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Only Fit to Rule Over Ruins
The Dream: A Critique of Winston Churchill’s Foreign Policy by Marcus Casca: Part 2
[Marcas is the author of Hounds of Aryas.]
Randolph quickly redons his aristocratic façade. He approaches modern warfare with a cool detachment, casually inquiring if modern wars were conflicts where tens of thousands of men lost their lives.20 To his credit, Randolph thinks small. He assumes that in today’s “Golden Age” wars remain orderly, limited affairs. Winston crushes Randolph’s hope by recalling the Boer Wars, a series of conflicts where the British Empire invaded and annexed multiple republics in southern Africa. The Republics of Swellendam, Graaff-Reinet, Natalia, and Stellaland quickly fell to perfidious Albion. Randolph knew of their subjugation. He oversaw their acquisition during his political career with little remorse, for none of these republics were recognized by the international community, and the annexations had been relatively bloodless affairs. In some cases, the advancing British were even welcomed as liberators by the Dutch Afrikaners The Boer Wars which occurred after is passage into madness and oblivion were radically different affairs.
The British Empire recognized the sovereignty of the South African Republic (or the Transvaal) in 1852 and that of the Orange Free State in 1854. The United States, Germany, Belgium, Holland and France quickly confirmed their status as independent republics, and individual Afrikaners were no less respected on the global stage. The Reverend Josiah Strong, Randolph’s contemporary, describes the Boers as the hardiest race to walk the earth.21 Had either Afrikaner republic participated in the 1896 Olympiad, their expert marksmen would have likely brought home the lion’s share of shooting medals. However, these same marksmen were too busy defending their farms from foreign aggression to devote their time to recreational pursuits.
In spite of these historical facts, and for reasons I have enumerated elsewhere, the British attacked both republics on three separate occasions. The first two engagements were limited in scale, and resulted in Boer victories. The third war was one of attrition. For four years the numerically superior British armies herded Afrikaaner women and children into concentration
19 Churchill, Winston. “The Dream,” 367
20 Churchill, Winston. “The Dream,” 367
21 Strong, Josiah. Our Country, 177; The Boers are unique in the historical record. They are the only tribe which definitively rejected civilization in favor of culture, literally trekking into the wild to avoid British assimilation. Along with the peoples of Appalachia, Kurdistan, Afghanistan and Nepal, the Boers come closest to preserving the old Aryan tradition.
camps, razed homesteads and factories to the ground, and slaughtered the native horses with machine guns when they could not turn them into beasts of burden. The gold and diamond mines were turned over to Cecil Rhodes, a man whose evil rivals Hitler’s and whose deeds are far less known to modern man.
Randolph, of course, knows none of this. There is no reliable telegraph into the afterlife. However, his spirit maintains both common sense and a layman’s grasp of international law:
“England should never have done that. To strike down two independent republics must have lowered our whole position in the world. It must have stirred up all sorts of things. I am sure the Boers made a good fight. When I was there I saw lots of them. Men of the wild, with rifles, on horseback. It must have taken a lot of soldiers. How many? Forty Thousand?”22 The dead aristocrat notes that the Boers combine courage and compassion through their equestrianism. Yet in terms of military commitment Randolph again thinks too small. It took a quarter of a million Britons and massive inflation to defeat the restive Boers. This divulgence is too much for the previously reserved Randolph. “Good God! What a shocking drain on the exchequer!”23 This is the only instance where an oath is sworn in The Dream. Even more striking is that Randolph takes the Lord’s Name in vain rather than Winston.
Randolph’s curse demonstrates that he did not descend to earth from Heaven. No one who has experienced union with God in eternity would blaspheme so. Nor would they return to earth unless they were on a divine mission. Randolph never indicates this to be his intent. He is no Beatrice to Winston’s Dante, merely a supernatural being summoned at his son’s silent request. But from whence has Randolph Churchill ventured, if not from paradise? Not Hell, surely. Dis’ gates remain open for all to enter and leave as they please, but few of her citizens choose the path to salvation, and her soldiers (who often escape for a time) are always brought back into her infernal orbit.
