Churchill and Obama Considered - Dr. Dobson's October 2010 Newsletter
Greetings to you all. As you are aware, this country is only a few weeks away from one of the most important elections in our history. On November 2nd, candidates for Congress, governors, state representatives, and local officials will be chosen throughout the nation. Together, these men and women will have the power to promote the general welfare and protect the Constitution, or to damage them irreparably. At stake are policies that should concern millions of Americans, including federal funding for abortions, amnesty for illegal aliens, open homosexuality in the military, further assaults on religious liberty, and universal health care legislation amounting to rationing and the denial of medical services for older Americans. The possibility of “death panels” looms before us. Five hundred billion dollars in Medicare funding are expected to be siphoned from the budget. All of these issues and many more will hang in the balance early next month.
If the wrong people are retained or put in office, the indiscriminate taxing, borrowing and spending practices of the last five years will continue unabated. That will undermine the financial integrity of the family and leave the nation severely weakened.
None of these major concerns are really new, however. Nations grow weak and die for many of the same reasons, usually related to poor leadership. I have been reading an outstanding book that deals with some of the issues we are facing, which mirror the problems of the 20th century. It is titled Churchill By Himself, edited by Richard Langworth.1 The book presents 350,000 of Sir Winston’s 15 million published words, including 600 pages of quotations, aphorisms, speeches, letters and papers from his school days at Harrow to his death at his London home in 1965. He was 90 years old.
If you have listened to our broadcast through the years, you have heard me express great admiration for this intellectual giant. He served for five decades in the British government, and was Prime Minister during the challenging and bloody days of World War II. I was a child at the time and heard my father and other adults referring with awe to the man who stood alone against the Nazi menace. I grew up wanting to know more about this indomitable leader, which has continued to be a lifelong quest.
“Sir Winston” was a prolific reader with a photographic memory, which explains the breadth of his literary genius. Much of it is captured in Churchill By Himself, a compendium of wisdom, wit, history, government and philosophy. What strikes me is how amazingly relevant his perspectives and pronouncements are to our world today. The challenges we face are, in many regards, recycled and repackaged from an earlier era.
That brings me to the point of this letter. Churchill’s recorded and written words stand in stark contrast to the policies and beliefs of the current President of the United States, Barack Obama. They couldn’t be farther apart in most instances. For example, President Obama and his Administration believe that when an economy falters, the government should increase taxes and spend like there is no tomorrow. Doing so will supposedly bring recovery. It is called Keynesian economics, and it never works. This is what Churchill wrote:
• Can a people tax themselves into prosperity? Can a man stand in a bucket and lift himself up by the handle? (Churchill By Himself, page 387.)
• Taxes are an evil—a necessary evil, but still an evil, and the fewer of them we have the better. (Churchill By Himself, page 424.)
• When you borrow money from another country for the sacred purpose of national rehabilitation, it is wrong to squander it upon indulgences. (Churchill by Himself, page 21.)
The third quote seems to condemn the concept of a massive stimulus package, which in the Obama era was funded by loans mostly from China of over a trillion dollars. It was then spent on a shameful array of pork and became a slush fund for those seeking re-election.
How I wish more of the American people and their congressional leaders understood the straightforward principles Sir Winston articulated in these three quotes. It is foolish to believe that a government can solve an economic crisis by taxing and spending itself into prosperity. If that were possible, every poor country in the world would confiscate the financial holdings of its people and waste it on pork, projects, and programs motivated by political power. The predictable end to such wild spending is not national wealth. It is bankruptcy.
That is where President Obama appears to be taking us, as he and his friends in Congress are burning their way through the accumulated wealth, past and present, of the most prosperous nation in the history of the world. The national debt stands now at $13 trillion.2 The projected deficit for the next 10 years is another $11 trillion,3 with a combined national debt of $24 trillion or more. It was $5 trillion in 2000!4 Present projections are only the beginning of our economic troubles. Medicare and Social Security are almost broke. Anticipated spending on Cap and Trade to address the global warming myth, and further bailouts, giveaways, and redistributions, are beyond comprehension! All of this spending is on the table, less than two years into the new Administration! Sadly, we do appear to be on our way to the poorhouse!
Frankly, I shudder to think of what U.S bankruptcy would mean for international stability. Gone would be America’s ability to defend itself and other democracies against tyranny and subjugation. We live in a dangerous world, where biological, chemical, nuclear, and conventional weapons are proliferating rapidly, and where electromagnetic pulse bombs may already be in the hands of our enemies. Evil dictators, such as Ahmadinejad from Iran, have already announced their intention of incinerating the nation of Israel.5 America must also be destroyed if those seeking world domination are to have their way. Have we forgotten the lessons of 9/11 already?
President Obama has repeatedly extended an olive branch to Iran and said America is willing to negotiate.
• If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than live as slaves. (Churchill By Himself, page 186.)
He also said in 1934:
• Wars come very suddenly. I have lived through a period when one looked forward, as we do now, with anxiety and uncertainty to what would happen in the future. Suddenly something did happen – tremendous, swift, overpowering, irresistible. (Churchill By Himself, page 187.)
