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Winston Churchill: Socialist-Fascist, anti-liberty, warmonger, very similar to Hitler

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  • Winston Churchill: Socialist-Fascist, anti-liberty, warmonger, very similar to Hitler

    Rethinking Churchill by Ralph Raico

    "on all crucial issues, social democrats stand against liberty and tradition, and in favor of statism and Big Government. They are more dangerous in the long run than the communists, not simply because they have endured, but also because their program and their rhetorical appeals are far more insidious, since they claim to combine socialism with the appealing virtues of 'democracy' and freedom of inquiry" Murray Rothbard as quoted in: The Irrepressible Rothbard, L.H. Rockwell, 2000, pg. 23.

    "Social democracy is objectively the moderate wing of fascism. They are not antipodes, they are twins.”
    Concerning the International Situation, Report to the Communist International, Joseph Stalin, 1924.

    [...]Churchill as Man of the Century will be appropriate. This has been the century of the State of the rise and hyper-trophic growth of the welfare-warfare state and Churchill was from first to last a Man of the State, of the welfare state and of the warfare state. War, of course, was his lifelong passion; and, as an admiring historian has written: "Among his other claims to fame, Winston Churchill ranks as one of the founders of the welfare state." Thus, while Churchill never had a principle he did not in the end betray, this does not mean that there was no slant to his actions, no systematic bias. There was, and that bias was towards lowering the barriers to state power.

    To gain any understanding of Churchill, we must go beyond the heroic images propagated for over half a century. The conventional picture of Churchill, especially of his role in World War II, was first of all the work of Churchill himself, through the distorted histories he composed and rushed into print as soon as the war was over. In more recent decades, the Churchill legend has been adopted by an internationalist establishment for which it furnishes the perfect symbol and an inexhaustible vein of high-toned blather. Churchill has become, in Christopher Hitchens's phrase, a "totem" of the American establishment, not only the scions of the New Deal, but the neo-conservative apparatus as well politicians like Newt Gingrich and Dan Quayle, corporate "knights" and other denizens of the Reagan and Bush Cabinets, the editors and writers of the Wall Street Journal, and a legion of "conservative" columnists led by William Safire and William Buckley.[...]

    Opportunism and Rhetoric

    Yet before 1940, the word most closely associated with Churchill was "opportunist." He had twice changed his party affiliation from Conservative to Liberal, and then back again. His move to the Liberals was allegedly on the issue of free trade. But in 1930, he sold out on free trade as well, even tariffs on food, and proclaimed that he had cast off "Cobdenism" forever. As head of the Board of Trade before World War I, he opposed increased armaments; after he became First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911, he pushed for bigger and bigger budgets, spreading wild rumors of the growing strength of the German Navy, just as he did in the 1930s about the buildup of the German Air Force. He attacked socialism before and after World War I, while during the War he promoted war-socialism, calling for nationalization of the railroads, and declaring in a speech: "Our whole nation must be organized, must be socialized if you like the word." Churchill's opportunism continued to the end. In the 1945 election, he briefly latched on to Hayek's Road to Serfdom, and tried to paint the Labour Party as totalitarian, while it was Churchill himself who, in 1943, had accepted the Beveridge plans for the post-war welfare state and Keynesian management of the economy. Throughout his career his one guiding rule was to climb to power and stay there.

    There were two principles that for a long while seemed dear to Churchill's heart. One was anti-Communism: he was an early and fervent opponent of Bolshevism. For years, he very correctly decried the "bloody baboons" and "foul murderers of Moscow." His deep early admiration of Benito Mussolini was rooted in his shrewd appreciation of what Mussolini had accomplished (or so he thought). In an Italy teetering on the brink of Leninist revolution, Il Duce had discovered the one formula that could counteract the Leninist appeal: hyper-nationalism with a social slant. Churchill lauded "Fascismo's triumphant struggle against the bestial appetites and passions of Leninism," claiming that "it proved the necessary antidote to the Communist poison."

