Theories on Natural Born Leadership

Does a Natural Born Leader have to be successful?

Alas, I am making the distinction:  NBL vs. A Person with Leadership Skills.

So, many before me and my mentors argue there are different types of leaders.  I disagree.  A NBL is better equipped to succeed with leadership skills, but, as we both know, a person can acquire leadership skills and STILL not rise to the challenge.

As Aristotle believed there to be Master (intellectual skill) and Slave (brute strength), aka leader and follower.  I am speaking in the context of a world where there is state of nature and a state of political organization/society/tribe (grouping of individuals that agree to refrain from natural inclinations for the benefit of others in the group).  Assume that when one is not within a society (affiliated, represented, protected by), they are in a state of nature.

A “leader” exists in and of itself.  A leader is born into nature as a creature that will use intellect to survive, NOT brute force.  A leader has a natural inclination to FIX the problem that threatens his/her self-preservation–that is his/her motivation:  TO SURVIVE.  Through the intellect, the NBL realizes that the only way to survive is through the control of brute forces through NON-VIOLENCE.

Whether or not they succeed is a value judgment.  I have not begun to touch on that yet.  NBL and governor’s alike don’t have to succeed to be what they are.  It is (1) how he/she views his/her existence in relation to other individuals or groups of individuals (state of nature vs. state of society) AND (2) the use of intellect to survive through non-violent force/resistance.

The NBL does NOT wish to invoke violence in another and avoids it at all costs.

A “governor” leads through skill, force, and intellect; however, they are leaders that recognize the legitimacy of the society in which they operate; the NBL does NOT legitimize any society b/c he is a man in a state of nature.

Natural Born Leader Theory and The Hitler Problem

In response to a recent question about why Adolf Hitler would not fall under the Natural Born Leader theory posted in May 2014.

Hitler would not qualify as the natural born leader (NBL), because the NBL seeks to calm the violence that occurs among men in nature in order to preserve his own safety and existence. He realizes that men in a state of nature fear other men and are quick to violently defend against any perceived threat. In order to gain the trust of the follower, the NBL must not be perceived as a threat first and foremost, and the NBL sustains this trust and elicits the faith of a follower by pledging a path of nonviolence, tolerance and peace above all else. Remember, the motivation of a NBL is survival, not necessarily power, though a NBL gains it whether he wants to or not. The NBL is a reluctant leader.

Hitler was not reluctant, nor was he ever proselytizing on the platform of peace, tolerance or nonviolence. He had an axe to grind. His own suicide in the end was even further evidence that he lacked the highly attuned self-preservation instinct that the NBL has.

When the leader loses trust in his own judgment, so does the follower lose faith in the leader. The NBL would be assassinated before he’d ever allow that to happen; the governor would not. He doesn’t have that much skin in the game. He is a bureaucrat or an appeaser. The NBL does not appease; he holds firm to his principles and his judgment.

The Natural Born Leader: An Analysis of Max Weber’s Charismatic Leader, the Essence of Natural Leadership, and the Faith-Bargain Relationship with the Follower


This paper lays out the idea of a faith-bargain between men in nature and the person who instigates this faith-bargain would be the natural born leader, or faith-bargain leader.  I use an Aristotelian foundation for the argument and lead you through the thoughts of Hobbes and Weber, among others, to demonstrate that the phenomenon of charisma is a key identifier of a faith-bargain leader.  I put forth that charisma is incidental to the natural born leader/faith-bargain leader, but that the faith-bargain leader would also use other leadership devices to accomplish his goal of establishing a faith-bargain with followers who find themselves separate from and unrepresented in an organized society.  I put forth here that there are not different types of leaders in the sense that they have some equal grain among them, but that there is only one type of leader that rises above all others, coming from a place of obscurity in a time of civil unrest to represent those that have found themselves leaderless rogue men and woman cast back out into a state of nature, searching for the means of self-preservation.  The faith-bargain leader is one of these men or women, whose self-preservation mechanism is so pronounced and whose logic is focused on the final end in a big picture sense, that he can only see that the way to neutralize the threat of reasoning men in nature violently attacking him or one another and perpetuating the fear that causes societies to form in the first place is to (1) acknowledge that each of them is a reasoning, valid, and fearful man, like he and (2) create a faith-bond that will allow men to remain outside society (as they are now skeptical of any societal formation and the giving up of any liberties) with the promise not to use violent force against other men.  The faith-bargain creates an agreement with one promise among men living in a state of lawless nature.

The key distinction between leaders like Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. and a leader like Hitler, who also falls within the model of Weber’s charismatic leader, but does not make him the faith-bargain leader, is the method of defiance used to portray and deliver the message and keep followers devoted.  Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. both used passive resistance as the driving motivation and promise to their followers, refusing to use violent force.  They did not guarantee protection, nor a battle without sacrifice.  They did promise that they would continue to assert the principle that violence is not necessary for equality.  Hitler, on the other hand, marched on the promise of force against those that sought to cripple and demoralize his followers.  Hitler had the potential of being a faith-bargain leader had he taken a path of non-violence.  He clearly did not and instead unified a broken nation through national pride and marched them into battles with the purpose of pushing back against the subjugation of the German people arguably as a result of the Treaty of Versailles.  I welcome scholars of German history to contribute commentary to this perspective.

