There really is a “public virtue” component of leadeship. If you doubt that, consider the following about one man:
- He was the leader of the bodybuilder world, winning Mr. Olympia six times in a row, and winning it a seventh time five years later.
- He became a millionaire by age 30.
- He starred in a wide array of movies, earning millions of dollars for his efforts.
- He was elected Governor of the single largest state in the country — twice.
- He was married to a beautiful and successful woman who bore him four children.
- He had a personal net worth of over $100,000,000.
It’s hard to imagine how one could lose such success. Yet much of it appears to be crumbling, as revelations have surfaced that Mr. Schwarzenegger has, sadly, been unfaithful to his wife, and fathered a child with a woman who was employed by the Schwarzenegger’s — and who may have been pregnant about the same time as his wife, Maria, was with their last child. If so, I can only imagine the bonding that would undoubtedly have taken place between the two women, one keeping a closely guarded secret while playing a role, the other oblivious to the massive betrayal going on right before her eyes.
Many pundits are claiming this is no big deal and it will not in any way hurt Arnold’s reputation. If they are right, I am even more troubled by the permissive reaction on the part of society than I am of the original act by Arnold in the first place, for it will mean that society’s moral compass is badly broken.
Arnold was seen as a real leader. And he did possess much in the way of leadership capacity as indicated by his accomplishments outlined above. However, this one act of betrayal and lapse in judgment is of a magnitude that it should evaporate any leadership credibility wielded by the man.
Indeed, leadership does demand a measure of public virtue.