Writing On The Wahl #027 — The real crisis is of leadership

Medical interventions are not purely academic pursuits. There is a risk to reward ratio that must be considered as there are interwoven interests of business, culture, public safety, and liberty at play, to name a few. In the modern internet-driven world where the orthodox establishment and heterodox rabble seem to be at war for what is considered truth, we, the people, find ourselves between the proverbial rock and hard place.

The truth is not of concern to those behind our public health response, believing that truthful conversations are to be had at an esoteric level then decide on a different exoteric strategy because the general public doesn’t know the difference between their ass and elbow. That contempt for the public intellect may be warranted, as evident by any call-in segment of our talk shows, but the fact remains that truth is not the primary purpose of their education campaigns. They believe that through strategic messaging, storytelling, oversimplification and coercion, we can obtain the efficacious outcomes they have been told their actions will secure.

While it is fair to say we are in a public health crisis, I argue that the genuine concern is that of leadership. We have peacetime careerists at the helm when we need wartime generals. That is not to say we need a tight-lipped iron first dictating what we do. Heavens no. Modern information wars are fought on a battlefield of our hearts and minds. As social media has supercharged our ability to debunk the establishment’s propaganda, so too has it increased our exposure to misinformation and disinformation from the rabble. We need leadership that understands the multifaceted nature of our challenges and is not fearful of the sunlight or the spotlight.

The brand of leadership that employs cute little rhymes and acronyms is insulting. The people need to hear the bitter truth no matter how inconvenient it may be to the establishment’s narrative or how much it may trigger the cognitive dissonance of the rabble — tribalism transcends mere partisanship.

We need stoic leadership. Free from the pressures of passion. Unmoved by joy or grief. Submissive only to natural law. We need the kind of leadership that can anchor society and provide a guiding light based on principled convictions instead of the weather villains we currently have who move in whatever direction international agencies like the WHO and IMF blow them.

We could do many things to combat the crises faced if our leaders were indeed honourable what we cannot do, could not do, with the current leadership — both past and present. If our leaders understood leadership, we would have options; without that understanding, we have people who belong in chairs that would enable a more measured, pragmatic, and equitable response sitting in their office or at home observing the petulant debates on the internet.

We are witnessing an epidemic of anti leadership with those occupying the positions of influence. They either regurgitate the talking points they are feed or aimlessly rage against the machine. So how do we, the moderately minded independent thinkers, make sense of the nonsense that surrounds us?

It first starts with taking responsibility for the content we consume. Just as you cannot expect to be physically fit is you eat a lot of junk food. You cannot expect to be well informed if you entertain a lot of sensational talk shows. If it is reasonable to expect you will have to put in extra effort to obtain suitable food, the same is true for your news.

Please do not rely solely on what your contacts share on social media or on what the so-called authoritative sources of the government and their friendly mainstream media regurgitate. Take personal responsibility for being as reasonably informed as possible. Learn the skills every critical thinker needs in their toolkit. Things like cognitive biases, formal logic, critical reading and listening, and above all, errors in reasoning are also known as fallacies.

It isn’t straightforward for one individual to make sense of it all independent of external influences. With other, more important responsibilities, understandably, we must delegate our sensemaking. Traditionally we would look to the mainstream news, academia, political, religious, and community leaders. Unfortunately, they have, in large part, failed us. Therefore many have turned to the deep dark rabbit holes online and have become members of a cult of personality to social media influencers or conspiracy theorists.

How we navigate these uncharted waters will determine our destination. I wish I had a map made in the future to tell you exactly where to look and who to follow. But I am in the same boat, adrift in the open ocean, trying my best to find a way out of the fog of war. So I do not ask you to follow me but instead, join me on the journey to find the truth.

Until then.
Be strong, stay safe, and God Bless Saint Lucia.

#jvw7

Social commentary & political analysis of current affairs and the news worldwide — focusing on implications for Saint Lucia and Saint Lucians in the diaspora.