Of course, even if we can agree that most grown men and women don’t need to be treated like children, don’t need to be parented by a leader, there are some adults who really can’t do for themselves, and therefore need to be cared for. Fair enough.
But there are also some other adults who really don’t want to do for themselves, and therefore need to be guarded against. It’s this second group that’s the real problem, those who want something for nothing, who want the unearned and are willing to use force or fraud to get it. They will cheat, steal, extort, and intimidate you in order to separate you from your hard-earned cash and keep you docile. That’s right: I’m talking about politicians.
The image of a strong leader, whether a Donald Trump or a Hillary Clinton or a Frank Underwood, is a seductive illusion that hides a lust for power over other human beings. A strong leader will fudge the facts to suit his or her purposes, take the fruits of your labour and tell you it’s for your own good, threaten you with punishment if you don’t fall in line, and generally try to keep you in a constant state of terror with tall tales of dehumanized enemies and overblown risks.
The last thing we need is a strong leader. If anything, what we need is a leader who realizes that we don’t need to be led, and who doesn’t actually want to lead, but rather wants to set us free. You can see the problem.
But hey, we have made progress, in fits and starts. At least we’ve gotten to a point in history where we refuse to be openly dictated to and ruled. Those who want power over us have to couch their megalomaniacal tendencies in sweet-smelling bromides. No longer can they simply claim to be emissaries of God, or hold power through fear alone, not in the more civilized parts of the world at any rate, and that’s not nothing.
Still, I look forward to the day when enough of us are willing to throw off even the comfortable shackles of democratically elected leadership and embrace freedom and voluntary association more consistently. I look forward to the day when the whole house of cards comes tumbling down, and enough of us realize that it doesn’t need to be rebuilt.