Does anyone believe there is *any* leadership out there in government, business, etc.?

It strikes me that we may be at a low ebb in our trust and belief in leaders in, well, all of world history. Here are my theses:

  1. There are, in fact, extremely few good leaders in government, business, the religious world, and any other major sector you can name. As a Liberal, when I think of people in government that really might have a clue, the name Elizabeth Warren comes to mind. Do I think Hilary has any ideas of how to move forward? Hell no. When I think of business, I think of Elon Musk (the CEO of Tesla). He seems to know something about electric cars. Do I think he could fix the economy or do anything big like that? No.

  2. Regardless of whether there are any good leaders, I don’t see people actually believing there are good leaders. I don’t really even see Conservatives believing in their candidates as leaders. Did anyone really think Mitt Romney was a great leader? Some people hated Obama, some people thought Mitt would do less damage his first term than Obama would do in his second. But did anyone really believe that Mitt could turn things around? I never got that vibe. (And note that this is non-partisan: I don’t see any Liberal holding up our side’s people as any good, except maybe the aforementioned Warren. Even then, though, that seems more a belief that she is righteous than that she is capable of effecting real change.)

I was reading a statistic recently about how much Catholics in the UK turn to their religious authorities for answers. The number was basically zero. And though some people prefer Pope Francis to the jackass who preceded him and seem to admire the new guy to some degree, I don’t see anyone really thinking he’s going to accomplish a whole lot in the dying institution known as the Catholic Church.

  1. There seems to be a belief that no one has any solutions, either. For example, a nerdy economist might not be a leader, but s/he might have a solution. But no one seems to believe that any off-the-shelf solutions are available for our economic and political woes. I recognize that there are Conservatives and Libertarians that believe, in a religious sort of way, that minimizing government would bring back prosperity. Actually, to put it in a fully nuanced way, I think they believe that doing so is “right” and that market forces would eventually result in things being prosperous again; and that, even if that took 15 years, that would still be the “right” thing to do. I would hold, however, that that is not so much a belief in a solution as a belief that a solution is not possible. Kinda like saying that you should just let your body heal on its own no matter what illness you have, with no medical intervention deemed suitable.

Now, my belief is that we’re at a turning point in human history where our economic, governmental, industrial, and cultural institutions are all breaking down at once, and they will need to be replaced with something different in order for society to function optimally again.

But is that just me? Am I seeing all the above through a distorted lens? Are there great leaders, and do people believe there are?

Edify me. Thank you!

I think OP makes a valid point. I blame the Age of Information, or perhaps it would be better called the Age of Disinformation.

Once upon a time, to decide what economic policy to vote for, people might rely on trained professionals or trusted leaders. These days, many Americans learn about economics on YouTube by typing “why liberals hate gold” or “Rothschilds rule the world.” All too enough “trusted leaders” are now multimillionaire comedians on AM radio or cable TV. Instead of learning about economics or climate science from professors of those disciplines, many Americans are taught by billionaires with a cable network and an agenda.

Many Americans barely knew FDR was crippled, or that JFK was an extreme womanizer. But in the “Information Age,” secret conversations are routinely tweetered around the world. I don’t know if political corruption is worse today than in other eras with excessive income inequality, but important safeguards have been removed. And stupification of the electorate, partly the deliberate result of expensive propaganda, has led to increasing numbers of incompetent legislators.

Solution? The only first step I can suggest is to recognize the problem. A Doper started a helpful thread recently, but it degenerated into useless posts celebrating the truism “To deny freedom of speech would deny freedom of speech.”

What obbjective criteria are you using to define a “good leader”? In business, you use the Tesla founder as a potential example. What makes him a “good business” leader?

If you lay out the obbjective criteria for your definition, people might be able to better respond to your question. If it is purerly a subjective opinion without specific criteria, you will definitely get a myriad of responses, that you will likely disagree with.

I’m feeling very disappointed in general. I am mostly pleased with how things are going socially, although even that is moving too slowly for my taste, but otherwise, I’m not pleased at all with my government.

I’ve put a lot of my faith in ACA, but I may be learning that was misplaced. My husband lost his job in early December and still has not received an unemployment check. He qualifies, but they can’t see his last income or something and CA EDD answers between 10 and 17 % of their calls, so it’s been almost three months without an answer as to when we can expect to get those funds, if ever.

Those are just two issues that directly affect me, but I’m also not happy with the Farm Aid bill that passed, the failure to get anything done on immigration and minimum wage. Fracking concerns me. Income inequality, the high debt of student loans and the outrageous costs for medical care all just make me feel overwhelmed. I had to go to the emergency room a couple of weeks ago and just the thought of what it was going to cost me had me in tears and that just intensified the extreme pain I was already in. I’m dreading those bills. I need to get an ekg and have no idea what that will cost me. Getting through to my insurance company requires staying on hold for at least an hour. It’s ridiculous.

Yeah, my lens is a little dark right now too.

So - we should be happy when the machines take over?

I totally agree with the frustrating depiction of Today, but find it very difficult to think anything other than “hmmph - Humans being Human; same as it ever was.”

Or, put it another way: Buddha taught, Life is Suffering. Sounds like you are experiencing one aspect of that.

It is hard to be in the middle of our particular reality and not see it for the tangled mess it is. Only after decades and centuries will the noise die down and narratives in place that make our Today someone else’s “Those Were the Days.”

