Here's a really telling piece of pop psycho-philosophy for our times.
|Who could she possibly mean?
In summary: to be a good President, it takes someone with a pathological drive for power who can follow the necessary path of listening only to himself, and not the law, without conscience or guilt. It's hardly a novel thesis: indeed, it's Nietzsche 1.01, The Will To Power, albeit expressed more artistically there. Only such a man can become a Beethoven, a Caesar, a Napoleon who were certainly all complete shits. Nietzsche included Goethe but I'm not sure that's as clear an example. You can add your own favourites to the rollcall: many people put both Gordon Brown and Boris Johnson on the list, which (if that's right) goes to show it's a necessary characteristic but not a sufficient one.
(Ironically, it was of course Stepanova's compatriot Dostoevsky who gave us a compelling of the "maybe necessary, but not sufficient" aspect, in Crime and Punishment.)
It's also a view commonly held by many of our BTLers, who often include the sentiment that it's why they despise all politicians. OK: but that still leaves a couple of key points to consider:
- It ain't just politicians, is it? It's great artists (per Nietzsche: consider Monet for example, another self-focused shit); business innovators (libel is libel and I'm sure we all have our nominees); scientists ... and so it goes on.
- So - despise them or not: do we, actually, need them nonetheless? Nietzsche, of course, didn't care about what "we" need, it was all art-for-art's-sake with him. But George Bernard Shaw certainly thought we needed them: the hungry man had best follow the fat man, because fattie knows where the food is.