Tag Archives: Churchill

Great leaders! Washington and Churchill had a rare trait: character.

I came across two quotes today, one in my casual reading and one in research for a book I hope to publish this summer. I will be using these quotes in a future book, which may be published in 2012 or 2013 if I write that book immediately after this one. But I’d like to share the quotes with you now:

From The American Revolution by Gordon Wood (page 84):

Washington’s ultimate success as the American commander in chief, however, never stemmed from his military abilities… Instead, it was his character and political talent and judgment that mattered most. His stoicism, dignity, and perseverance in the face of seemingly impossible odds came to symbolize the entire Revolutionary cause.

Washington always deferred to civilian leadership and never lost the support of the Congress.

He was always loyal to his fellow officers in the Continental Army and they to him; they trusted him, and with good reason.

Speaking about trust, famed historian Paul Johnson writes in Forbes Magazine:

I remember feeling this as a boy in 1940, when Britain was in danger of being drowned in the rapidly advancing tide of Nazi military success. We trusted Winston Churchill to save us, and he, in turn, trusted the British people to have the courage and endurance and the intelligence and strength to make salvation possible.

George Washington and Winston Churchill may be best remembered for winning their respective wars and their successful terms as leaders of their countries. But their successes in both the military and political arenas (both were also outstanding writers) because of their character. They could be trusted. They exercised good judgment. They exercised courage in both action and inaction if reason advised caution at the moment. They were thoughtful and honorable.

One marked difference between the two: Washington tried to avoid public office while Churchill actively sought fame and power. However, both gave themselves fully to the service of their countries when chosen to do so. And even as Churchill sought power, he never backed down from unpopular opinions (attacking Nazism in the 1930s and then Communism after World War II) even if it cost him politically.

A message to our public servants: whether you sought power (that’s 99% of you people) or were drafted into it, be honest, be truthful, and be honorable. Do the right thing, even when it is difficult. Especially when it is difficult. Follow the examples of Washington and Churchill.

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Why Government Stimulus Doesn’t Work

Another old writing of mine brought to you unchanged:

Everybody is talking about the government stimulus plan. When asked about it, I normally respond “I hope it doesn’t do too much damage.” While the vast majority of people oppose the stimulus, they do so because they see the costs outweighing the benefits. On the other hand, I see no benefits and only costs.

In a private business transactions, both the buyer and seller benefit. If I go to the store and purchase a product, I the customer receive something I value more greatly than the money I spend, otherwise I would not enter the transaction. Even though I end up with no money, which really represents units of labor I have already performed, I actually profit from the transaction since, to me, the value of what I receive exceeds the value of what I give away. And the seller also books a profit, obviously, since that is a business’s purpose for existing and his revenue exceeds his expenses. With both the buyer and seller profiting from the transaction, wealth increases.

On the other hand, government transactions have no profit motive for either the buyer or the seller. The government stimulus plan is really a government spending plan with a very small amount of tax cuts. When the government spends money, neither the government nor the taxpayers profits. The government generally spends taxpayer money on projects that would not otherwise get done. But why wouldn’t these projects get done without the government? Because they are not profitable, of course! If the government does a project at a profit (where benefits outweigh costs), maybe a road or a stadium, that means that a project that would have been done privately has been usurped by the government, where the government will most likely execute the project much less profitably than private business. And to do these projects, the government amasses huge deficits each year, which a private business would call a loss. Without any motive for profits, which modern liberals claim to be a good thing, taxpayers lose money with each dollar they send to the government and the government makes losses on top of that instead of profits. With losses accrued by both the buyer (taxpayer) and seller (government), wealth is being destroyed.

As Winston Churchill said, “It is a socialist idea that making profits is a vice; I consider the real vice is making losses.” As this “stimulus” package takes hard earned money from taxpayers and government bureaucrats waste the money away on unprofitable projects, remember that any plan which destroys wealth, as this plan does, is full of costs and has no benefits.