Michael J. Kerrigan

James Madison


Last post I suggested ethics and effectiveness were two criteria of good leadership. Also discussed was the impact of Machiavelli on leadership. Probing deeper into another insight of Machiavelli, in this instance, his endorsement of the art of deception… (”You must be a great liar… a deceitful man will always find plenty who are ready to be deceived,” *) how then do leadership scholars deal with lying in the context of their ethics criteria?

While lying may be useful to get ahead and is commonplace in today’s culture, one would think lying is a point of divergence between leadership and character scholars. Recently, I came across a study that may tell it all, namely: “Nobody Likes a Rat, On the Willingness to Report Lies and the Consequences Thereof.”**

Do you think we would need the Securities and Exchange Commission if corporations never misstated their financial statements? As… Continue reading

“If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men,” observed James Madison, “neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.” Because we cannot expect a society of angels, we need government; and because we cannot expect angelic regimes, we must oblige government to control itself and to encourage such control  we published Restoring Character in America.

The next member of the character community to be introduced is Frank Hill. Upon returning to North Carolina after a 22-year ‘hiatus’ in Washington, D.C., and after witnessing the meltdown in 2008 of the financial community in Charlotte, Frank was struck by the fact that many people were ‘mad’ about the situation and especially the lack of political leadership in Washington that directly led to such a terrible outcome. Continue reading

Yesterday we spoke of a lobbyist claiming the high moral ground of espousing virtue in contemporary politics. Today this lobbyist calls for an end to earmarks in the 112th Congress. Now is the time for lobbyists to support the ban and convince their own clients and support Members of Congress who believe appropriated money should only be spent for the public good and not on private interest. Continue reading

The principles of the Republic, as narrated in the Declaration of Independence, gave understanding to the meaning of the Revolution. Nine years later George Washington, in his June 1783 letter of farewell to the Army, warned Americans of the need to establish the identity or “character” not only of the young Republic but also for generations to come. Continue reading

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