Passion, Responsibility, and Proportion

May 23, 2007   

Dscn0847 Rest assured, I'm among the millions of Americans completely disillusioned with the Bush Administration. As someone who aspires to hold public office at one point in his life, it pains me even more to hear of Bush, Inc.'s daily pillaging of American Democracy. It's a great Country we have here. And we need some good leaders.

Here's a quote that reminds me what "good leadership" really means:

One can say that three pre-eminent qualities are decisive for the politician [or leader]: passion, a feeling of responsibility, and a sense of proportion.

This means passion in the sense of matter-of-factness, of passionate devotion to a 'cause,' to the god or demon who is its overlord. It is not passion in the sense of that inner bearing which... Georg Simmel used to designate as 'sterile excitation'... It is an excitation that plays so great a part with our intellectuals in this carnival we decorate with the proud name of 'revolution.' It is a 'romanticism of the intellectually interesting,' running into emptiness devoid of all feeling of objective responsibility.

To be sure, mere passion, however genuinely felt, is not enough. It does not make a politician, unless passion as devotion to a 'cause' also makes responsibility to this cause the guiding star of action. And for this, a sense of proportion is needed. This is the decisive psychological quality of the politician: his ability to let realities work upon him with inner concentration and calmness.

- Max Weber in "Politics as a Vocation”

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