Tag: Winston Churchill

Quote of the Day: Capitalism and Socialism


“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” – Winston Churchill

How can you tell we are entering a socialist society in the United States? The tell is the amount by which shared miseries have grown. Fuel and food prices have soared. There are scarcities of critical items, including baby formula and amoxicillin, scarcities that once they start never seem to grow away. People are worried that what they say might get them fired or imprisoned. Not for actual crime, but for thoughtcrime. And violent crime is growing — as it seems to in every socialist society from the Soviet Union to Venezuela. (Of  course, the government denies that violent crime exists, except by wasters who oppose the government — January 6th trials, anyone?)

Quote of the Day: Victory


“Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.” – Winston Churchill

There has been a lot of talk recently about victory and defeat in Ukraine recently. But what defines victory? The definition of victory is set by both sides, and are not necessarily “we win, they lose” binary. They often are, but depending on what each side seeks, it is possible for both sides to be convinced they won. (The classic example of this is the Battle of Kafji in the Gulf War. The Coalition felt they won the battle because they drove off the Iraqis. On the other hand, the Iraqis held it up as a victory because they had successfully conducted a raid against the Coalition forces. They even used it as an example of a successful battle in their war college.)

Quote of the Day: Churchill on Family Size


“One to reproduce your wife, one to reproduce yourself, one for the increase in population, and one in case of accident.” — Winston Churchill

This was his formula for family size. It is one Janet and I subscribed to, although we only got to three. (Fortunately, there have been no accidents.) It seems anachronistic today. The better sort have been decrying increase in population for nearly a century because it will lower global standards of living. (This despite fewer people living in abject poverty today than in any time in history — even though we have nearly three times the world population as we had when family planning became a crusade for the “progressives.”) China embraced a one-child policy that is leading it towards demographic disaster over the next 20 years, despite their efforts to reverse it. So let’s hail Churchill’s formula for children.

Over the Hill and Through the Woods to Mr. Churchill’s House We Go: A Disaster in 3 Parts


In our household, I’m known as the one with ‘bright ideas.’ 

Maybe I should clarify. ‘Bright ideas’ here is spoken in roughly the same tone which Bill Buckley reserved for his interactions with Gore Vidal. Somewhere between getting caught up in a riot in Paris and taking up kicking men twice my size in the head as a hobby, my parents lost some confidence in my critical thinking skills. Well, before that, maybe, but you get the picture. 

Quote of the Day: Never Yield to Force


“Never give in. Never, never, never, never! Never yield in any way, great or small…Never yield to force and the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” – Winston Churchill

My grandparents came from Greece. They have a saying there: “It’s better to die on your feet than live on your knees.” It is the way Greeks live. They fought the Turks for nearly 400 years before gaining independence.

A Book to Be Treasured


Back in 1989, my old friend James Muller of the University of Alaska at Anchorage made a discovery. He was in London. He had access to the libraries there. And while rooting about he found out that Winston Churchill’s first truly great book – The River War: An Historical Account of the Reconquest of the Soudan, which he had published in 1899 – had never been reprinted in its original form, that what had passed since 1901 as that work was an abridged, much-revised, and toned-down version of the original. He also discovered that the original work, though in places impolitic, was a genuine treasure – and he set out to make that treasure accessible again and took me along for the ride.

It has been my privilege to follow the evolution of this project now for more than three decades and to take joy in its completion. Jim Muller is a perfectionist. So he did not think it sufficient to usher the original version of The River War back into print. Instead, he decided to do what classicists call a critical edition – including the original maps, the original line drawings, the original photographs, and everything that was added in subsequent editions; marking everything that was eliminated; adding in an appendix the newspaper articles on which it was in outline based; digging up the dispatches that served as a basis for the published articles, transcribing them, and including them as well; adding notes identifying everyone and every place mentioned in the text and a host of appendices elucidating what happened; and writing an introduction about the detective work done, the various editions published, the history of the work, and its evolution, which runs nearly one-hundred-fifty pages. It is like no book published in the last hundred years. It will show readers why Winston Churchill won the Nobel Prize . . . for Literature, and it will cast light on the current discontents. For the reconquest of the Sudan involved the suppression of the first great modern Islamic-revivalist revolution, and the troubles that the British had to face are not unlike those we face right now.

