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The luck of the draw

“No identifiable form of intelligence, talent, genius, or even experience seems necessary for ruling a country. Would-be rulers do not have to pass qualifying examinations in leadership or demonstrate competence in administration or show skill in diplomacy. They do not need to have good communication skills or even be popular with their subjects. While many leaders are imaginative, worldly, and intelligent, others are pedestrian, narrow-minded, and ignorant, which suggests that demonstrated ability or achievement has little to do with securing the highest office in the land.

“Leaders need not be sane, rational, or even mentally competent to rule a country. [Research reveals] high rates of alcoholism, drug use, depression, mania, and paranoia among certain kinds of rulers. Remarkably, over [the 20th] century, many rulers even have managed to keep power despite being floridly crazy or demented.

“Although intellectual or academic credentials seem irrelevant for ruling, one of the time-honored ways individuals establish their qualifications for leadership is by showing physical prowess and courage in battle.

“Throughout history, rulers who attain legendary status often tend to be those who have conquered other nations, won major wars, expanded their country’s boundaries, founded new nations, forcibly transformed their societies, and imposed their own beliefs on their subjects. In short, they have killed, plundered, oppressed, and destroyed. Rarely do rulers achieve greatness who have been ambassadors for peace, kept the status quo, defended free speech, promoted independent thinking, and avoided wars at all costs.”

– Arnold Ludwig, The King of the Mountain

Published inPolitics & Law

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