    Yet the time came when Churchill made his peace with Communism. In 1941, he gave unconditional support to Stalin, welcomed him as an ally, embraced him as a friend. Churchill, as well as Roosevelt, used the affectionate nickname, "Uncle Joe"; as late as the Potsdam conference, he repeatedly announced, of Stalin: "I like that man." In suppressing the evidence that the Polish officers at Katyn had been murdered by the Soviets, he remarked: "There is no use prowling round the three year old graves of Smolensk." Obsessed not only with defeating Hitler, but with destroying Germany, Churchill was oblivious to the danger of a Soviet inundation of Europe until it was far too late. The climax of his infatuation came at the November, 1943, Tehran conference, when Churchill presented Stalin with a Crusader's sword. Those who are concerned to define the word "obscenity" may wish to ponder that episode.

    Finally, there was what appeared to be the abiding love of his life, the British Empire. If Churchill stood for anything at all, it was the Empire; he famously said that he had not become Prime Minister in order to preside over its liquidation. But that, of course, is precisely what he did, selling out the Empire and everything else for the sake of total victory over Germany.

    [...]

    But while Winston had no principles, there was one constant in his life: the love of war. It began early. As a child, he had a huge collection of toy soldiers, 1500 of them, and he played with them for many years after most boys turn to other things. They were "all British," he tells us, and he fought battles with his brother Jack, who "was only allowed to have colored troops; and they were not allowed to have artillery." He attended Sandhurst, the military academy, instead of the universities, and "from the moment that Churchill left Sandhurst . . . he did his utmost to get into a fight, wherever a war was going on." All his life he was most excited on the evidence, only really excited by war. He loved war as few modern men ever have he even "loved the bangs," as he called them, and he was very brave under fire.

    In 1925, Churchill wrote: "The story of the human race is war." This, however, is untrue; potentially, it is disastrously untrue. Churchill lacked any grasp of the fundamentals of the social philosophy of classical liberalism. In particular, he never understood that, as Ludwig von Mises explained, the true story of the human race is the extension of social cooperation and the division of labor. Peace, not war, is the father of all things. For Churchill, the years without war offered nothing to him but "the bland skies of peace and platitude." This was a man, as we shall see, who wished for more wars than actually happened.

    When he was posted to India and began to read avidly, to make up for lost time, Churchill was profoundly impressed by Darwinism. He lost whatever religious faith he may have had through reading Gibbon, he said and took a particular dislike, for some reason, to the Catholic Church, as well as Christian missions. He became, in his own words, "a materialist to the tips of my fingers," and he fervently upheld the worldview that human life is a struggle for existence, with the outcome the survival of the fittest. This philosophy of life and history Churchill expressed in his one novel, Savrola. That Churchill was a racist goes without saying, yet his racism went deeper than with most of his contemporaries. It is curious how, with his stark Darwinian outlook, his elevation of war to the central place in human history, and his racism, as well as his fixation on "great leaders," Churchill's worldview resembled that of his antagonist, Hitler.

    [...]

    Tossed by the tides of faddish opinion, with no principles of his own and hungry for power, Churchill soon became an adherent of the "New Liberalism," an updated version of his father's "Tory Democracy." The "new" liberalism differed from the "old" only in the small matter of substituting incessant state activism for laissez-faire.

    Although his conservative idolators seem blithely unaware of the fact – for them it is always 1940 – Churchill was one of the chief architects of the welfare state in Britain. The modern welfare state, successor to the welfare state of 18th-century absolutism, began in the 1880s in Germany, under Bismarck.
    [...]
    Following a visit to Germany, Lloyd George and Churchill were both converted to the Bismarckian model of social insurance schemes. As Churchill told his constituents: "My heart was filled with admiration of the patient genius which had added these social bulwarks to the many glories of the German race." He set out, in his words, to "thrust a big slice of Bismarckianism over the whole underside of our industrial system." In 1908, Churchill announced in a speech in Dundee: "I am on the side of those who think that a greater collective sentiment should be introduced into the State and the municipalities. I should like to see the State undertaking new functions." Still, individualism must be respected: "No man can be a collectivist alone or an individualist alone. He must be both an individualist and a collectivist. The nature of man is a dual nature. The character of the organisation of human society is dual." This, by the way, is a good sample of Churchill as political philosopher: it never gets much better.
    [...]
    Continued
    Last edited by | K Y L E |; 02-16-2007, 01:10 PM.

