The Weekly Winston: Vindicating the British Empire

Featured image In place of the traditional Churchill meditation that usually appears in this space on the weekends, let’s take a detour to one of the areas which contemporary liberals hold against Churchill: the British Empire.  For a long time I’ve been predicting that sooner or later revisionist scholarship would be begin to contest and eventually reverse much of the cliché-ridden leftist line that “colonialism” should be summed up purely as racism, »

The Weekly Winston: Syria Policy Drift

Featured image I’ve been lax lately in my Churchill posts, but the appalling spectacle last week of the Obama Administration’s tentative and pusillanimous decision about Syria brings to mind one of Churchill’s most famous beatdowns of appeasement, his 1936 “Locust Years,” speech, which includes this peroration that applies perfectly to Obama’s Syria policy (just swap out “Secretary of State Kerry” for First Lord of the Admiralty, and “President Obama” for “Prime Minister,” »

The Weekly Winston: Thoughts on Prohibition

Featured image Will Rogers quipped, “Well, Prohibition is better than no liquor at all.”  Churchill took a similarly jaunty view of this ridiculous experiment in progressive legislation (which is making a comeback today with people like Nurse Bloomberg).  Anyway, a couple of Churchill’s observations on the matter: It is possible that the dry, bracing electrical atmosphere of North America makes the use of alcohol less necessary and more potent than the moist, »

The Weekly Winston: Memorial Day/Trinity Sunday Edition

Featured image Today, the eve of Memorial Day, also happens to be Trinity Sunday on the liturgical calendar, so it is fitting to recall Churchill’s Trinity Sunday exhortation to British forces during those grim days of May, 1940—a paraphrase from the Book of Maccabees in the Apocrypha: Today is Trinity Sunday.  Centuries ago words were written to be a call and a spur to the faithful servants of Truth and Justice: “Arm »

The Weekly Winston: IRS Scandal Edition

Featured image The revelations of the IRS investigations of conservative groups, and the incredible explanations of why this should be regarded as an “innocent” mistake, summons to mind Churchill’s campaign speech of June 1945, attacking the socialist platform of the Labour Party in that hard fought campaign (which Churchill’s Tory party lost in a landslide).  Some of this description may not fit Obamaworld perfectly, but the third paragraph sounds like an accurate »

The Weekly Winston: Correspondents Dinner Edition

Featured image There’s likely an inverse relationship between the decline of the legacy media and the increasingly over-the-top desperation, self-congratulation and spectacle of the annual White House Correspondents Dinner, held last night.  You would think the media would do themselves a favor and not televise the proceedings of their Otherness on C-SPAN, just as the Gridiron dinner is not open to cameras.  Even Tom Brokaw has had enough; isn’t this almost a »

Spindle Time: Winnies, Poohs, and Climate Neener-Neeners

Featured image Just in time for the Weekly Winston comes the fabulous news that the Bank of England has decided to put Churchill on the five-pound note.  Now, can we please put Reagan on the twenty, or something? Speaking of Winnie, who according to legend (surely apocryphal) was the inspiration for A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh, loyal Power Line reader RS sends along this adaptation of Milne to remind us of why »

The Weekly Winston: Boston Aftermath Edition

Featured image I know I’ve posted here before Churchill’s infamous reflections about Islam from the unabridged edition of The River War, but it would seem worth reposting them at the end of this particular week: How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries!  Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy.  The effects are apparent »

The Weekly Winston: Nuclear Deterrence Edition, with Iran Postscript

Featured image As we contemplate the specter of a reckless North Korea and a fanatical and suicidal Iran both bent on acquiring and using nuclear weapons, the old schemes of deterrence lose their valence.  While Churchill thought the deterrence of mutual assured destruction between the superpowers would work (peace would be “the sturdy child of terror”), he was less optimistic about proliferation, as seen in this comment from 1946: In these present »

The Weekly Winston: Far East Edition

Featured image Churchill, writing in 1951 about the idea of invading China to win the Korean War: That would be the greatest folly.  It would be like flies invading fly-paper. When asked in the House of Commons one day where North Korea was procuring its arms, Churchill answered: Although there are movements ever being made in aerial locomotion, it would be premature to suppose that they came from the moon. And about »

The Weekly Winston: Climate Change and Technology Edition

Featured image Since we’re on the subject of climate change here in recent days, herewith Churchill’s musings about climate and technology from his essay “Fifty Years Hence,” published in the late 1920s and available now in Thoughts and Adventures.  Part of this passage is a tolerably good anticipation of “geoengineering,” or “solar radiation management.” The discovery and control of such sources of power [such as nuclear] would cause changes in human affairs »

The Weekly Winston: Global Finance Edition

Featured image With the Cyprus bailout and the continuing fragility of the Eurozone system tested on an almost daily basis, time to take in some of Sir Winston’s greatest hits about finance.  This first, from 1926, could be the opening of a daily memo to the European Central Bank (if not our own Federal Reserve): In finance, everything that is agreeable is unsound and everything that is sound is disagreeable. About the »

The Weekly Winston: Democracy and Its Discontents

Featured image While we carry on with the favorite pastime of pundits—handwringing about “gridlock” in Washington—let’s recur to Churchill’s comments on the defects of democracy in his 1931 essay “Fifty Years Hence,” which fit the Age of Obama quite well: Democracy as a guide or motive to progress has long been known to be incompetent.  None of the legislative assemblies of the great modern states represents in universal suffrage even a fraction »

The Weekly Winston: What good’s a Constitution?

Featured image A year or two ago Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn sent me a packet of Churchill materials. I’m just getting around to reading them. One of the pieces is Churchill’s brilliant August 22, 1936 Collier’s essay, “What good’s a Constitution?” Looking around online, I find related commentary by Justin Lyons, “Winston Churchill’s constitutionalism: A critique of socialism in America.” The photocopy of the essay sent to me by Larry highlights »

The Weekly Winston: Obama Boneless Wonder Edition

Featured image In honor of the recent Cabinet confirmations of John Kerry, Jack Lew, and Chuck Hagel, it becomes apparent that Churchill’s famous remark about Ramsey MacDonald as “the boneless wonder” is for once inadequate to the moment: Obama has installed an entire boneless chicken farm.  To do full justice to the complete mediocrity that is Obama’s second term, we’ll need to roll out the entire repertoire of Churchill’s dismissals of MacDonald, »

The Weekly Winston: Immigration Reform Edition

Featured image While we follow the spectacle of prospective immigration reform and whether Congress employs various “terminological inexactitudes” (Churchill’s term for “lie”) to disguise what would be in essence a blanket amnesty, herewith Churchill’s remark from 1906 that bears on this point: In dealing with nationalities, nothing is more fatal than a dodge.  Wrongs will be forgiven, sufferings and losses will be forgiven or forgotten, battles will be remembered only as they »

The Weekly Winston: Chuck Hagel as Thomas Inskip

Featured image The woeful Hagel nomination brings back memories of the 1936 appointment of the “entirely unsuited” (Richard Langworth’s phrase) Sir Thomas Inskip to be the Minister for the Coordination of Defense in the British government—a post that everyone thought Churchill should fill.  William Manchester pointed out that “a  search of The Times files reveals that his only notable public effort had been a successful campaign to suppress revisions of the Anglican »