Moral Leadership

Over the weekend we have had a politician berating a charity over its moral leadership. Which seems a bit rich. It is very easy for the pot to call the kettle black.

What then is this moral leadership? To whom do we look for this noumenon?

I suspect that like many things it comes down to the decisions we make and the actions we do. It comes down to those close call decisions about how we conduct ourselves. A decision may present the expedient and advantageous or the righteous and the morally upstanding. Given that success and acquisition hold more sway than righteousness in the minds of many, most would plump for the expedient and advantageous. People might overlook the dalliances if it leads to greater acquisition. We ignore faults so as to further some other agenda. A successful banker who makes lots of money for a company is unlikely to get much censure for his whoring and cocaine sniffing, provided that he brings in the bacon. That is unless somehow there is a PR risk caused say by an incriminating photo in the press or some such. There is something about a risk-taking mentality that leads to gain, so the bottom line is always the balance sheet. I would hazard a guess that the balance sheet is for many the only moral arbiter. But faults coagulate and grow by permission. Things overlooked for expedience can escalate and become very inconvenient in the fullness of time. A culture starts to pervade.

And of course, all ideals are subject to the realities of human imperfection. It is the easiest thing in the world to go “tut tut” and then not look at what oneself is doing. For the world is our mirror and reflects many things back for us to observe should we seek to do so.

I’ll speculate that is the sum or integral over a whole bunch of little things which leads to a culture straying from morality. And once the culture is embedded a new “normal” is born, a normal which allows errancy, provided that the bacon supply remains uninterrupted. Pretty soon in a death by a thousand tiny cuts, the moral compass is damaged if not abandoned entirely. What once was unacceptable is now acceptable. The moral compass becomes collateral damage in the competition to win and acquire.

It is a strange almost old-fashioned thing to think of moral leadership. Who gives a shit?

In the rugby on Saturday, there was a race between an England player and a Wales player to touch the ball down in the in-goal area. By the tiniest of margins, the Wales player won the race, touched the ball down and believed he had scored. The referee turned to the TMO and the try was disallowed. Way back when I used to play were I in the place of the England player I would have congratulated the Wales player on scoring, fair and square. But winning is so important, these days. Is there still a place for sportsmanship?

Having cued this up:

Is winning more important than morals?

Of what use is a moral victory?

Do I recognise this death by a thousand cuts of the moral compass?

To whom do I look for moral leadership, who are the exemplars?