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Good Democratic LeadershipOn Prudence and Judgment in Modern Democracies$
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John Kane and Haig Patapan

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199683840

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199683840.001.0001

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Populist Resentment, Elitist Arrogance: Two Challenges to Good Democratic Leadership

Populist Resentment, Elitist Arrogance: Two Challenges to Good Democratic Leadership

Chapter:
(p.15) 2 Populist Resentment, Elitist Arrogance: Two Challenges to Good Democratic Leadership
Source:
Good Democratic Leadership
Author(s):

William A. Galston

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199683840.003.0002

This chapter argues that leadership is generally distinguished from simple command by the fact that leaders must, through speech and example, persuade followers to follow with more or less willingness. In democratic contexts the ability to craft persuasive speech is obviously central, but rhetoric will be popularly judged as empty unless backed by meaningful action that is seen to align with it. Consistency of speech and action is, however, more difficult to achieve than might be thought, precisely because of the “psychology of democracy”, which includes: a leveling tendency; suspicion of power and hierarchy; mistrust of representatives; and a demand for complete transparency and accountability. These attitudes tempt leaders to flatter rather than to be frank, to evade or conceal difficult but necessary choices rather than face public outrage, and to make promises that cannot be met. The author argues that the resulting tension demands democratic humility.

Keywords:   leadership, followers, rhetoric, democracy, humility

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