Tuesday, February 01, 2011

After an early stutter, George VI did his best to defeat the Nazis

Conservative Australian historian and commentator Gerard Henderson offers some remarks below about "The King's Speech" which, like mine on Jan. 28, put the events covered in the movie into the context of their times

The Battle of Britain ended seven decades ago but fire is still being directed at the royal family over its role in the period leading up to World War II. This has been ignited by the well-earned success (so far) of The King's Speech - which has been nominated for 12 Academy Awards, including best picture.

Isaac Chotiner in The New Republic and Christopher Hitchens in Slate have accused the film of rewriting history with respect to the attitude of Edward VIII (who abdicated in December 1936) and George VI (formerly the Duke of York) to Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime in Germany.

The criticism is that The King's Speech underplays Edward's flirtation with nazism both before and after the outbreak of hostilities in September 1939 and neglects to mention George's support for the policy of appeasement pursued by Neville Chamberlain when he became prime minister after Stanley Baldwin resigned in May 1937.

Both critiques have validity but both are overstated. The most serious historical howlers in The King's Speech are the depiction of Baldwin stepping down due to his inability to handle Hitler and the representation of Churchill as an opponent of Edward VIII.

Baldwin was persuaded to hand over the keys to 10 Downing Street by Chamberlain, who believed that it was his turn. Churchill was perhaps the strongest supporter of Edward and appeared to tolerate his determination to marry the much-divorced Wallis Simpson. As Frances Donaldson pointed out in her 1974 book Edward VIII, one of the finest royal biographies written, Churchill's "ill-judged championship of the king did great, if only temporary, harm to his political career".

However, the likes of Chotiner and Hitchens make their own misjudgments when assessing The King's Speech - which, as the film acknowledges, is merely based on a true story. The abdication was not about foreign policy. Nor, indeed, any kind of policy.

As Edward said in his resignation speech, he renounced his duty as king because he "found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility … as I would wish without the help and support of the woman I love". In short, it was all about him. Edward was prepared to abdicate in favour of his brother Bertie despite the fact that he was a shy man with a bad stutter who felt unsuitable for the job. Narcissists do not care about such matters.

Edward VIII's allegiances were clear. They were not to his family or his people or to Hitler. They were to him alone. If Edward had wanted to implant fascism in Britain he would have remained at Buckingham Palace. Edward and Mrs Simpson had a soft spot for nazism but this had no impact on British foreign policy.

It is true that George VI was a dedicated supporter of appeasement, as was his wife Elizabeth (later known as the Queen Mother). And critics of the royal family are correct in pointing out that the king and queen acted inappropriately in September 1938 when they stood with Mr and Mrs Chamberlain on the Buckingham Palace balcony after the prime minister returned from meeting Hitler in Munich with the (false) promise of peace in our time.

Where the Chotiner and Hitchens critiques lack balance turns on their failure to concede that appeasement enjoyed wide support in 1937, 1938 and for most of 1939. In time, Chamberlain declared war on Hitler and George VI publicly supported his prime minister. Certainly, when Chamberlain stumbled in 1940, George VI did not favour Churchill taking over the position. But as Andrew Roberts documents in Eminent Churchillians, by Christmas 1940 Churchill enjoyed the strong backing of his king.

In other words, the king became one of Churchill's fans. Moreover, as William Shawcross points out in Queen Elizabeth: The Queen Mother, Elizabeth acknowledged towards the end of her life that the invitation for the Chamberlains to appear on the palace balcony in 1938 had been a mistake.

Hitchens has a background on the left. He knows better than most that when Britain and the Commonwealth nations went to war with Germany in 1939 the only real opposition came not from one-time conservative appeasers. Rather, opponents of the war effort at the time essentially comprised of those on the left, who were members of the Communist Party or fellow travellers with Joseph Stalin's communist dictatorship in the Soviet Union.

World War II began following the signing of the Nazi Soviet Pact in August 1939, as a consequence of Hitler and Stalin dividing Eastern Europe between them. This made possible Germany's invasion of Poland, with the Soviet Union's consent. This led to a collapse of Chamberlain's policy of appeasement and demonstrated the wisdom of Churchill's long-standing warnings about nazism.