And, best of all, it is finally in print. St. Augustine’s Press brought it out some months ago, and here are excerpts from the reviews:

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and guest co-host Kerry McDonald talk with Paul Reid, co-author, with William Manchester, of the New York Times best-selling biography of Winston Churchill, The Last Lion: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965.

Reid shares how he was enlisted to complete William Manchester’s biographical trilogy on the greatest political figure of the 20th century, which became a best-seller. They discuss Churchill’s remarkable foresight about the dangers of Nazi Germany in the 1930s, his courageous World War II leadership, and what students should know about his central role in the Allies’ defeat of Hitler, as well as big-picture lessons on statesmanship during times of crisis. They review the significance of Churchill’s famous “Iron Curtain” speech, delivered in Missouri 75 years ago, a seminal Cold War event warning about communist totalitarianism. Reid offers insights on Churchill’s liberal arts education and grounding in classical history, which informed his actions as well as his 43 book-length works and extraordinary speeches. He also sheds light on the more private side of this great figure, who was an ambitious, driven workaholic, yet also charismatic, playful, and artistic. The interview concludes with a reading from Reid’s Churchill biography.

‘Oblivion or Glory: 1921 and the Making of Winston Churchill’


As 1920 ended, Winston Churchill seemed headed for obscurity. The British failure at Gallipoli brought his political career to collapse in 1916. While partially restored before the Great War ended, he was stalemated in a dead-end cabinet position as 1921 opened. His judgment was widely questioned. He was experiencing financial difficulties.

When 1921 ended, everything seemed changed. His political star was rising again, and his finances were secure. Far from heading to insignificance, Churchill was again heading to a destiny of leadership.

“Oblivion or Glory: 1921 and the Making of Winston Churchill,” by David Stafford, tells the story of Churchill’s transformative year. It was a year of great opportunity and great tragedy for Winston Churchill.

In this episode, British author and filmmaker Damien Lewis sits down with Dave to discuss his new book, Churchill’s Shadow Raiders: The Race To Develop Radar, WWII’s Secret Invisible Weapon. The discussion (and the book) centers on a Top Secret mission to “snatch and grab,” Adolph Hitler’s prize possession; a rather highly advanced radar that enabled German anti-aircraft guns to decimate British bombers and otherwise run roughshod over anything and anyone that stood between the Third Reich and Hitler’s dreams of conquest. The daring courage and relentless tenacity of fledgling airborne commandos, spurred on by Winston Churchill over the objections of senior government officials, literally saved the war effort and became the genesis of the SAS. It’s a fascinating book, and a riveting conversation that you don’t want to miss.

Dave also welcomes Ricochet Member and Moderator Randy Weivoda onto the program to talk about various happenings with Ricochet Members, including plans for a large Ricochet Member Meet Up, next year in Louisiville, Kentucky.  Interested? Listen for details!

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This has been an interesting time, forced to make do at home. Fortunately, I am able to continue teaching my math classes online by utilizing Screencast-O-Matic, YouTube, and Zoom. So far, my students have not lost any precious geometry and calculus content! I don’t think I could have successfully taught my students remotely just a […]

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday. Book Review ‘Churchill’s Phoney War’ a nuanced view of a leader By MARK […]

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May 13, 1940: The Day the English Language Was Mobilized and Sent Into Battle


Seventy-nine years ago, on Monday, May 13, 1940, a man who had been the Prime Minister of England for just three days, and who’d only ascended to the position as the candidate of last resort after internecine squabbling within his own party, and only with the reluctant support of his King, made his maiden speech to Parliament (excerpt follows, entire speech here):