If you use violent force against a regime you claim not to legitimize, you would not only be validating the existence of the denied regime, but also validate the denied regime’s use of violent force against the faith-bargain leader and followers.  If faith bargain leaders and followers are men in nature, in the Hobbsian sense, validation of the denied regime cannot occur or the faith-bargain fails.  The faith-bargain only exists among men of nature, in their nature, within nature—rather outside the order of civilized, organized societal structure.  If a single follower uses violent force, they have broken the vow they made when entering the faith-bargain with the leader and fellow followers to choose to accept the nature of other men and, as an individual man in nature, vowing not to harm another man in nature.  An effectively maintained faith-bargain arrangement among men in nature effectively negates the need to enter into any real organized society with laws that govern and restrict the liberty of men in nature. 

In a sense, the only path to true equality, as Hobbes points out, is as men in a state of nature, allowed to wander as men free from the restriction of their liberties, which, as previously noted, is what would be required to enter into society; forming the basis of society and making men unequal.  What the faith-bargain does is allows men to be men in nature, but each men compacts not to use violent force against his fellow man in nature.  This would appear problematic to modern scholarly perspective because it then leads to the potential for some level of unfairness.  Fairness and equality are not synonymous.  The only true equality that can be achieved is man can do as he pleases at the cost and likely unfairness to his fellow man in nature.  I ask, is it fair that a mature lion attacks and kills an adolescent gazelle for food?  It is not a fair fight, but each animal is equal in their ability to roam freely and suffer the consequences of that liberty.  To try to achieve equality in political regimes is hopelessly idealistic at best and shamefully naïve at worst.

So, what does this faith bargain do?  It removes the element of fear from the minds of rational beings in nature, herein the species of discussion being human beings, without the creation of a regime wherein men in nature must give up liberties to neutralize the threat.  The faith-bargain is not a societal form necessarily, though I beg to further reflect on this.  It is simply a promise among a group of reasoning beings not to use violence against each other or others.  If they do, they will be cast out, but not indefinitely, for having violated the faith-bargain. 

The faith-bargain leader leads with the powerful suggestive, yet passive, force of martyrdom.  The faith-bargain leader self-sacrifices as a demonstration of his faith in the bargain and the faith-bargain follower.  The faith-bargain leader’s continued acceptance and acknowledgment of the faith-bond serves to challenge the faith of the faith-bargain follower of this his or her promise to refrain from violence.  The faith-bargain follower does not want to be cast outside of a promise of non-violence, nor does he want to admit his own hypocrisy.  This martyrdom forces reflective and critical thinking in the faith-follower.  The faith-bargain follower wants to be accepted without being cast out into the unpredictable violent realm of the brutish, faithless man in nature or being subjugated by the will of reasoning, rational men of political society who will use civilization and man-made laws to rationalize violence.  The faith-bargain removes violence entirely from the equation by an act of will among rational men. 

This theory has many issues that need further analysis and commentary.  This is the mindmap, if you will, of a snapshot of the nature of men and the emergence of one man who leads men in nature without the use of violence.  I invite commentary.  I seek all possible scenarios and consider all ideas.  I hope to inspire critical thinking and the flourishing of ideas, understanding, and general creative thinking. 

Mary Strayhorne

August 15, 2014

“Non-violence is the greatest and most active force in the world.  One cannot be passively non-violent . . . . One person who can express ahismsa in life exercises a force superior to all the forces of brutality.” 

“Truth never damages a cause that is just”.

Mahatma Gandhi

from Thomas Merton, ed., Gandhi on Non-Violence:  A Selection from the Writings of Mahatma Gandhi (1964).

The essence of a natural born leader does not subordinate to the individual qualities, circumstances, historical perspective, or political inclination of the man in leadership.  To understand the quality of natural born leadership, it is important to reduce down the definition of a leadership to its natural essence in Aristotelian-like simplicity.

Western political philosophy has gone through its own evolution of the understanding of the nature of man and his motivations, appetites, or inclinations towards entering into agreements with other men to form societies.  The American founders were heavily entrenched in the ideas of the “Laws of Nature” and “of Nature’s God,” accrediting the justification for American independence from England and subsequent authority to govern on these theories.  These theories will play an important role in the understanding of the nature of a natural born leader and how the relationship between natural born leader and follower form.

The question of how this bond is formed must be evaluated from the moment the natural born leader forms his first faith-bargain bond with his first follower to understand how this natural relationship of competing interests come together to form a unity of purpose and existence that allows one man to emerge the leader, the other a follower, without the influence of circumstance or status of office or power.  This paper will attempt to identify the essence of this natural bond between men in a way that explains the bargain that must occur between men, regardless of the incidental and transient considerations, such as time, place, motive, circumstance, rhetoric, and managerial capability.

