by Brandon Smith
In past articles I have examined the nature of power and division in our society and have always come to the same conclusion, that there are only two types of people: the people who want control over others and the people who just want to be left alone. However, there are also subgroups that swim within the boundaries of each end of the spectrum. Often, psychologists and self-help gurus attempt to promote the idea that the defining quality of the average person’s life is whether he is a follower or a leader. I have seen this spectrum applied to every political and social organization.
Ironically, I have heard so-called “leftists” argue that the nature of their ideology makes them more adept at leadership and that conservatives are more prone to become followers (ostensibly because conservatives tend to be more religious). I have heard the same argument from people on the so-called “right,” only in reverse. The problem is that very few people in our society understand anymore what it actually means to be a leader. Most Americans today are followers, whether they know it or not. And sadly, followers tend to also seek out control over other people, if only to make up for the lack of control they feel in their own lives. That is to say, most followers tend to pursue petty opportunities for leadership.
The concept of leadership has become ridiculously warped. Many people feel that to become a leader, one must clamor his way through the system — be it government or corporate — and achieve artificial status, which others are conditioned to recognize and respect. One cannot become a designated “doctor”, no matter how personally skilled the individual, without earning the correct accolades from the establishment, accolades that are essentially bought at the right price or given as a pat on the head to those who excel at parroting the mainstream consensus. The same goes for scientists, economists, political authorities, etc. This creates a professional class, a percentage of the population whose opinions are treated with immediate reverence simply because of their titles.