It is likely that Randolph landed on the foothills of Heaven’s western slope upon his passing, barred from further ascension by some disorder of the passions. This order appears to be Randolph’s infatuation with the popular will. “The will of the people must prevail.”24 Randolph
22 Churchill, Winston. “The Dream,” 367
23 Churchill, Winston. “The Dream,” 368
24 Churchill, Winston. “The Dream,” 368
repeats this mantra whenever Winston’s narrative becomes too horrific. It occurs immediately after Randolph utters the dialogue’s only oath. It is not enough to fully restore his faith in the modern age’s superiority to the Victorian.
Upon the urging of his father, Winston delves into a summary of the world wars, “wars of nations, caused by demagogues and tyrants.”25 By this point Randolph’s heart sinks, for his education was thoroughly classical. He knows that tyrants run tyrannies and demagogues dominate spiritually bankrupt (yet financially wealthy) democracies. Randolph now knows that modern England is not a regime run by reason, nor is it a passionate regime whose subjects demonstrate a full spectrum of emotions. Like Thucydides’ Athens and post-Cyriatic Persia, Winston’s England is a regime hampered by fear and greed yet devoid of compassion and, most troubling of all, courage. England has no confidence in its ability to lead a world of powerful nations who breed godlike men. It is only fit to rule over ruins, to bully its foes into slavish passivity.
When Randolph asks whether England emerged triumphant from her wars, Winston lies. He claims that England won her wars. Had he been truthful, Winston would have said the United States won all her wars, and in doing so transformed England into an American protectorate. But this would have been foolhardy, particularly if Randolph inquired further about Winston’s choice of profession. By hiding the truth, Winston gives himself way to disguise the truth, to avoid admitting his culpability in England’s demise.
“Yes, we won all our wars,” Winston says. “All our foes were beaten down. We even made them surrender unconditionally.”26 Now Randolph grasps the tragic failing of modern international relations. Far from progressing towards a civilization based on consent, modern nation-states have returned to the pre-Westphalian consensus. England dominates slaves. She does not aim to stand on the world stage as first among equals. Her wars with Germany, unlike the conflicts of Randolph’s time, were not limited affairs where soldiers fought soldiers while civilians went about their daily lives unhindered by death and destruction. They were bouts to the death, wars of attrition where entire cities were reduced to rubble and entire peoples exterminated like rats. While Hitler hunted Jews the British Foreign Office herded southern Austria’s entire Cossack
25 Churchill, Winston. “The Dream,” 369
26 Churchill, Winston. “The Dream,” 369
population into Soviet prisons. The women and children were promptly shot, and the men worked to death in a shockingly scientific manner.27
Even in peace Russia, America and their satellite state Britain meddle in the affairs of continental Europe. The Allies forced Germany to surrender unconditionally, to discard her status as an independent state. She was partitioned. Silesia and Prussia were gifted to Poland and Russia, their German populations forcibly ejected from their homes. Never again would Germany pursue an independent foreign policy. After being taking one the entire world twice in a fifty years, her spirit was broken.
Randolph Churchill knows none of this. His gaze has not shifted from the heavens since 1895. Winston has merely stated that England enslaved her enemies while at peace. Yet even Randolph, detached as he is from temporal affairs, recognizes the evils unconditional surrender brings to both oppressor and oppressed: “No one should be made to do that. Great people forget sufferings, but not humiliations.”28
Winston doesn’t particularly care for the plight of Germany. For him it was an inevitable act. Yet Randolph’s disparaging reaction does trouble Winston, and he eagerly expounds on America’s global hegemony when his father changes the subject.