Different types of leaders have been identified in various contexts, categorizing different types of leaders from the basis of motive or method, but the definition of a true, natural leader cannot be defined in these terms, charismatic leadership gains its legitimacy in the follower by focusing on “how the belief is deployed. . ., not what the belief is about”, citing the invocation of rhetorical authority through appeals to belief or legal-rational authority “appeals to liberal and democratic values.”[1][1]  The charismatic leader can appeal to any of these if he chooses, but these are merely mechanical components to a greater machine of leadership.  A true leader has the natural inclination of leadership in greater form that is neither divinely chosen, nor resulting from selection from some legal structure or tradition, or dependent on bureaucratic platform for his survival.  The true leader is one who stands alone as the independent mover of men, appealing to the nature of man and “whose “objective’ judgments are the tangible emanation of a highly personal epiphany, of heavenly grace and godlike heroic power. . . “.[2][2]  His legitimacy to leadership is established through his relationship to his follower (herein referred to as the ‘faith-bargain relationship’), not the laws that recognize him as leader.[3][3]

Max Weber identified the leader with “charismatic authority” as a person who does not possess charisma as “an innate characteristic,” but as a person who has formed a “reciprocal or dialectical relationship between ‘master’ and ‘followers.’”[4][4]  This paper seeks to redefine ‘leader’ by arguing Weber’s “charismatic” leader (1) is the only true natural born leader, (2) the natural born leader is the greater form of leader transcending all other claims to leadership and subordinating other claims to leadership as simple subversions to the true nature of leadership, (3) all other ‘leaders’ are the lesser of the natural born leader and act as ‘governors’ as they possess a unique combination of leadership qualities, but do not in themselves invoke raw, natural leadership, and (4) “charisma” is incidental to the persuasive nature of leadership, but not the primary claim to leadership.  It is important to understand that the term ‘greater’ is not to be used as a quantifier, but a qualifier.  ‘Greater’ in this context extends to the person whose legitimate authority to lead is derived independent of formal, state, or bureaucratic mechanisms, but through his natural charismatic persuasion and who emerges as leader by his nature and the formation of the faith-bargain bond with each follower.[5][5]

As this is an analytical exercise in American legislative practices and political rhetoric, this paper will form a foundation on western political theory.  The discussion will begin with a brief review of man’s natural inclinations as they evolved from Aristotelian terms, following an abbreviated path through various theories that would support the existence of the natural born leader and the underlying faith-bargain contract that must be struck between leader and follower.  The discussion will define the difference between a natural born leader and interim leadership of governors, and will provide historical political figures, like Mahatma Gandhi and Adolf Hitler, as countering examples of the differences in leadership and various successes and failures in that regard. Both possessed Max Weber’s charismatic domination characteristics, but the natural born leader as defined herein will emerge as the one that embodies the greater of the charismatic leader as the natural born leader.  The natural born leader and the governor will be distinguished by ability to influence and maintain leadership and the influence of leadership absent the Weber’s theoretical “routinization” into a bureaucratic society.  The natural born leader is one who transcends the laws of man, but does not by his nature remain in a state of subversion to the laws of man; he would fit within the context of Aristotle’s ‘ruler’ or ‘master’ in the greatest sense; and, by his nature alone, possessing the strength of transcendent and true leadership above all others.

  • A Brief Review of Western Political Thought:  The Nature of Man and the Laws of Nature; the Consent of Man to be Ruled

To begin a discussion of a natural born leader, man’s natural inclinations as they evolved from Aristotelian terms will be used as a foundation.  By identifying various theories that would support the existence of the natural born leader and the underlying faith-bargain contract that must be struck between leader and follower, we end with the presumption that consent is required to form this contract.  A discussion of consent using the Aristotelian and Hobbesian foundation will provide the appropriate backdrop for understanding the idea of ‘leader’ and ‘follower’.

  • Nature of Man and the Laws of Nature

Aristotle.  Aristotle asserted in Politics that man exists in his natural state as one-half of a unified pair and can only exist in that pair, “that which naturally rules and that which is ruled, for preservation . . . [and] [f]or that which can use its intellect to look ahead is by nature ruler and by nature master, while that which has the bodily strength to labour is ruled and is by nature a slave. . . [h]ence master and slave benefit from the same thing.”[6][6]  In nature, this relationship that is formed between men as they are equal in existence as creatures of strength—the imbalanced duality within his strength being divided in terms of mind and matter—and where one man with the strength of mind and the other with strength of body will form a symbiotic relationship to be capable of existing and coexisting for self-preservation.

