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Leaders Must Have Followers

Why is a president or a prime minister or any other head of state in the free world so routinely described as his or her country’s “leader”?

George Bush is indeed the current leader of the executive branch of the national government in the United States. But Dr. Alan Merten, president of George Mason University, is the current leader of the university where I proudly teach. Likewise, Steve Ballmer is the current leader of Microsoft, while Jim Kilts is the current leader of Gillette.

In what way does George Bush lead me that these other people don’t? In what way can I or any other American citizen be described as being more of a follower of Mr. Bush than of any of the individuals who oversee the companies that make the software, razors, paper napkins, frozen chickens, or any other product or service that I choose to use?

What is it about the services supplied by government that makes it seem so natural to so many people to describe heads of state as their countries’ “leaders”?


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