Monday, March 21, 2011

Leaders and Ethics

To understand the difference between ethical and unethical, we must first understand society and its collective views of the world. However, this is too broad a statement to make it simple enough to narrow down a list of leaders adhering to these guidelines. What defines ethical? I believe that the definition of ethical can change in each and every society along history's timeline. Does this mean that a leader can be ethical in one time period and unethical in another?
Not only is that a possibility, but it can even vary from country to country and time period to time period.
Ethics are therein imposed upon us via our own society and our own era. This ideal provides us with an open invitation on leaders. And so, for my pick on ethical leaders I choose: Adolf Hitler. Yes. The initial reaction is probably shock, or if you've already thought about this idea, than you know where I'm going with this. We are talking on a pure leadership scale right here and now, not what they did with that skill. It cannot be denied that Hitler had more charisma and motivation than most of todays leaders. He was what is defined as a firebrand, meaning he had the ability to move people with his voice. And his speeches were nothing short of amazing. They told the people exactly what they both wanted, and needed, to hear. His understanding of the human psyche was unparalleled and nothing about the way he held himself was to the contrary. People were so compelled to follow him that they killed millions because of it. Hitler was everything a leader needed to be, and he was ethical in his own right. At that time, in his society, he was 'right'. This, of course, varies from individual to individual. But his scale of right to wrong was not far off from what was acceptable at that time. If it had been, would that many people have followed his every order? They believed in him. They truly believed that the perfect race was made up of people with blonde hair and blue eyes, and that this was the right way to be.
Now, the impact of Hitler's superb leadership abilities, and the fact that his people believed in what he was doing and the things that he preached, does not make the result of his reign 'right'. I, personally, do not necessarily believe in a system of 'right' and 'wrong'. There is chaos, and some things are more orderly than others. However, in terms of the general will of society and its derived sense of ethics, Hitler was absolutely wrong. He was undeniably morally wrong, as well. I believe that a justification for murder cannot exist. Hitler is an example of wonderful leadership turned horribly against itself. It begs the question of what we believe in as a human race, or even what you believe in as an individual. Can we be persuaded to do things that are morally/ethically wrong in a time of need and chaos? Salem Witch Trials, Holocaust, Concentration Camps, Pearl Harbor vs Hiroshima & Nagasaki.
On the other side of the spectrum, what happens when we end up with a barely capable leader driven by his own selfish motives? By we, here, I mean Americans. And by barely capable leader, I mean George W. Bush, our previous President. While my statements on Hitler are mostly historical in combination with opinions, my views of Bush are purely opinionated and are of what I see when I look at our country's last leader. I saw a man incapable of leading the country. He was contradictory, unmotivated, and failed to really band the country together. In the end, the country banded together because of their own underlying need to do so, rather than an overview from his leadership. He found reasons to go to war with another country, and single out a group of individuals based purely on his own selfish gain and a paranoid assumption. We have soldiers dying over in foreign lands because Bush wanted some oil. Instead of inspiring people to band together and try to make an advance in other fuel type technology, he persecuted a set of human beings believed to be behind attacks of proclaimed terrorism without much proof.
Personally, the idea of war is getting old.
War, in itself, is ethically wrong, and yet this too can be said to be 'right' depending on the situation. Today, both of those leaders, continue to push the limits of what had been done in the past and remind people there is a way to strive higher.

No comments:

Post a Comment