  • #2
    World War I

    From the outset of hostilities, Churchill, as head of the Admiralty, was instrumental in establishing the hunger blockade of Germany. This was probably the most effective weapon employed on either side in the whole conflict. The only problem was that, according to everyone's interpretation of international law except Britain's, it was illegal. The blockade was not "close-in," but depended on scattering mines, and many of the goods deemed contraband for instance, food for civilians had never been so classified before. But, throughout his career, international law and the conventions by which men have tried to limit the horrors of war meant nothing to Churchill. As a German historian has dryly commented, Churchill was ready to break the rules whenever the very existence of his country was at stake, and "for him this was very often the case."

    The hunger blockade had certain rather unpleasant consequences. About 750,000 German civilians succumbed to hunger and diseases caused by malnutrition. The effect on those who survived was perhaps just as frightful in its own way. A historian of the blockade concluded: "the victimized youth [of World War I] were to become the most radical adherents of National Socialism." It was also complications arising from the British blockade that eventually provided the pretext for Wilson's decision to go to war in 1917.
    [...]
    Between the wars
    [...]
    His great claim to fame in the modern mythology begins with his hard line against Hitler in the 1930s. But it is important to realize that Churchill had maintained a hard line against Weimar Germany, as well. He denounced all calls for Allied disarmament, even before Hitler came to power. Like other Allied leaders, Churchill was living a protracted fantasy: that Germany would submit forever to what it viewed as the shackles of Versailles. In the end, what Britain and France refused to grant to a democratic Germany they were forced to concede to Hitler. Moreover, if most did not bother to listen when Churchill fulminated on the impending German threat, they had good reason. He had tried to whip up hysteria too often before: for a crusade against Bolshevik Russia, during the General Strike of 1926, on the mortal dangers of Indian independence, in the abdication crisis. Why pay any heed to his latest delusion?

    Churchill had been a strong Zionist practically from the start, holding that Zionism would deflect European Jews from social revolution to partnership with European imperialism in the Arab world. Now, in 1936, he forged links with the informal London pressure group known as The Focus, whose purpose was to open the eyes of the British public to the one great menace, Nazi Germany. "The great bulk of its finance came from rich British Jews such as Sir Robert Mond (a director of several chemical firms) and Sir Robert Waley-Cohn, the managing director of Shell, the latter contributing £50,000." The Focus was to be useful in expanding Churchill's network of contacts and in pushing for his entry into the Cabinet.

    Though a Conservative MP, Churchill began berating the Conservative governments, first Baldwin's and then Chamberlain's, for their alleged blindness to the Nazi threat. He vastly exaggerated the extent of German rearmament, formidable as it was, and distorted its purpose by harping on German production of heavy-bombers. This was never a German priority, and Churchill's fabrications were meant to demonstrate a German design to attack Britain, which was never Hitler's intention. At this time, Churchill busily promoted the Grand Alliance that was to include Britain, France, Russia, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. Since the Poles, having nearly been conquered by the Red Army in 1920, rejected any coalition with the Soviet Union, and since the Soviets' only access to Germany was through Poland, Churchill's plan was worthless.
    [...]
    War Crimes Discreetly Veiled
    There are a number of episodes during the war revealing of Churchill's character that deserve to be mentioned. A relatively minor incident was the British attack on the French fleet, at Mers-el-Kebir (Oran), off the coast of Algeria. After the fall of France, Churchill demanded that the French surrender their fleet to Britain. The French declined, promising that they would scuttle the ships before allowing them to fall into German hands. Against the advice of his naval officers, Churchill ordered British ships off the Algerian coast to open fire. About 1500 French sailors were killed. This was obviously a war crime, by anyone's definition: an unprovoked attack on the forces of an ally without a declaration of war. At Nuremberg, German officers were sentenced to prison for less. Realizing this, Churchill lied about Mers-el-Kebir in his history, and suppressed evidence concerning it in the official British histories of the war. With the attack on the French fleet, Churchill confirmed his position as the prime subverter through two world wars of the system of rules of warfare that had evolved in the West over centuries.

