I wasn’t born to follow…

I wasn’t born to follow…

June 12, 2012

By John Seiler

Cue the great Byrds song, “I Wasn’t Born to Follow” from one of my favorite movies, “Easy Rider”:

I bring that up because The New York Times’ featured “conservative,” David Brooks, whom I knew briefly in Washington, D.C. back in 1987, writes a column today entitled, “The Follower Problem.”

Brooks is upset that we get crummy leaders because we’re not good followers. Brooks:

“Maybe before we can build great monuments to leaders we have to relearn the art of following. Democratic followership is also built on a series of paradoxes: that we are all created equal but that we also elevate those who are extraordinary; that we choose our leaders but also have to defer to them and trust their discretion; that we’re proud individuals but only really thrive as a group, organized and led by just authority.

“I don’t know if America has a leadership problem; it certainly has a followership problem. Vast majorities of Americans don’t trust their institutions. That’s not mostly because our institutions perform much worse than they did in 1925 and 1955, when they were widely trusted. It’s mostly because more people are cynical and like to pretend that they are better than everything else around them. Vanity has more to do with rising distrust than anything else.”        

Actually, it’s “mostly because” our “institutions” are much bigger and costlier than they were in 1925 and 1955. They also are more remote, with centralized “federal” authority replacing state and local authority almost everywhere.

In 1925, the federal portion of the economy was around 4 percent; now it’s 25 percent. The California state government then was around 2 percent of the economy; now it’s 6 percent.

In the last 10 years, federal pay, perks and pensions have grown to become twice their equivalents in the private sector. This occurred under a Republican president, George W. Bush, and a Democratic president, Barack Obama. During the same period, Republicans and Democrats also traded back and forth dominating Congress. So it was a bipartisan elevation of federal functionaries to commissar status.

Brooks concludes:

“To have good leaders you have to have good followers — able to recognize just authority, admire it, be grateful for it and emulate it. Those skills are required for good monument building, too.”

Well, I’m not following the rotters who “lead” us now. If our “leaders” lead by reducing government back to what it was in 1925, then I’ll reconsider.

Until then, my attitude will remain that of Jack Nicholson’s character:

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  1. Donkey
    Donkey 12 June, 2012, 22:57

    Funny how the RAGWUS sees citizens that lack the “follower” gene. If you show an inkling of rebellion to the state masters you deal with, schools, DMV, AQMD, local police, zoning boards, water departments, or any of the other myriad of acronyms the state has produced you are said the “have a problem with Authority.” The RAGWUS feeder that puts this label on a citizen does so for two reasons, first is to silence the citizen in an attempt to stop his criticism of every bureaucracy ever created; the second reason is to justify the call for armed deadly force to insure that citizen silence is delt with swiftly and with violent force, this is to let the out-spoken and bystanders know the dissent is best left at home. 🙂

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  2. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 13 June, 2012, 00:36

    In the last 10 years, federal pay, perks and pensions have grown to become twice their equivalents in the private sector.

    It has been going on the last 30 year, not just the last 10.

    Cop pay has gone up 97% in the last 10 years in CA, NOT counting sb400/3%@50, which was worth at leats a 50%-75% bump in salary.

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  3. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 13 June, 2012, 00:44

    Chuck Green is an HONEST, lifelong Democrat and columnist for the Denver Post.


    Posted: Sunday, February 7, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 1:51 pm, Tue Apr 27, 2010.

    Barack Obama is setting a record-setting number of records during his first year in office.

    Largest budget ever. Largest deficit ever. Largest number of broken promises ever. Most self-serving speeches ever. Largest number of agenda-setting failures ever. Fastest dive in popularity ever.

    Wow. Talk about change.

    Just one year ago, fresh from his inauguration celebrations, President Obama was flying high. After one of the nation’s most inspiring political campaigns, the election of America’s first black president had captured the hopes and dreams of millions. To his devout followers, it was inconceivable that a year later his administration would be gripped in self-imposed crisis.

    Of course, they don’t see it as self imposed. It’s all George Bush’s fault.

    George Bush, who doesn’t have a vote in Congress and who no longer occupies the White House, is to blame for it all.

