In her online article “Systemic Hypocrisy,” Judith Bergman looks at those major corporations that use Chinese labor to make their products, or that have ties to China in other ways. These corporations are giving millions of dollars to groups which seek to end racism in the United States – like Black Lives Matter – while at the same time supporting a dictatorial communist government.

Bergman also points out that companies like Apple, Microsoft, Nike, and others are benefiting from the forced labor practices of the Chinese Communist Party. Uyghur Muslims, for example, live in what amount to concentration camps, where they often work in factories and undergo communist indoctrination.

Bergman is correct. These American corporations are rife with hypocrisy. Moreover, they are contributing to the suppression of minorities on the other side of the globe. They claim to be interested in “rights,” but are in truth supporting a dictatorship.

Other examples of hypocrisy occur closer to home.

Recently, many NBA players knelt during the National Anthem. In 2019, the average salary for these basketball stars – the average salary! – was $7.7 million a year. That’s up from $6.4 million the previous year.

So I’m wondering: What does an African American Marine corporal who earns approximately $30,000 per year, a patriot who has spent time in Afghanistan or some other desolate war zone, think when he sees people of any color kneeling during the National Anthem? Is he proud to be defending a country that allows taking a knee? Or is he angry that millionaires playing a game are protesting while he may someday have to lay his life on the line for them and for flag and country?

Because they believe police departments are racist, some politicians and their supporters are demanding we defund the police. Have they forgotten that many police officers in cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and other places across the nation are African Americans and Hispanics? Are those officers racists as well?

What are we to think of governors and mayors who, because of the pandemic, order a shutdown and a quarantine, limit the number of people who can attend church, and close our schools, but who nonetheless allow mobs of protesters to roam the streets, casinos to reopen, and large, politicized funerals to take place?

On and on goes the list of hypocrites. Celebrities cheer for socialism while living in multi-million dollar mansions. Wealthy gun control advocates surround themselves with armed security guards. Climate change activists fly to conferences in private jets. Members of Congress enter Washington D.C. with relatively modest bank accounts and leave with millions tucked away in savings. The powerful break the law and walk the streets; the rest of us go to jail.

Many, many years ago while attending the United States Military Academy, we were taught during our summer at Camp Buckner that the officers always formed up at the end of the chow line. All the officers – from lieutenants to colonels, both those who were cadets and those who were Regular Army – did just that. Their men got their food first.

Some of our churches practice a similar “servant leadership.” Modeling themselves on Christ, the pastors, lay leaders, and youth ministers put others ahead of themselves.

In The Leader’s Bookshelf, retired General John Allen points us to Steven Pressfield’s Gates of Fire, a novel about Thermopylae where the Spartans and other Greeks died resisting the Persian invasion of Greece. Allen’s review includes this passage from the book:

A king does not dine while his men go hungry, nor sleep when they stand at watch upon the wall. A king does not command his men’s loyalty through fear nor purchase it with gold; he earns their love by the sweat of his own back and the pains he endures for their sake…. A king does not require service of those he leads but provides it to them…. A king does not expend his substance to enslave men, but by his conduct and example makes them free.

In the movie, We Were Soldiers Once… and Young, Colonel Hal Moore (Mel Gibson) addresses his men before they leave the United States for Vietnam:

But this I swear, before you and almighty God, that when we go into battle, I will be the first to set foot on the field, and I will be the last to step off, and I will leave no one behind. Dead or alive, we will all come home together, so help me God.

These examples of leadership stand in glaring contrast to so many of today’s “leaders” and “elites,” who seem more interested in ideology than in people, more desirous of power and wealth than in working with the rest of us to create a brighter future.

Given this situation, should Americans continue to extend our loyalty to such people? Or should we somehow throw off the yoke they have draped around our necks, leave them to stew in their own juices, and find our own way?