...about what makes people in high places take risky chances?
And I thought our biggest news story today was the winter weather.
The arrest of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich today on federal corruption charges has sent a shock wave around the state, despite the fact that the governor has been under investigation for some time, and despite the fact that our most recent governor is serving time on federal charges. Sheesh.
While these are only charges and haven't been proven (yada yada yada), I can't help but wonder WHAT people in high positions--whether it be elected officials, pastors, evangelists or priests--are possibly thinking when they partipate in wrongdoing. They are taking enormous risks when they do so. How do they possibly imagine they can get away with it?
And yet it happens over and over again.
Why? I believe one explanation is summed up in the word hubris:
In its modern usage, hubris denotes overconfident pride and arrogance; it is often associated with a lack of humility, not always with the lack of knowledge. An accusation of hubris often implies that suffering or punishment will follow, similar to the occasional pairing of hubris and nemesis in the Greek world. The proverb "pride goes before a fall" is thought to sum up the modern definition of hubris.--Wikipedia
This from an article titled "Why Good Leaders Do Bad Things" (from the Graziadio Business Report, which--perhaps ironically--is put out by Blagojevich's alma mater, Pepperdine University):
"Leaders with strong virtuous values are more likely to act ethically than are leaders who are operating with a weak or non-existent value system. One set of values that seems to be universally accepted includes wisdom, self-control, justice, transcendence, kindness, and courage. [my emphasis]...
"When faced with challenging decisions, leaders who have not internalized a value system that includes these values will probably respond with more variability than will one who has such a system. It is primarily in the situation in which the leader does not have an internalized value system that mental gymnastics or mind games may cause an otherwise good person to make unethical decisions."
Thomas Macauley wrote: "The measure of a man’s real character is what he would do if he would never be found out."
Whatever happens in the case of Governor Rod Blagojevich, I think I speak for thousands of Illinoisans who want a break from even the hint of the taint of corruption. Oh, for leaders--whether it be in politics, business or religion--who have true integrity!
The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.--Proverbs 10:9