Edited to correct typo:
I once read two books by Guy R. Odom: America’s Man on Horseback, A Fable? (1998) and Mothers, Leadership, and Success (1990). I had heard Mr. Odom being interviewed on a broadcast of the Michael Savage show, and had gone to one of the public appearances Savage had arranged to publicize himself, and featuring several authors, one of whom was Odom, who signed the copies of his books I bought.
The later book, is in the form of his advice to a future leader, somewhat after the manner of Niccolo Machiavelli, writing The Prince, advising a ruler how to govern, in order to retain control. Interestingly, by virtue of how he expected American culture and politics to develop, he expected the unconventional future American ruler (to whom he addresses his advice) to “arise” sometime between 2013, and 2029. (Trump? Unconventional, but maybe not. The demeanor of the guy he described would be a lot more like Allen West.)
His earlier book was based on a long-term study he had begun much earlier, as the CEO of the (then) largest home building company in the nation. He said that the needs of his firm for managerial talent, had made him search for the factors that produce people of dominant character. He was at pains to explain that he did not mean “domineering” people, but rather, those with a strong, developed refusal to lower their (or their company’s) standards. What he discovered, through much research* and personal experience, was that the greatest influence on a person’s character, was the character of the person that had “raised” him/her during the formative, early years. If that person (usually, the mother, though he cited instances when the father, grandparents, aunts. uncles had been the guiding influence) had been one who maintained high standards for completing tasks, diligent study, honest behavior, the child was most likely to grow up with those standards personally ingrained. Those raised by a non-dominant person were most likely to grow up non-dominant themselves, hence, even if employable, not particularly suitable in executive capacity.
Mothers Leadership, and Success chronicled the developmental changes in overall national character for America, from the highly literate, moral, religious, educated, and ambitious Citizens who took on the greatest military power in the world, broke free, and started the Nation, to the degraded average character evident when he published (1990), and predicted the continuing degradation to dependency evident today. He put forth the idea that, since the duration of virtually all great nations (in which they rise to independence, achieve prominence, and ultimately fall back to parity with other nations) is, in almost all cases, about 250 years, that that time period is ten generations, over which, the predominant character of the population undergoes analogous changes. In short, by his reckoning, the American Republic is gone, perhaps to be replaced by an American Empire, a la Rome, but gone, nonetheless. I (sadly) think he was right.
*Odom was (is?) a serious dude. Whee I met him (~1998) he was as old as I am now,. He told me that (since he was independently wealthy, and retired) he had indulged his passion for knowledge by reading no fewer than three serious books per week, on a broad range of topics, since his retirement (at that time, more than a decade prior.)
- This reply was modified 4 months ago by L Tecolote.