Sunday, January 09, 2011

A World In Crisis

by Matthew Continetti - January 3, 2011 - The Weekly Standard

On December 13, 1931, there was a traffic accident in New York City. A man exited a cab on the Upper East Side and was crossing Fifth Avenue when he was hit by a car traveling around 35 miles an hour. The force of the impact threw the man to the pavement. He struck his head. Two of his ribs were cracked. A crowd formed around him; one of the witnesses hailed a taxi to take the man to the hospital. When he was admitted to Lenox Hill the doctors noted that he was bruised and battered but would make a full recovery. He had cheated death.

This anecdote about Winston Churchill is something that I had missed in all my reading of history. It is difficult to contemplate what might have happened if Churchill had not survived. Yet as much as we admire him for his contributions to the free world we lived in for most of the last half of the last century, we cannot forget that as soon as he had saved the world, the British voters fired him and sent him into retirement in defeat.

Republics are not as contemptuous of their heroes as Democracies. We often forget that. As a result, Democracies seem destined to a repeated pattern that is well documented. They all fail in a bloodbath of tyranny, and it takes a couple of generations to relight the fire of liberty.

This article is an amazing comparison of the history of the Great Depression era with various components of our own situation today. After reading it I was left with an interesting confusion. I was both hopeful and depressed. I re-read it several times and each time I came to the same point. I think I know why. The somewhat positive end of this article makes it clear, what happens next is dependent on what we do. Despite being at a crisis point, there is still no answer whether America is prepared to deal with reality or vote for its delusions. So hopeful and depressed is probably the right response.


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