Coyne: Where are the great leaders of today?

November 22, 2014

Unhappy the land that has no heroes.
No. Unhappy the land that has need of heroes.
— Brecht, The Life of Galileo

Looking at the “class picture” of the leaders at the recent meeting of the G20, a student of history might be inclined to despair. What became of leaders past, that we should now be governed by such minnows? How could we have gone from Churchill to David Cameron? From De Gaulle to Francois Hollande? From Roosevelt to Barack Obama? From Macdonald and Laurier to Stephen Harper? Where’s the vision? Where’s the daring? Where’s the leadership?

It is a familiar lament. Writing in the current issue of Policy magazine, the political consultant Robin Sears compares the current crop of leaders with those of mid-century, for whom it was typical “to fight for improbable ideas, to spend years overcoming resistance to them, to endure the sneers of defeated opponents and…

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