Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Today's Maxwell Quote

From That Ye May Believe (1992), 144:
The possessors of secular power have often allowed their intense loyalty to others to grind down their integrity. The tendency to indulge one's friends, or the failure to see betrayal or toadying sycophancy in their earliest stages, contribute to tragedy. "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed" (Proverbs 13:20). Some political leaders have difficulty in personally discharging those who must go. Other leaders are too quick to provide scapegoats.

Another example for your files: Britain's Prime Minister Clement Attlee, for instance, sought to place lively individuals about him:
The fatal mistake in making appointments was to select "docile yes-men." To guard against this Attlee sometimes chose to "put in people who are likely to be awkward." These were always to be warned in advance: "If you don't turn out all right I shall sack you." ... And he was as good as his word.

One junior minister ... was summoned precipitously to Number ten, to be congratulated on the work of his department, he thought. "What can I do for you, Prime Minister?" he said, as he sat down. "I want your job," said Attlee. The minister was staggered. "But ... why, Prime Minister?" "Afraid you're not up to it," said Attlee. The interview was over.