Are You Part Of The Leadership Crisis?

The intrusion of ideological thinking has left us with a collapsing civilisation, and no matter how stridently the technocratic utopians might object, the evidence against their brave new world is impossible to ignore.

The technocratic ideology regards nature as mere matter, with no meaning or purpose beyond its utility, mere raw material available to be fashioned into whatever Consumerism demands. Technocratic man sees himself as free to remake the world as he chooses. The modern mind has always justified technological innovation by arguing that it promotes the well-being of humanity, but unbelievably destructive wars, environmental degradation, and a seemingly endless eruption of social dysfunction reveal a darker side to the story.

While there are obviously great benefits that come from technological innovation, it also inevitably raises moral issues, that is, human issues, which only human intellects can resolve. Technology is morally neutral; it can be used for good or evil. Technology is not the problem, and can never be the solution; the heart of man is the problem, as it has always been. Either we continue to develop and use technology for the universally agreed good of humanity, or the power conferred by technology on a small elite will ensure the destruction of civilised society.

In the secular consumer society, where a bloated bureaucratic state calls the shots, in cahoots with conniving corporations, what becomes of the average person in terms of intellectual growth, character and virtue, resourcefulness and the readiness to meet the challenges of life? In other words, what becomes of the person’s humanity? Take away the life of the mind from the rational animal, and all you have left is the animal and its appetites, the perfect consumer, insatiable and unquestioning, and the perfect worker, insecure, malleable, and unknowing.

When people say “The science is settled”, or “We are on the right side of history”, or “We need 21st century solutions to 21st century problems”, they are thinking ideologically and trying to avoid rational debate. According to the principle of falsifiability, the science is never settled; the decisive debunking of the Whig interpretation of history long ago emphasised that “the right side of history” is nothing more than a mindless expression of the long-discredited myth of progress; and “21st century solutions” will never solve anything unless they are grounded in the realities of human nature and the universal moral imperatives that precede and transcend the laws of the state.

The prevailing model of globalisation, which demands the free flow of labour, goods and services, and capital, is also irredeemably ideological, with its supporters fiercely adamant that it is destiny, the apex of world history, the only way. It provides lavish rewards for establishment elites in Europe and North America, and also for motivated workers in China, India, and other rising economies, but it is proving disastrous for the middle classes and the working class in the West.

The now patent alienation between establishment elites and the general citizenry has introduced a multifaceted new socio-political dynamic that has found expression in disparate phenomena like Occupy Wall Street, the Tea Party, the Trump trajectory, Brexit, the rise of neo-fascism and neo-Marxism, and the hostile opposition to trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic trade deals.

Typical of ideologues, the globalisation elites wrap themselves in self-righteous fervour, and demonise their opponents as regressive racists and xenophobes. Understanding, empathy, and respect have gone out of the window, and justice has once again been distorted to mean what Thrasymachus made of it: whatever serves the interests of the powerful.

And the interests of the powerful now require the weakening of the nation-state and the cynical expedient of open borders to facilitate the unfolding economic order. Democracy itself must bow to the new Leviathan, as the authority of the United Nations and international human rights tribunals are allowed to trump the decisions of national legislatures.

In a world where this kind of injustice is expedited by the elites, where social and political upheaval is so common, where prominent politicians glibly tell people that they have to accept acts of terror as part and parcel of urban life, where financial and economic security are reserved for the few, where national identity and religious belief are threatened, where automation foreshadows mass unemployment, and where workers are already treated as units to be exploited rather than as people to be respected, is rational discussion of issues, real communication, even a remote prospect?

The ideological thinking that arises from the denial and suppression of objective truth has corrupted leadership, promoting the misleadership so rampant today in politics, business, and the community at large. Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who understood this better than most, laid out the real challenge for leaders:

“Violence does not always necessarily take you physically by the throat and strangle you; more often it merely demands of its subjects that they declare allegiance to the lie. And the simple step of a simple, courageous man is not to take part in the lie, not to support deceit. Let the lie come into the world, even dominate the world, but not through me.”


