chapter  3
School leadership: Macbeth
Pages 14

In The Road to Serfdom , Hayek claimed that ‘The Nazi leader who described the National Socialist revolution as counter-Renaissance spoke more truly than he probably knew’. 1 Totalitarianism, according to Hayek, is antithetical to individualism, which he defines as ‘respect for the individual man qua man, that is, the recognition of his own views and tastes as supreme in his own sphere, however narrowly that may be circumscribed, and the belief that it is desirable that men should develop their own individual gifts and bents’. 2 Hayek identified the Renaissance as the source of this ‘Tolerance’ of freedom, which, he claims, ‘only in recent times has again been in decline, to disappear completely with the rise of the totalitarian state’. 3 In Chapter 1 , the status of Hamlet as the emblematic ‘first modern man’ 4 was acknowledged, and his attempt to resist the suffocation of the Danish court was considered in light of the neoliberal conceptualisation of the “heroic” entrepreneur, whose potency is likewise jeopardised by the control of risk. When thinking about the entrepreneur as an ‘individual man qua man’, Antony Jay also looked back, like Hayek, to the Renaissance. 5 Jay’s ground-breaking book, Management and Machiavelli , published in 1967, drew inspiration from Niccolὸ Machiavelli’s Renaissance masterpiece, The Prince, and helped popularise Machiavelli’s leadership theory contemporaneously with the ascension of neoliberalism. Since the 1980s, the promotion of human capital theory in education policy has introduced this corporate ideology into the discourse of education. 6 Head teachers have been duly recast as school leaders , 7 and traditional forms of school administration that oblige schoolteachers to maintain legal norms with integrity under a public service ethos have been replaced by an increase in ‘consumer control’ 8 of education under an ‘accountability ethos’. 9 Accordingly, the idea that educators are public servants committed to the public good has been replaced by the idea that the professions (e.g. teachers, doctors, lawyers) are ‘self-interested groups who indulge in rent-seeking behaviour’. 10 This loss of faith in the moral authority of institutions has gone hand-in-glove with the elevation of our collective admiration of executive power, and thus while today we distrust “big government”, we are ready to salute individuals whose pursuit of self-interest has been crowned by achievement.