Thursday, July 30, 2015

Chamberlain's devotion to England

Churchill buries Chamberlain June 14, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporarytrackback
In winning the Nobel Prize for literature Winston Churchill was placed among writers of the calibre of Thomas Mann, W.B. Yeats and Rudyard Kipling. This is probably – as Churchill was the first to admit – to overstate his talents as an author: there is something to Evelyn Waugh’s bitchy description of Churchill’s ‘pseudo-Augustan prose’. But Churchill had the journalist’s gift of the soundbite and, in some of his war time orations, he created sustained masterpieces that kept up the spirits of an anxious nation and the various captive populations of continental Europe. A minor Churchillian classic that is often overlooked is his obituary on Neville Chamberlain, interesting both as a piece of writing, as parliamentary theatre and as a reflection on the nature of history.For Beachcombing, anyway, it rivals Churchill’s Dream.
In the second half of the 1930s Churchill, as Tory rebel, and Chamberlain, as prime minister, had bitterly fought each other in the Commons over Britain’s attitude towards Germany. Chamberlain followed a policy of detenté and containment: called, perhaps, unfairly ‘appeasement'; while Churchill saw, he believed, deeper into Hitler’s soul and wanted defiance and rollback. When war finally came Churchill served under Chamberlain as First Lord of the Admiralty and here there was some reconciliation between the two: the Chamberlains and the Churchills even shared dinner together at number Ten. Then, when Chamberlain resigned and Churchill became Prime Minister Chamberlain remained in the war cabinet and accommodation between the two men continued despite their very different instincts. However, this phase too ended as 9 November 1940, Neville Chamberlain passed away after a brief battle with cancer.
By the time of Chamberlain’s death Churchill had reconciled himself to his old foe. He personally asked the King that Chamberlain be given access to Cabinet papers in his last days and in Churchill’s bumptious Boy’s Own universe Chamberlain himself was able to see that Britain was going to make it through: ‘I think he died with the comfort of knowing that his country had, at least, turned the corner’. It goes without saying that nobody could have guessed that Britain had ‘turned the corner’ in late 1940, that moment would not come until Japanese bombs fell at Pearl Harbour a year later. But Churchill had the habit of deforming reality so everything fit around his personal mythology of romance and redemption. It is one of the reasons that his Second World War reads so very well and is so often a poor historical source. Still these qualities were always going to make the great man’s speech on Chamberlain’s demise a cracker. Imagine the wartime House quiet with curiosity to hear whether Churchill could bury his old rival without damning him for the sins (as Churchill saw it) of attempting peace with Germany.
At the lychgate we may all pass our own conduct and our own judgments under a searching review. It is not given to human beings, happily for them, for otherwise life would be intolerable, to foresee or to predict to any large extent the unfolding course of events. In one phase men seem to have been right, in another they seem to have been wrong. Then again, a few years later, when the perspective of time has lengthened, all stands in a different setting. There is a new proportion. There is another scale of values. History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days.
What is the worth of all this? The only guide to a man is his conscience; the only shield to his memory is the rectitude and sincerity of his actions. It is very imprudent to walk through life without this shield, because we are so often mocked by the failure of our hopes and the upsetting of our calculations; but with this shield, however the fates may play, we march always in the ranks of honour.
It fell to Neville Chamberlain in one of the supreme crises of the world to be contradicted by events, to be disappointed in his hopes, and to be deceived and cheated by a wicked man. But what were these hopes in which he was disappointed? What were these wishes in which he was frustrated? What was that faith that was abused? They were surely among the most noble and benevolent instincts of the human heart – the love of peace, the toil for peace, the strife for peace, the pursuit of peace, even at great peril, and certainly to the utter disdain of popularity or clamour. Whatever else history may or may not say about these terrible, tremendous years, we can be sure that Neville Chamberlain acted with perfect sincerity according to his lights and strove to the utmost of his capacity and authority, which were powerful, to save the world from the awful, devastating struggle in which we are now engaged. This alone will stand him in good stead as far as what is called the verdict of history is concerned… Herr Hitler protests with frantic words and gestures that he has only desired peace. What do these ravings and outpourings count before the silence of Neville Chamberlain’s tomb?
Beachcombing is always on the look out for Second World War curiosities: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com
15 June 2011: Umbriel writes in ‘I’m not sure I agree that ‘nobody could have guessed that Britain had ‘turned the corner’ in late 1940’ – By the fall, the climax of the Battle of Britain was past, and with it imminent threat of invasion.  The ‘Destroyers for Bases Agreement’ had taken some of the pressure off in the Battle of the Atlantic. Most importantly, Churchill had by that time forged a strong working relationship with FDR (whose reelection occurred only a few days before Chamberlain’s demise, but was never in serious doubt), guaranteeing that the ‘Arsenal of Democracy’ would provide increasing support. While all that might have been of limited comfort to the folks in London enduring the Blitz, the merchant and naval sailors in the Atlantic, and the troops in North Africa, I think the top-level planners realized that the long-term odds were as much in their favor as they’d been in World War I. For additional perspective on this, I highly recommend the recent book, The Wages of Destruction – an economic history of Nazi Germany, it puts in perspective a lot of the industrial and economic factors that drove the war.’ Thanks Umbriel!!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Liberalism lies

