160. "The most essential quality of an effective leader is the ability to remain consistently committed to particular principles and objectives. Any leader who is quickly and easily influenced by shifts in popular opinion will accomplish little."
In addressing the issue it is helpful to consider, in turn, three distinct forms of leadership: business, political and social-spiritual.
1. In the business realm, effective leadership is generally defined, at least in our corporate culture, as that which achieves the goal of profit maximization for a firm’s shareholders or other owners.
2. In the political realm, stubborn adherence to one’s objective in the short term might serve a political leader’s interest in preserving his or her power, yet in the long term such behavior invariably results in that leader’s downfall.
3. Socio-spiritual leadership, in order to be effective, inherently requires that the leader remain steadfastly committed to principle.
170. "The surest indicator of a great nation is not the achievements of its rulers, artists, or scientists, but the general welfare of all its people."
1. Admittedly, the overriding imperative of any democratic state is to enhance the general welfare of its citizenry. Yet the speaker fails to provide a clear litmus test for measuring that welfare.
2. Many scientific achievements serve to enhance a nation’s general welfare.
3. Artistic achievement is also needed to make a nation a better place for humans overall.
4. We should also be careful not to hastily assume that a nation is necessarily great merely by virtue of the achievements of individual citizens.
the general welfare
171. "People who pursue their own intellectual interests for purely personal reasons are more likely to benefit the rest of the world than are people who try to act for the public good."
1. By human nature we are motivated to pursue activities in which we excel.
2. Secondly, it is unusual avenues of personal interest that most often lead to the greatest contributions to society.
3. Thirdly, to adopt a view that runs contrary to the speaker’s position would be to sanction certain intellectual pursuits while proscribing others—which smacks of thought control and political oppression.
174. "Laws should not be rigid or fixed. Instead, they should be flexible enough to take account of various circumstances, times, and places."
1. On the one hand, a certain measure of consistency, stability and predictability in our laws is required in order for us to understand our legal obligations and rights as we go about our day-to-day business as a society.
2. On the other hand, rigid laws can result in unfairness if applied inflexibly in all places at all times.
178. "It is possible to pass laws that control or place limits on people's behavior, but legislation cannot reform human nature. Laws cannot change what is in people's hearts and minds."
It is necessary to realize the limits of law when we hail “rule by law”.
1. Common tells us that without laws, society would fall into a state of chaos.
2. However, legislation cannot reform human nature.
3. Society should depend on education to cultivate people’s hearts and minds.
180. "Many problems of modern society cannot be solved by laws and the legal system because moral behavior cannot be legislated."
I agree with this assertion insofar as it relates to constraints on certain personal freedoms. However, when it comes to the conduct of business, I think that moral behavior not only can but must be legislated for the purpose of alleviating societal problems.
1. Morality laws that impinge upon freedom of choice about our personal lives—to control what we do with and to ourselves—simply do not work in a democratic society.
2. Morality laws impinging on personal freedoms are not made any more useful or effective by purporting to serve the greater good of society, because on balance their costs far outweigh their benefits.
3. In sharp contrast to personal behavior, the behavior of businesses can and must be controlled through legislation.
185. "Scandals--whether in politics, academia, or other areas--can be useful. They focus our attention on problems in ways that no speaker or reformer ever could."
1. On the one hand, scandals can sometimes serve to call our attention to pervasive social or political problems that we would otherwise neglect.
2. On the other hand, scandals can sometimes serve chiefly to distract us from more pressing community or societal problems.