Re: Defunct Democracy

Eric Watt Forste (
Wed, 06 Nov 1996 19:49:40 -0800

MMB said:
> Err, _Plato's_ Republic, no?
> "Who shall lead?"
> "Why, he who is most fit to lead."

I like to think that anyone can lead. The real question is whether
or not anyone chooses to follow. In my ideal world, everyone is
the leader of a contingent of one, and there are no followers.
But I'd be willing to settle for a world in which individual
followers each choose their several leaders with a bit more care
and consideration, and concentrate more on learning from their
chosen leaders than on trying to draft the other sheep into their
contingent. And leadership goes way beyond politics: there are
leaders in art, leaders in science, leaders in philosophy, leaders
in business, leaders in engineering... the list goes on and on,
and it is my hope that this list of different kinds of leadership,
different arenas of excellence, will keep growing.

And of course (pace Ira Brodsky), parents should lead their children.
But it would be nice to live in a world in which most people over, say,
25 years of age were adults in the sense hinted at above.

The default paradigm of leadership seems to be "one leader, many
followers". I prefer "one follower (me), many leaders (those I have
chosen)". By picking and choosing which knowledges, skills, and
values to learn from which leaders, I remain an individual even
while engaging in the activity of following. And following in the
general sense is very important: anytime I am studying someone
else's work, I am following them. Following others is how we learn.
But following in the sense of "I'll let my leader have the final
say on what is good" is something I don't care for at all. This is
a fatal attitude even if one chooses 51% of the local population
for one's leader. What is legal, what is good: these are two
different questions, and ought to remain so, because the former
ought to be a closed question whenever possible, and the latter
has long been and remains an open question.

Eric Watt Forste ++ ++