Justification of the Means
By Roy D. Follendore III
Copyright (c) 2003 by RDFollendoreIII
February 15, 2003
People who primarily believe in independent direct action are results driven. They see problems as being the opposite of solutions. They see procedures as red tape; something that gets in the way of obtaining solutions. For them, things that stand between an obvious problem and an obvious solution is resistance that should be eliminated. This is a black and white pattern of observation that they feel does not require great discussions or an understanding of a complicated philosophy to carry out. They do not believe in the cooperative management of problems as solutions. They think that problems are not eliminated unless they are reduced and solved.
All of this may at first sound like a good thing. The problem with this belief system is that the emotional rush to judgment ends up deciding if a problem exists, if there is an appropriate solution, and if the means by which that solution is to be obtained should be bounded by procedures. This is particularly true for strategic problems and solutions. The trouble is that by their nature, most solutions of strategic importance requires examination of participatory interactions because the interests of more than one individual is affected. When a single individual unilaterally creates strategic solutions, and then tries to enforce them through direct, results driven action, it is sure to cause animosity. When that occurs, coalitions break down. Strategic problems by their definition require diverse groups of people to be involved.
People who are great believers in direction action without due process are simpletons. They are often dictators. They look decisive when they rise to power and authority because they simplify everyone's universe. People tend to consider strong visionary leaders in those terms and this is the reason why they are supported. However, when they get to levels of responsibility they are not considered team players by others. But most of all as they use their control they often appear to others as dangerous, foolish or disturbed. It often takes time for people to catch up and understand to what is going on. These kinds of people are the players who step up to the plate and take grand home run swings at every ball without considering the importance of the team. In doing so, when they come up to bat and the game is close, they tend to generate great risk. If they succeed in hitting the ball out of the park then they are heroes, but if they don't they bring the teams ranking way down. The game is all or nothing, a zero sum solution for those who take such great risks.
In taking the kinds of risks that they do, they often couch their justifications for risking success and failure in terms of "it must be done," or "the moral reasons." Doing this shifts the burden of responsibility for their less than insightful outlook and less than successful means on "the situation" or on others. In this way they can take unilateral actions, thereby playing the odds until probability breaks their way. The only way that they feel they can keep internal support going for them is to surround themselves with people who are also direct action personality types.
Because of this, the organization that results from such leadership is constantly involved in group think scenarios. They reinforce their leaders knee jerk philosophies and back the decisions and they tend to get stuck on solutions that may not have anything remotely to do with the real world problems. The reason for this is that for these kinds of people, they are not able to deal with unsolvable problems or problems which do not have realistic solutions. This means that they choose to ignore complex and difficult problems in favor of those problems that favor quick fix solutions. They would rather warp all of the issues they can around those kinds of problems that can be solved and declare victory than deal with indirect actions.
The problem with this kind of leadership is that at the end of the day there are questions that will be asked. Are we better off with this perspective of leadership? Does the efficiency of direct action improve our lives and really solve our real world problems? Have we reduced the complexities that introduce new unknown risks? Are we better off isolating ourselves so that we can simplify our means or working together with others and working through the complexities of our problems?
As we come to face these questions, we come to realize that these are not merely the echoes of some inconsequential set of conditions that just happened to fall in our laps. We create our means to our ends. Within a democratic system, all of mankind becomes responsible for the approach as well as the solutions our chosen leaders provide us. Elected leaders who believe in the absolutes principles of direct action over negotiation become the justification of the means through which a democratic population allows unbridled risk to decide our fate.
Copyright (c) 2001-2007 RDFollendoreIII All Rights Reserved