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Things to Think About - The Truth as an Idea

Things to Think About
By Pepper de Callier

The Truth as an Idea

George Kennan was a mid-20th century, American diplomat and historian.  He was a member of a group of senior foreign policy greybeards known as “The Wise Men”.

To my thinking, perhaps one of his greatest contributions was to put populism in the proper perspective—a perspective that would shine the light of day on a dark talent possessed by many politicians today throughout the world.

Not only politicians, but also people who like to propose simplistic solutions to complex problems in a way that creates doubt in more well-thought out, rational approaches.  Kennan’s wisdom shone at its brightest with the following quote.

“The truth is sometimes a poor competitor in the market place of ideas – complicated, unsatisfying, full of dilemmas, always vulnerable to misinterpretation and abuse.” 

Think about it for a moment.  Think about the populist’s stock-in-trade.  It is to create doubt and sow discontent—not to govern or manage the mess they create if people actually listen to them.

The next time a politician, or anyone for that matter, criticizes an important, complex issue, and offers a solution that is so simple, that it appears to be too good to be true, remember the wisdom of George Kennan.

Till next time…

About the Author: Founder and Executive Director of Prague Leadership Institute, which was named “Best Corporate Leadership Coach Europe—2015”, by U.K. based Corporate Vision, Pepper de Callier, is one of the most respected senior executive coaches and authorities on leadership in Europe. Learn more about him at / 

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