How Do We Overcome the Trials and Tribulations that Seem to Be Our Lot Here, There and Everywhere?

I was reading a learned presentation of rabbinical Jewish thought on the Noahide laws, seven righteous principles which are implicit in Yahweh’s covenant with Noah that applies to all humanity.  The author made reference to a famous 1918 essay of German sociologist Max Weber on “Politics as a Vocation.”

Weber wrote at the beginning of the Weimar Republic, which came into power after Germany’s defeat in World War I and the collapse of the German Empire.  Weber was not optimistic about Germany’s future:

“Not summer’s bloom lies ahead of us, but rather a polar night of icy darkness and hardness, no matter which group may triumph.”

Sounds like our times.

I was then triggered to think about what is needed to activate moral capitalism, day by day, firm by firm, decision by decision.  Could it be some charisma, rising up within us each, so that we bring forth leadership in our time?

In criticism of “politicians” that applies in the U.S. today to both Donald Trump and Joe Biden, Weber insisted that:

“… daily and hourly, the politician inwardly has to overcome a quite trivial and all-to-human enemy: a quite vulgar vanity, the deadly enemy of all matter-of-fact devotion to a cause and of all distance, in this case, of distance towards one’s self.”

Weber concludes with a demand for responsibility in the face of crisis and despair:

“Certainly, all historical experience confirms the truth that – man would not have attained the possible unless, time and again, he had reached out for the impossible.  But to do that, a man must be a leader and not only a leader, but a hero, as well, in a very sober sense of the word. And even those who are neither leaders, nor heroes, must arm themselves with that steadfastness of heart, which can brave even the crumbling of all hopes.  This is necessary right now or else men will not be able to attain even that which is possible today.  Only [those have] the calling for politics who [are] sure that [they] shall not crumble when the world from [their] point of view is too stupid or too base for that they want to offer.”

The charisma necessary for such leadership and such heroism is found in the ethics of responsibility, when one concludes that, “Here I stand.  I can do no other.”