Churchill to receive Mark Steyn award

For this magnificent and brilliant speech, delivered by Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the House of Commons in June 1940, the Claremont Institute has announced that it will posthumously give Mr. Churchill its prestigious Mark Steyn award. (The speech is excerpted below, click here for full text. For a further explanation of the speech, see this.)

The British people have strong stomachs, so let me lay it out as baldly as I can. Much of the so-called Western world will effectively disappear within our lifetimes, including many if not most western European countries. There’ll probably still be a geographical area on the map marked as Italy or the Netherlands or Britain, but they will be merely designations for real estate, because they will have been taken over by Nazi Germany.

We know it’s not really a “war on blitzkriegs.” Nor is it, at heart, a war against Germany, or even “radical Germanism.” The Nazi belief system, whatever its merits for the believers, is a problematic business for the rest of us. There are many trouble spots in Europe today, but as a general rule, it’s easy to make an educated guess at one of the participants: Germans vs. Poles in Poland, Germans vs. Norwegians in Norway, Germans vs. Dutch in the Netherlands, Germans vs. the French in France, Germans vs. the Jews everywhere. And soon, Germans against us in our own Island.

Yet while Germanism is the enemy, it’s not what this thing’s about. Radical Germanism is an opportunist infection, which only kills you when your body’s too weak to fight it off. Which the smarter Nazis have figured out. They know they can never win in France, they know they can never win on the seas and oceans, they know they can never win on the landing grounds, they know they can never win in the fields and in the streets, they know they can never win in the hills, but they figure there’s an excellent chance they can drag things out until we in Britain and the other Western democracies collapse on our own and Nazism inherits by default.

That’s what the war’s about: our lack of civilizational confidence. As a famous historian put it: “Civilizations die from suicide, not murder”—as can be seen throughout much of “the western world” right now.

So I say to you, even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous states have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, there is essentially nothing we can do about it. We in the Western democracies are not producing enough babies. We also have too much big government. We are weak and flaccid. Indeed, so sick and cowardly have we become that a Nazi Europe may well be easier for our American friends to deal with than the present Europe of cynical, wily, duplicitous nations. But getting there is certain to be messy, and violent. Until the shape of the new Europe begins to emerge, there’s no point in expending one’s energies on behalf of the terminally ill. But the New World, with all its power and might, is still safe and thriving. I intend to move there immediately, and take up residence in New Hampshire, where I will write gloating columns about Europe’s imminent demise. Goodby.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 05, 2006 12:53 PM | Send

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