In September 1939, one-time appeasers such as prime minister Robert Menzies in Australia declared war. However, those who wanted to leave Hitler alone at the time included such well-known Australian communist writers as Frank Hardy and Katharine Susannah Prichard, due to their support of the Nazi Soviet Pact. They decided that nazism had to be defeated only after Germany attacked the Soviet Union in mid 1941.

The central political message of The King's Speech is not ahistorical. The royal family, among others, initially misjudged Hitler. Yet, in the end, they played their part in defeating nazism.



Government 'investment' doesn't create jobs; the private sector does

With unemployment remaining above 9 percent and showing no signs of going down any time soon, there's lots of talk in Washington about job creation. For President Obama and congressional Democrats, unemployment is an opportunity for government "investment" in massive public works projects such as manufacturing solar shingles and building high-speed rail lines. At best, such big-spending projects by the federal government mainly create temporary jobs while building things of dubious consumer value. More often, these government spending projects funnel tax dollars to Democratic political allies like the unions that benefit from Project Labor Agreements. These PLAs bar nonunion workers, thereby driving up costs to taxpayers.

The problem is that big-government public works projects allow Washington politicians in both political parties to claim to be "doing something" about high unemployment. But the reality is that every dollar spent by government is one less that is available for the private sector to invest in new businesses and technologies that spur the creation of permanent jobs. Indeed, if increased government spending were the solution to high unemployment, the U.S. economy would be short of workers. Just since the last two years of the Bush administration, the federal budget has grown 36 percent, from $2.7 trillion to $3.7 trillion annually. Discretionary spending has gone up 25 percent. The Heritage Foundation's Brian Reidl projects that the national debt will grow nearly $20 trillion by 2021, reaching 100 percent of gross domestic product that year. The annual budget deficit will exceed $1 trillion every year for the next decade.

But it's exactly that tidal wave of federal spending, along with the trillions borrowed from China and other overseas creditors and thousands of pages of new federal regulations, that's preventing the economy from creating new jobs and growth. House Speaker John Boehner got it exactly right on "Fox News Sunday" when he said, "There has been a spending spree going on in Washington these last couple of years that is beyond control. ... By running up the debt by spending money we don't have, running up these huge budget deficits, we create more uncertainty in the private sector. This is where cutting spending will create jobs because it is going to bring greater fiscal responsibility here in Washington, D.C." The speaker repeated over and over again during the interview that the American people want government spending reduced so that jobs can be created. After the midterm elections, it's a wonder that the Beltway crowd needs reminding.



It is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35)

A story from a practicing Christian:

While hitting the release button to open the trunk, I saw Mrs. BH bend over and pick something up off the ground. I met her at the back of the car and began loading the groceries while she stood reading what appeared to be a receipt. She looked at me and said simply, "I just found $40."

As I loaded the last bag, she thought it might be a good idea to perhaps go back and turn the money in to the cashier listed on the receipt. I countered with the idea to place a call to the store from home letting them know that we'd found the money and that if someone could describe the items listed on the receipt, we'd make arrangements to return it. We got back in the car and Mrs. BH continued to study the receipt for clues that might lead us to its owner. I began to scan the parking lot for signs of a distressed shopper.

Since we were idling in front of the store, I decided to circle around and park the car in an area that offered the best vantage point of the location where the money had been found and resumed my scanning. I saw a lady in a golden colored sweatsuit who seemed to be looking for something but was then distracted by a man with grocery bags heading back toward the entrance of the store. I watched to see if he appeared to be looking for something and was disappointed when he stopped at a vending machine to buy a soda and return to his car. I then looked back to where I'd last seen golden sweatsuit lady but she was gone.

Minutes passed and though we saw numerous people walking to and fro, we saw no one that seemed to be concerned about lost money. We talked about how we were sure that someone would be missing the $40 especially in these tough times and again started wondering aloud as to our options when I saw her once again. Golden sweatsuit lady. She was heading back toward the store's entrance. And she was definitely scanning the ground, definitely looking a bit distressed.

I eased the car forward while exclaiming to Mrs. BH that I think this lady was the one. Rolling my window down, she caught my eye and I signaled to her. She came to the side of the car and I asked her simply, "Are you looking for anything by chance?". She immediately said, "I lost $40". Mrs. BH quickly reached across me to hand her the money along with the receipt. Tears welled in the woman's eyes and in my own. She reached in to hug me and I returned the hug. She thanked us and told us she was working but on break and that she had somehow dropped the cash on her way out of the store. She looked at us both with tangible relief and softly said, "That was my gas money". I said something like, "No, that is your gas money" and she thanked us once again while quietly saying numerous times, "God bless you". And He did.

