Politics


Why did Border Patrol Agents obey bad orders?

Several thousand children, many of them infants and toddlers, were forcibly separated from their parents and sent, frightened and alone, to different parts of the country. Were the Border Patrol Agents who took these children from their parents unfeeling monsters? In short, no. Then how did they do this monstrous […]


ICE Agents must intelligently disobey inhumane orders

A trick question is sometimes asked by the prominent leadership scholar, Barbara Kellerman, from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. “How many people did Hitler kill?” The correct answer, which almost no one gives, is “none”. The killings were all done by the followers of the Fuhrer (which means […]


Cambridge University, 2017

On October 2017 I participated in a panel on leaders, followers and populism, which became an energetic dialogue. It was held at the Moller Centre, Churchill College and organized by the James McGregor Burns Academy of Leadership, University of Cambridge. Georgia Sorenson who chairs the Academy, has invited me to […]


MIT Media Lab Disobedience Award 2017

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab announced today the winner of its Disobedience Award. They are Dr, Mona Hanna-Attisha and Professor Marc Edwards whose work unearthed and publicized the lead poisoning occurring in Flint Michigan as a result of politically driven changes to the source of the city’s drinking […]


Book Excerpt – Wise Leaders Value Intelligent Disobedience

Intelligent Disobedience does not imply that the authority figure is acting immorally, though that case certainly occurs. The individual with formal authority may simply be wrong for a variety of reasons. There are many other well- intentioned reasons that a person with authority may ask us to do something that […]


Book Excerpt – What is Intelligent Disobedience?

What exactly is Intelligent Disobedience? I had the same question when I first heard the term. These are two words that don’t usually fit together. We know what obedience is: following orders or rules or established ways of doing things. Obeying usually keeps life running smoothly. Disobedience is a contrary […]


If I Had Known Then what I Know Now

US 1936 Olympics gold medal backstroke champion, Adolph Kiefer, the son of German immigrants, died this week at 98 years old. As the US Navy’s chief swim instructor in WWII he is credited with saving thousands of lives by teaching sailors a survival form of the backstroke. He broke world […]


Tortured Souls

In the May/June issue of Foreign Affairs magazine, Army Major General (Retired) Antonio Taguba and Marine Lt Colonel (Retired) Scott Cooper review two memoirs about torture that the authors of the memoirs participated in while assigned to the Mid-East in the “war on terror.” These memoirs are relevant reads for […]


Bright Spots Amid “The Carnage”

A peaceful but seismic change of government occurred this weekend in Washington. The newly sworn in President chose to describe the national landscape as one of “carnage” that was difficult for many to recognize. In the midst of the uncertain course of this presidency it is important to not lose […]