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When leading from behind is the only option

Updated: Jun 19, 2020

Maverick resistance erodes the overconfidence of groupthink

Great writers intentionally sprinkle their narratives with contradictions. They seek not to confuse, but to compel readers to look beneath the surface, to think deeply, to search for resolutions that reveal deeper truths.

History’s first great literary work is the Bible, which liberally employs this same stylistic technique. Consider the following:

You shall not follow the majority to do evil (Exodus 23:2).

The verse contains its own conundrum. It is only to do evil that we are warned not to follow the majority, which implies the opposite as well: our moral default should be, it seems, to follow where the majority leads.

But who decides what is evil? Once the majority has spoken, does my own moral sensitivity give me license to reject their voice? If every individual is free to disregard the will of the many, what happens to the cohesion necessary for any community to survive and thrive?

This is the challenge of ethical living. It’s relatively easy to choose right over wrong when the options are black and white. Choosing between shades of gray is far more complicated.

Read this week's column from the Maverick Paradox Magazine.

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