Then the loud lemming leader of the passive pack said to the lemming blocking the path to the cliff: “Look, buddy, lead, follow, or get out of the way!”
Though originally a revolutionary slogan—coined by none other than Tom Paine—this expression was long ago coöpted by precisely the kind of reactionaries Paine would have loathed: militarists, corporatists, authoritarians, Leninists, garden-variety know-it-alls, and boardroom bullies. The true purpose of this stupid expression is to silence dissent, quell criticism, and encourage passivity.
The inclusion of the word “lead” in this MBA mantra is dishonest. The person who moralistically admonishes you to “lead, follow, or get out of the way” doesn’t really want you to take the lead. They have no intention of relinquishing control of the situation, addressing your concerns, or reconsidering the wisdom of a particular course of action. They want to lead. And they want you to shut the fuck up.
—John Faithful Hamer, From Here (2015)
Originally published at Committing Sociology. Reprinted with permission.
Photo courtesy of author.