Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Virtue

Taking inspiration from a lecture by David Brooks, in Leaders: Myth and Reality, Gen. Stan McChrystal wrote a book modeled in structure on Plutarch's Leaders. I found it interesting that he specifically noted he and his fellow authors were specifically not intending to study whether or not the leaders were virtuous.

He wrote, “We offer accounts of those who have led and, importantly, also their context and surroundings, with the hope that these stories will help frame a deeper understanding of what it means to lead and what we mean by leadership. Where Plutarch asked, ‘What sort of man was he?’ we start by asking, ‘What sort of leader was she?’”

As he had just explained, Plutarch “was focused on matters of personal character … to study virtue so that it could be imitated.” Instead, McChrystal claims “Leadership is itself neither good nor evil.”

It seems a sign of the times that virtue is not only no longer our priority, but has specifically been rendered secondary. I also wonder if leadership is truly that agnostic in terms of good or evil.

“All we like sheep have gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6). God's Word specifically recognizes our need for leadership, specifically from a Savior. McChrystal specifically writes “leadership is about much more than outcomes; it is equally concerned with how complex human groups optimize their cooperation and how individuals find symbols of meaning and purpose in life.”

Some people claim life has no purpose or meaning, that we're all just a series of accidents. If there is no purpose or meaning in life, then what is leadership? If one denies evil, especially his own potential thereto, yet still seeks to exercise leadership, watch out. Denying evil elevates the risk of evil.

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