The Queen of Hearts says “Off with their heads” and “Don’t get me mad or you will lose your head,” and “Sentence first Verdict afterwards.” That is an example of Rule by Edict. Do it because I say it, not because it it legal or wise or right. The rule of law says that a law makes it right, and Rule by edict says raw power makes it right. When the King is accused of wrong, the answer is “Try and stop me!” I am the boss.
What we are seeing from our leaders right now is the attempt at rule by edict, or what used to be Imperial power, as opposed to empirical power. It is a replay of Genesis 1-2, where God says, overnight, let there be a vaccine and there was a vaccine, and let this drug be the miracle cure and Lo, it becomes the cure, and this will be over by Christmas, and behold,it was over and God saw that it was over and it was all good and under control. Indeed, very very good. The best in fact.
The Imperial mindset works for Emperors and Tsars and other absolute rulers, But hardly in a constitutional democracy.
Standing beside the leader in Chief are the merry court of influencers trying to insert empirical power, and allow facts to have a say. When there is no quick cure, and when the curb is fat more than flat, and the absolute power as exercized keeps veering all over the map, that leaves a yawning gap between the imperial and the empirical. And it leaves the people wondering who they can trust, which in a disaster, is the worst outcome one can imagine. It puts everyone at risk.
Leaders are elected or selected to step into that gap. They will also invite the local and the sensible and the rational and the compassionate to have their say. Blind obedience to power is one form of tyranny. Blind obedience to evidence, especially when it is incomplete and often contradictory, is another form of tyranny.
Between the Imperial Leader and the Empirical Leader must step the Integral Leader, one who is not afraid to use power, and is not afraid of being led by science, or being wrong when the facts change, but who at all costs, strives to show integrity and win trust.
COVID19 we thought was a health crisis but turns out to be a leadership crisis and that more than the infection itself is what puts us all at risk.