Why It’s Important for Leaders to Understand Human (and Sin) Nature

October 26, 2017

Oppressive leaders seem to lack basic understanding of human nature.

This includes the knowledge that humans are not basically good.

Repeat: not basically good.

Yes, the Imago Dei resides in each of us. That explains whatever good you see. But something else resides in us as well, and without effectively dealing with the sin built-in, evil will run things.

Sin Sign

A leader who lacks understanding
is very oppressive,
but one who hates dishonest profit
prolongs his life.

Proverbs 28:16

Leaders who lack understanding seem to have no knowledge of how people really are or what motivates them. If I let myself be more cynical, I might say they know but want to expand their power in spite of it, by trying to ignore it.

Another area of deficient understanding involves economics. The world-view of such leaders and would-be leaders has at its base fantasy, unconnected to reality. Their desires for us often do not fit how humans actually are.

If everybody should have free college, then of course we can make it happen, and everybody will be happy. The funds will just appear because we believe this is important. The ever present rich have bottomless pockets so it’s no problem.


It seems so easy to believe that if a person or group has a philosophy and states it often and well, with #hashtags and slogans, then it must be true. How many political people have visions of how life ought to be, that depend on fantasy?

Why is a leader who lacks understanding oppressive?

Because his vision will be followed, even if you must be forced to comply. If you are not smart enough to see what the Anointed Leaders see, then you must simply obey them. If you do not, pain shall follow.

Leaders having no
insight oppress people and
disregard their lives

What needs to be understood by leaders? Each of the following require extended attention, but here’s a starter list for consideration:

  • How economics works
  • What people do with incentives
  • What people do with disincentives
  • What motivates people
  • What discourages people
  • What liberty means (it’s not “do what you will” – that leads to chaos and anarchy)
  • That economies cannot be absolutely controlled, but they can be wrecked
  • In general, taxes repress the existence of the thing taxed
  • All law is a legislation of morality. Question is: whose?
  • People don’t like rules by fiat from thousands of miles away
  • People want to be heard, not manipulated
  • Feelings do not govern everything (anything?)

This list is in contrast to the vain philosophies and high sounding arguments of our culture. It relates to what human beings living on the ground actually do when lofty idealistic feeling-based policy is jury-rigged into existence.

Minimum wage

Raise the minimum wage and happiness will rise, people will make more money, and everyone will be more prosperous.


People will lose hours or jobs, prices will rise, and finding employment will get harder. Not to point out that Constitutionally or even ethically the central government has no authority to determine the details of a local business owner’s operations.

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Let’s tax the rich, and everyone will have more money coming from the government. Except those horrible rich half-monsters.


People will lose jobs, incentive for business owners to excel will be diminished, government people will decide to spend even more money, and citizens will have less incentive to go into business themselves. Investments will shrink.

“You can’t legislate morality.”

(Oh, I guess that one is a 70’s lack of understanding. We used to hear it back then.) Now, of course, the power-brokers want to actively legislate morality, to the point that people have to accept the dogmas produced by cultural wanderings. If deeply held moral standings are in the way, you must quash them.

Never mind your deeply held faith in God and His ways. 

Of course the statement was never true. All law is a legislation of morality (declarations of what is right and what is wrong). To state clearly: You cannot avoid legislating morality, unless you quit legislating altogether.

So, the oppressive leader will indeed legislate morality, however he may determine how that’s done, as defined by him and the culture he prefers.

Where then do leaders get understanding? According to an Ancient Book, the steadfast best-seller, the “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom“. That’s where to start.

Having no fear of God leads to cultural chaos.

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