Doug Taylor and Rabbi Morton Moskowitz

"How was your weekend?" asked the King of Rational Thought, as he got into my car.
It was an innocent enough question for a Monday evening. Downright predictable in fact, as I drove toward the lecture we had agreed to attend. My reply, on the other hand, was near ballistic.
"It was awful," I spat out angrily. "One of the worst weekends I can ever remember."
I bitterly explained that my employer had held a so-called "team-building" retreat Friday and Saturday. The idea was to get all the employees together and figure out better ways to market our services. It sounded like a great idea.
But it turned into a nightmare. Rather than focusing on positive things that could be done by working together, people started complaining. One group thought another group got too many privileges. A third group thought others didn't work hard enough. People who had landed few, if any, new clients griped about the salary levels of the people who did. For my part, I had busted my tail for the entire year, working more hours than anyone. Yet all I got was criticism because the company had, years ago, provided me with a cellular phone. On and on it went. Rather than setting boundaries and limits, the moderator - an outsider - let it go from bad to worse. The meeting finally ended in a huge verbal fight between departments, with no resolution.
"The decline to democracy," said the King of Rational Thought quietly after I stopped venting.
"What?" I asked, surprised.
"I mean, it sounds like your company has taken that most treacherous of turns; the decline into democracy."
"I don't follow you," I said, slowing for a stoplight. "You make it sound like democracy is a bad thing."
"Tell you what," he said. "Can I ask you a question?"
"Suppose a nuclear power plant has a problem; a serious problem that could lead to a melt-down. But they've had some warning. They have one hour to make a decision about what action to take. Which do you think would be the best approach? To gather the entire power plant staff, from engineers to security guards to janitors, and vote on a plan of action, with each person getting an equal vote? Or do you think it would be better to turn the problem over to the senior nuclear engineers and let them decide what to do?"
I rounded a corner and entered the freeway. "Well, that's pretty simple," I replied. "You'd let the senior engineers decide."
"Because they're the ones who really understand how the power plant-"
I stopped in mid-sentence as I saw the implication of what he was saying.
"Operates," he finished. "They're also the ones in the best position to fix it. So, what's the difference between a company like yours and a nuclear power plant? Is the mail room clerk really as qualified as the president to decide what direction the company should go? Does a rookie employee fresh out of school really have the experience, wisdom, and knowledge to tell a senior staff member how things should be done?"
"You see," he continued, "it's in vogue these days to think that everyone's opinion should carry equal weight, regardless of its merit. But that assumes that one person is just as wise and knowledgeable as another, which clearly is not true. Just as you wouldn't entrust the nuclear power plant problem to a vote of the staff, so should you not do the same with a business or, for that matter, a country. Running businesses and countries is not about doing what's popular. It's about making wise and intelligent decisions. Of course, the success of such a system, in government or in business, depends on having people at the helm who meet those qualifications."
Traffic began to slow.
"What do you think?" I asked, gesturing to the sea of tail lights ahead. "Should we get off at the next exit and take surface streets?"
The King of Rational Thought smiled.
"Want to vote on it?" he asked.