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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Highly Recommended: The Leithner Letter

One of my favorite pages on the web is The Leithner Letter (http://www.leithner.com.au/newsletter/), posted about once a month by Chris Leithner, a value investor (a la Benjamin Graham and Warren Buffett) at the eponymous Leithner & Company Pty Ltd (http://www.leithner.com.au/index.html), a private investment company based in Brisbane, Australia.

Chris' letters are highly readable and chock full of good information and worthwhile insights. His letters demonstrate that he is a serious student of history (American and Canadian as well as Australian) and the Austrian school of economics (Mises, Hayek, etc.).

Past Issues of The Leithner Letter are available in an online archive (http://www.leithner.com.au/archives.htm ).

His latest letter (Issue No. 75, 26 March 2006) is a true gem. In it Chris takes on and demolishes the "god" of democracy. Whether or not you believe in democracy (and whether or not you support Bush's efforts to "spread democracy" willy nilly throughout the Middle East) you owe it to yourself to read this Letter!

Excerpt:

The collapse of the Soviet Empire was superficially a victory of democracy. Much more profoundly, however, it culminated the moral and material bankruptcy of Communism. As such, it should have been regarded as a harbinger of the eventual demise of Western, liberal and democratic socialism. Communism abolished private property; democratic socialism bastardises it. In Communist states, economic calculation was impossible; in Western democracies, it is ever more constrained by and dependent upon governments. Communism collapsed. For identical reasons – namely, the futile attempt to suspend the laws of economics – Western liberal democracy stands on shaky legs. The Soviet Empire’s breakdown, in other words, might foreshadow that of the American Empire (see in particular William Bonner and Addison Wiggin, "Empire of Debt: The Rise of an Epic Financial Crisis", John Wiley & Sons, 2005 and its review by Doug French). As Hans-Hermann Hoppe demonstrates in "Democracy, the God That Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy and the Natural Order" (Transaction Books, 2002), democracy is incompatible with private property – and hence with liberty and civilisation. To ponder these two books is to realise that the proponents of democracy are either misguided or malevolent. Either way, investors beware: democracy is evil.

"Democracy is evil"? As I said, you owe it to yourself to read Issue 75!

If you discover that you like The Leithner Letter as much as I do, you can sign up to be notified by email when future Issues are posted. Simply enter your email address in the place provided at the very bottom of each Issue.

3 Comments:

Blogger aanimo said...

Intriguing thoughts! This led me onto another train of thought, which I decided was too long for the comment box and instead posted on my website. (Read post: Teach Yourself Democracy in 24 Hours (TM))

I think that a lot of the world is blinded by the assumption that democracy = good. I think that similarly, scientific advance was halted at a certain point until Europe got beyond the reasoning that the Catholic Church = everything. So I think we need to leave behind the assumption that democracy is everything in order to reach better heights in government, law, economics, and general human affairs.

15/3/06 05:40  
Blogger Tad Pole said...

Thanks for your comment!

Should the government create democracy in Iraq?

To answer this question, we have to first address the question, what's the purpose of government? If government exists to secure the rights of individuals, as Jefferson writes in the Declaration of Independence, then the answer to this question is "no". What right is government securing when it imposes democracy (a system of government that was abhorred by the Founders) on another "country"? In fact, in this example is government not actually infringing on the rights of individuals?

Democracy is not freedom. Voting is not freedom. We cannot have both freedom and democracy. The more democratic our government is, the more our government will fail to secure the rights of individuals.

To repeat: democracy is not freedom. In fact, democracy can be, and often is, the antithesis of freedom. Majority rule can, and often does, trample on the rights of individuals.

We should shun democracy once and for all. We should restore our Republic and our Constitution. In particular, we should end the Empire, close all of our overseas bases, and bring home ALL of the troops.

(I've cross-posted much of this as a comment at http://thewink.wordpress.com/2006/03/15/teach-yourself-democracy-in-24-hours-tm/).

16/3/06 09:39  
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