May 24th, 2007

Sanity Squad podcast: whither “leadership?”

Once again the Sanity Squad attempts to dispense wisdom, or at least to entertain. Join Siggy, Dr. Sanity, Shrink, and me as we discuss what makes a good leader, and how rare leadership is these days. We also tackle the current spate of political apologies, including ex-President Carter’s recent tepid attempt at the genre.

4 Responses to “Sanity Squad podcast: whither “leadership?””

  1. Nyomythus Says:

    Where’s the link?

  2. martywd Says:

    pajamasmedia.comThe ‘link’ can be found here.

  3. Ymarsakar Says:

    Carter and wisdom is sort of like antimatter and matter, Neo. If they ever occupied the same spot, Carter would blow up.

  4. Ymarsakar Says:

    In response to what you said about Japan, Neo, here’s my best attempt.

    Apologies in Japan are quite formal in a way. More formal than our manner, for the japanese actually in the old school get down on both knees and actually bow with their head touching the floor. And they stay that way, Neo until the apology is accepted.

    It works in this framework. The Japanese is extremely heirarchical. That means when you are ‘apologizing’ what you are really doing is petitioning your feudal lord, your superior, over your mistakes and the cost on your status/honor.

    Submitting to a higher power, means you are obeying your duty, and obeying your duty grants you honor in the Code of Bushido.

    That was why Japanese even up to WWII times, committed sepukku after they had failed. Before the surrender of Japan, one of Hirohito’s cabinet members committed ritual suicide. Or was that after Leyte Gulf, can’t remember really.

    Regardless, ritual suicide was the ultimate example of “being sorry” in Japan. Because a man’s honor was his to hold or throw away, and to recover that honor required the Warrior code, Neo. And the Warrior code revolved around stamina, facing up to pain, courage, and so forth. The Arab version of courage is yelling in your face that they are going to find you in an alley way and stab a knife in your back. That’s their version of courage, which translates as throwing rocks at Jewish tanks. Their courage is more similar to barbarian bezerkness, sheer recklessness in the face of danger. Like the Native Americans did, who thought it was the height of courage and skill to tap some enemy and get away on a horse.

    The Japanese version of courage was more mature, in that it more or less had to do with maintaining your loyalty to your superiors and facing up to your duty. Duty was a harsh measure in Japan, still is in a way.

    I did a post on this, because of a recent discussion on the subject over at blackfive, Neo. You might be interested in that.

    One other major difference is that in Arab culture, if someone shames you, the responsibility seems to be on YOU to make things better. In Japan’s honor code, if you are ashamed, then that shame came as a result of your OWN actions. The responsibility is crucial. That’s why they think blowing up children is okay when they suicide, while the Japanese thinks suicide has to be painful only for the single person to be sufficient to wash away dishonor.

    Japan’s history was shaped by war, much as America’s history was. Arabs had their wars, yes, but they never united in a sense. Desert cultures are interesting in a way because of that. Unity doesn’t seem very stable there. Too much fighting over water or oil perhaps. Must be the oil in a way.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.


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