July 20, 2012
John Adams advised his sons, always take a book with you. With a poet in your pocket, youll never be lonely. He was right, of course. And now I have a Nobel laureate for literature in my pocket.
I was given a small bilingual book by one of our French visitors this week. We were discussing the fight to save marriage with our foreign guests. Pierre, a 21-year old, graciously thanked me for giving him an hour of my time and handed me an amazing little book.
Discours de Guerre
Who would imagine that this master of English prose would be translated into French? And that this wonderful little book would contain all of Churchills stirring wartime addresses in two languages?
Pierre, very diplomatically, said that I could use it to work on my French. Indeed.
How did he know to give me a book on Churchill? Well, he knew I am a conservative. All American conservatives love Churchill. It used to be that all Americans loved Churchill.
Thats because we all understood that he was the voice of Britain when Britain stood alone against a monstrous tyranny. Thats why Prime Minister Churchillthe first foreign leader ever to address Congresswas wildly cheered by the Senate and House Members in December, 1941 when he spoke to a Joint Session. Strong majorities in both houses were liberal Democrats.
Reading this little book, Im struck by how often Churchill refers to Christian civilization. He equates Christian civilization with freedom, with tolerance, with charity for all. Even so, he makes a point of telling the English people that their nation had surged ahead of Nazi Germany in science because Hitler had expelled so many Jewish scientists.
President Obama never uses the term Christian civilization. He went to Egypt three years ago and said he was reaching out to the Muslim world. He referred to the Koran as holy and to Islam being revealed, the first American leader ever to do that.
He also pitched the bust of Winston Churchill out of the Oval Office into the snow. It was one of his first symbolic acts as president.
He did that shortly after he vowed that his own nomination for president would coincide with the time when the seas ceased to rise.
Had he studied history, President Obama might have heard of the great Persian emperor Xerxes. When the waters of the Hellespont churned up in a storm, delaying Xerxes invasion of Greece, the Great King ordered his magi to beat the waves with whips to make them behave. They flailed away, knowing that if their flailing failed, Xerxes would cut off their heads.
Xerxes seems pretty silly to us now. But no sillier, perhaps than our own Commander-in-Chief, who hired a green jobs tsar who was red and a local EPA administrator who threatened to crucify any small businesses that didnt get in line.
Winston, of course, knew what happens if you ignore history. He urged young people to study history. Not to know what happened before you were born is remain forever a child. That was the Roman orator Ciceros argument for studying history.
We can look to the presidents programespecially his health care takeoverand respectfully ask: Sir, can you name a single instance where government takeover lowered the costs? Already, small businesses are reporting that they will not be able to afford Obamacare. And they will either drop coverageor, just as bad, they will avoid hiring those extra employees who would put them over the limit to require employer coverage. Clearly, Obamacare is a job-killer.
How about college tuition before and after student loans? Tuition increases have advanced faster than inflation for four decades. So Mr. Obama took these over, too.
Or, can we think of an instance where rationing has led to plenty? Ronald Reagan signed five Executive Orders the day he entered office. He dismantled the entire Rube Goldberg apparatus for fuel rationing that had been put in place by Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Carter. All were gone in with five pen strokes. Yes, gasoline prices at the pump spikedfor about two weeks. Then they settled back down. And Americans have never stood in line for gas one day since.
I discovered this gem in Churchills famous Iron Curtain speech, delivered at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri in March, 1946. Quoting his great Irish-American mentor, Bourke Cockran, Winston said:
The earth is a generous mother; she will provide in plentiful abundance enough food for all her children if they will but cultivate her soil in justice and in peace.
When we consider that this administration has sowed death around the world, eagerly wasting our money while pushing for abortion, refusing to take any steps to protect even unborn baby girls threatened with sex-selection abortion, Churchills words become especially powerful.
If the earth is a generous mother, how can we justify Vice President Bidens being dispatched to Kenya, for example, to bludgeon them into adopting a new constitution including abortion-on-demand. They would not get U.S. aid if they didnt knuckle under, Kenyans were told.
President Obama told reporters in 2009 he had not forgiven Churchill for allegedly having his grandfather tortured in Kenya in the 1950s. President Kennedys father didnt forgive Churchill, either. Old Joe Kennedy blamed Churchill, not Hitler, for World War II, and for the death of his eldest son, Joe Kennedy, Jr.
President Kennedy rose above all that, however, in making Winston an honorary U.S. citizen in 1963. He said then that Churchill had martialed the English language and sent it into battle for freedom.
We can still read Winston with profit today. His words are not only profitable, theyre so often prophetic.