October 25, 2008
Europe's Sorry Lesson
Seventy years ago last month the democracies of Europe were given their last chance, after four years of missed opportunities, to stop the territorial ambitions of Hitler and the Nazis. The political and intellectual elites of Europe, convinced of their unique powers of persuasion and sincerity, negotiated an Agreement with Hitler giving him virtually everything he asked for in Czechoslovakia and declared it "peace in our time". Fortified with the reality that they would not be restrained militarily, the Nazis quickly broke that Agreement and within a year marched into Poland. Thus, began World War ll and the death of nearly 70 million men, women and children.
It evolved that you, the American People, ultimately defeated the Axis Powers. This was a war you never asked for, tried to avoid and had it thrust upon you by the feckless efforts of others at appeasement and compromise with those who for years made clear their intentions and determination to conquer and impose their will on others.
In winning the War, you freed millions from tyranny and certain death, established democratic governments in the lands of your former enemies, rebuilt entire countries and above all showed the world the true power of liberty and freedom.
I am among those this nation liberated. I do not know where, when or to whom I was born, except to estimate that it occurred sometime in the later years of the War. My memory begins being alone in a room with a recently deceased woman; I have no knowledge of whom she was. I then began my life of survival of the streets of a totally destroyed city somewhere in central Europe. During this period I was shot and left for dead, rescued, placed in a military hospital and in due course put on a ship bound for the United States. I did not speak English and had no name until I was given one by the first of a number of foster families I lived with. Thanks to the efforts of the Catholic Church I was eventually adopted and put on the road to becoming an American citizen.
On the anniversary of the event that made World War ll and the postwar world inevitable, I want to express, on behalf of myself and all who were set free, our gratitude for the sacrifices, determination and leadership of the American people.
Many years ago, in our darkest hour, millions of us were able to look to the United States for deliverance. However, in the worst of times in the future, there will be no one for our nation to turn to but ourselves. Our ability to deal with the many challenges our country will face is very much in question as the vast majority of our political and intellectual elites, similar to their counterparts in Europe in the 1920's and 30's, have adopted internationalism and pacifism as a way to deal with threats from abroad and Euro-Socialism to solve problems at home.
Our primary international challenge is to live in peace in a world of easily obtained weapons of unimaginable desrtuction. The territorial and economic ambitions of totalitarian nations will continue to be a primary threat; however, these same countries choosing to arm terrorist groups either recruited or created as their surrogates will be an equal menace.
The invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq has forced the largest of these groups to stand and fight thus virtually destroying their viabilty while confirming to rogue nations that we will not tolerate their alliances with terrorists or the development of nuclear weapons. I have no doubt that if this interventionist philosophy had existed among the leaders of Europe during the 1930's, my life and those of hundreds of millions would have been far different and the world a much safer place today.
Despite the lessons of history and success in Iraq, many in our political ruling class want to return to a European reliance on internationism, open-ended negotiations, overwrought concern for the dubious claims and rights of the enemy and a belief in a unique ability to convince the most brutal of adversaries to live in peace. This reversion to failed strategy will only suceed in putting us at greater risk while emboldening those who wish us harm.
Within our borders, due to government policies, laws and regulations, we are faced with enormous national debt, unmanageable long term financial commitments and erosion of our economic base and societal foundations. Using the power of government to coerce lending for "fair and affordable housing" our financial markets are now under the control of bureaucrats and politicians in Washington.
Nonetheless many are willing to surrender more of their freedom and fortune in the vain hope that the same government and it's attendant ruling class can solve the problems they created. Their proposed solution is to continue adopting European socialism while dramatically weakening our economy and enriching potential enemies as these same elites in their worship of radical environmentalism and the power to tax and regulate free enterprise refuse to allow any practical solution to our energy and wealth creation needs.
One need only to look across the ocean to the countries of western Europe to see the failure of socialism: inevitable bankruptcy due to excessive entitlements, high unemployment, a declining birth rate, total dependence on others for defense and a rapidly diminishing role in world affairs.
Our country was established on the principle that the citizen and not the state was paramount, it was understood that the more government was empowered the greater the loss of individual freedom and wealth. The founding fathers did not intend to exchange the tyranny of a monarchy with that of today's theoretically well intentioned oligarchy made up of tenured politicians, entrenched bureaucrats, doctrinaire judges and self serving educators who in their governance have betrayed the long term interests of the most magnificent people on the face of the earth.
The critical years that will determine the country's ultimate course are upon us. We can proceed down the road emulating and compounding European failures thus condemning our nation to lose control of the future as we will no longer be able to finance our ability to remain a super power and have the will survive in a hostile world. Beginning with this election, the people must take back the reins of government at all levels, return to the principles that made this the extraordinary country that it is and stay master of our destiny.
It is my fervent prayer that this nation never experiences what the victims and survivors of World War ll endured. We can continue to live in peace but only if the United States is a dominant moral and economic force able to underwrite being the unrivaled military power in the world and be willing to use those strengths to aggressively confront potential adversaries before they metastasize into a far greater threat.