Leadership cannot be expected under all conditions. In a desert or on an ice flow the possibilities are limited to local coping. But societies do face large issues. Can leadership move to this level of analysis and agenda? Seems to me that the conditions must include some clarity about where we are (it can be wrong. Wrong assumptions can lead to clear actions), and some clarity about what to do about it, and this mans some common sense in the community, something like a consensus . And that consensus ahs go reach beyond diagnosis (there is a lot of agreement about what is wong) to some near agreement on paths of action.
Our current conditions, facing climate change, tech, population, feed and water crisis, and more, makes it hard to imagine a path that could work in a context where all these exist simultaneously. Those with property for example would rather risk not changing.
Leadership thus is not the solution. Thinking about context is crucial.The context is climate (biological health, or better the health of all things biological), and culture.
and by culture? Here is Martha Nussbuam glossing on Seneca.
Our country has embarked on an unparalleled experiment, inspired by these ideals of self-command and cultivated humanity. Unlike all other nations, we ask a higher education to contribute a general preparation for citizenship, not just a specialized preparation for a career. To a greater degree than all other nations, we have tried to extend the benefits of this education to all citizens, whatever their class, race, sex, ethnicity, or religion. We hope to draw citizens toward one another by complex mutual understanding and individual self-scrutiny, building a democratic culture that is truly deliberative and reflective, rather than simply the collision of unexamined preferences. And we hope in this way to justify and perpetuate our nation’s claim to be a valuable member of a world community of nations that must increasingly learn how to understand, respect, and communicate if our common human problems are to be constructively addressed.
from her book Cultivating Humanity