Thomas Hobbes.  By the mid-17th century, Thomas Hobbes later introduces western thought to the idea of man as a self-aware brute, who takes a self-important role in the understanding of the world, but recognizes other men equal in appetites with varying levels of strength of mind or body.[7][7]  Hobbes follows that each of these strengths can be overcome by the other if applied in a way dominant under the circumstances.[8][8]  In Leviathan, Hobbes acknowledges the nature of man follows “that howsoever they may acquire knowledge may others to be more witty, or more eloquent, or more learned; yet they will hardly believe there be many so wise as themselves; for they see their own wit at hand, and other men’s at a distance. . . [b]ut this proveth rather that man are in that point equal, than unequal . . . [and] [f]rom this equality of ability, ariseth equality of hope in the attaining of our ends.”[9][9]

Hobbes continues that the understanding each man has in his own nature leads him to distrust other men who would also have desires and passions and thus that they “are in themselves no sin . . . [and] [n]o more are the actions, that proceed from those passions, till they know a law that forbids them:  which till laws be made they cannot know nor can any law be made, till they have agreed upon the person that shall make it.”[10][10]  This implicates a bargain between the two apprehensive men to meet on common ground, each man with his own strengths and biases, to unite in a mutually beneficial relationship—a potential precursor to the survival relationship between ruler and ruled, or leader and follower.

Hobbes acknowledges the natural state of fear men have living in a lawless society with other men of passions, but that reason leads a man to form a peace alliance with other men to fulfill his passions free from fear.[11][11]  Hobbes states “[t]he passions that incline men to peace, are fear of death; desire of such things as are necessary to commodious living; and a hope by their industry to obtain them. . . [a]nd reason [suggests] convenient articles of peace, upon which men may be drawn to agreement,” the articles of peace being the “Laws of Nature.”[12][12]

Here we take the position that men in a state of nature are ruled by his appetites and as such accept this as a truth.  In the Aristotelian and Hobbesian traditions, men will unite for survival, recognizing the strengths and the positive and negative implications of those strengths.  Next we then evaluate what has been established by western philosophical thought to be the consent of one man to rule another, thus adding a concrete existence of the formed relationship between leader and follower.

  • The Consent of Man to be Ruled

American political philosophy draws from the idea of governance by consent and that without consent, the leader ceases to exist, except within the confines of the leader’s own mind in a state of nature.  Hobbes recognizes that man in a state of nature is at liberty to follow his appetites; however, he also states that it is the fundamental nature of men to endeavor peace.[13][13]   Man in nature is in a “condition of war of every man against every man” and to overcome that condition and aspire to peace, he must be able to relieve himself of the burden of fear and “reasonable suspicion” of the other man to attain peace, but at the cost of the liberty he has in a state of nature.[14][14]   For the relationship between leader and follower to form, there must be “mutual transferring of right” between two men to allow each to rest his “reasonable suspicion” by each promising, mutually agreeing, or contracting to each restrain his appetites as they exist in his natural state of liberty for the benefit of peace.[15][15]   This being the basis of forming a bond with other men in the form of a society and is required to do so, but a leader must go a step further to (1) acknowledge this mutual agreement and consent with each follower as another man giving up his liberty and also (2) establish himself as the dominant of the two as to gain the authority to lead via legitimacy by the follower’s recognition of his leadership.  According to Weber, a charismatic leader acquires this legitimacy through the bond he forms with his follower.[16][16]

The phrase ‘consent of man to be ruled’ makes a bold assumption:  that the ruler (‘leader’) only exists at the consent of the ruled (‘follower’).  This existence of this relationship is formed by what Hobbes refers to as a ‘contract’, where, “in a civil estate”, where there is a power set up to constrain those that would otherwise violate their faith, that fear [of being the first to perform and thus betray his weakness to the other] is no more reasonable; and for that cause, he wish by the covenant is to perform first, is obliged so to do.”[17][17]  As Hobbes suggests, man in a state of nature is inclined to being apprehensive to give up a position of power in his natural liberty.[18][18]  The presupposition of consent will be the basis of this argument and, thus, removes from consideration divine or hereditary rulers as potential natural born ‘faith-bargain’ leaders.[19][19]

  • Legitimacy

“Legitimacy” is the key to a leader’s consent by follower to lead.[20][20]  Hobbes recognized five truths about mankind that distinguishes his nature from other social creatures and leads him to unify under a common power or leadership instead of naturally acting for in a spirit of communal benefit.[21][21]  Hobbes six truths of man are that he:

  1. competes for dignity and honour;
  2. compares himself with other men because he has complicated private desires that cannot be served in the same way as other men;
  3. has the capability of reason, resulting in critical thinking that allows him to the greater end;
  4. has a unique perception that can cause miscommunication or fail him in understanding the communication of others, or be used to manipulate the understanding of others;
  5. pushes back against authority when he finds himself unchallenged (wiser and stronger) than current leadership; and
  6. only consents to being ruled by covenant with a common power that proves to be the stronger and wiser and has the determination to “direct [his] actions to the common benefit.”[22][22]

Hobbes identifies these truths to be the divergence from man acting as a brute in nature confined only to his own singular judgment and appetites to enter into a “mutual transferring of right” or “contract.”[23][23]

Rudolf von Iherig, a 19th century legal philosopher whose social theory formed part of the foundation of Max Weber’s views on charismatic leadership, remained consistent with Hobbes by attributing the use of force to legitimize authority among men and that men were wild and needed to be tamed by force.[24][24]  Weber rejects Iherig’s view that men need to be tamed, instead adopting the view that men were ‘self-taming,’ likening the political association of men more to a “marauding fraternal band” which “freely select[s]” its leader and that leader’s “authority” is “legitimated by his personal qualities (charisma).”[25][25]  Hobbes, Iherig, and Weber all with varying theories on the authority of a leader, all fall back on one principle:  a leader is a leader by nature and his authority to lead is legitimized by the recognition of other men.

