The Second Eclectic

Technology changes how we relate to God and each other

leadership and obscurity

My generation doesn’t trust leaders. We’re disillusioned, I suppose. I don’t know why this would be a new thing. Leaders have always been corrupt. Maybe media has just us exposed us to the scope of corruption (see Blagojevich, et al.) in our leaders. In any case, we don’t trust them.

We want to trust church leaders more, but we recognize that they still fail or abuse their power (names come to mind). And I really think it is the power thing. We don’t trust people to hold too much power. Is this just a perspective steeped in democracy? Maybe so.  

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.
- Abraham Lincoln

The real test of character is how you treat someone who has no possibility of doing you any good.
- George Orwell

I think that’s one reason my generation is also drawn to obscurity (although we can mistake it for the profound). People without power are those we seek out because we trust them a bit more. We believe that someone who hasn’t sought power (for surely most leaders have to some degree; it’s rarely “thrust upon them”) is a better man, and perhaps one with more integrity, character, and virtue. We want to find obscure people of virtue because we’re so starved for it among our established leaders.

Is the interest in the obscure simply the manifest thirst for virtue in a desert of leaders who abuse their power?