August 22, 2011
Einstein is quoted as having said that if he had one hour to save the world he would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution.
ATKINSON, IL: President Barack Obama said on Wednesday he will propose a plan in September to jump-start the U.S. economy as he struggles to convince skeptical voters that he has something new to offer (Reuters News Service).
In stable times, the need for leadership is not as pronounced as it is when the waves of history are building with potentially destructive, tsunami force. Today, people long for leadership…
Last week, in the aftermath of country-wide rioting that left people dead and property destroyed or stolen, British Prime Minister David Cameron acted the part of a leader for his countrymen who were struggling to make sense of the senseless.
One newspaper in England reported it this way: “In the aftermath of rioting across Britain, David Cameron blasted the nation’s ‘slow-motion moral collapse’ – a matter he plans to ‘take on and defeat.’ Facing a ‘demoralized’ state, ‘I will not be found wanting,’ the prime minister said today at a youth center. The riots were a ‘wake-up call’ for a ‘broken society’ born from ‘children without fathers; schools without discipline; reward without effort; crime without punishment; rights without responsibilities; communities without control.’ British society, he said, is one that ‘incites laziness, that excuses bad behavior, that erodes self-discipline, that discourages hard work…’” (Newser)
At the risk of dipping my non-profit toe in the brackish political gray water, it seems like Einstein’s counsel has been embraced by Mr. Cameron. Rather than parrying around the crisis with a myopic focus on symptoms, he assessed the mess and defined the problem facing Britain’s culture.
An interesting note: his comments last week have not been met with a standing ovation. Sadly, there are many who derive power and cash flow from providing the ingredients for the recipe that deconstructs a culture’s moral foundation, and their endorsement for his diagnosis – or, his response – will be withheld. Leadership has never been measured best by public opinion polls in real-time…
A broken society, born from children without fathers, schools without discipline, rewards without effort, crime without punishment, rights without responsibilities, communities… inciting laziness, excusing bad behavior, eroding self discipline and discouraging hard work: how much do we in America mirror the conditions that have created the “perfect” moral storm in England?
I’m waiting – with you – to hear the new “plan,” after Labor Day, that will be proposed to light our way to a better tomorrow. I’m quite certain that it will involve increased “revenues” (taxes), new “stimulus packages” (government-controlled re-distributions), and a newly-established czar or two to oversee the agencies that will be formed to “create the jobs.”
I wonder if we’re grown-up enough to hear someone give us the diagnosis that we, too, are suffering from a “moral collapse?”
“When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God… You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth… If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God.” (Deuteronomy 8:10-20)