In the end, man is driven by his nature and it is in his nature to seek out the fulfillment of his appetites, but not at the risk of war with other men with appetites who are likely inferior or less informed than his own.[26][26]  Hobbes recognized the struggle between the appetites and interests of men and their nature to form contracts and, later, Ihering and Weber both further that concept that law emerges “as a product of struggles between interests which represent[] the temporary resolution of the fundamental conflicts of interest within a given society” [emphasis added].[27][27]  Recognition of this ‘temporary’ nature of law goes to the heart of the charismatic leader’s strength, because the charismatic leader emerges at revolutionary times, when the existing regime must be overturned.[28][28]

  • The Natural Born Leader, The Governor and Charisma

The role of a leader is to take responsibility to be the consolidated ‘sovereign power’ by force either (1) asserted against the follower, or (2) by voluntary submission of the follower.[29][29]  Both leaders require some form of legitimacy, but the natural born leader is of a charismatic strain and would be interested in the reciprocal nature of the bargain and thus sovereign under the latter proposition.[30][30]  If approached by the one who seeks to lead—as a leader would likely be the first to establish the need for the covenant and offer the first promise, expressly or implicitly, to exchange his restraint in return the follower’s restraint so they may set aside their fear of the other’s use of his natural liberty which may conflict with his own.[31][31]  This paper proposes that the faith-bargain relationship is the additional step a leader must attain before he receives the authority to lead.

  • The Faith-Bargain

The faith-bargain referred here is based on the relationship that is established between leader and follower as equal men, without any pre-established office or divine right to awe or force the follower into submission.  Though Weber toiled with the problems of charismatic leadership in what he referred to as ‘charisma of office’, this paper is narrowing in on the essence of the natural born leader at a time of obscurity, prior to any later point in time that would require the infection of analysis into nationalist movements.[32][32]  Herein we remain within Weber’s framework without modification to his original treatment of charismatic authority as being “both extraordinary and embodied in an individual.”[33][33]

The faith-bargain is the persuasion used by men of “charismatic” capabilities to shift the focus of a man in a state of fear—as he would be in a state of nature and at a time when the current regime no longer guarantees him the safety of peace among his fellow men in society—to a state of united purpose to neutralize the threat and maintain the peace of men (and a society, not necessarily under the same regime) at all costs.

The Faith-Bargain:

The natural born leader, a man of great wisdom, foresight and a heightened sense of awareness from fear, would approach another man exhibiting the same fear and meet him on that common ground. The natural born leader establishes equality in rationale with the other man, not as a man in society to another man in society, but as a man in nature to another man in nature, both equal in natural liberty and appetites.  The appeal of the natural born leader and the key to the phenomenon of his ‘charisma’ is that he does not appeal to man via mutual agreement to set aside liberty for peace, but appeals to him through his natural appetite for self-preservation.  He gains the faith of the follower in this way.  The natural born leader, like the other so-called leaders (here, governors), may not be that revolutionary in his defiance of the current legal regime, but in his ferocity to maintain the status quo of peace in society.  Once he successfully appeals to the follower-candidate’s natural inclination for self-preservation (or peace) and identifies it as the greatest of desires or appetites, he wins the follower.  The follower not only identifies with the leader as an equal, he does so in his natural sense of liberty, while appealing to him as a man of great wisdom and insight, thus making him extraordinary in the sense that Weber identified.[34][34]

  • Leader Profiles and Analysis

The faith-bargain identified above makes a compelling case for leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Adolf Hitler—they all had charisma, they all appealed to the fundamental survival instinct of man in times when the laws of society and the effective enforcement of those laws was failing to provide that security and uphold that covenant of peace in exchange for liberty.

