Friday, November 9, 2012

What Do We Expect From Our Leaders

So, David Petraeus is resigning as head of the CIA after it has come out that he had an affair. Am I the only one that finds this odd? I'm not in anyway defending his actions which are rather reprehensible, but I'm wondering why any of the rest of us care. Sure, there's the off chance of some sort of security risk in that someone could potentially blackmail him, but the blackmailing would rely on the rest of us caring enough about Petraeus's personal life to care about whether or not he is cheating on his wife.

Of course Petraeus is not the first leader, nor will he be the last, who was caught with dirty laundry in his/her personal life. These people are frequently tut-tutted by the rest of us in some sort of odd cathartic release as we imagine that we're better than the person being drummed out of their position. I'm just wondering out loud if this is the best way to run things. Should we demand an impeccable moral standard from our leaders? Is that even possible as long as people are people? Should we care about someone's personal life and personal failings even if those failings are unrelated to their job?

I don't have a solid position on this because I think it's complicated, but my first instinct is to say that it shouldn't matter. If Petraeus is having an affair, that should be the business of the people involved and not a matter for anyone else to concern themselves with. However, I'm open to arguments from the other side. Let me know what you think.

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