This depressed and discouraged me, so you might as well be discouraged too. Here’s the list of the 20 most admired men and women worldwide, according to a YouGov.com survey.
The study surveyed “more than 42,000 people” in 38 countries and territories, and who knows how accurate it is. I would assume that the relative standings are pretty meaningless. However, I offer these observation based on the fact that we are supposed to admire people based on what they have accomplished that we regard as good, right and beneficial to humanity, and the values they exemplify in their lives. Envy is something entirely different. Thus my first observation is that the lists demonstrate that a decisive number of those surveyed do not comprehend the distinction between admiration and envy.
My second is that I see little evidence that values played a major role in the choices at all, and maybe any role.
- That Barack Obama leads the list, as he has often in the past 13 years, is testimony to relentless media hagiography. The same is true of Michelle Obama, indeed even more so. What has Michelle Obama accomplished that justifies her being so “admired,” or admired at all?
- The nations with the largest populations are apparently well-brainwashed, at least regarding men. The two most-admired world leaders are China’s and Russia’s. Is it their power people admire, or their values? Let’s hope it’s the former.
- On the women’s list, there is exactly one elected leader who is still in power: #20, the prime minister of New Zealand. Whatever that says, I don’t think it’s good.
- The fact that Kamala Harris and Hillary make the list at all suggests to me that those surveyed had a hard time coming up with “admirable” women of any definition.
- Ignorance is the most prominent feature of both lists.
- Obsession with celebrity is the second most. Actresses, singers and models make up the largest group on the women’s list
- On the men’s list, Ronaldo and Messi are soccer players; Modi is the PM of India; Jack Ma is a Chinese tycoon (wealth appears to be widely admired); Tendulkar and Kohli are cricket players; T. Khan and Bachchan are India actors; Lau is a Hong King actor.
- No novelists. No playwrights. No composers. No philosophers. No judges. No scientists. No scholars. No historians. No journalists, news anchors or pundits. No soldiers. No doctors (not even Dr. Jill).
- On the bright side, no Karhashians or reality stars made either list. No members of “The Squad.” No NFL or NBA players. No members of Congress. No criminals, as far as we know.
I admire living people who exemplify ethical values and make society better and life more livable. Who would make your top 20? OK, let’s just shoot for ten. I’ll post my list later.