An interesting distinction is that both Adolf Hitler and Martin Luther King, Jr. had charisma and both employed it through the use of rhetoric—both master orators, but Gandhi was not one known for being a man of compelling oratory as much as he was known for his methods of defiance.[35]  Unlike Hitler, Gandhi did not dress in formal dress, as if to portray a formal institution, but instead downplayed his dress its simplest form, the uniform of piety.  He portrayed himself as pious, often walking on foot great distances (as did Martin Luther King, Jr. during the American Civil Rights movement) and fasting as a form of persuasion to end violent eruptions of his followers.  This showed a willful demonstration of faith in his followers with the use of self-sacrifice to almost a point of martyrdom.[36][36]

Abraham Lincoln provides another example of a “common man” leader, with no spectacular skills at oratory, but used rhetoric to persuade a country on the brink of Civil War.  Though he was not known for his oratory, he was remembered for the wisdom he portrayed to his followers in the form of brevity and the intelligent insight found within his various speeches and addresses.[37][37]  Like Gandhi, Lincoln’s lack of oratory was overcome and could have served to bolster by his embodiment of the ‘common man’.  Even Martin Luther King, Jr., though well-educated in the gift of rhetorical skill, was still representative of the ‘common man’ and a man of pious dignity, walking with his followers by foot for great distances and using non-violent defiance to overcome the will of the regime that undermined his human dignity.  Incidentally, it is unfortunate coincidence that among the common scenarios that befall the charismatic leader in these cases was they all ultimately meet their ends in a form of martyrdom via assassination.[38][38]

  • Charisma

Charisma has been defined as being “the special quality attending to one on whom God’s grace and favour rests”, being a divine quality that has been attributed to the person, the office they hold (e.g. a Pope, a King), or a combination of both.[39][39]  As noted previously, charismatic leadership arises in revolutionary times, when change is imminent and the charismatic leader, being one who will fulfill the need for change by “defining new purposes as well as new legal means to existing purposes implicit in the situation.”[40][40]

Weber views charisma as ‘extraordinary’ and “understood as an individual quality of the natural leader which is recognized by others”, but what makes the charismatic (natural) leader unique from other leaders, including the traditional leader, is unclear and puzzling to Weber.[41][41]  Weber acknowledged the “relation between ruler and follower in all cases is like a contract”, but he also acknowledges that the “phenomenon” of charisma in political authority cannot be bequeathed, but must be routinized into the form of a traditional society or a bureaucratic one.[42][42]

The vagueness of charisma, its effect of crossing different types of regimes, and the inability of a charismatic leader to pass this charisma on to others without some form of routinization provides a compelling case for charisma being a potential leadership gene inherent in the individual’s nature, not something that can be learned or cast from a mold and employed as a tool in its purest form.  It is when charisma is routinized and cast from a mold that you get the lesser form:  the governor.

  • The Governor and the Natural Born Leader

The governor is unlike the natural born leader as they cannot exist without the existence and support of a traditional or bureaucratic society.  The governor is a leader in the sense of mere politician with no other claim to leadership than having “successfully climbed the ladder of party control” within a bureaucratic structure.[43][43]  An important point to understand is that not all politicians are mere governors; some could be the natural born leader in dormant status while society remains at peace and the contract between equal men of nature is not disrupted or lacking.  Furthermore, not all natural born leaders are politicians or even engaged in public political life.  Some are hidden in obscurity until the need arises for their nature to become invoked to fulfill a need.  The existence of a harmonious traditional or bureaucratic society does not negate the fact that charismatic leaders continue to exist within a society at peace; instead, it is when the fundamental nature of the contract between men in the Hobbesian sense begins to breakdown that the charismatic power of a natural born leader is invoked.  Revolutionary times do not create the charisma or the phenomenon of a natural born leader, but invoke the natural born leader into action.  Herein lays the key to the natural born leader and charisma as his primary tour de force.

A natural born leader is at odds with law—“the [charismatic] leader neither obeys nor tolerates laws or rules:  “Genuine charisma thus knows neither abstract legal principles, nor regulations, nor the “formal” determination of justice . . . [i]ts “objective” judgments are the tangible emanation of a highly personal epiphany of heavenly grace and godlike heroic power . . . “.[44][44]  Where this analysis deviates from other theories is that this treatment acknowledges that Weber’s sense of the “charismatic” leader is a natural born leader “who neither obeys nor tolerates laws or rules” that fail to sustain the contract between men of nature to refrain from following their individual appetites.[45][45]

As Ihering and Weber both recognized that law emerges “as a product of struggles between interests which represent[] the temporary resolution of the fundamental conflicts of interest within a given society” [emphasis added], so does the natural born leader.[46][46]  Laws change as this temporary negotiation evolves and with the implementation of traditional and bureaucratic structures, so does the enforcement of these laws become manipulated, confused, changed and often fundamentally altered, as bureaucrats are by their nature impartial and at constant odds with the partisan politicians, many of whom are mere molds of that natural born leader.[47][47]  Hitler, though he had charisma, was merely a governor, as he was reliant on the bureaucratic support of his regime and it is also what led to his downfall.  The signal of the end of the regime and the crumbling of his power along with his regime was evident in the regime succumbing to both outside forces beyond the scope of Weber’s charismatic ruler model, poor tactical decisions during World War II concerning to the invasion of Russia by German forces and its declaration of war against the United States.  Hitler’s mission and purpose was based in violence and disharmony and that is how it ended.[48][48]

Unfortunately, mankind is predestined to relatively short lifespans when compared to political regimes and societies, with both limited time and use of his faculties during that lifespan.  Political change does not happen quickly in many circumstances and can occur over several generations.  Weber’s charismatic leader is often represented as a phenomenon or puzzle, partially, because the identity of this leader changes over time and overlaps at other times.  As is the case with both so-called “charismatic” leaders and the nature of the natural born leader:  they are mortal.  The does not always survive long enough to step in again when the contract between men of nature begins to fail again.  Furthermore, charismatic leaders are cut from a mold of internal ideological guidance, where their nature and understanding of the world and their own limitations at their time and place lead them to remain steadfast in their ideology.