15 Lies of Liberalism.
Liberalism says that….
1) …it’s all about choice –
– unless you want to choose which gun or lightbulb to use, which school your child will attend, or you’d prefer more freedom and smaller government.
2) …it cares about the environment –
– when in practice, not only do liberals like Al Gore live some of the most resource-wasting and ostentatious lifestyles on the planet, but they hurt the environment by blocking environmentally friendly energy production here in favor of energy sources from nations that care little about pollution.
3) …you can have lots of free government services and somebody else will pay for them –
– The trillion dollar deficit we’re running every year that will have to be paid back says otherwise.
4) …as long as you use birth control that someone else is forced to pay for, there are no consequences whatsoever to having lots and lots of sex –
– Meanwhile, more than 50 million children have been killed by their own mothers via abortion and 1 out of every 4 adults in New York City has herpes.
5) …. “government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn –
– Do you know anyone with crabgrass on his lawn? DO YOU?
6) …it’s all about compassion and taking care of the less fortunate –
– unless liberals have their own money on the line, in which case they give less to charity than those stingy, greedy, heartless conservatives.
7) …you shouldn’t take your Christian faith seriously, that political correctness matters more than the Bible, and that mocking God has no consequences –
– Ever heard someone say, “Don’t pick fights with people who buy ink by the barrel?” Well, if liberals were smarter, they wouldn’t be picking a fight with an omnipotent God who buys lightning bolts by the barrel and has a well earned reputation for getting fed up every once in awhile and dishing out “Old Testament style wrath” on His enemies.
8) …how much our country spends can be dictated by our wants, as opposed to what we can afford –
– Of course, if the world really works this way, Greece would be fine, nobody would have ever heard of the word “bankruptcy,” and the banks wouldn’t even bother to write down your name when you borrow money from them.
9) …liberals want unity and bipartisanship –
– which they apparently believe they can accomplish by spewing pure hatred and smearing, demonizing, threatening, and lying about anyone who disagrees with them.
10) …it’s going to deliver equality of outcomes for everyone, which is true, if by “delivering equality of outcomes” you mean “make everyone poorer.”
11) …it cares about women —
– unless they’re conservative women, in which case liberals will insult them in the vilest of terms, attack their children, call them whores and laugh and hoot at the most grotesque sexist attacks against them. Every last insult ever hurled at someone like Sandra Fluke probably wouldn’t amount to what women like Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Michelle Malkin, and Ann Coulter put up with on any given week with the full support of the same liberals who run off at the mouth about a “war on women.”
12) ….it’ll help the poor —
– and it does. Liberalism helps poor Americans live in ghettos with just enough food and money to survive so they can stay dependent on liberals. It’s the same sort of help a farmer gives a chicken while he harvests its eggs and waits for the right time to wring its neck and toss it in the frying pan.
13) …liberals are the only people who care about black Americans and want to help –
– which doesn’t seem to square with the fact that just about anywhere and everywhere liberals have been in charge for decades, like Detroit or New Orleans, most black Americans are in dire straits.
14) …small business owners were able to build their businesses because they were lucky –
– But of course, if that’s true, why do we have such a high unemployment rate? Why doesn’t everyone who loses his job just set up his business and grab that easy money? Since bankers don’t deserve the big salaries they make, why doesn’t the Occupy movement set up its own bank and show the “banksters” how it’s done?
15) …you can fix crime by taking away guns –
– but by definition, the people who will voluntarily give up guns are law abiding citizens who have no intention of committing a crime in the first place. Besides, if that can work, why doesn’t Barack Obama set the example by asking his Secret Service agents to disarm?
Is it chasing all the small things in life? and missing the big  picture? Are they true? like a fact? or are they just feelings?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

To take down Chesterton's fence?

