Problem: the president doesn’t know your name.

People tend to  follow the charisma/influence/coalition model because it makes sense in tribes, or other Dunbar number grouping,  where everyone knows each other.

However, it does not scale up. Larger polities are run technocratically and bureaucratically by people largely unknown to the public, who implement plans and programmes. Policy does matter at that scale, because the choice policy is the choice of plan.

Dunbar number tribes don’t build intercontinental railroads or public cool systems. Their leaders specialise in crisis management. Our  instinctive, System I judgements about who is a charismatic leader are probably well tuned to selecting good crisis managers.

Misapplying the charismatic model to advanced states results in a succession of politicians who charm but disappoint, because their technocratic skills aren’t in line with their charisma.

However, advanced states aren’t insulated from crisis.  Wartime andpeacetime leaders should be selected by difference criteria.

There are difference kinds of leaders, different kinds of social groupings to be led, and different kinds of voters. The charisma-orientated gut-instinct voters are the despair of the policy wonks, forever rejecting the well laid plans of such-and-such a politician because they judge their eyes  to be too close-set. But the wonks aren’t always right because character matters in a crisis.

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