Reason and bias reshape perception over time and laws, being the temporary negotiation between men, will inevitably change.  History has shown, as Hobbes theorized, mankind is driven by his nature and proves challenged by the constant invocation of the seduction of his true nature and the fear of the nature of others.  As society becomes more equalized, as Hobbes theorized men at nature to be, the closer man comes to the reality of his natural appetites and those of his neighbor.  It is at times like this that the fear arises and the power struggle begins again.  Perhaps Hobbes got it wrong in one respect:  the promise of peace in the formation of society is merely an exercise created to shift man’s hostile and suspicious focus away from other men onto himself.

Man in nature is engaged in a war of external conflicts; whereas, man in society is engaged in a war of internal conflicts.  Man is in a constant conflict:  man in a state of nature, though equal with other men in the assumption of his own justified purpose and reasoning, is at constant war with the other men; however, man in a state of society, though unequal in his role within that society, is at war with himself and his nature.  This is the illusion of liberty and it takes a natural born leader to appeal to the natural man and man’s nature to give up his personal liberty in nature for the greater good.

The natural born leader is a testament to the evolution of man.  The natural born leader is a man of wisdom, with a heightened sense of fear of other men that his sense of self-preservation becomes so fundamental to his own internal logic that his entire focus is concentrated away from his petty appetites and desires, in the Hobbesian sense, to maintain peace at all cost.  He abhors the laws of man, because man’s law is transient and flawed and will never fully serve his own insatiable appetite for self-preservation.  He is an independent, rational being with his own unique understanding of the world that appeals to the greatest fears of men by first educating them in the implications of the current flaw of the human social contract negotiation and then using what is perceived as “charisma” to persuade men to unite to neutralize the threat and maintain the peace among men, not the current legal status quo.

[1] See, John Breuilly, “Introduction:  Weber’s concept of charismatic domination” from Vivian Ibrahim & Margit Wunsch, eds., Political Leadership, Nations and Charisma 2 (2012).

[2] MacGregor Knox, ‘Mussolini and Hitler:  Charisma, regime, and national catastrophe’ from Vivian Ibrahim & Margit Wunsch, eds., Political Leadership, Nations and Charisma 99 (2012) (citing and quoting M. Weber, ‘Die drei reinen Typen der legitimen Herrshaft.  Eine soziologische Studie’, PreussischeJahrbücher,1987, 1922, pp. 1-12; M. Weber, Wirtschafte und Gesellshaft,Teilband 4, Herrschaft, E. Hanke (ed.), Tübingen:  Mohr, 2005, pp. 734, 500.

[3] See Breuilly, supra note 1.

[4] Knox, supra note 2, at 99.

[5] See Leon S. Sheleff, Social Cohesion and Legal Coercion:  A Critique of Weber, Durkheim, and Marx 47 (1997) (suggesting that the appeal of a charismatic leader speaks to the nature of man, on an almost instinctual level:  “. . . the whole nature of charismatic leadership can, in essence, only be fully perceived by noting the responses of the followers . . [i]t is they who, by their conduct, determine whether the leader does indeed have charismatic powers”).

[6] Michael Rosen and Jonathan Wolff, and Catriona McKinnon, eds., Political thought (1999); see also id. at 10 and 2-3 (citing from Aristotle, Politics Books I and II, trans with a commentary by Trevor J. Saunders 2-3 (1995)).

[7] Michael Rosen and Jonathan Wolff, and Catriona McKinnon, eds., Political thought 11-14 (1999)), (citing from Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, ed. with introd. by J.C. A. Gaskin (1996)).

[8] Rosen et al, supra note 7, at 11-12.

[9] Rosen et al., supra note 7, at 12.

[10] Rosen et al., supra note 7, at 13.

[11] Rosen et al., supra note 7, at 14.

[12] Rosen et al., supra note 7, at 14; Montesquieu deviates from Hobbes in that he believes men do not distrust each other until they enter into society at which point they are enter a “state of war,” criticizing Hobbes theory that men distrust one another in a state of Nature, but that it is in a state of society (“state of war”) that men then loses equality and become distrusting.  I believe Montesquieu had it wrong in that Hobbes was saying that men distrust each other based on an understanding of their own internal desires which they project onto other men by natural inclination, not because they have been introduced to the nature of other men and later became distrusting, as Montesquieu suggests.  Further, Rousseau goes a step further to make a value judgment of Hobbes man in a state of nature being good versus bad; whereas, Hobbes does not seem to make a value judgment, but instead makes more objective observations of man.  Again, I think Rousseau attributes value in certain states of man that Hobbes did not intend. See also id. at 18-20 (citing from Charles Louis de Sceondat, Baron de Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws, trans. Thomas Nugent, with an Introduction by Franz Neumann 3-5 (Hafner Press, New York, Collier Macmillan, London, 1949; first published 1748)); id. at 20-23 (citing from Jean-Jacques Rousseau, A Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, in The Social Contract and Discourse, trans. and introd. G.D.H.Cole 50, 57-8, 71-4, 79-80 (J.M. Dent, London, 1973)).