At this point in the dialogue Winston hints that he is more than mere painter or journalist. He claims to have always “worked for friendship with the United States, and indeed throughout the English-speaking world.” He hopes that the admission will restore Randolph’s faith in the modern nomos of the earth, and for a brief instance it appears Winston’s persistence pays off. The new turn of phrase intrigues Randolph. It implies that the British Empire is healthier than it was in Victoria’s time, that the United States and Scotland dance to the tune of the same bagpipes. But when Randolph asks whether the countries of North America and Oceania remain loyal to the monarchy, Winston says that “they are our brothers.”29
27 Johnson, Paul. Modern Times, 431; The British armies also “returned” 25,000 Croats to Communist Yugoslavia, where they were welcomed with poison gas and bullets.
28 Churchill, Winston. “The Dream,” 369
29 Churchill, Winston. “The Dream,” 369
By now Randolph recognizes the deceptive patterns of Winston’s speech. As any theologian understands, a brother is not doggedly loyal to his family.30 And Randolph had a Christian education. He no longer trusts his son, and for the first time in the dialogue begins to think critically, to pray for utopia but expect hell. He inquires as to the state of India, Britain’s crown colony. Winston reluctantly admits that India has broken away from England, and in doing so irrevocably shattered the British Empire.31
This revelation removes Randolph’s last vestiges of hope. He groans and gloomily sinks back into his armchair, leaning as far from Winston as he can possibly can.32 The ghost who once charged joyously towards Heaven has no cause to celebrate. The democratic institutions Randolph championed all his life have ruined not just England but her dominions as well. From this point on Randolph never utters his mantra about the glories of the popular will. Indeed, Randolph can no longer distinguish “democratic” from “demonic.”
Winston nervously eyes Randolph as his father wrestles with despair. He does not wish to hurt his father, yet wants Randolph to remain in the cottage. He continues to answer his father’s questions, and his answers bear few of the lawyerlike deceptions which mar earlier portions of the dialogue. Winston correctly claims that the world wars shattered both France and Germany, that they exchange Russia’s Romanoff’s for a tsar more powerful and despotic than any who had proceeded him. A gloomy Randolph sullenly notes that the wars must “have cost a million lives.”33
For a third time in The Dream, Randolph thinks too small. But he is learning, upping the casualties from ten thousand to forty, from forty thousand to a million. Randolph has realized that the old Aryan nomos, a culture which derived compassion from horses and Christ, is dead. A legalistic form of reason now rules, a rationality informed by greed and fear. But the most elusive and life-affirming emotion of all is absent. Without empathy courage only augments the life-negating machinations of modern regimes. Winston confirms Randolph’s suspicions by painting the conflict in even more terrible terms than Randolph’s imaginations allows:
30 Genesis 37, Luke 15:11-32
31 Churchill, Winston. “The Dream,” 369
32 Churchill, Winston. “The Dream,” 369-370
33 Churchill, Winston. “The Dream,” 370
“’Papa,’ I said, ‘in each of them about thirty million men were killed in battle. In the last one seven million were murdered in cold blood, mainly by the Germans. They made human slaughter-pens like the Chicago stockyards. Europe is a ruin. Many of her cities have been blown to pieces by bombs. Ten capitals in Eastern Europe are in Russian hands. They are Communists now, you know—Karl Marx and all that. It may well be that an even worse war is drawing near. A war of the East against the West. A war of liberal civilisation against the Mongol hordes. Far gone are the days of Queen Victoria and a settled world order. But, having gone through so much, we do not despair.”34 The aging prime minister’s account of the past fifty years rekindles Randolph’s long dormant fear. The specter demonstrates none of the confidence he displayed earlier in the dialogue. He fumbles with his matchbox for an eternity, attempting to imagine the apocalyptic scene Winston paints for him. Modernity’s Golden Age is in actuality an epoch of iron. It is an age which marginalizes nobility an age so horrible that Randolph fears it will corrupt his soul should he linger any longer. With a strike of a match he vanishes, but not before confiding in his elderly son:
“Winston, you have told me a terrible tale. I would never have believed that such things could happen. I am glad I did not live to see them. As I listened to you unfolding these fearful facts you seemed to know a great deal about them. I never expected that you would develop so far and so fully. Of course you are too old now to think about such things, but when I hear you talk I really wonder you didn’t go into politics. You might have done a lot to help. You might even have made a name for yourself (my emphasis).”35 Randolph vanishes from the cottage with the realization that democracy has no place in the heavens. Lesson learned, Randolph’s time in Purgatory ends. Winston’s fate is left in doubt, for his political career embodies everything Randolph despises as demonic. Yet Winston feels remorse, not joy, for his part in propagating the world wars. This remorse saves Winston from Hell, although his time in Purgatory will undoubtedly be longer than that of his father.