Only a strong military gives us any hope of survival in such a world. But as we all know, modern militaries are horrendously expensive to develop and maintain, and they cannot be supported by nations in financial ruin. Furthermore, there is little motivation to support our armed forces. Indeed, when the President wanted to demonstrate his fiscal responsibility to the media in 2009, he selected a tiny fraction of the federal budget to be cut. What did he consider expendable? You guessed it. Half of the programs to be eliminated came from the military, including a new jet fighter (F-22), already designed and ready for production, and a vital missile defense system.6
We desperately need another “Winston Churchill” in either political party with the common sense to defend our nation.
Now, let’s review what the Prime Minister had to say about socialism versus free enterprise and capitalism:
• The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries. (Churchill By Himself, page 13.)
• The elimination of the profit motive and of self-interest as a practical guide in the myriad transactions of daily life will restrict, paralyse, and destroy British ingenuity, thrift, contrivance and good housekeeping at every stage in our life and production, and will reduce all our industries from a profit-making to a loss- making process. (Churchill By Himself, page 394.)
• Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy. (Churchill By Himself, page 394.)
• The choice is between two ways of life: between individual liberty and State domination; between concentrations of ownership in the hands of the State and the extension of ownership over the widest number of individuals; between the dead hand of monopoly and the stimulus of competition; between a policy of increasing restraint and a policy of liberating energy and ingenuity; between a policy of leveling down and a policy of opportunity for all to rise upwards from a basic standard. (Churchill By Himself, page 395.)
• You may try to destroy wealth, and find that all you have done is to increase poverty. (Churchill By Himself, page 29.)
• When I see the present Socialist Government denouncing capitalism in all its forms, mocking with derision and contempt the tremendous free enterprise capitalist system on which the mighty production of the United States is founded, I cannot help feeling that as a nation we are not acting honourably or even honestly. (Churchill By Himself, page 124.)
Referring to the system of “checks and balances,” which the Founding Fathers incorporated into the Constitution (and that we have lost for now), Churchill said this:
• The British race has always abhorred arbitrary and absolute government in every form. The great men who founded the American constitution expressed this same separation of authority in the strongest and most durable form. Not only did they divide executive, legislative and judicial functions, but also by instituting a federal system they preserved immense and sovereign rights to local communities and by all these means they have maintained—often at some inconvenience—a system of law and liberty under which they thrived and reached the physical and, at this moment, the moral leadership of the world. (Churchill By Himself, page 127.)
Churchill’s perspective on Islam:
• The fact that in Mohammedan law, every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property—either as a child, a wife, or a concubine—must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen; all know how to die; but the influence of the [Islamic] religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. (Churchill By Himself, page 464.)
Here is a quote from Churchill about British appeasers, after the decision was made in 1933 not to rearm in response to the Nazi threat. He knew this lack of foresight would lead to war. He wrote:
• It is much better for parties or politicians to be turned out of office than to imperil the life of the nation. (Churchill By Himself, page 167.)
You might be interested to know how Churchill felt about the American press, or what he called journalism. This is how he described it:
• ... the essence of American journalism is vulgarity divested of truth. Their best papers write for a class of snotty housemaids and footmen and even the nicest people here have so much vitiated their taste as to appreciate the style. (Churchill By Himself, page 130.)
Here are two other prescient statements made by Sir Winston:
• The Americans can always be trusted to do the right thing, once all other possibilities have been exhausted. (Churchill By Himself, page 124.)
• Silly people, and there are many, not only in enemy countries, might discount the force of the United States. Some said they were soft, others that they would never be united. They would fool around at a distance. They would never come to grips. They would never stand bloodletting. Their democracy and system of recurrent elections would paralyse their war horizon to friend or foe. Now we should see the weakness of this numerous but remote, wealthy, and talkative people. But I had studied the American Civil War, fought out to the last desperate inch. (Churchill By Himself, page 125.)
Alas, I have run out of space and time for this discussion. There are hundreds of other quotes that are relevant to our political circumstances and to the upcoming election. As for the views of Winston Churchill as compared to those of Barack Obama, let me remind you that on Inauguration Day, 2009, one of the first decisions the new President made was to send back to the British government a bronze bust of none other than Winston Churchill, thereby insulting our allies from his first day in office.7 Perhaps we now know why. Obama’s and Churchill’s perspectives on the world and on governmental policies are radically different!
I’ll close by reminding you again to vote on November 2nd, 2010. How you mark your ballots is your business. The important thing is that you let your voices be heard, and that you help select the leaders and the policies that will guide this country for the next two years. America does, indeed, stand at a crossroads that will determine the direction it takes in years to come. I pray that you will join millions of your countrymen at the polls on Election Day.
May God’s blessings be on you and on this great nation.
James C. Dobson, Ph.D.
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1. Richard M. Langworth, ed. Churchill By Himself. PublicAffairs, 2008
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