“And if the political culture claims to derive its authority from popular opinion…”

If there is also an inherent disjunction between the ideals on which the nation is [built] and the imperatives of effective government, imperatives which require the capacity to coerce and discipline the undecided and faint of heart, then effective leadership, especially at the executive level, must be capable of benign deception.

And if the political culture claims to derive its authority from popular opinion, which is by definition divided over the contested questions of the day, then leadership must at least appear to be followship, and the knack of political survival requires the skill to use language in ways that permit different constituencies to hear what they are listening for.

From American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson (p361).

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rich_w

Man of letters & numbers; also occasionally of action. Husband to NTW. Dad of three. Friendly geek.

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