Despite numerous insinuations throughout The Dream, Winston never boasts that he was once Great Britain’s pre-eminent statesman. Randolph only knows that his son writes books, paints portraits, and briefly served in the British Army Reserve. Winston steers the entire dialogue away from political policy, chronicling modern history with the impartiality (and tact) of a professor. Yet modern students at Hillsdale College, Claremont McKenna, Churchill College (which Cambridge founded and named after the British Bulldog) and other centers of
34 Churchill, Winston. “The Dream,” 370
35 Churchill, Winston. “The Dream,” 370-371
“higher indoctrination” consider Winston Churchill one of the greatest British statesmen of all time. Why then does Winston downplay his political life to his father, the man whose approval he desperately craved? Why, after writing The Dream in 1947, is it first published a after his death in 1965? The story was certainly complete before then, and Winston published his other works with wild abandon.
To understand Winston’s bizarre actions, we must leave The Dream behind and revisit his strategic vision of statesmanship. Winston Churchill’s twin strategic objectives were to maintain the balance of power in Europe and preserve the British dominion over a quarter of the globe. He achieves neither. Winston supplied the British people with hope and a love of country, but could not imbue them with courage (of which he had plenty) or compassion (of which he had very little).
For Randolph Churchill, Winston’s statesmanship amounted to little more than inept demagoguery. In public letter to The Times Lord Randolph once wrote that England should be led by a statesman “who knows how to sway immense masses of the working classes, and who, either by his genius or his eloquence, or by all the varied influences of an ancient name can move the hearts of households.”36 I need only mention that the British working class voted Randolph’s son out of office 62 years later.
Indeed, Churchill’s statesmanship pales in comparison to three of his contemporaries: Antonio Salazar of Portugal, Francisco Franco of Spain, and Finland’s Carl Gustaf Mannerheim. The latter two were the only politicians to personally dictate terms to Hitler from a position of strength, to humiliate a man who regarded Churchill as nothing more than a minor annoyance.37 Franco and Mannerheim shielded their nations from both Nazi and Soviet imperialism. A mild-mannered Socialist ejected the great Churchill from Britain’s highest nonhereditary office.
Salazar stands in even starker contrast to Churchill. A professor of economics at the University of Coimbra, Salazar was dragged from his classroom by desperate Portuguese officials and elevated to the country’s highest political office. He formed a political economy which rejected the teachings of both Mises and Marx while enriching Portugal both spiritually
36 Quinault, R.E. “Lord Randolph Churchill and Tory Democracy,” 153
37 Preston, Paul. “Franco and Hitler: The Myths of Hendaye,” 6-11; Mannerheim, Carl G. Memoirs, 450-455
and financially.38 The Lend-Lease policy that allowed Churchill to fight on against Hitler reduced England to a mere appendage of the United States, to both country’s detriment. Yet the names of none of these statesmen registers with the average scholar. They recognize Churchill’s because the propaganda of Martin Gilbert elevates such an ineffective politician above more worthy candidates.
I once encountered a pithy epigram on an Appalachian gravestone. It sums up Winston Churchill’s political career with remarkable accuracy: “Here lies he who warned of doom before leading the lemmings off the cliff.”