    But the great war crime which will be forever linked to Churchill's name is the terror-bombing of the cities of Germany that in the end cost the lives of around 600,000 civilians and left some 800,000 seriously injured. (Compare this to the roughly 70,000 British lives lost to German air attacks. In fact, there were nearly as many Frenchmen killed by Allied air attacks as there were Englishmen killed by Germans.)
    Brazenly lying to the House of Commons and the public, Churchill claimed that only military and industrial installations were targeted. In fact, the aim was to kill as many civilians as possible thus, "area" bombing, or "carpet" bombing and in this way to break the morale of the Germans and terrorize them into surrendering.

    Harris at least had the courage of his convictions. He urged that the government openly announce that:

    the aim of the Combined Bomber Offensive . . . should be unambiguously stated [as] the destruction of German cities, the killing of German workers, and the disruption of civilized life throughout Germany.

    The campaign of murder from the air leveled Germany. A thousand-year-old urban culture was annihilated, as great cities, famed in the annals of science and art, were reduced to heaps of smoldering ruins. There were high points: the bombing of Lübeck, when that ancient Hanseatic town "burned like kindling"; the 1000-bomber raid over Cologne, and the following raids that somehow, miraculously, mostly spared the great Cathedral but destroyed the rest of the city, including thirteen Romanesque churches; the firestorm that consumed Hamburg and killed some 42,000 people. No wonder that, learning of this, a civilized European man like Joseph Schumpeter, at Harvard, was driven to telling "anyone who would listen" that Churchill and Roosevelt were destroying more than Genghis Khan.

    The most infamous act was the destruction of Dresden, in February, 1945. According to the official history of the Royal Air Force: "The destruction of Germany was by then on a scale which might have appalled Attila or Genghis Khan." Dresden, which was the capital of the old kingdom of Saxony, was an indispensable stop on the Grand Tour, the baroque gem of Europe. The war was practically over, the city filled with masses of helpless refugees escaping the advancing Red Army. Still, for three days and nights, from February 13 to 15, Dresden was pounded with bombs. At least 30,000 people were killed, perhaps as many as 135,000 or more. The Zwinger Palace; Our Lady's Church (die Frauenkirche); the Bruhl Terrace, overlooking the Elbe where, in Turgenev's Fathers and Sons, Uncle Pavel went to spend his last years; the Semper Opera House, where Richard Strauss conducted the premiere of Rosenkavalier; and practically everything else was incinerated. Churchill had fomented it. But he was shaken by the outcry that followed. While in Georgetown and Hollywood, few had ever heard of Dresden, the city meant something in Stockholm, Zurich, and the Vatican, and even in London. What did our hero do? He sent a memorandum to the Chiefs of Staff:

    It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, though under other pretexts, should be reviewed. Otherwise, we shall come into control of an utterly ruined land. . . . The destruction of Dresden remains a serious query against the conduct of Allied bombing. . . . I feel the need for more precise concentration upon military objectives . . . rather than on mere acts of terror and wanton destruction, however impressive.

    The military chiefs saw through Churchill's contemptible ploy: realizing that they were being set up, they refused to accept the memorandum. After the war, Churchill casually disclaimed any knowledge of the Dresden bombing, saying: "I thought the Americans did it."

    And still the bombing continued. On March 16, in a period of 20 minutes, Würzburg was razed to the ground. As late as the middle of April, Berlin and Potsdam were bombed yet again, killing another 5,000 civilians. Finally, it stopped; as Bomber Harris noted, there were essentially no more targets to be bombed in Germany. It need hardly be recorded that Churchill supported the atom-bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which resulted in the deaths of another 100,000, or more, civilians. When Truman fabricated the myth of the "500,000 U.S. lives saved" by avoiding an invasion of the Home Islands the highest military estimate had been 46,000. Churchill topped his lie: the atom-bombings had saved 1,200,000 lives, including 1,000,000 Americans, he fantasized.

