Sometimes it is not enough to do our best; we must do what is required.
The title is a quote from Winston Churchill.
In what may have been my most widely-read article, I compared Paul to Churchill in an attempt to put the good doctor, and the efforts of those who support him, into historical context. Doug Wead, one of Paul’s senior campaign advisers went even further in an interview with Cavuto, saying simply “Paul is Churchill”. (*)
As we Paul supporters have failed so far to rack-up a victory in the primary or caucus beauty contests, I have started noticing that some are considering giving in to defeatism.
That is not worthy of Dr. Paul or our cause – and Winston Churchill will show you why.
In 1940, during the Second World War, Hitler’s tyranny had already swept across all of Europe. The score was liberty - zero; tyranny – too many to count.
Only Britain was left standing. And Hitler came for us.
In the Battle of Britain, the British stood alone in the world against a tyranny that had built an empire more efficiently than any had been built in history. This was when Churchill rallied the nation with what many regard as his greatest speech.
“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few”, he said.
But the British did nothing more than survive. By “winning” the Battle of Britain, what we really did was “avoid losing”. We didn’t push Hitler back an inch. We just ensured that we – a metaphorical beach-head of liberty in a literal island of liberty – would live to fight another day. We were just a moral, if not military, thorn in Hitler’s side, reminding the world what resistance against tyranny looks like when the stakes get high, and what courage can achieve against the odds.
It was obvious to the whole world that the English could not defeat Hitler from our little island. Hitler was content to leave us be if only we would agree a peace with him: Churchill’s acceptance of the new status quo in Europe would have consolidated and legitimized Hitler’s gains. That would have sufficed for Hitler, and for the British, militarily and politically, it would have made a great deal of sense.
And let’s be clear. After the Battle of Britain, for the best part of a year, there was no world war. There was a united Europe, and it was “at peace”, or in equilibrium if you prefer, under the Nazi flag. Hitler’s success was so complete that the standard of living of Germans under Hitler peaked in 1941 – while the British were already on severe rationing with nothing to keep their spirits up except dogged determination and the sense that they were doing the right thing, Goddamnit.
The strategy? Churchill again: “Never give in. Never give in. Never. Never. Never”.
To thousands of people around the world, that all seemed a bit radical or ill-judged. After all, the British moral high ground was not, alas, the kind of useful high ground that provides any military advantage.
But Churchill had a certain clarity.
In his words again,
"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."
To all of you liberty-loving, Ron Paul-supporting Patriots, this is why you are fighting today.
Churchill’s conviction subsequently proved to be critical to the eventual victory over tyranny. Even Stalin said that in the war against Germany, “Russia provided the blood; America provided the money, and Britain provided the time”.
Why did he mention the time in the same breath as the blood and the money? Because the time mattered just as much.
Britain’s stubbornness was the moral link between the lost battles fought against Hitler by country after country that he over-ran (c.f. the lost battles fought in this country against the Patriot Act, the NDAA, wars of choice etc.), and the fight-back that would start a few years later. The time the Brits bought enabled enough others to see the stakes for themselves, and to arm themselves for the fight. Those others, of course, included the Russians and the Americans. Certainly, the liberty of the world would not have been saved without either of those powers - but it also would not have been won without the stubborn refusal of the British to admit defeat, buying time, during which they defined the cause against Hitler. In so doing, they provided a spiritual forward position – and a physical infrastructure and base (Roosevelt’s impregnable “aircraft carrier” on the edge of Europe) - from which to launch a counter-attack.
If you haven’t yet gotten the analogy, we – Ron Paul’s supporters, lovers of the Constitution, and activists for liberty – are the spiritual forward position, providing the physical infrastructure – for the retaking of our Continent, too – whenever that time comes.
And if the analogy sounds fanciful, bear in mind that, ultimately, the stakes are the same.
Whatever happens with our candidate’s bid for the Presidency (and those who understand that this is really about delegates know that we are still very much in the game), we have clearly increased our support three or four-fold in four years. That’s our Battle-of-Britain victory. And like the British, we should celebrate the battle won - not upset ourselves with the fact that the War is not yet over.
Tyranny has indeed taken over our land, with the NDAA, Patriot Act, militarization of the homeland, launching of unnecessary wars etc. etc. – but we are finally standing up in large numbers. We have drawn our line, and we have defended it firmly. Unlike the British in the Battle of Britain, we have even gained ground. Our huge increase in support from 2008 to 2012 proves that our metaphorical island of liberty in a continent of tyranny will not be over-run.
And like the British in 1940, we are not going away.
By existing – by refusing to lie down – we buy time. This is the time until the time that the idea whose time has come, comes(!) And meanwhile, again like the British in 1940 and 1941, we inspire others by our resilience, and wait for others to see what we see. When they discover what we already know, they will find us already here on our island of liberty - and they will find that the plans to take back our nation have already been drawn up and that there is already an army for them to join.
Like the British were then, we are now - a significant group who are fighting to regain liberty in a tyrannized continent of hundreds of millions. That was always going to be a long game.
AJP Taylor, one of the most important historians of modern times, ventured that part of Churchill’s steadfastness came from his almost romantic sense that, in their history and in their very being, the British people were a free people, and that in their character, they were strong and resilient.
That was enough for Churchill to believe that if only they held fast in their darkest hour, somehow they would prevail.
He turned out to be right.
Americans have the same in their history and in their blood. Liberty is the conceptual foundation of this nation, and a physical struggle against an attempt to deprive us of it is the physical foundation of this nation.
Bloody-mindedness, conviction and grit were enough to keep the British steadfast against the Blitz and V2 rockets until they found victory. They are certainly enough to keep us steadfast against a few electoral defeats until our victory.
The Brits had to wait five years for their ultimate victory. If we have to wait 20, we will have still had much the easier time of it.
Churchill knew that all the while you are fighting, you haven’t lost. In fact, the one necessary condition for losing is to make the choice to stop trying to win. He was, by the way, half-American.
Churchill was probably right when he said of those who fought the Battle of Britain, “Never was so much owed by so many to so few”.
The good news for us: we are not so few.
(*) Before jumping on the comparisons, please follow the links to understand the very particular ways in which Doug and I were drawing them.