‘The Uncommon Man’

“Guest post”

In my opinion, we are in danger of developing a cult of the Common Man, which means a cult of mediocrity. But there is at least one hopeful sign: I have never been able to find out just who this Common Man is. In fact, most Americans — especially women — will get mad and fight if you try calling them common.

This is hopeful because it shows that most people are holding fast to an essential fact in American life. We believe in equal opportunity for all, but we know that this includes the opportunity to rise to leadership. In other words — to be uncommon!

Let us remember that the great human advances have not been brought about by mediocre men and women. They were brought about by distinctly uncommon people with vital sparks of leadership. Many great leaders were of humble origin, but that alone was not their greatness.

It is a curious fact that when you get sick, you want an uncommon doctor; if your car breaks down, you want an uncommonly good mechanic; when we get into war, we want dreadfully and uncommon admiral and an uncommon general.

I have never met a father and mother who did not want their children to grow up to be uncommon men and women. May it always be so. For the future of America rests not in mediocrity, but in the constant renewal of leadership in every phase of our national life.

Herbert Hoover, 1949

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