Andre van Heerden
Andre van Heerden
ANDRE heads the corporate leadership program The Power of Integrity, and is the author of three books on leadership, Leaders and Misleaders, An Educational Bridge for Leaders, and Leading Like You Mean It. He has unique qualifications for addressing the leadership crisis. Since studying law at Rhodes University, he has been a history teacher, a deputy headmaster, a soldier, a refugee, an advertising writer, a creative director, an account director on multinational brands, a marketing consultant, and a leadership educator. He has worked in all business categories on blue-chip brands like Toyota, Ford, Jaguar, Canon, American Express, S C Johnson, Kimberley Clark, and John Deere, while leadership coaching has seen him help leaders and aspirant leaders in Real Estate, Retail, the Science Sector, Local Government, Education, Food Safety, Banking, and many other areas.

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  1. Do not know where to start. But ket me mention to mr. heerden that his first quote of Churchill camouflaged his criminal act the samevyear when he ordered to drop chemical poison on the kurd villigers in the north of Iraq.

    Second, with all the nice words he cited to re-concile differences, his first example was “islamic extremism” this is how he looks to islam and muslims through the “extremism” lense. How we can reconcile then? if he himself distorts and contradicts his own statements. It is a hopeles case!

    Ps. Check the WWII history and who instigated it! Churchill !!!

    • Nazar, you take offence where there is none intended. But let me respond to your concerns. Quoting a historical figure, or even a contemporary, in no way implies solidarity with all their ideas and actions, but I’m afraid it is you who needs to check your history – you appear to have been reading postmodern propaganda. And that brings me to your accusing me of being anti-Islam (and you really should capitalise Muslim): when I refer to Islamic extremism, I am clearly making a distinction between peaceful Muslims (who I believe to be the vast majority) and those who choose Jihad and terrorism. If I had not referred specifically to the extremists, then your charge would have had a leg to stand on. And for the record, I had the pleasure of teaching many Muslims students some years back, and I found all of them to be young people of excellent character. Moreover, I have never had anything but admiration for the many Muslims who have participated and excelled on my leadership program.

      • Thank you for your response. I may have not authenticated (referenced) the claims about churchill, but i believe it were true.
        On the other hand, the word “extremism” or “terrorism” is a wide brush that is been used to paint all Muslim’s reactions to events that inflicted upon them by powers which has the ability to distort realities. My hometown, Mosul, is still under the rubbles (with bodies of women and children still unburried) of the western supported onslaught. This reminds me of the bombing of Dusseldorf after the end of WWII.

        My point, respectfully, is that you mimic the same script or narrative perpetrated by the mega media.

        Ps. I share with you the interest on leadership; i have few juxtaposed ideas about the practice of leadership.

        • Thank you Nazar. I weep for you and your home town, as I do for the whole of Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and the other lands being torn apart by war. I am not anti-Islam, but I am strenuously anti-terrorism, and nothing I have written indicates anything different. But, as a matter of interest, do you think Saddam Hussein should have been left in power? Do you think Assad should remain in power? I come from a land that doesn’t exist anymore, and a similar type of dictator has brought only terror and bankruptcy where there was once prosperity and at least the hope of a better life for all. I too have been a refugee, albeit not on the scale of those suffering now in the Middle East and many other forgotten regions of the world. And fo the record, I am extremely critical of all western governments for both their domestic and foreign policies, and worry even more about the tyrannies that currently threaten to replace them.

  2. Having certainties allows us to be more solid and to feel able to judge others. Taking note that this is not so involves an imbalance in the construction of a life that is recognizable and identifiable by others. Nevertheless, I believe that everything can have an explanation that is also based on thousands of different points of view. There is the complexity of man, but not the possibility of absolute definition of things.
    One can decide to go in search of all possible truths. This theory also leads us to get out of habitual patterns a little and also risks bringing a great imbalance, which is good, because it leads to a regeneration of oneself that makes us question and invites us to not always look at our belly button.

  3. Ken, your point is precisely what the article deals with – there is a choice that determines your worldview, and choosing to believe that truth is subjective inevitably leads to the moral confusion and ideological thinking destroying our world today. I hope you don’t believe that the idea of subjective truth has been in some way proven, because that would be a classic example of ideological thinking.

  4. Andre: If Leadership rests on Communication, and communication rest on truth, and truth is subjective based on the idealism and opinions of the person then one could argue that leadership is a myth in that it can never have a solid and universal foundation.

    • Thanks Ken – fortunately, truth is not subjective; opinion is, but not truth. After all, is the statement that all truth is subjective true or false? Leadership is a real phenomenon, and unless we can define it, we have nothing to discuss. We have to get beyond the suffocating skepticism that is paralysing the West, and creating so many unnecessary problems.