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The Democratic Gulag

Patriarchy, Leadership and Education


Robert Bahlieda

The Democratic Gulag is a provocative, comprehensive investigation of the pervasive and transparent power of patriarchy in social evolution and contemporary society. It asserts that we live in a well-constructed ideological, intellectual and social gulag of patriarchal values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors that is created through the primary social institutions that we see as the foundations of modern civilization. The book is an in-depth academic study of the role of patriarchy in shaping modern social values and a comprehensive and contemporary cross-contextual analysis of the seminal role and paradoxes of patriarchy as the meta-ideology of human history. Employing the perspective of critical theory, it traces patriarchy through history to our contemporary world by examining its role in shaping democracy, education, religion, politics, economics, leadership and gender relationships. It suggests that rather than a social/historical curiosity, patriarchy is an under-theorized, active and virulent agent that continues to be the foundational source of our global social dysfunction. Without deconstructing and altering its ideological core as well as its complex and multidisciplinary role in our present and future society, positive human social organization is unsustainable. It argues for the necessity of developing democratic and open leadership and governmental and personal relationships that will liberate humanity and create a post-patriarchal world.
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Chapter 3. Leadership




Sacred authority and emotion are neglected and often ignored; when acknowledged, they are thought to be weak, impressionistic concepts, and more myth than reality—ideas to be avoided, if not scorned. Sense experience and intuition, while acknowledged, do not enjoy equal standing with secular authority, science and deductive logic. What results from not giving equal attention to all modes is an impoverished management theory and a leadership practice that may not be leadership at all. —Thomas Sergiovanni (1992)

Leaders are the co-conspirators of patriarchy. If patriarchy is responsible for the social pyramid upon which society is built, then leadership is the mechanism that built it and one of the most powerful universal mythologies. It is one of the key pillars of the democratic gulag and the most tangible expression of its ideology. Examining leadership reveals how patriarchy has worked in our human history. Leadership is the enforcement arm of patriarchy. As Hatcher (2005) pointedly expresses: “In the academic and policy literature the relationship between ‘leaders’ and ‘followers’ is often justified in instrumental, elitist, and patronising terms” (p. 261). Leaders are the commandants who maintain and run the democratic gulag. They have been and continue to be unrelentingly male despite superficial gains by women and minorities over the past century. Under the guise of freedom they deliver oppression and imprisonment, and under the charade of democracy they deliver benevolent dictatorship. As ← 127 | 128 → Bennis and Nanus (1985) state regarding the misuse of power...

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