I tell my kids that Humanity is, at best, maybe 15% efficient*. Ah, but if you accept that as reality and you try to make things, oh, 16% (or even, gasp, 17%) efficient in your world, well, you are on your way.
*no, I have no idea what this actually means - it’s a concept.

There may in fact be competent effective leadership out there – Defined as those people who are well able to move their agendas and put them into effect.

Just don’t count on those leaders’ agendas to have your interests at their core.

That’s a paradox of representative government, or perhaps any government: I’m not sure at all that most of us would be competently skilled at running much of anything, any more than most of us would be skilled at rocket surgery.

So we hire (elect) people who we think are competent to run government, just as we hire skilled doctors, lawyers, or gardeners to do those jobs for us. And then we have to hope that those people will really work in our interests. Too often, at least lately, that’s far from obvious. That’s why we have such a widespread perception that our elected officials are “in the pockets” of major corporations, billionaires, or other special interests.

Oh, they may be highly skilled and competent, all right, some of them anyway. But they just might not really be working for us.

IMHO you make the mistake of assuming your personal journey into cynicism is a reflection of the external world.

Cut down on the junk food, turn off the TV and radio, back away from the keyboard, and take a walk once in a while. It will do you a world of good.

I’m asking for your opinion, dude. You think things are good?

And I exercise regularly, lol.

That’s really the thrust of what I’m asking: Do YOU think the leaders out there are good? And regardless of what you think, do you think OTHER people believe in the leaders out there?

My thought is that we’re at an almost unique low in the belief in leaders.

I do think a chunk of this comes down to the Information Age. The system that creates illusions has been compromised, so it is more difficult for people to believe.

There are a lot of really good leaders in the business community. But the world of government service, which would be ideal for strong business leaders to donate their time and wisdom to improve the operations, also includes the hugely negative political machine, which a lot of people do not desire to be a part of.

Putin seems popular in Russia. Granted we here aren’t going to agree with him on civil, political or human rights but Russia seems to have rebounded from the poverty and oligarchs of the 90s under putins rule.

I think a lot of liberals had hope Obama would be a good leader but we found out that not only was he ineffective he really has no desire for meaningful reform. He can’t and won’t do anything.

When I saw the thread title I was going to post about Elon musk, but the op did already.

Who is a good leader who is principled, effective and the right mix of ideological and realistic? No idea. I’m sure overseas there are some but domestically I don’t know.

The US will remain a plutocracy for the foreseeable future in my view.

Under our current constitution, Musk would be prohibited from running for the office of POTUS.

One man’s leader is another’s sworn enemy.
The US is such a melting pot of cultures, values, classes, ideologies, regional economies, etc. that finding a leader that everyone considers to have their best interests in mind is going to be close to impossible.
Especially in the age of the anonymous armchair critic.
Any leader these days has no choice but to walk a tightrope down the middle knowing you can’t please everyone all the time.
Any leader who trys to stick to his ideals will immediately get attacked, stomped down, frozen out and accused of non-compromising.
Trying to be a beloved leader of 313 million is a no-win scenario.

Answered in your own post. What we really seem to have lost is respect for our opposition. Someone that disagrees with you can’t be a good leader, and someone that agrees with you is just on the same bandwagon, so bingo, there are no good leaders. In fact, you’ll find a lot of people who think there can’t be such a thing as a good leader.

There’s also this attitude, very pervasive in America, that leader is the same as diabolical manipulator, and so they should be resisted out of hand, even if you agree with them. It’s let to a country of cantankerous mules with internet access.

Much of the reason I feel is decades of the Republicans demonizing government and pretty much any competent, moral leader or expert; mainly due to the fact that they are both morally and factually wrong about essentially everything. The only authorities they don’t demonize are crazy and evil enough to demonize themselves to anyone who isn’t already a follower.

So, you end up with a population that’s been propagandized since childhood with the idea that the government is evil and that scientific and other experts are literal minions of Satan. And even the people who aren’t right wing pick up that attitude by cultural osmosis.

And go read this a few times.

Well too bad we couldn’t keep this conversation on a non-partisan basis…straight to the ditch we go!!!

Why? Hasn’t the Republican message since the Reagan era indeed been that government is too big | too expensive | too oppressive | too invasive | [goto start]? That all government is bad? That it’s all the fault of spendy-spendy-biggummint-Dems?

Even when they are speaking complete nonsense? You wouldn’t call that “demonizing government”?

To the point where the biggest YA book/movie phenomenon of the last five years has the basic message “Government sucks. All government.”?

I wish right supporters had a better return argument than Reagan’s tired old, “There you go again.” When they call names, it’s okay; when lefties do, it’s because we can’t be “nonpartisan.”

I’m with you in wondering what a good leader looks like. It is something history tells us. During the civil war, lots of people thought that both Lincoln and Jefferson Davis were good leaders - and bad leaders - and a lot of people no doubt thought that Robert E. Lee was better than either.

Keep business leaders away for government please. Not because they are evil people, but because running a government and running a business are very different. The last great business leader we had as president was Herbert Hoover. Harry Truman on the other hand couldn’t keep a haberdashery going.

I think we had some pretty good leadership in keeping the Great Recession from turning into another depression. Lots of leaders got out of the comfort zones to do what was required. Bush didn’t lead but he was smart enough to let the people who knew what they were doing do it. They could have done better, but given the mess they did pretty well.