I was thinking about Winston Churchill a bit lately – it is said that towards the end of his life he said, “I have achieved much to achieve nothing, in the end”, or words to that effect. Those who know the story of Churchill might be a bit shocked about such a statement but it must be kept in mind that Churchill was the defender of the British Empire…and as he headed into the end of his life, the last shreds of the British Empire were being undone. What he believed in and worked for was no more – and never to return.
The bottom line is that by the time Churchill was called to save Britain – and freedom in general – in 1940, it was already too late to save the British Empire. If it was to be saved, it had to be saved in the First World War, and Churchill could well have done it. But he was First Lord of the Admiralty at the start of the war, and various events while he was First Lord forced him out of office before the war was a year old…and he just had to sort of sit there, on the side lines (even when brought back into the government to be Minister of Munitions), watching lesser men run the Empire up on the rocks so that, in Churchill’s words, “victory was bought so dear as to be indistinguishable from defeat”. The loss of life, the loss of wealth and the loss of prestige that Britain suffered in the First World War were irreparable. But why, really, did Churchill fail to rise to Prime Minister during the First World War? Because his blinding ambition in the years leading up to the war had made him enemies numerous and vindictive – and when they had their chance, they went after him…and kept him down and out essentially until it was nearly too late.
The lesson here is that ability when not married to humility is a terrible thing. Ability loses the capability of doing really great and enduring things if humility is lacking. Reagan had humility. So did Lincoln. Washington, too. We’ll see if Trump has it. If he does, then he may go on to great things…if he doesn’t, then even if he does some spectacular things, they are very likely to turn to ashes, in the long run.
Social Justice Warriors are going on a rampage over the fact that Simon & Schuster are paying big bucks for a Milo Yiannopoulos’ upcoming book, Dangerous. I don’t think our SJW’s are really getting the current situation, at all. First off, all they are really doing is making sure that Simon & Schuster (and Milo) massively cash in…the target audience of the book are going to go out and buy the thing in droves, just to stick it to the SJW’s. In fact, Milo could probably just put out 300 blank pages at the moment and it’d wind up on the best seller list. But more than that, our SJW’s are just doing everything they can to ensure that Trump goes for 8 years…and that it is, perhaps, a very long time before anyone on the liberal/progressive side of the aisle obtains real power. This is fine and dandy for us Conservatives, but for the SJW’s, they might want to re-think this. The vote for Trump was largely a reaction – against a stultifying, PC culture which, in Peggy Noonan’s exquisite phrasing, amounts to regular folks “being condescended to by their inferiors”. Sorry, SJW, but you ain’t all that big a deal. While Obama was in office, you had a government which would run to hold your hand when you had a tantrum…but that was never how the overall American people viewed it. We were (and remain) nauseated by this special pleading and demands for un-earned privilege.
Ed Morrisey has some excellent advice for Republicans. One of the reasons I’ve kept reading Morrisey is that, unlike a lot of other Conservative writers, he kept an even keel all through 2016. It is clear from Morrisey’s writings that he has vast reservations about Donald Trump – as any thinking person should have. But Morrisey never went “Never Trump” and, also, kept things in perspective – if Trump, then what? This allowed Morrisey to actually offer some wise commentary and some good advice. This is in stark contrast to many Conservative writers who not only drip with contempt for Trump, but also for anyone who would even consider voting for him. You know the type, I’m sure – people who completely abandoned the GOP, and then wrote an insulting article about GOP voters on their way out the door. And even now, after Trump has made some moves that any Conservative can love (as well as some which Conservatives can have large reservations about), they are still out there, proclaiming how glad they are they got out. How does it feel to be out? How does it feel, that is, to have essentially no say in what is going to happen? Pride is the real explanation for it – because the GOP didn’t do what they want, they washed their hands of it…we’re not good enough for them. Perhaps because I’ve developed a more realistic appraisal of myself over the past 10 years (being Catholic does that), I’m not about to get on any high horse. Sure, it’s a clown show – but I’m a clown, too; at least at times. We all are. None of us are perfect – and if we’re to wait around for the perfect party or the perfect candidate, we’re done for. Suck it up, sunshine – work with what you’ve got.
Thinking about Russia – they are the great, schismatic Power of the West. Not quite with us, not quite against us. We think of the sheer size of the nation and are amazed – but Russians look at is as an endless, vulnerable frontier through which enemies can march at any time. Russians, you see, aren’t like us. I know this will shock some. I read somewhere – in my rather large amount of reading Russian history (it is a fascinating nation) – that the Russians have a whole etiquette about lying, which outsiders are never able to fully understand. Some times they lie for serious reasons, some times just for the fun of it. During the Congress of Berlin called to iron out the post Russo-Turkish War situation, the gathered Powers had agreed upon a map of how the Balkans would look – the Russian delegate tried to slip in a different map showing revised borders. Why? Did he not think he’d get caught? Did he think that if he hadn’t got caught that everyone would then just accept borders different from agreed upon? Who – other than a Russian – can know? Russia is not our friend, but, also, not necessarily our enemy. It is best to try and put yourself into Russian shoes and see how they might see it – and then figure out if you’ve got to go to war with them, or work a deal. I think a lot of people are inclining towards hysterics regarding Russia (this isn’t remotely the first time Western statesmen and regular folks have done this, by the way) – and I think a lot of it right now is based upon, “if Trump doesn’t hate Putin, then I must hate Putin”. Give it a rest, folks – first off, we’ve got bigger fish to fry and, after 8 years of Obama, I doubt the readiness of our military for a confrontation with a major power…and while we might not be aware of our real capabilities, I bet the Russians are fully aware.
That horrible event posted on Facebook – bottom line it is what I’ve been saying about all these terrible, senseless events: it’s the morality. Or lack thereof. You and I would never dream of doing such a thing to a fellow human being – but we don’t just “have” that. We were taught that decent people don’t do things like that…and, further, that being a decent is better than being lousy. It might seem that good behavior is intuitive to you, but only because you don’t remember learning it. People who do what was done to that poor man either never learned it, or forgot it. In order to make sure such things never happen – or happen very rarely – our only course of action is a moral revival. Until we start being decent and insisting on decency, we’re just spinning our wheels.