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Article posted Oct 01 2010, 12:21 AM Category: Commentary Source: Darian Worden Print

Looking for Leaders -- And That's the Problem

by Darian Worden

Thomas Friedman says we need a leader.

In a recent op-ed he laments that the Tea Party we hear about -- which he dubs the Tea Kettle movement because it's full of steam -- "has no plan to restore America to greatness." It focuses merely on symptoms of a country in decline. He contrasts this to the "important Tea Party movement, which stretches from centrist Republicans to independents right through to centrist Democrats." Friedman's important movement is looking for a leader to end the decline and restore national power. The leader must have three characteristics:

First, a patriot: a leader who is more interested in fighting for his country than his party. Second, a leader who persuades Americans that he or she actually has a plan not just to cut taxes or pump stimulus, but to do something much larger -- to make America successful, thriving and respected again. And third, someone with the ability to lead in the face of uncertainty and not simply whine about how tough things are -- a leader who believes his job is not to read the polls but to change the polls. ("The Tea Kettle Movement" New York Times, September 28, 2010)

You can call it what you want, but reading this made me imagine petty dictators trading in their leather chest straps and military caps for more serious leader costumes. Friedman's important movement is explicitly centrist, but whatever centrist means in American politics, it doesn't seem to indicate a less extreme devotion to political power than that found on the fringes. Continued bombing overseas, entrenched corporate power, pervasive surveillance, and violent policing are all supported by the moderate center of national politicians. Getting the parties in line is the soft-power method of unitary rule.

After describing his ideal leader, Friedman goes on to name specific ways leaders can shape America into its former glory. What's important here is the backwards-looking perspective. Besides a reference to the twenty-first century, which itself isn't even that new, Friedman's emphasis is on restoration, looking to the national character, and how politicians can skillfully direct it.

Maybe what we need isn't a leader. Maybe we don't need a bold politician to "tap into" sentiment for the nation-state and make us follow him. Maybe we don't need someone to beat the partisan bickering and unite us under him, but never even with him. After all, unity in a government context generally means compelling obedience by overcoming opposition.

The problem here is that people look to the power center for a leader to support, instead of looking around for equals to co-operate with.

We can keep fireworks on the Fourth and drop the military empire that inspires folks to burn US flags. We can have cars and computers without wrecking the environment. We can prosper without paying off those who hold others down. The choices are ours to make.

Prosperity does not hinge on looking for the right leader to rally behind. Although there will always be tasks that the most enthusiastic individuals will take the lead in completing, pervasive power structures are ultimately self-serving. Political leaders generally act from the belief that their personal power is what the nation needs.

Freedom and prosperity involve understanding the power in ourselves, the relations we build, and the affiliations we choose. No rulers needed.

C4SS News Analyst Darian Worden is an individualist anarchist writer with experience in libertarian activism. His fiction includes Bring a Gun To School Day and the forthcoming Trade War. His essays and other works can be viewed at He also hosts an internet radio show, Thinking Liberty.

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Comments Add Comment Page 1 of 1

Posted: Oct 01 2010, 12:37 PM

216228 “If the American People allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the People of all their Property until their Children will wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered.” –Thomas Jefferson

“Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives…. I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends … and I think I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s what’s insane about it.” John Lennon, Interview BBC-TV (June 22, 1968)

Whenever there is trouble in Europe, wherever rumours of war circulate and men’s minds are distraught with fear of change and calamity you may be sure that …Rothschild is at his games somewhere near the region of the disturbance.” British Labour Leader- 1891

The task is to covertly lower the standard of living, the whole social structure, of America so that we can be merged with all other nations. Rowan Gaither

The high office of the President has been used to foment a plot to destroy the American's freedom and before I leave office, I must inform the citizen of this plight. JFK

It was not accidental [the 1929 stock-market “crash”]. It was a carefully contrived occurrence. ... The international bankers sought to bring about a condition of despair here so that they might emerge as rulers of us all. Louis McFadden

The ruling class has the schools and press under its thumb. This enables it to sway the emotions of the masses. Albert Einstein

"The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the larger centers has owned the Government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson." A letter written by FDR to Colonel House, November 21st, 1933

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." John Adams (The Works of John Adams, ed. C. F. Adams, Boston: Little, Brown Co., 1851, 4:31)

"Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure (and) which insures to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments." Charles Carroll, signer of the Declaration of Independence

"Man will ultimately be governed by God or by tyrants." Benjamin Franklin

It is when people forget God that tyrants forge their chains."Patrick Henry

"The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers." Thomas Jefferson

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."Abraham Lincoln

"Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants."William Penn

If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper; but if we and our posterity neglect its instruction and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity." Daniel Webster

"Education is useless without the Bible."Noah Webster

"If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws."Noah Webster

Wickedness prowls on every side when vileness is exalted among the sons of men. Psalm 12:8

Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD’S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land. Zephaniah 1:18

Can you finally see the big picture now?

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