Sir, to form an Administration of this scale and complexity is a serious undertaking in itself, but it must be remembered that we are in the preliminary stage of one of the greatest battles in history, that we are in action at many points in Norway and in Holland, that we have to be prepared in the Mediterranean, that the air battle is continuous and that many preparations have to be made here at home. In this crisis I hope I may be pardoned if I do not address the House at any length today. I hope that any of my friends and colleagues, or former colleagues, who are affected by the political reconstruction, will make all allowances for any lack of ceremony with which it has been necessary to act. I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined the government: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”

We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: victory; victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival. Let that be realized; no survival for the British Empire, no survival for all that the British Empire has stood for, no survival for the urge and impulse of the ages, that mankind will move forward towards its goal. But I take up my task with buoyancy and hope. I feel sure that our cause will not be suffered to fail among men. At this time I feel entitled to claim the aid of all, and I say, “Come then, let us go forward together with our united strength.”

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Some people regard private enterprise as a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look on it as a cow they can milk. Not enough people see it as a healthy horse, pulling a sturdy wagon. – Winston Churchill When I first read this great quote referring to private enterprise as a “healthy horse,” I immediately […]

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Trump Went Easy on Putin? Get a Load of Churchill on Stalin


Winston Churchill to the House of Commons in 1945, shortly after returning from the Yalta Conference:

The impression I brought back from the Crimea is that Marshal Stalin and the Soviet leaders wish to live in honourable friendship and equality with the Western democracies.  I feel also that their word is their bond.  I know of no Government which stands to its obligations…more solidly than the Russian Soviet Government.  I decline absolutely to embark here on a discussion about Russian good faith.

Want to Write Well? Get Anglo-Saxon with It.


William Zinsser writes about the Latin, Norman, and Anglo-Saxon version of some words. When you need some information you can simply ask. If you want to be fancy you can pose a question. But only the truly sophisticated will interrogate.

Boris below observes the genius behind Churchill’s style is in moving between these different variations at the right moment. When Churchill really wants to grab the audience and make a memorable point he goes to the pre-Norman, Anglo-Saxon vocabulary that they know. Zinsser would approve as he advises us to cut out the clutter and get simple with word usage to produce great writing.

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This holy week, “while no creature was stirring, not even a mouse”, several publications posted some startling articles. For example: Dec. 21, 2017 The following story appeared in Military.Com, regarding a routine rotation of 300 marines in Norway this year. We are there at the invitation of Norway to “enhance partnerships” with European Allies. However, […]

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Quote of the Day: Democracy


“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” — Winston Churchill

Yes, he also said democracy is the worst form of government, except all others, but watching the votes this Tuesday makes me sympathetic to what I chose as a quote today. As H.L. Mencken said: “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”

The Speech Heard Round the World


President Trump’s first address to the UN could have been called The Gathering Storm, the title of Winston Churchill’s 1948 book. While many separate elements of the speech hit on the challenges of our day and time, taken together, there was thunder, wind, and warning combined with hope. Trump first thanked those who have supported our country’s hurricane recovery efforts and mentioned record job creation, market growth and drop in unemployment, then got down to message. “We live in a time of extraordinary opportunity, potential waiting to be unleashed. Yet, we meet at a time of both immense promise and great peril.”

Military Strength – One of Trump’s first statements (which he reiterates in all his speeches), was sending a message to those present, and especially to those not present, namely Russia, China and North Korea, whose delegation walked out, that he is restoring and upgrading our defenses, which were reduced under Obama — Peace through strength.

Pillars of Peace – Trump reminded the UN body of their original mission. No. 1 under Article 2 of the UN Charter: “The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.” The UN was designed to keep the peace through the collective effort of all the member countries, it was not designed to ignore the sovereignty of each member or placate countries that ignore the goals that created the institution. Sovereignty – Security – Prosperity. “The Marshall Plan was built on the noble idea that the world is safer when nations are strong, independent and free.”