John Dickerson

John Dickerson is a CBS senior national correspondent and Chief Political Analyst. He is also a Contributing Writer to The Atlantic and is co-host of the Slate Political Gabfest.

  • 12/07/2023: Is enforced loyalty a good recipe for achievement?

    User

    You: What is the historical record of operations founded on loyalty where the person to whom everyone must show loyalty has a record of almost no reciprocal loyalty?
    ChatGPT:

    The historical record of operations or regimes founded on loyalty to a central figure who does not reciprocate that loyalty is marked by instability and often, eventual collapse or transformation. The lack of reciprocal loyalty often leads to disillusionment and disenchantment among the loyal subjects or followers, which can undermine the authority of the central figure.

    Historical examples include various autocratic rulers who demanded unwavering loyalty from their subjects but were notorious for purging even their most loyal supporters on suspicions of disloyalty or to consolidate power. For instance, Joseph Stalin’s reign in the Soviet Union was characterized by the requirement of absolute loyalty to his person, yet he frequently engaged in purges of the Communist Party and the military, removing those who were deemed untrustworthy or too powerful, regardless of their previous loyalty to him.

    Similarly, in feudal societies, lords demanded loyalty from their vassals, but their support might not be guaranteed; a lord could easily replace vassals or fail to support them in times of need, leading to frequent shifts in alliances and power dynamics.

    In the context of modern corporate operations or political campaigns, a leader who does not show loyalty to their team members may find it difficult to maintain a cohesive and motivated group, often leading to high turnover, leaks, and a toxic culture. The lack of trust and support can be detrimental to the effectiveness and longevity of the operation.

    Ultimately, operations founded on one-sided loyalty often face significant challenges, as reciprocal loyalty is a key component in building and maintaining trust, cohesion, and stability. Without it, the foundation is likely to erode over time, leading to potential rebellion, turnover, or systemic change.

  • More Notions

  • 01/08/2024: How he drinks his coffee

    A small pleasure: one of my children and I are working together at the dining room table. We’re both writing. It’s hard for both of us, but we’re typing, so we’re both on the right road. I realize after a bit that I am witness to his writing tics. I have them. Lots of them. […]
  • 01/04/2024: A piece on the personal quality of restraint from 2015 that never ran

    I wrote it for Slate and was just reminded of it. This is a very rough draft. I wish it had run: On a recent Saturday, I listened to the audiobook of The Marshmallow Test while doing chores. In the famous experiment, children were given a choice between candy they could eat immediately, and a larger reward […]
  • 12/05/2023: I asked Chat GPT to offer guidance to lawmakers offering their endorsement

    You: Pretend I am a lawmaker and I have taken an oath to defend the constitution, how should I decide whether to endorse a candidate for president who will take an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. ChatGPT: In your role as a lawmaker who has taken an oath to defend the Constitution, […]
  • 12/05/2023: Hello! I see you sent me a text message!

    Hello! I see you’ve sent me a text! Is it urgent? If so, please call me. If not, please send me an email, that way I won’t think that in this world of constant interruption where we must have our guard double ready against mindless incursions, that you value my time so cheaply and yours […]
  • 12/02/2023: Discovering the photography of Saul Leiter

    Social media is a scourge, obviously. But I have been trying to respond to the negative effects of social media (cortisol-driving, attention-shredding, ego poking) with long-looking. Long-looking is the practice of spending a lot longer on an idea, piece of art, song, etc. than you normally would so that it give up additional meanings. If […]
  • 11/13/2023: What good is criticism

    I like this idea of criticism. (Colors are from my note taking).  It’s from an essay by Morgan Meis that can be found here. “Criticism does not stand outside the work of art, but stands alongside, maybe even inside, the work of art, participating in the work in order to further express and tease out […]
  • 11/03/2023: Thoughts on covering Donald Trump

  • 11/03/2023: Ray Bradbury punk rock graduation.

    Ray Bradbury was so poor growing up that in order to dress up for his graduation he had to wear his uncle’s suit. His uncle had died recently. The suite was the one he wore when he died. His uncle was shot. The suit still had the bullet hole in it. I learned that from […]
  • 06/07/2023: Presidential Restraint

    Matt Yglesias has a piece in the New York Times under the headline: “It’s Great to Have a President Who Knows When to Shut Up.” My favorite topic: presidential restraint. I spent a lot of time on the topic in my book, and why it’s necessary for the job. (Chapter 23: Restraint). There is no greater […]