Fletch (7,393 comments) says: 

ps, interesting reading is the parable of Chesterton’s fence, in which he asks: if you came upon a fence in the middle of the road, would you take it down? Would you not first ask why it was there to begin with? Especially if it had been there a very long time.
The Parable first appeared in his 1929 book The Thing:
“In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”
“This paradox rests on the most elementary common sense. The gate or fence did not grow there. It was not set up by somnambulists who built it in their sleep. It is highly improbable that it was put there by escaped lunatics who were for some reason loose in the street. Some person had some reason for thinking it would be a good thing for somebody. And until we know what the reason was, we really cannot judge whether the reason was reasonable. It is extremely probable that we have overlooked some whole aspect of the question, if something set up by human beings like ourselves seems to be entirely meaningless and mysterious. There are reformers who get over this difficulty by assuming that all their fathers were fools; but if that be so, we can only say that folly appears to be a hereditary disease. But the truth is that nobody has any business to destroy a social institution until he has really seen it as an historical institution. If he knows how it arose, and what purposes it was supposed to serve, he may really be able to say that they were bad purposes, that they have since become bad purposes, or that they are purposes which are no longer served. But if he simply stares at the thing as a senseless monstrosity that has somehow sprung up in his path, it is he and not the traditionalist who is suffering from an illusion.”
Put very simply: don’t destroy what you don’t understand.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

What is Conservative thought?

“In any society, order is the first need of all. Liberty and justice may be established only after order is tolerably secure. But the libertarians give primacy to an abstract liberty. Conservatives, knowing that “liberty inheres in some sensible object,” are aware that true freedom can be found only within the framework of a social order, such as the constitutional order of these United States. In exalting an absolute and indefinable “liberty” at the expense of order, the libertarians imperil the very freedoms they praise.”
― Russell Kirk
“The conservative “thinks of political policies as intended to preserve order, justice, and freedom. The ideologue, on the contrary, thinks of politics as a revolutionary instrument for transforming society and even transforming human nature. In his march toward Utopia, the ideologue is merciless.”
― Russell Kirk
“There are six canons of conservative thought:
1) Belief in a transcendent order, or body of natural law, which rules society as well as conscience. Political problems, at bottom, are religious and moral problems. A narrow rationality, what Coleridge called the Understanding, cannot of itself satisfy human needs. “Every Tory is a realist,” says Keith Feiling: “he knows that there are great forces in heaven and earth that man’s philosophy cannot plumb or fathom.” True politics is the art of apprehending and applying the Justice which ought to prevail in a community of souls.
2) Affection for the proliferating variety and mystery of human existence, as opposed to the narrowing uniformity, egalitarianism, and utilitarian aims of most radical systems; conservatives resist what Robert Graves calls “Logicalism” in society. This prejudice has been called “the conservatism of enjoyment”–a sense that life is worth living, according to Walter Bagehot “the proper source of an animated Conservatism.”
3) Conviction that civilized society requires orders and classes, as against the notion of a “classless society.” With reason, conservatives have been called “the party of order.” If natural distinctions are effaced among men, oligarchs fill the vacuum. Ultimate equality in the judgment of God, and equality before courts of law, are recognized by conservatives; but equality of condition, they think, means equality in servitude and boredom.
4) Persuasion that freedom and property are closely linked: separate property from private possession, and Leviathan becomes master of all. Economic levelling, they maintain, is not economic progress.
5) Faith in prescription and distrust of “sophisters, calculators, and economists” who would reconstruct society upon abstract designs. Custom, convention, and old prescription are checks both upon man’s anarchic impulse and upon the innovator’s lust for power.
6) Recognition that change may not be salutary reform: hasty innovation may be a devouring conflagration, rather than a torch of progress. Society must alter, for prudent change is the means of social preservation; but a statesman must take Providence into his calculations, and a statesman’s chief virtue, according to Plato and Burke, is prudence.”
― Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind