Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat

Seventy years ago, on May 10, 1940, Winston Churchill became Prime Minister of Great Britain. He had been warning the world about the dangers of Nazism for almost a decade. He had been warning the world about the dangers of Bolshevism since 1918. By the time Churchill became Prime Minister, the British had seen Nazis overrun Poland, Denmark, and Norway. Churchill was watching helplessly as the German Army routed the combined armies of France, Britain, Holland, and Belgium. 

The new prime minister did not just face the fury of Hitler's hordes. Stalin had been a close and effective ally of Hitler since August 1939. Mussolini would quickly pounce and join with Germany against Britain. Japan menaced Commonwealth democracies and British interests in the Pacific. Enemies were everywhere.

Churchill was sixty-five when he first became prime minister. Three days after taking the premiership, Churchill told the British people what to expect: "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat." His moving words were no exaggeration when he spoke them. Beyond that, few people in May 1940 thought that Britain could actually win the Second World War.

Churchill could have offered something else. Whatever the long-term intentions of the Nazis -- and the historians' battle on that point still rages -- there is no doubt about what Hitler was publicly offering: peace, and a peace in which Britain could keep her island and her empire. Churchill, a Conservative, asked Clement Attlee, the Labour Party leader, to join the War Cabinet as Deputy Prime Minister. Attlee remained in the cabinet until Hitler was overcome. (Attlee would go on to defeat Churchill in the 1945 general election.)

Seventy years, almost to the day, after Churchill took over the government of Britain, the nation that produced the most inspiring opponent of totalitarianism and the most courageous politician in the first half of the twentieth century, British political parties contested in a general election, British party leaders showed their mettle and valor, and British voters cast their votes.

Today, Islamic terrorists and militants menace the same Western values that Hitler and Stalin threatened seven decades ago. Like Hitler, radical Islam hates Jews and gobbles up noxious nonsense like Mein Kampf and the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion and believes that Christianity must be destroyed. Like Stalin, radical Islam sees our traditions of ordered liberty and personal freedom as problems. Like Imperial Japan, radical Islam uses suicide bombers. In short, radical Islam operates much like the enemies in the Second World War that Churchill asked his people to fight.

Yet the costs to the British people of stopping radical Islam are trite compared to the price of defeating Hitler, resisting Japanese Imperialism, or containing Communism. No British leader asks the British people to sacrifice serious creature comforts for a brief period of time to stop radical Islam. Churchill led a nation wishing and willing to be led. His eloquence spoke to minds which understood the evil of their enemy and to hearts which would bet their lives to defeat that evil. 

Outside of our nation, how many leaders, how many political parties, and how many peoples are willing to do anything in the interest of what is morally right or intellectually honest? Greeks in 1941 resisted a Nazi Blitzkrieg with a fearless purpose and at a terrible price. Their descendants riot in the streets of Athens for nothing nobler than cushy government jobs and comfy pensions.

Millions of Europeans faced the Hellish horrors of Himmler's demons to protect Jews, to defy Nazism, and to help organize resistance movements. These Europeans suffered constant and real privation: hunger, cold, and isolation. Their progeny lack the guts to even condemn the savage misogyny of radical Islam or its intimidation of critics. 

Some say that selfishness has grabbed the souls of the West, but the problem is not that simple. Too many modern Europeans, or modern leftists in America, have become craven sheep, afraid not only of physical danger, but also of independent thought and of spiritual sincerity. The Moslems who seem likely to overwhelm Europe dwell in a sea of agnostics who have no answer to the mosque. The young Moslem suicide bombers display courage, even if it is courage used for terror. The deconstruction of real thinking means that necessary principles, like liberty and free markets, give way to meaningless slogans like "social justice" and "progressive policies." 

The body of the West, which fought and beat Hitler seventy years ago, has been slaughtered, gutted, stuffed, and placed as a lifeless trophy on the mantle of the vacuous mess of contradictions which is modern leftism. Blood, toil, sweat, and tears have no place in this sterile, plastic world. Like the bravery against formidable odds of Churchill and Washington, like the suffering of Christ on the Cross, like the millennia of persecuted Jews remaining Jews, the words of Churchill seventy years ago bring a harvest only when cast upon soil that is fertile and living. Those lands of rich harvest, those territories of moral purpose, shrink more each year. Life has never been better or easier, in many ways. But in other ways, life has never been worse.

Bruce Walker is the author of two books:  Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie, and his recently published The Swastika against the Cross: The Nazi War on Christianity.
Seventy years ago, on May 10, 1940, Winston Churchill became Prime Minister of Great Britain. He had been warning the world about the dangers of Nazism for almost a decade. He had been warning the world about the dangers of Bolshevism since 1918. By the time Churchill became Prime Minister, the British had seen Nazis overrun Poland, Denmark, and Norway. Churchill was watching helplessly as the German Army routed the combined armies of France, Britain, Holland, and Belgium. 

The new prime minister did not just face the fury of Hitler's hordes. Stalin had been a close and effective ally of Hitler since August 1939. Mussolini would quickly pounce and join with Germany against Britain. Japan menaced Commonwealth democracies and British interests in the Pacific. Enemies were everywhere.

Churchill was sixty-five when he first became prime minister. Three days after taking the premiership, Churchill told the British people what to expect: "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat." His moving words were no exaggeration when he spoke them. Beyond that, few people in May 1940 thought that Britain could actually win the Second World War.

Churchill could have offered something else. Whatever the long-term intentions of the Nazis -- and the historians' battle on that point still rages -- there is no doubt about what Hitler was publicly offering: peace, and a peace in which Britain could keep her island and her empire. Churchill, a Conservative, asked Clement Attlee, the Labour Party leader, to join the War Cabinet as Deputy Prime Minister. Attlee remained in the cabinet until Hitler was overcome. (Attlee would go on to defeat Churchill in the 1945 general election.)

Seventy years, almost to the day, after Churchill took over the government of Britain, the nation that produced the most inspiring opponent of totalitarianism and the most courageous politician in the first half of the twentieth century, British political parties contested in a general election, British party leaders showed their mettle and valor, and British voters cast their votes.

Today, Islamic terrorists and militants menace the same Western values that Hitler and Stalin threatened seven decades ago. Like Hitler, radical Islam hates Jews and gobbles up noxious nonsense like Mein Kampf and the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion and believes that Christianity must be destroyed. Like Stalin, radical Islam sees our traditions of ordered liberty and personal freedom as problems. Like Imperial Japan, radical Islam uses suicide bombers. In short, radical Islam operates much like the enemies in the Second World War that Churchill asked his people to fight.

Yet the costs to the British people of stopping radical Islam are trite compared to the price of defeating Hitler, resisting Japanese Imperialism, or containing Communism. No British leader asks the British people to sacrifice serious creature comforts for a brief period of time to stop radical Islam. Churchill led a nation wishing and willing to be led. His eloquence spoke to minds which understood the evil of their enemy and to hearts which would bet their lives to defeat that evil. 

Outside of our nation, how many leaders, how many political parties, and how many peoples are willing to do anything in the interest of what is morally right or intellectually honest? Greeks in 1941 resisted a Nazi Blitzkrieg with a fearless purpose and at a terrible price. Their descendants riot in the streets of Athens for nothing nobler than cushy government jobs and comfy pensions.

Millions of Europeans faced the Hellish horrors of Himmler's demons to protect Jews, to defy Nazism, and to help organize resistance movements. These Europeans suffered constant and real privation: hunger, cold, and isolation. Their progeny lack the guts to even condemn the savage misogyny of radical Islam or its intimidation of critics. 

Some say that selfishness has grabbed the souls of the West, but the problem is not that simple. Too many modern Europeans, or modern leftists in America, have become craven sheep, afraid not only of physical danger, but also of independent thought and of spiritual sincerity. The Moslems who seem likely to overwhelm Europe dwell in a sea of agnostics who have no answer to the mosque. The young Moslem suicide bombers display courage, even if it is courage used for terror. The deconstruction of real thinking means that necessary principles, like liberty and free markets, give way to meaningless slogans like "social justice" and "progressive policies." 

The body of the West, which fought and beat Hitler seventy years ago, has been slaughtered, gutted, stuffed, and placed as a lifeless trophy on the mantle of the vacuous mess of contradictions which is modern leftism. Blood, toil, sweat, and tears have no place in this sterile, plastic world. Like the bravery against formidable odds of Churchill and Washington, like the suffering of Christ on the Cross, like the millennia of persecuted Jews remaining Jews, the words of Churchill seventy years ago bring a harvest only when cast upon soil that is fertile and living. Those lands of rich harvest, those territories of moral purpose, shrink more each year. Life has never been better or easier, in many ways. But in other ways, life has never been worse.

Bruce Walker is the author of two books:  Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie, and his recently published The Swastika against the Cross: The Nazi War on Christianity.