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Conniptions

The smouldering wick to the powder keg

by Michael Cook | February 28, 2018

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A lot of Australians are crying in their beer nowadays because a prominent social conservative politician fell far short of the high ideals he had championed. Caught out in an office romance, Barnaby Joyce had to resign as deputy prime minister and head of his party.

In the aftermath, many people are moaning that traditional values are doomed. After major defeats in abortion, euthanasia and same-sex marriage, this is hardly an unreasonable conclusion. But there’s a world of difference between lamenting past defeats and raising the white flag, especially if, as one perceptive journalist commented last week, the heritage of Western civilization is at stake.

If things are really that bad, the go-to man is Winston Churchill. As British troops huddled on the beaches of Dunkirk he held a cabinet meeting to decide whether to negotiate with Hitler. He won his ministers over with these defiant words:

“I have thought carefully in these last days whether it was part of my duty to consider entering into negotiations with That Man ... And I am convinced that every one of you would rise up and tear me down from my place if I were for one moment to contemplate parley or surrender. If this long island story of ours is to end at last, let it end only when each one of us lies choking in his own blood upon the ground.”

Starry-eyed? Unrealistic? At the time it seemed so. But you know what? Churchill won and That Man is in the dustbin of history. Read my response to the cultural surrender monkeys here.

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