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Heroes Are Different from Superstars

Our age finds it difficult to come to grips with figures like Winston Churchill. The political leaders with whom we are familiar generally aspire to be superstars rather than heroes. The distinction is crucial. Superstars strive for approbation; heroes walk alone. Superstars crave consensus; heroes define themselves by the judgment of a future they see it as their task to bring about. Superstars seek success in a technique for eliciting support; heroes pursue success as the outgrowth of inner values.

The modern political leader rarely ventures to comment in public without having tested his views on focus groups, if indeed he does not derive them from a focus group. To a man like Churchill, the very concept of focus groups would have been unimaginable. Thus in the space of a generation, Churchill, the quintessential hero, has been transformed from the mythic to the nearly incomprehensible.

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