"Moral Authority" How Important It Is For Leadership


By Ben Boothe Sr.

Publisher, BootheGlobalPerspectives


Jimmy Lai, a ‘rags to riches’ media mogul of Hong Kong, now worth hundreds of millions,  is a powerful and outspoken leader for progress in China and especially Hong Kong.  He recently mentioned how the youth activists of Hong Kong lost much of their “moral authority” when they decided to throw bricks and fire bombs, vandalizing businesses in Hong Kong.  “Peaceful demonstrations are very powerful, but when they resorted to violence and vandalism, they lost.”  Indeed when the college kids of Hong Kong started vandalizing buildings, the Chinese Government sent instructions to “get tough” and brought in armed forces.


His point of view is valid for things happening in the United States these days, and the “violent extremists” of social movements in America, can very well turn public and political opinion against them, because they lose moral authority when physical destruction and vandalism is used.  Black leaders have often told the story about how White bigots burned the black business section of Tulsa decades ago.  That is when white bigotry lost it’s moral authority.  But now, in the USA we see a loss of Moral Authority in some radicals, some vandals, some politicians. 

Certain black activists have thrown away their moral authority by resorting and descending to the same destructive tactics that they have so often used as an example of hateful destruction.


“Moral Authority” is authority premised on principles or fundamental truths.  It depends upon adherence to truth. It is a fundamental assumption that guides our perceptions of the world.”

President Donald Trump, exemplifies a politician who gained power preaching a promise that he would lead America to a higher and truthful period of success.  But, when he succumbed to lying, distorting, exaggerating, matters relating to politics, economics and the Corona Pandemic, he also lost the moral high ground.  His “moral authority” was lost with every one of the 20,000+ untruths documented from his lips to the American people.  Sadly, his demeanor toward some of other races, or his lack of respect to the Chief Generals of the American Armed forces, his snubs at American soldiers and veterans and many other documented examples illustrate pointedly his loss of “moral authority” in the USA.  He may be clever, witty, able to motivate his “base” to high emotions with fast talk,  but in the process he has sewn division, conflicts and turmoil in the United States. Even his personal life reflects a person eager to “use” others, to do his will, whether they be women, men, politicians, lawyers, or voters. It seems that his strongest base of supporters are  uneducated or those with no college degrees, many "fringe group" voters, many who profess to be church going people…so he has been seen using tear gas to part a crowd so he can pose for a photo,  in front of a church, holding a Bible of which he has little knowledge.  Why? ...it appears simply to manipulate their emotional support, in spite of his immoral or amoral behavior.

We see a lack of “Moral Authority” when economic tools are used to put people “back to work” even if it creates higher risk and spread of the deadly Corona Virus. We all believe in the values of hard work, but not when it threatens the lives of people.  Thus, now Trump calls for elementary, High Schools, and Colleges to reopen, and as a result thousands of our nation’s kids are infected with the deadly virus that could impact their lives and health for years. One University just sent 1,000 students home because they were infected. 

I count now 12 books that have been written and published by people who have worked with Donald Trump, and none of them, not one, is complimentary.  Indeed at least 11 who were on Trump's staff, cabinet, or campaign leaders have been sent to prison, or punished by the courts as felons.  Even the great generals  (Secretary of Defense), or the former president of EXXON, his Secretary of State, have nothing good to say. It is because of his lack of “Moral Authority”  We know of numerous legal actions against him from his various “women episodes” and Trump has resisted having the truth of his escapades in Russia (along with photos) to come public.  We often wonder if that is what Putin has on him.   The lack of “Moral Authority” is just one of his weak spots.

One number should be enough to make the point.  His lack of leadership on handling the Corona Pandemic thus far has caused the death of 190,000 Americans.  Some people now predict the number could go to 300,000 or 400,000.   I would suggest that our nation can no longer afford this man as President of the United States of America.  

Moral Authority.  To have, and to communicate Moral Authority suggests integrity, honesty and the ability for people to have a trust in what is being said, and trust in the person who is saying it. 

* When even a family member of this president warns us that the man has serious character flaws. 

* When his personal attorney says: "He is a con man" not to be trusted.   

* When he is impeached by the House of Representatives for illegal actions trying to "bully" small nations into helping him dig up dirt on an American political foe. 

* When top generals of the USA are alarmed by his actions and his philosophy, it is fair to wonder how big a problem the president may be for our nation. 

Sadly, we saw protests to move the USA forward, by use of “Black Lives Matter”, motto, when as many as 1/3 of the supporting protesters were idealistic white kids.  This tells us that the youth of America are idealistic and there is good "stuff" there.

I think of the photo of a family, that pointed out, what really matters.  Black lives matter, so do other lives, and as the old church song said: “Red and Yellow Black and White”. 

The sentence loses moral authority when it focuses on “Black” and forgets the rest of the rainbow of human beings.

We all matter and are equally loved by Jesus, God, Abraham, or Krishna. One of the great things about America is our tolerance for people of all faiths, and colors.   Speaking to a well respected and very wealthy black leader the other day, I said: “time for street protests to end, and time for you to lead your people to get active knocking doors and making phone calls to get people out to vote.  Fireworks, firebombs,  throwing bricks and burning buildings isn’t going to help ‘black lives’, but voting might. Now is the time for them to do something positive.  Get the vote out!


When I think of the highest and best words of President Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Barack Obama, they were words of compassion, of idealism, of encouragement, and not words of conflict or division. They maintained the “Moral Authority” or the “high ground”. 


Let us hope in the upcoming elections that we will vote in new leaders who can honestly command respect and “Moral Authority”.  It is time.


This family is sending out an image of their family.  It says so much, and so much that needs to be said in America.  

One of our greatest gifts is the gift of voting.  Time for people to stop fighting, stop pointing fingers, and stop creating more violence.  This is a time to GET OUT THE VOTE.

THEN WE CAN REALLY APPRECIATE WHAT MATTERS IN THE USA.  These values can be appreciated all over the world, even in places such as Hong Kong and China. Freedom of speech and Freedom to vote.  And an appreciation for integrity and high values.