Public Policy and the Public Good

By Ethan Fishman | Go to book overview

5
Martin Luther on Political Leadership

Robert Booth Fowler

Martin Luther was a towering reformer of worldwide historical significance for the Christian religion, for the history of Germany, and perhaps for Western conceptions of the individual and equality, at least in spiritual terms. But to explore Luther's ideas about leadership, and politics in general, is not confront modernity, much less find a congenial guide for contemporary policy analysts. Nor is it to discover an attractive alternative to modern perspectives and policies on leadership in government.

Luther's antagonism toward anything now commonly recognized as appropriate in the realms of leadership and policy-making is stark. His thought is valuable, however, just because Luther's ideas are so different From our pieties about rulers in modern, liberal states.

While this chapter will draw the contrast more sharply after exploring Luther's thought, Luther's basic sense is that leadership need not and should not be technical or managerial in its focus, nor should it be driven by popularity or the ability to manipulate popular will. Leaders must serve higher truth and the "common good." They must be authoritarian, determined, and yet practical and flexible in pursuit of this common good. Truth and power must unite for Luther in a person whose primary trait must be sterling character, not the "competence" that Luther considered a morally vacuous substitute. For him leaders serving the truth needed character above all to live out their role. We may be sure Luther would judge modern Western leaders to be timid, flaccid, and empty.

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Public Policy and the Public Good
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions in Political Science ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Introduction xvii
  • 1: The Rabbi and the Fig Tree: A Lesson for the Supreme Court on Capital Punishment 1
  • References 12
  • 2 - Plato and the Media 15
  • References 27
  • 3 - The Tide Just Keeps Rising: An Aristotelian Perspective on the Crisis in American Education 29
  • References 44
  • 4 - Aquinas, Prudence, and Health Care Policy 47
  • Notes 60
  • Notes 61
  • 5: Martin Luther on Political Leadership 63
  • References 78
  • 6 - A Hobbesian Analysis of the Dangers of Interest-Group Liberalism 81
  • Notes 95
  • 7 - Native Peoples and Lockean Philosophy: Land Claims and Self-Government 97
  • References 109
  • 8: The Republican Tradition and Affirmative Action 111
  • References 125
  • 9 - Surrogate Motherhood: Contract, Gender, and Liberal Politics 127
  • Notes 141
  • References 141
  • 10 - Marx and the Computer 143
  • References 153
  • Selected Bibliography 157
  • Index 161
  • About the Contributors 165
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