In his essay, Take their clothes! Bill Bonner says,
“…The point is, the world needs a lot fewer leaders than it has. Most of the time, people go about their business with no need for the expense and distraction of leadership. That is true in businesses as well as government. A leader just gets in the way, wasting everyone’s time and energy.
…Think about what you really want. To fix the crack in the swimming pool before warm weather. To get your father-in-law into a rest home or a casket. You want to figure out how to play All of Me on the guitar and how to make beef bourguignon in the oven. None of this requires leadership.
…Most businesses work best without leadership. People work out how to get things done. They don’t need interference from the top. Besides, the ‘leaders’ often have no idea how the business really works. This is especially true of celebrity CEOs whose real job it is to goose up the stock price. Often, a business will go along plausibly well, with the lower and middle-level employees innovating as necessary. Then, a strong leader will take over, pulling the whole business down some dead-end road, typically by grandstanding a large merger or acquisition. The CEO gets headline fame; later, the business goes broke.
…All democratic governments owe their legitimacy to the same thing – the decision of delusional voters, based on fraudulent representations by dishonest leaders.
…Everyone else can speak the truth; but leaders should only open their mouths to lie. That’s what people expect of them.
…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.
…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.
…It’s not that leaders are always a waste of time. It’s just that leadership is subject to the law of declining marginal utility – just like everything else. A little, occasionally, may be useful. Any more, and you’re headed for trouble.
…Not that lies are always bad. There are probably times when a lie is just what a group needs to stiffen its backbone or calm its nerves. Occasionally, a gifted leader can help guide a business or even a government. But those occasions are rare. Considering the damage leaders do, the world is better off without them.”