[13] Rosen et al., supra note 6, at 56.

[14] Rosen et al., supra note 6, at 56-57.

[15] Rosen et al., supra note 6, at 56-57.

[16] Sheleff, supra note 5.

[17] Rosen et al., supra note 6, at 57.

[18] Rosen et al., supra note 6, at 57.

[19] For now, we stop short of that analysis and recognize only that mankind’s tendency to accept certain fates for lack of resources does not demonstrate the authority or consent to be ruled, but merely demonstrates man’s reasoning capacity employing common sense in support of self-preservation.  Though history likely provides the substance of argument that some divine and hereditary rulers as individuals stripped of their status could have been faith-based leaders under different circumstances, it is not for this exercise to pontificate all likelihoods.  For now, this paper will recognize the existence of a divine or hereditary ruler’s pre-ordained legitimacy in the minds of the followers removes them from consideration at this time and would require us to come full circle with this argument and then begin a new analysis on whether the pre-ordained leaders could also be faith-bargain leaders.

[20] See Stephen P. Turner & Regis A. Factor, Max Weber:  The Lawyer as Social Thinker (1994); Sheleff, supra note 5.

[21] Rosen et al., supra note 6, at 57-58.

[22] Rosen et al., supra note 6, at 57-58.

[23] Rosen et al., supra note 6, at 57.

[24] Turner & Regis, supra note 20, at 106.

[25] Turner & Regis, supra note 20, at 108.

[26] Rosen et al., supra note 6.

[27] Turner & Regis, supra note 20, at 107.

[28] Knox, supra note 2, at 99 (‘Necessity and enthusiasm’ are its fathers.  Its home is a realm divorced from everyday life, and its ‘pure’ state can only exist at the very beginning of the leader’s ‘mission’.  It is the ‘specifically “creative “ revolutionary force in history’.  It overturns existing custom and law. . .”)

[29] Rosen et al., supra note 6, at 58.

[30] See Turner & Regis, supra note 20; Sheleff, supra note 5, at 44-45.

[31] Rosen et al., supra note 6, at 56-57

[32] Breuilly, supra note 1, at 2-3 (noting that “there is something about modern nationalist movements and regimes that especially favors charismatic leadership.”)

[33] See Breuilly, supra note 1 (This premises rejects Breuilly’s deviation from Weber’s theory, which states:  “If the central concern is with social relationships, what matters is how the following behave in relation to the leader and not . . . any individual qualities that individual might possess”.  Breuilly modifies Weber’s theory based on the ‘charisma of office’ issue and herein we dismiss that as an irrelevant issue in this treatment, because we address the nature of a leader at the moment he forms a bond with a follower and it cannot be denied that ‘charisma of office’ can result, it is not present when the natural born leader we put forth engages his first follower.  For an example of this, see the segment herein on Gandhi).

[34] Turner & Regis, supra note 20, at 113-114.

[35] See generally Vivian Ibrahim & Margit Wunsch, eds., Political Leadership, Nations and Charisma (2012).

[36] See Ibrahim & Wunsch, eds., supra note 35 (Mahatma Gandhi 4, 6, 15-16, 19, 41, 162).

[37] See Don H. Doyle, ‘Abraham Lincoln:  The apotheosis of a Republican hero’ from Ibrahim & Wunsch, eds., supra note 35, at 80-97.

[38] See generally Ibrahim & Wunsch, eds., supra note 35.

[39] David Martin, “Charisma and founding fatherhood” from from Vivian Ibrahim & Margit Wunsch, eds., Political Leadership, Nations and Charisma 41 (2012).

[40] Turner & Regis, supra note 20, at 109-110.

[41] Turner & Regis, supra note 20, at 113-114.

[42] Turner & Regis, supra note 20, at 113-114; Sheleff, supra note 5, at 46.

[43] Sheleff, supra note 5, at 45.

[44] Knox, supra note 2.

[45] Knox, supra note 2.

[46] Turner & Regis, supra note 20,, at 107.

[47] See Sheleff, supra note 5, at 45.

[48] For more information, see generally, Ibrahim & Wunsch, eds., supra note 35 (Adolf Hitler 1, 4, 7, 17, 20 f3, 63, 98-100, 103-10, 128, Charisma 1, 8, 19, 41, 44, 48 64, 106, 109).

By Mary E. Strayhorne, J.D., LL.M.

(submitted as an LL.M. writing requirement sans Preface on May 6, 2014)


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