Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Politics and Leadership

Politics is a much despised word today. And all the words and forms that closely resembles politics have become equally despicable, like politicians, policies etc.
One of my friends had argued a few days ago against the backdrop of the quota controversy about why educated people don’t come to politics. My view is that education does not make you a good or bad politician. The attitude does. And a politician’s attitude is always to garner the maximum number of votes. So he plays at the hands of populism and vote bank mindset. His convictions are not as important to him as the collective convictions of a group of people. People translate into numbers and politicians attain majority. If a>b then you have to go with a and so you have to agree to everything that a denotes even if it is less logical than b. So in the next time if a part of a combines with b to become c and what remains of a is d then c>d. And then the politician has to change his views and go with c.
A politician is good at adapting to circumstances and he must be good at numbers. Of course logic and rationality have to left at the altar of politics because he understands that only by jettisoning his beliefs can he set his eyes on governance.
I am reading “Mein Kampf” by Hitler and he says (Chapter III)
TODAY it is my conviction that in general, aside from cases of unusual talent, a man should not engage in public political activity before his thirtieth year. He should not do so, because up to this time, as a rule, he is engaged in molding a general platform, on the basis of which he proceeds to examine the various political problems and finally establishes his own position on them. Only after he has acquired such a basic philosophy, and the resultant firmness of outlook on the special problems of the day, is he, inwardly at least, mature enough to be justified in partaking in the political leadership of the general public.
Otherwise he runs the risk of either having to change his former position on essential questions, or, contrary to his better knowledge and understanding, of clinging to a view which reason and conviction have long since discarded. In the former case this is most embarrassing to him personally, since, what with his own vacillations, he cannot justifiably expect the faith of his adherents to follow him with the same unswerving firmness as before; for those led by him, on the other hand, such a reversal on the part of the leader means perplexity and not rarely a certain feeling of shame toward those whom they hitherto opposed. In the second case, there occurs a thing which, particularly today, often confronts us: in the same measure as the leader ceases to believe in what he says, his arguments become shallow and flat, but he tries to make up for it by vileness in his choice of means. While he himself has given up all idea of fighting seriously for his political revelations (a man does not die for something which he himself does not believe in), his demands on his supporters become correspondingly greater and more shameless until he ends up by sacrificing the last shred of leadership and turning into a 'politician; in other words, the kind of man whose onlv real conviction is lack of conviction, combined with offensive impertinence and an art of lying, often developed to the point of complete shamelessness.

What was he talking about then?
Politics or leadership?
Definitely leadership. Because a leader on the basis of his beliefs have confidence on himself. He is firmly rooted to his ideology that is reasonable. And when he thrusts this on his people he does it with firm convictions. And he has logic to support..
He also said that leader should have a good memory and a deep knowledge of history.
So true.