Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Quote of the Day: The Failure of Leadership

That’s what leadership is all about — solemn and pompous lying. The greatest leaders are those who do it most grandly. Abraham Lincoln, for example. Without his leadership, the US would have probably split apart, which is to say the southern states would have been permitted to exercise the right laid out for them in the Declaration of Independence. They merely demanded to do what the 13 colonies had done before them — to misgovern themselves rather than have it imposed on them by others.

Lincoln — at Gettysburg — told the biggest lie in American history. He said they were fighting to preserve the promise of the revolution, and that the war was a test of whether “any nation, so conceived…can long endure.” In the end, his generals, Grant and Sherman, decided the matter in the negative.

The next greatest leadership debacle came in 1917. That was when Woodrow Wilson launched the US into someone else’s war on the basis of a breathtaking deceit. It was a “war to make the world safe for democracy,” he said. But if that were so, the US went in on the wrong side. Specifically, Britain and France ruled hundreds of millions of people — in Africa, Ireland, India, Southeast Asia — with no votes allowed! Germany, in comparison, was a model of democratic humbug.

Leaders lie. And their leadership — founded on lies — typically brings disasters. WWI was a disaster. Then came an economic disaster — the Great Depression. In the previous depression, 1920-1921, US president Warren Harding and Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, simply ignored it. No leadership was provided. Two years later the depression was over.
This is from Agora publishing editor Bill Bonner at the Daily Reckoning.

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