There’s declinism, Ozymandias. Things falling apart. A palpable sense of mortality. Entropy. Lifecycles. Whatever happens. Happens. Everything ends in failure. That kind of thing. These are truths that always were. And always will be.
And there are the current realities. Pandemics. Racism. Injustice. Intolerance. Greed. Stupidity. Ignorance in the age of digital information.
Are things getting worse? Were the standards in public life better when we were children?
I doubt it.
The difference, as you get older, is that you know more about the flawed people at the top. The ones who make the decisions affecting our lives.
We’re experiencing a national failure of leadership. This is nothing new. It’s been happening for a long time. Probably forever. It’s endemic. Soaking into everything.
We have ‘leaders’ who aren’t leading. They’re managing the situation.
It comes across in different ways. The talk. The excuses. The blame. The spin. The lack of shame.
Instead of leadership we have a management culture. Instead of problem solvers we have spinners.
Where’s the vision?
Our so-called leaders have no plans. They believe in nothing. All they want is to hold on to their career or their electoral viability.
We’re witnessing a poverty of dreams.
In place of actual leadership, we have moral weakness. There’s a lack of core beliefs. Zero values. Damage limitation exercises. Evasion. The people in power no longer believe in doing anything.
In many cases they’re unable to act. They’ve outsourced their power to committees and processes. To systems that only exist to self-perpetuate. To the free market.
The problem with small government is that it can’t do anything. It hands over important responsibilities to big business. Small government is supposed to be agile. It’s not. It’s supposed to be more efficient. It’s not.
Where’s the vision gone? The new ideas?
It turns out. There are none.
Instead we have talk. More talk. More spin. Promises of inquiries. Conversations about reform. Requests for us to be patient. Wait. Change will come.
But change never comes.
In the meantime, we have a national incompetence. Organisational incompetence. Fewer and fewer real leaders. Fewer and fewer problem solvers.
Our so-called leaders aren’t doing anything. They have outsourced their leadership to the free market. They are protecting the status quo. They are brushing problems under carpets. Denying that there are problems. Denying that there are carpets.
The challenges of our times are complex. Structural. Intellectual. Changes of emphasis. The rediscovery of generosity.
We live in a distracted world. Motivation is low. The failure of leadership is wide-ranging. It’s a cultural phenomenon that’s permeated society.