Friday, June 05, 2009

Are Our Leaders "Wise and Good"?

In Thoughts on Government (1776), John Adams wrote:

"As good government is an empire of laws, how shall your laws be made? In a large society, inhabiting an extensive country, it is impossible that the whole should assemble to make laws. The first necessary step, then, is to depute power from the many to a few of the most wise and good."

Would John Adams consider our leaders today "wise and good"? More to the point, HOW do we determine which candidates are "wise and good"? What criteria should voters bring to bear when selecting their leaders?

Let's talk about it in the comments.


Anonymous said...

I think it's very difficult these days to determine what makes a leader "wise and good" because as a society, our definition of right and wrong seems to fluctuate every decade or so. Truth and justice are no longer above reproach and the sense of morality we as a society were raised with, is constantly being challenged. When one continually changes the means by which we are taught to measure the content of a person's character, it is no great wonder that our generation has problems selecting good and wise representatives to act on our behalf. I know many people who simply vote for whichever candidate is a member of the party whose opinions are the closest to their own, taking no thought to the individual candidate's character. For many of these people, truth and goodness have become nothing more than reflections of their own opinions of themselves. They believe they are good and wise, therefore whichever party is closest to what they believe is by extension also wise and good, and they will endorse whichever candidate that includes. I believe that this way of thinking is not only contrary to truth and wisdom, but is in fact toxic to society. I believe the candidates themselves should always be measured against a universal definition of goodness and wisdom, regardless of their party affiliation, and that from that, they should be judged good or bad, wise or foolish, fit or unfit to represent. In my opinion, the definition should be that the individual is to work for the betterment of all people (not just their party's agenda) and should do it in way that is careful, deliberate, and equally beneficial for all whom they represent. If the candidate embodies that definition, then and only then should they be considered good, wise, and fit to govern.

susana said...

I think that its difficult & thanks for sharing...
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