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Quin Hillyer: Dunkirk Conservatism

2010/05/28

We Shall Never Surrender

The American Spectator’s Quin Hillyer writes a beautiful and thought-provoking comparison of the American conservative movement with Britain during the Evacuation of Dunkirk, May 27, 1940.

“The greatest rescue operation in history began in full 70 years ago today. In nine days beginning May 27, 1940, the British Navy and hundreds upon hundreds of private vessels rescued an astonishing 338,266 men from the harbor and beaches of Dunkirk, France, all while under constant bombardment from German air and land forces that killed 68,111 Brits and captured as many as another 80,000. Instead of Great Britain being left at the mercy of the German death machine, the island nation had saved an army big enough to repel a Nazi invasion.

“As Winston Churchill rightly noted: “We must be very careful not to assign to this deliverance the attributes of a victory. Wars are not won by evacuations.”

“American conservatives right now do not seem to realize that we are in the immediate post-Dunkirk phase of a desired political recovery.”

Mr Hillyer lays-out the situation map, showing in clear detail that the roads to victory are all of them difficult and slow.

Some indicators, meanwhile, are not good at all. The Republican National Committee has just about $12 million cash on hand, compared to $40 million at this point in the most recent comparable cycle.” One may argue that this fact isn’t necessarily bad news.  From a Party perspective, it reflects general dissatisfaction with the Republican leadership’s dependence upon North-East RINO liberals. From a Conservative or Libertarian perspective, it suggests that donors are keeping their powder dry for local races where candidates might better represent their interests.

“Sobered by the task ahead, but justifiably confident that victory can indeed be attained, conservatives can indeed learn not just from Churchill’s warning that evacuations are not victories, but also from the determination to earn real victories even against tough odds. At the risk of repeating what has become so familiar as to almost be trite, let us remember what else Churchill said immediately after the deliverance of Dunkirk. Remember his words, but read them and savor them as if they are new:

We shall go on to the end. We shall fight… in the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air; we shall defend our [land], whatever the cost may be. We shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”

Savor them? Alas, the Prime Minister was not referring to a set of political campaigns. Rather he talked of battle and blood and gore and death… until victory. 

“It should hearten us that Barack Obama banished the bust of Churchill from the White House. Obama doesn’t understand. Pray Lord that we conservatives do understand. And never surrender.”

Pray Lord… that we libertarians and conservatives do indeed understand. And never surrender.

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