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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

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Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Churchill Myth

As Joe Sobran has noted, Winston Churchill, during World War II, wanted to bomb the dickens out of Rome. Aside from the human carnage, this action would have inflicted great destruction on the artifacts of the Roman Empire. Churchill, as a speaker and writer, was a great phrase-maker. Too bad he also lusted for power. ~~ SteveR

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"Winston Churchill was a Man of Blood and a politico without principle, whose [glorification] serves to corrupt every standard of honesty and morality in politics and history."

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by Ralph Raico | November 14, 2008

When, in a very few years, the pundits start to pontificate on the great question: "Who was the Man of the Century?" there is little doubt that they will reach virtually instant consensus. Inevitably, the answer will be: Winston Churchill. Indeed, Professor Harry Jaffa has already informed us that Churchill was not only the Man of the Twentieth Century, but the Man of Many Centuries.[1]

In a way, Churchill as Man of the Century will be appropriate. This has been the century of the State — of the rise and hypertrophic growth of the welfare-warfare state — and Churchill was from first to last a Man of the State, of the welfare state and of the warfare state. War, of course, was his lifelong passion; and, as an admiring historian has written: "Among his other claims to fame, Winston Churchill ranks as one of the founders of the welfare state."[2] Thus, while Churchill never had a principle he did not in the end betray,[3] this does not mean that there was no slant to his actions, no systematic bias. There was, and that bias was towards lowering the barriers to state power.

To gain any understanding of Churchill, we must go beyond the heroic images propagated for over half a century. The conventional picture of Churchill, especially of his role in World War II, was first of all the work of Churchill himself, through the distorted histories he composed and rushed into print as soon as the war was over.[4] In more recent decades, the Churchill legend has been adopted by an internationalist establishment for which it furnishes the perfect symbol and an inexhaustible vein of high-toned blather. Churchill has become, in Christopher Hitchens's phrase, a "totem" of the American establishment, not only the scions of the New Deal, but the neo-conservative apparatus as well — politicians like Newt Gingrich and Dan Quayle, corporate "knights" and other denizens of the Reagan and Bush Cabinets, the editors and writers of the Wall Street Journal, and a legion of "conservative" columnists led by William Safire and William Buckley. Churchill was, as Hitchens writes, "the human bridge across which the transition was made" between a noninterventionist and a globalist America.[5] In the next century, it is not impossible that his bulldog likeness will feature in the logo of the New World Order.

Let it be freely conceded that in 1940 Churchill played his role superbly. As the military historian, Major-General J.F.C. Fuller, a sharp critic of Churchill's wartime policies, wrote: "Churchill was a man cast in the heroic mould, a berserker ever ready to lead a forlorn hope or storm a breach, and at his best when things were at their worst. His glamorous rhetoric, his pugnacity, and his insistence on annihilating the enemy appealed to human instincts, and made him an outstanding war leader."[6] History outdid herself when she cast Churchill as the adversary in the duel with Hitler. It matters not at all that in his most famous speech — "we shall fight them on the beaches … we shall fight them in the fields and in the streets" — he plagiarized Clemenceau at the time of the Ludendorff offensive, that there was little real threat of a German invasion or, that, perhaps, there was no reason for the duel to have occurred in the first place. For a few months in 1940, Churchill played... Keep reading>>>>

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