Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at thinking, intelligent individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

29 August 2008

Our Overblown Expectations of Presidents

Whenever there is a problem in America, we expect our President to identify it and to mobilize us all in a crusade to solve the problem. We expect our President to feed and nurture our very souls. We count on him to inspire us to greatness and to show how we can sacrifice our individual selves to the greater good. We want him to be our Messiah, or at least our head priest, as well as our Commander-in-Chief and the chief administrator of the Executive Branch of the Federal Government. Frankly, there is nothing which is to escape his attention and his focus. This, in effect, means he had better be omniscient and all-powerful. Then, we try to give him too much power so he can do what we expect, while at the same time never giving him enough power to do what we expect.

This is ridiculous. No one is up to this job and anyone who pretends to be is a fraud. I have argued against this tendency to expect too much many times. To give a president so much power and to expect so much is to deprive ourselves of self-management and to lower our expectations of ourselves. Rather than being independent thinkers and valuers, we become supplicants and the wounded.

Gene Healy, a vice president of the Cato Institute, wrote a fine article on this topic which appeared in The Christian Science Monitor on 28 August 2008.

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