October 6, 2008

Great Leadership

In Demon-haunted World, Carl Sagan pointed out that the founders of our nation were a highly educated group of philosophical thinkers—products of the Enlightenment.

Sagan noted that, at the founding, the population was about 2.5 million. At the time he wrote, the population was about ten times more. Now, it is even greater. Then, Sagan asks this profound question:

"If there were ten people of the caliber of Thomas Jefferson then, there ought to be 10 x 100 = 1,000 Thomas Jeffersons today.

"Where are they?"

Sagan wrote that book in 1995. We're still waiting for the answer. Ronald Reagan suggested that the great leaders were probably in business, but given what's been going on in the Wall Street soap opera these days, I'm not so sure.

Here, courtesy of The Teaching Company, are a couple of freebies--lectures that examine two great leaders: Lincoln and Churchill.

We still may not have leaders of this caliber today, but we can still look to the past--since hindsight is so much more acute than foresight--for what defines a great leader.

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