I cannot fault Winston for flaunting his prose before his father. His body of work is impressive and entrancing. His political career is neither, unless one values bloodshed for its own sake. Perhaps this is why the ivory tower largely ignores The Dream. Only Churchill Fellow Katie Davenport appears to have given the short story any serious thought. Miss Davenport rightly recognizes that Winston “conceals his achievements from his father.”39 She errs by separating Churchill’s personal demons and poetic prose from his disastrous foreign policy.40
These things cannot be viewed as separate developments! To dislocate one from the rest draws a shroud over one’s eyes. It explains the blind fanaticism Churchill’s followers display. Their faith would be better placed in a Lincoln or a Salazar, yet their adherence to the universal coherence of thought, word, and deed (along with collegiate indoctrination) discourages a truly Straussian analysis.
Miss Davenport paints The Dream with in an optimistic light. In her mind Randolph’s final words are light criticism (such as what a young child receives for coming to dinner three minutes late), a “fatherly affirmation,” or words of praise.41 She never grasps that dialogue ends on a somber note:
“The chair was empty. The illusion had passed. I rubbed my brush again in my paint, and turned to finish the moustache. But so vivid had my fancy been that I felt too
38 Kay, Hugh. Salazar and Modern Portugal, 37-46
39 Davenport, Katie. “An Appreciation of ‘The Dream,’” 3
40 Davenport, Katie. “An Appreciation of ‘The Dream,’” 2-3
41 Davenport, Katie. “An Appreciation of ‘The Dream,’” 3
tired to go on. Also my cigar had gone out, and the ash had fallen among all the paints (my emphasis).”42 Randolph Churchill’s apparition, education on 20th century affairs, and flight reveals just how much joy has gone from the world with the death of Christ and chivalry. Even the vividest colors now hold an ashen tone. The modern age is not the pinnacle of human achievement. It is a repudiation of everything the Aryans and their by-blows bequeathed to their posterity. Winston Churchill, by his own admission throughout The Dream, is not the man to raise us from perdition. We must follow a more transformational leader with the ability and will to do so.
42 Churchill, Winston. “The Dream,” 371
Works Cited
Churchill, Winston S. “The Dream.” In The Oxford Book of Essays. Edited by John Gross, 362-371. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.
Crozier, Brian. The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Empire. Rocklin: Prima Publishing, 1999.
Davenport, Katie. “Churchill Fiction. Father and Son: An Appreciation of ‘The Dream.’” The Churchill Project. Accessed 7 July 2020.
Lapping, Brian. End of Empire. New York: Saint Martin’s Press, 1985.
Lewis, C.S. Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life. San Diego: Harcourt, 1955.
Lewis, C.S. That Hideous Strength. New York: Scribner, 1974.
Johnson, Paul. Modern Times: From the Twenties to the Nineties. Revised Edition. New York: HarperCollins, 1991.
Kay, Hugh. Salazar and Modern Portugal. London: Erye and Spottiswodde, 1970.
Mannerheim, Carl G. The Memoirs of Marshal Mannerheim. London: Cassell, 1953.
Preston, Paul. “Franco and Hitler: The Myths of Hendaye 1940.” Contemporary European History, Vol. 1 No. 1 (1992): 1-16. LINK › EPRINTS.LSE.AC.UK/26101/.
Quinault, R.E. “Lord Randolph Churchill and Tory Democracy, 1880-1885.” The Historical Journal, Vol. 22, No. 1 (Mar., 1979): 141-165. LINK › JSTOR.COM/STABLE/2639015.
Strauss, Leo. “Leo Strauss on Churchill.” The Churchill Project. Accessed 31 December 2019. LINK › WINSTONCHURCHILL.HILLSDALE.EDU/LEO-STRAUSS-ON-CHUR...
Strong, Josiah. Our Country: Its Possible Future and Its Present Crisis. New York: Baker and Taylor Co., 1885.
Van Creveld, Martin. Hitler in Hell. Kouvola: Castalia House, 2018.
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