We thanked her, shaking her hand one last time and then drove away with an inexpressible joy.



Trade Agreements are Good for America

There’s no question that we live in global environment. We buy products from all nations, eat foods from all around the world and interact daily with people from all different countries. It is important that America participates in this changing world, or it will be left behind. The more America opens up to the idea of trade agreements with other countries the more competitive and productive it will be.

“The world’s changed. It’s not enough to just buy American you need to sell American all throughout the world,” says U.S. Representative Kevin Brady (R-TX) in an exclusively interview with Americans for Limited Government (ALG). “Unfortunately this past Congress and the White House have refused to help us level the playing field.”

Rep. Brady is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Trade. He is a firm believer in trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.

“South Korea, Colombia and Panama are together worth almost $13 billion of new sales for our U.S. goods and services,” Rep. Brady went on to say. “So we are going to create a lot of jobs and find new customers that will help us get out of this economic recession, if we can open those markets. The President has indicated that he is willing to move South Korea, he needs to move all three and go beyond that—open those new markets and let us compete.”

In a hearing before the Committee on Ways and Means on Jan. 25, The Council of the Americas, which is a business organization representing some 190 member companies invested in and doing business throughout the Western Hemisphere, issued a statement of strong support to expand trade and investment throughout the Americas.

“Unfortunately we don’t have agreements with China, Europe, and other parts of the world, but other countries are reaching those agreements, shutting us out and putting us at a disadvantage,” Rep. Brady says. “The more agreements that give us two-way trade, a level playing field, the better it is for us.”

Trade agreements that America are involved in, like NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), help to stimulate our economy by manufacturing goods and services here in the U.S. and by providing jobs. “Most of our deficit in trade is with countries we don’t have trade agreements with,” Rep. Brady explains to ALG. “The ones we actually reach agreements with we sell more goods and services. In fact, we have a big surplus of sales.”

Though America exposing itself to more trade agreements would not cure the nation’s economy on its own, it would be a step in that direction.




FL: Federal judge declares ObamaCare “void” in its entirety: "A federal judge in Florida ruled on Monday that President Obama’s health-care reform law exceeds Congress’s authority under the Constitution’s commerce clause. US District Judge Roger Vinson declared the 2,700-page reform measure 'void' in its entirety, while concluding that the law’s individual mandate requiring all Americans to buy a government-approved level of health insurance was a 'bridge too far."

CA: Hundreds march outside Koch brothers’ retreat: "Hundreds of environmentalists, union members and liberal activists converged on Rancho Mirage on Sunday to rally against what they see as the influence of two of the nation's leading financial backers of conservative causes. The protestors waved signs condemning 'corporate greed,' chanted slogans and surged toward a line of helmeted police officers at the entrance to a resort where billionaires Charles and David Koch were holding a retreat for prominent conservative elected officials, major political donors and strategists."

Obama’s regulatory deja vu: "Presidents Clinton and Reagan both signed executive orders requiring that proposed federal regulations be implemented only if their economic benefits exceeded the costs of complying with them. Reagan even established a branch within the Office of Management and Budget — the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) — to make sure executive branch agencies complied. The executive orders by and large were ineffective."

TSA shuts door on private airport screening program that exposed TSA’s inefficiency: "The Transportation Security Administration has shut the door on a private airport screening program that was making the inefficient agency look bad by outperforming it in safety, innovation, and customer satisfaction. The TSA’s action was praised by a liberal union that expects to unionize the TSA, the American Federation of Government Employees. ... Previously, the Screening Partnership Program allowed airports to replace government screeners with private contractors. 16 airports did so. 'But on Friday, the TSA denied an application by Springfield-Branson Airport in Missouri to privatize its checkpoint workforce, and in a statement,' TSA head John 'Pistole indicated other applications likewise will be denied.'”

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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


1 comment:

DailyKenn.com said...

Protectionist logic:

1. Buy only products made in America

2. Buy only products made in Pennsylvania.

3. Buy only products made in Pittsburgh

4. Buy only product made in the Hazelwood neighborhood.

5. Buy only products made on my block.

6. Buy only products made in my house.