joke, but I thought of the exact same comparison.  :lol:  I think there are a lot of similarities.

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2 hours ago, IvanKaramazov said:

It depends on what you mean by "bad."  Steve Jobs and LBJ were #######s, but they weren't malevolent.  On the contrary, they both wanted to do good in a macro sense and were perfectly willing to be jerks in a micro sense to make that happen.  If a particular leader is good at his or her job and wants to make the country better, but happens to be a lousy person in other aspects of their lives, that's basically okay with me.  (By all accounts, Amy Klobuchar falls firmly in this particular category).

On the other hand, you have people like Hitler and Stalin who were also bad-but-competent in a very different day.  I assume we can all agree that we don't want that type of leader.

Yeah, obviously you have to draw the line at people actively trying to do horrible things, which is why Trump may be a bad example to a lot of people here and I didn't mean for the thread to be about him.  I think someone like LBJ is at least a little gray, as some of his antics (which the article made a few references to) are pretty terrible.  Urinating into a basin in front of the staff doesn't seem like it would fly today.

I think the topic brings up an interesting point about incentives, because you could have a psychopath who ends up doing a lot of good because it is a path to fame and glory.

 

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7 hours ago, BobbyLayne said:

- more from the global leader of the Free World:

  Hide contents

STEPHANOPOULOS: You were saying it was going to disappear.

TRUMP: What?

STEPHANOPOULOS: You were saying it was going to disappear.

TRUMP: It is going to disappear. It’s going to disappear, I still say it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But not if we don’t take action, correct?

TRUMP: No, I still say it. It’s going to disappear, George. We’re going to get back – we’re not going to have studios like this, where you have all of this empty space in between.

I want to see people, and you want to see people. I want to see football games. I’m pushing very hard for Big Ten, I want to see Big Ten open – let the football games – let them play sports.

But no, it’s going to disappear, George, and I say this –

STEPHANOPOULOS: But Dr. Fauci said we have to be prepared for – we have to hunker down. We have to be prepared for a possible second wave.

I understand that you don’t want to panic people, you said you want people to be calm. You’ve often talked about Winston Churchill and FDR, and they did reassure people, they were strong. They did keep people calm.

But they also were straight. They said this war is going to be tough, it’s going to be a real fight, we have to persevere.

TRUMP: When Churchill was on the top of a building, and he said everything’s going to be good, everything’s going to be – be calm. And you have the Nazis dropping bombs all over London, he was very brave because he was at the top of a building. It was very well known that he was standing on buildings, and they were bombing. And he says everyone's going to be safe.

I don't think that's being necessarily honest, and yet I think it's being a great leader. But he said, you're going to be safe. Be calm, don't panic. And you had bombers dropping bombs all over London.

So I guess you could say that's not so honest, but it's still a great leader.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So do you think it's OK to be dishonest?

TRUMP: I'm not looking to be dishonest. I don't want people to panic. And we are going to be OK. We're going to be OK, and it is going away. And it's probably going to go away now a lot faster because of the vaccines.

It would go away without the vaccine, George, but it's going to go away a lot faster with it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: It would go away without the vaccine?

TRUMP: Sure, over a period of time. Sure, with time it goes away.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And many deaths.

TRUMP: And you'll develop -- you'll develop herd -- like a herd mentality. It's going to be -- it's going to be herd-developed, and that's going to happen. That will all happen.

But with a vaccine, I think it will go away very quickly.

Full transcript of ABC Town Hall with President Trump

Look at the guy who hunkers in his bunker whenever protesters are near comparing himself to Churchill speaking on "top of a building" during bombings.  And he forgot to mention to Churchill took action - he didn't just sit there paralyzed and hope for the Nazis to "go away".  Herd Mentality!  This is our President.     

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Trumps success is the culmination of years of (for lack of better words) propaganda from various Right Wing media outlets that this country is under assault from horrible internal forces and that only a uncompromising man (regardless of morals) can save us.  It's why there's been a sacrificing of their past for the past 4 years; Bush/McCain/Romney/Lincoln Project Republicans....these people were too weak; too nice to fight back.  

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And to answer the question posed by OP, is it too much to ask for both, when we have 300 million to choose from?

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10 minutes ago, Mookie said:

And to answer the question posed by OP, is it too much to ask for both, when we have 300 million to choose from?

One would think not, but the recent past is not terribly encouraging.  Years ago I read an argument that the path to the presidency in the US is so dehumanizing and soul-sucking that the only people willing to endure it are megalomaniacs who are unfit to be president.  To the extent that it was true then, it's certainly no less true now. 

Edited by Dr_Zaius

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