    He broke Obama’s promise to put all bills on the White House web site for five days before signing them.

    He broke Obama’s promise to have the congressional health care negotiations broadcast live on C-SPAN.

    He broke Obama’s promise to end earmarks.

    He broke Obama’s promise to keep unemployment from rising above 8 percent.

    He broke Obama’s promise to close the detention center at Guantanamo in the first year.

    He broke Obama’s promise to make peace with direct, no pre-condition talks with America’s most hate-filled enemies during his first year in office, ushering in a new era of global cooperation.

    He broke Obama’s promise to end the hiring of former lobbyists into high White House jobs.

    He broke Obama’s promise to end no-compete contracts with the government.

    He broke Obama’s promise to disclose the names of all attendees at closed White House meetings.

    He broke Obama’s promise for a new era of bipartisan cooperation in all matters.

    He broke Obama’s promise to have chosen a home church to attend Sunday services with his family by Easter of last year.
    Yes, it’s all George Bush’s fault. President Obama is nothing more than a puppet in the never-ending, failed Bush administration.

    If only George Bush wasn’t still in charge, all of President Obama’s problems would be solved. His promises would have been kept, the economy would be back on track, Iran would have stopped its work on developing a nuclear bomb and would be negotiating a peace treaty with Israel, North Korea would have ended its tyrannical regime, and integrity would have been restored to the federal government.
    Oh, and did I mention what it would be like if the Democrats, under the leadership of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, didn’t have the heavy yoke of George Bush around their necks. There would be no earmarks, no closed-door drafting of bills, no increase in deficit spending, no special-interest influence (unions), no vote buying (Nebraska, Louisiana).

    If only George Bush wasn’t still in charge, we’d have real change by now.

    All the broken promises, all the failed legislation and delay (health care reform, immigration reform) is not President Obama’s fault or the fault of the Democrat-controlled Congress. It’s all George Bush’s fault.

    Take for example the decision of Eric Holder, the president’s attorney general, to hold terrorists’ trials in New York City. Or his decision to try the Christmas Day underpants bomber as a civilian.

    Two disastrous decisions.

    Certainly those were bad judgments based on poor advice from George Bush.

    Need more proof?

    You might recall that when Scott Brown won last month’s election to the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts, capturing “the Ted Kennedy seat,” President Obama said that Brown’s victory was the result of the same voter anger that propelled Obama into office in 2008. People were still angry about George Bush and the policies of the past 10 years, and they wanted change.

    Yes, according to the president, the voter rebellion in Massachusetts last month was George Bush’s fault.
    Therefore, in retaliation, they elected a Republican to the Ted Kennedy seat, ending a half-century of domination by Democrats.

    It is all George Bush’s fault.

    Will the failed administration of George Bush ever end, and the time for hope and change ever arrive?

    Will President Obama ever accept responsibility for something — anything?

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  4. Donkey
    Donkey 13 June, 2012, 07:37

    Rex, Bush II was bad, actually one of the worst POTUS of all time, but this poser Obama(One Big Ass Mistake America), is the worst of all time!!! 😉

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  5. Martha Montelongo
    Martha Montelongo 14 June, 2012, 15:57

    Worst thing about Easy Rider was that people who loved the spirit of freedom it inspired, followed the example of Peter Fonda’s character and adopted those ape bars on his chopper. Put your arms up in that position and pretend your driving a fast powerful chopper, and then imagine you have to turn suddenly, and sharply. Uh-huh. Not so swift, is it? But freedom is freedom. There is something to be said for people being free to contribute to the improving of the gene pool, and those who ride, and know better, stick to bars that allow for maximum turn ratios and control.

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  6. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 14 June, 2012, 17:29

    Martha, ape hangers are very dangerous……..

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  7. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 14 June, 2012, 17:29

    I dont think Obama is the worst POTUS, Bush II takes the cake IMO.

    Reply this comment
  8. Donkey
    Donkey 14 June, 2012, 22:37

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on that one Rex.. 🙂

    Reply this comment
  9. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 15 June, 2012, 15:48


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