In his new bio-pic, actor Gary Oldman reanimates a man who rallied his people against an external foe. With another enemy inside the gates, installed and presiding over schools, universities, the media and — Good Lord! — even the armed forces, what we lack is the Churchillian will to fight them
Some time back the estimable James Delingpole of The Spectator and Breitbart News lamented that while the various forces of the Left fully comprehended they are fighting a war, the various forces on the right do not. Never were truer words spoken. What, then, are these wars? There are many, many battles and many fronts, but few theatres. By my reckoning there are six key wars, all of which must be identified, understood and, most of all, fought.
First, there is the war that must be won against political correctness in all its forms. This is a fight between the elites and the punters. It is a battle for the heart and soul of our society. On one side are the careerists and ideologues of the fevered swamps of Washington, Canberra and so on; on the other, the deplorables, the Reagan Democrats, the Howard Battlers, the Struggle Street listeners tuned in to talkback radio, the small businessmen and women, the two-income families who want what is right for their kids. They aren’t ashamed to celebrate Australia Day and they like the ways and culture of the country in which they grew up. Quite a few probably like Tony Abbott, and maybe vote for Pauline (no surname required). They cannot stand what is happening to their world, their countries, their neighbourhoods.
Second, there is the war against environmentalism in all its guises. The god of “sustainability”, born in the 1980s and whose origins and trajectories the journalist Rupert Darwall has catalogued in several marvellous books, is now so embedded in schools, universities and media it is not remotely clear how one might fight back. The god of sustainability has delivered to us the scourges and nonsenses that are “peak oil”, “climate change” and “renewable” energy.
Third, there is the war between Islam and the West. This takes many forms – from global migration of economic refugees, to sharia law, welfare fraud, gangs and terrorism. Its fronts are the banlieu of Paris, the bookshops of Lakemba and the streets of Melbourne. Taking the side of Islam in this war is politics 101 for today’s “leaders”.
Fourth, there is the war against the Administrative State. The State’s overreach is now all but complete. The nanny state rules our lives. It is the tool by which political correctness is enforced, by which freedom of speech and freedom of belief are purged and personal conduct regulated. Paranoia, you say? What other country defines how one must dress to mount a pushbike? The State’s nannyism combines with political correctness to haul the innocent before the faux courts of our time, nailing people from Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant to Archbishop Julian Porteous and Andrew Bolt. Their crime? Saying that which others do not want heard. Free speech, in other words.
Fifth, there is the war between globalism and nationalism. The Davos brigade, the Soros network of lavishly funded activists, and their many lackeys in politics, Silicon Valley and elsewhere, lead the charge. Their weapons are globalisation and technology. Their institutions are global, not national. Their aim is global governance and the end of the nation state, with its old fashioned values of patriotism flag and family.
Finally, there is the war on truth. This is the biggest of them all. Pope Benedict a decade or so ago spoke of the “dictatorship of relativism”. He was referring to the victory of Derrida, Foucault and their fellow-travelling Marxists and neo-Marxists who occupy the commanding cultural heights of our society and have succeeded in embedding and seizing our key institutions – the media, political parties, schools, universities, Hollywood and now even the corporations. The whole phenomenon of fake news bespeaks their success. As does Safe Schools. As does Victorian Police’s passion to pursue semantics rather than thugs.
The relativists’ biggest victory of all was over our poor dumb millennials, now two generations removed from any proper understanding of Western values and virtues, and the core value of the West is truth. Earlier, when I spoke of schools, I did not say “our” schools, for they no longer are. They, too, have been colonised. Their graduates will list the ills and crimes of the West and rattle them off by Pavlovian rote, and thus do we hear of a past populated by the likes of Simon Legree but seldom if ever of Wilberforce. The ease with which, for example, the young are convinced of something patently untrue can be seen in the numbers of our young who lazily embrace the ersatz version of marriage now de rigueur. This ever-so-rapid revolution in thinking — or rather, the emergence of subjectivism as a guiding principle — can only have occurred in a society which accepts as its fundamental operating system the philosophy that “your truth is no better than my truth”.
There are other battles outside the six wars, of course, but it would be hard to find a front or even a minor skirmish that is not a theatre of these six conflicts.
Winston (no surname required) knew he was in a war. He knew his enemy and what it represented. He knew those he had to enlist to fight and win that war. And he understood his own side’s strengths and weaknesses (there were many of these). In those “darkest hours” Churchill certainly did not believe that checking and defeating an existential threat to the very being of the British Isles would be easy, nor that it could be avoided. Everything was on the line. His own War Cabinet was divided. A serious argument was made – by Halifax and the, by then, ailing Chamberlain, not to mention the initially reticent King George VI, that the Britain should seek an accommodation with Hitler. Much of the British army was stranded and exposed in a foreign land, albeit only 22 miles away at its closest. Not merely far from assured, victory would be deemed by any reasonable appraisal as most unlikely.
Things were decidedly not straightforward then. The two wars since – Vietnam and the second Iraq War – featured murky enemies, often hard to find and certainly hard to destroy, and new technologies. But far more telling was the lack of consensus at home about whether those wars should be fought at all — whether the enemy was, indeed, “the enemy”. What Churchill could count on was a united and angry populace who, when the fashionable pacifism of the Nineteen “I will not fight for King and country” Thirties was negated by the appearance of an enemy with no such reservations, committed to the fight with heart and soul — “blood, sweat and tears”, as he put it. They identified an enemy, decided they didn’t much care for him and his designs on their lives, and committed to giving him better as they got.
Who do we have manning the barricades today? Justin Trudeau. Macron. Merkel. Theresa May. Jean-Claude Juncker. Turnbull. The Davos set. The UN. Pope Francis. Mark Zuckerberg. Oprah (no surname needed there either). Prince Charles. These are the figures that flit across the world’s TV screens and its collective frontal lobe, mouth their platitudes and move on to the next sound byte, their pronouncement’s on Islam’s amity or the wickedness of cheap power seldom questioned by a media imbued with the same views, the same agendas, the same presumption that projected virtue can trump the precedent of history. Just how they never explain. These leaders, so called, are almost to a man or woman, batting for the enemy by word and deed and silence. The worst of them of them actively collaborate and work against the interests of their own people.
The actor Gary Oldman has brought back to life a man who led from the front, the middle and the back and for this we are in his debt. If, on the off-chance, our young people might be cajoled to see Darkest Hour, they just might begin to see with a clarity not previously available to them how we are, indeed, involved in a number of lethal wars. To lose them will destroy their futures in ways even more insidious than Hitler or even Stalin could have imagined.
And they might consider voting for folks who might be minded to fight the battles that matter now. An outsider? One hated by his own party? Someone who sees enemies and understands how to fight them. Someone willing to spare the niceties? Someone willing to make his country great again? Err, wait a minute
One can only wonder what Winston would make of today’s wars, and how the heck he would try to fashion strategies and battle plans. Who he would enlist. What would Winston do?