    The eagerness with which Churchill directed or applauded the destruction of cities from the air should raise questions for those who still consider him the great "conservative" of his or perhaps of all time. They would do well to consider the judgment of an authentic conservative like Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, who wrote: "Non-Britishers did not matter to Mr. Churchill, who sacrificed human beings their lives, their welfare, their liberty with the same elegant disdain as his colleague in the White House."

    The Triumph of the Welfare State
    In 1945, general elections were held in Britain, and the Labour Party won a landslide victory. Clement Attlee, and his colleagues took power and created the socialist welfare state. But the socializing of Britain was probably inevitable, given the war. It was a natural outgrowth of the wartime sense of solidarity and collectivist emotion, of the feeling that the experience of war had somehow rendered class structure and hierarchy, normal features of any advanced society, obsolete and indecent. And there was a second factor British society had already been to a large extent socialized in the war years, under Churchill himself. As Ludwig von Mises wrote:

    Marching ever further on the way of interventionism, first Germany, then Great Britain and many other European countries have adopted central planning, the Hindenburg pattern of socialism. It is noteworthy that in Germany the deciding measures were not resorted to by the Nazis, but some time before Hitler seized power by Bruning . . . and in Great Britain not by the Labour Party but by the Tory Prime Minister, Mr. Churchill.

    While Churchill waged war, he allowed Attlee to head various Cabinet committees on domestic policy and devise proposals on health, unemployment, education, etc. Churchill himself had already accepted the master-blueprint for the welfare state, the Beveridge Report. As he put it in a radio speech:

    You must rank me and my colleagues as strong partisans of national compulsory insurance for all classes for all purposes from the cradle to the grave.

    That Mises was correct in his judgment on Churchill's role is indicated by the conclusion of W. H. Greenleaf, in his monumental study of individualism and collectivism in modern Britain. Greenleaf states that it was Churchill who

    during the war years, instructed R. A. Butler to improve the education of the people and who accepted and sponsored the idea of a four-year plan for national development and the commitment to sustain full employment in the post-war period. As well he approved proposals to establish a national insurance scheme, services for housing and health, and was prepared to accept a broadening field of state enterprises. It was because of this coalition policy that Enoch Powell referred to the veritable social revolution which occurred in the years 1942–44. Aims of this kind were embodied in the Conservative declaration of policy issued by the Premier before the 1945 election.

    When the Tories returned to power in 1951, "Churchill chose a Government which was the least recognizably Conservative in history." There was no attempt to roll back the welfare state, and the only industry that was really reprivatized was road haulage. Churchill "left the core of its [the Labour government's] work inviolate." The "Conservative" victory functioned like Republican victories in the United States, from Eisenhower on, to consolidate socialism. Churchill even undertook to make up for "deficiencies" in the welfare programs of the previous Labour government, in housing and public works. Most insidiously of all, he directed his leftist Labour Minister, Walter Monckton, to appease the unions at all costs. Churchill's surrender to the unions, "dictated by sheer political expediency," set the stage for the quagmire in labor relations that prevailed in Britain for the next two decades.

    Yet, in truth, Churchill never cared a great deal about domestic affairs, even welfarism, except as a means of attaining and keeping office. What he loved was power, and the opportunities power provided to live a life of drama and struggle and endless war.

    There is a way of looking at Winston Churchill that is very tempting: that he was a deeply flawed creature, who was summoned at a critical moment to do battle with a uniquely appalling evil, and whose very flaws contributed to a glorious victory in a way, like Merlin, in C.S. Lewis's great Christian novel, That Hideous Strength. Such a judgment would, I believe, be superficial. A candid examination of his career, I suggest, yields a different conclusion: that, when all is said and done, Winston Churchill was a Man of Blood and a politico without principle, whose apotheosis serves to corrupt every standard of honesty and morality in politics and history.
    Last edited by | K Y L E |; 02-16-2007, 01:13 PM.

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