Depredations such as these do not simply go away. About this, history is unambiguous. They build upon their own force, they attract opportunistic adherents, they destroy opposition. Therefore, it is essential that they are faced early and directly. It is essential that they are identified for what they are, in onslaughts that match them in assertiveness, and that whoever does this does so unflinchingly. The real power in politics is when politics are transcended, which is not difficult. It is necessary only to know and defend simple truths, and to hold to stated positions as if you believe in them, because, in fact, you do. Who the victor will be and by what narrow margin or technicality is immaterial to the fact that the horrid election of 2000 was created by the over-calculation and dissembling of both parties, which directed their gargantuan efforts not to clarify their positions but to obscure them. Had they argued forthrightly and drawn the clear lines the electorate deserves, the break almost
certainly would have been less ambiguous. With a more truthful politics, issues would be settled, things would get done, politics would actually recede. It is foolish to believe that because half the people favor blue and half yellow, what the country really wants is green. If a nation could put itself on the right path merely by splitting differences, history would be rather less sharp. You cannot properly address the questions of what constitutes an adequate national defense, of collective versus individual rights, of abortion, capital punishment, the redistribution of wealth, the role and effect of government, and the meaning of the Constitution unless you debate them with all the force of argument you can bring to bear for the purpose of determining the truth of contending propositions. Is it not astounding that this approach is associated with fanaticism and suicide, when in fact it is the sine qua non of survival in the long term?
Its exemplar is not a Pat Buchanan, who feeds on the absolutism of his positions more than on their content, and has yet to adjust to the Second World War. But nor is it a Trent Lott, who dwells behind the baseboards, ears cocked and fingers to the wind, surrounded by squadrons of ever-trembling mice.
With what instrument, then, does one calibrate what needs to be done and the means to do it? What magic allows a statesman to thread the needle without touching the sides, to choose the right rather than the easy course, and to keep politics stable and just? Churchill knew, as did Lincoln, Washington, and even statesman who, while practicing politics, transcended it. They lived by it. They saw their long-lasting power swell with it. It lay at the heart of their achievements, their beliefs, and their lives. It is what keeps them before our eyes even now It is the truth.
Churchill's magisterial strength was not born of ideology: he crossed the aisle twice and was notably inconsistent in the little matters that bind little minds. It did not derive from language itself. No matter how finely language may he constructed, divorced from truth it is repellent. And it did not derive from the calculus of power: he was at his best when he seemed God-forsaken, when, as if by divine allowance, there appeared before him an ember of truth that then would illuminate his way with the heat and light of a Glasgow steel furnace. The heart of what a statesman says is in simple words that draw their force from the compelling circumstance that they are true, that, in the hurricane of words, they are the eye.
The way out of the wilderness is the truth: recognizing it, stating it, defending it, living by it. Although you cannot know the truth absolutely, you can follow it quite easily. In everything we do, individually or collectively, it is God's imprimatur, and to continue to believe that we can conduct our affairs without it would he the greatest and most consequential mistake in the history of this nation. Better defeat with the truth in sight than a thousand hollow victories without it. Precisely that conviction is what allowed Winston Churchill his extraordinary relation to victory. And it is this paradox that, exiting this period of forgetfulness, we would do well to remember.
from Imprimis, Volume 30, Number 1, a monthly publication of Hillsdale College, January 2001
March 9, 2001
¡ver the horizon, waiting to launch their attack on America are those who would suggest that there is no absolute of law. By trying to prevent the display of the Ten Commandments in public buildings, sustained by a corrupted and bankrupt judiciary, the traitors would replace truth with the lies of their own false religion. Allowing discrimination in affirmative action; permitting murder and genocide here and abroad; stealing from those who work to support themselves and their families to give to those unwilling to work; attempting to prevent the innocent from protecting themselves against those bent on unlawfully and unjustly taking their possessions, or worse their very lives; ignoring the sanctity of life itself for social or political expediency; destroying the training ground for righteousness, morality, virtue, and integrity in the next generation ñ the nuclear, traditional family, in order to tolerate a sick minority contaminating our children; and the list seems almost unending, are all a product of our apathy and tolerance of injustice. Is there any question that America is under attack? Back when tea taxed at 1/8 of a cent was dumped into Boston harbor, or when brother fought against brother to sustain an economy of injustice, or on September 11, our enemies were not concealed in the black robes found in the courtrooms in this land between the shining seas.
Our call is for scientists, lawyers, historians, all who communicate truth and justice to a world with few champions and heroes, to step forward and let their voice be heard. At the least, an overwhelming majority of citizens willing to forego their affluence, and overcome their apathy and indifference, must demand that their legislators and Congressmen uphold and defend the intention of the Founding Fathers. The attack on the absolute of law in the form of preventing the public display of the Ten Commandments, violating the 1st Amendment as contained in the ìBill of Rightsî, is but another political subterfuge attacking the ìsupreme law of landî under the color of the very absolute law they wish to destroy. The entire legislative history of the 1st Amendment, and all of the writings of the framers, when viewed and taken in context makes it abundantly clear that the intention of the framers was to prevent any political religious organization from interfering with or discriminating in the affairs of the state. They depended on and acknowledged the foundational role of the Christian catholic Church in sustaining the Constitutional intention. In their plan for government there was no separation of Church and state. The Church, as the people adhering to the immutable Law of Natureís God gave power and authority to the state. Denominations, sects, or other religious political groups as the church (small c) were to be entirely separated from government. Is the funding, from the public treasury, of the activities of the religion of humanism, not really what those gathered in Constitution Hall, began their meetings with prayer, and paid chaplains from the treasury, were really prohibiting? Can anyone deny that the Ten Commandments, in its many forms, and under many names, consistent with justice, are the cornerstone of law in every enduring society? History is fact and truth; otherwise it would not be history. As truth, it cannot be ignored for long, and have any society survive.
May God continue to bless America, despite our constant failure to obey His absolute of Law!