Leaders Must Be Trustworthy

While Sun Tzu's strategy teaches us how important it is to control perceptions (and understand how others are seeking to control perceptions), Sun Tzu also teaches that a leader must be trustworthy. Do these two demands conflict? This article entitled "Should you trust the government?" by Arnold Kling in TCS daily discussions many of the issues. The difference between successful "high-trust" societies is that we trust strangers while in low-trust societies, trust is only extended to those we personally know. All government is coercion. Ideally, this power is limited to protecting citizens from internal criminals and external threats. However, as Thomas Jefferson observed, "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." In our age, many people take government coercion so much for granted, that they don't even realize that it is coercion. In this article, John Stossel is surprised that Michael Moore doesn't understand that government is force. Big corporations, big unions, and big organizations can get the attention of remote and win government support for their pet projects. This is why, even in high-trust societies today, most people trust their local grocery store clerk to a greater degree than they trust their elected representativies. From the perspective of Sun Tzu's strategy, this a broad failure of modern leadership. An organization divided against itself cannot stand.