August 18, 2006

Dishonest Times

We live in dark, dishonest times. Our leaders tell lies to win elections, yet we re-elect them anyway. Our leaders tell lies that lead us to war, to the deaths of hundreds of thousands, to the wholesale destuction of country after country. Yet still we re-elect them. Why?

Our leaders break laws and lie about it. Our leaders tear down noble treaties that have stood for generations. They ignore real perils like global warming while terrifying us with hoaxes manufactured for political gain. And yet, goaded by ideologues pushing pro-business agendas, they strut the media stage as if they were the very embodiment of our collective virtue. How have we come to this?

Wise men long ago counselled that leaders who wish peace and prosperity for their people should begin by setting an example:
Chi K'ang asked Confucius about government, saying, "What do you say to killing the unprincipled for the good of the principled?" Confucius replied, "Sir, in carrying on your government, why should you use killing at all? Let your evinced desires be for what is good, and the people will be good. The relation between superiors and inferiors is like that between the wind and the grass. The grass must bend, when the wind blows across it."
If our leaders will not display morality and virtue, why should we? And yet, if we ourselves are lacking in morality and virtue, is it any wonder we have such leaders?

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