Independent in All Things, Neutral in Nothing

Where Have All the Wise Men Gone?

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Peggy Noonan, in her op-ed this week, raises the question: “Who are the wise men and women now? Who are the Robert Lovetts, Chip Bohlens and Robert Strausses who can came [sic] in to help a president in trouble right his ship?” And she observes, “America seems short of wise men, or short on those who are universally agreed to be wise.”

Yes, who are these men and women? In politics? In international affairs? In business? And where have they been this year, and for the past several years?

In business, many people regard Warren Buffet as a wise man. Alan Greenspan’s claim to that title evaporated last September. Likewise, the leaders of the major banks lost major credibility last year, and continue to lose it. Some people treat Jack Welch like a wise man, but, post-General Electric, he spends more time grandstanding than a wise man should. In past generations, the heads of the automakers would have almost automatically counted as wise men, but no more.

In politics, Jack Kemp died earlier this year. Jimmy Carter hardly counts as a wise man. Mitt Romney desperately seeks recognition as a wise man, but even Republicans look to others far more for counsel. Colin Powell? Barry McCaffrey? George H. W. Bush? Somehow, these men do not fit the image of wise man.

In international affairs – not one name comes to mind as a possibility. No one at the UN; no one in the EU; no one at our State Department.

Surely these wise men and women exist today. But, again, where are they?


Written by Russell S.

November 28, 2009 at 12:15 am

Posted in Leadership

Tagged with ,

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