Defines the higher education as the opportunity for the 'brainy man' to come to the top. No notion of scientific research, philosophy, literature or art: still less of religion. But his pluck, courage, resourcefulness and great tradition may carry him far unless he knocks himself to pieces like his father. Winston Churchill made few speeches in the House of Commons. He preferred to give lectures where he was paid large sums of money.
When he did speak in Parliament it was usually to attack the government on its spending proposals. It was based on the idea that was employed by his father when he first entered Parliament. It was believed that if a backbencher made life difficult on certain selected issues they would attract attention and encourage the offer of a ministerial post to ensure their silence.
Churchill was disappointed when he was not offered a job in the government. Churchill now wrote that what was needed was a "government of the middle - the party which shall be free at once from the sordid selfishness and callousness of Toryism on the one hand and the blind appetites of the Radical masses on the other. In that year's budget the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Michael Hicks Beach , imposed what he called a small "registration duty" on imported wheat in order to provide extra money to finance war expenditure.
Churchill spoke in favour in Parliament, voted for it and defended it in public to his constituents, arguing that a tax on food was justified because "it is the most convenient method of raising the money On 15th May , Joseph Chamberlain , the Colonial Secretary, exploded a political bombshell with a speech in Birmingham advocating a system of preferential colonial tariffs.
Herbert Asquith was convinced that Chamberlain had made a serious political mistake and after reading a report of the speech in The Times he told his wife: "Wonderful news today and it is only a question of time when we shall sweep the country". Churchill made his opposition to tariff reform clear in a letter to Balfour and said that if he disavowed Chamberlain, he "would command my absolute loyalty", but warned that if tariff reform became party policy "I must reconsider my position in politics". However, they were outnumbered by those supporting tariff reform.
Churchill was aware that his Oldham constituency was strongly pro-free trade and he began to consider the possibility of leaving the Conservative Party. I hate the Tory party, their men, their words and their methods.
I feel no sort of sympathy with them. Churchill predicted that "tariff reform" or "protection" would result in a landslide victory for the Liberals at the next election. It would be such a disaster that the "old Conservative Party" would "disappear" and be replaced by a new party that would be "rich, materialist and secular".
In a letter to Lord Northcliffe , he complained of "the smug contentment and self-satisfaction of the Government, neither Protectionist nor pro-Boer, which will deal with the shocking administrative inefficiency which prevails". Churchill became convinced that the Liberal Party would win Oldham at the next general election because of the town's views on free trade.
Churchill had several meetings with senior Liberal figures such as David Lloyd George and Herbert Gladstone about the possibility of switching parties. It was agreed that on 14th February he would vote with the Liberals on a Free Trade motion in the House of Commons. However, it was not until the 29th March that he told Parliament that he intended joining the Liberals. In protest, all the Conservative Party MPs walked out of the chamber. Randolph S. Churchill , the author of Winston Churchill pointed out: "He Churchill entered the Chamber of the House of Commons, stood for a moment at the Bar, looked briefly at both the Government and Opposition benches and strode swiftly up the aisle.
He bowed to the Speaker and turned sharply to his right to the Liberal benches. He sat down next to Lloyd George in a seat that his father had occupied when in opposition - indeed, the same seat on which Lord Randolph had stood waving his handkerchief to cheer the downfall of Gladstone in Churchill argued that David Lloyd George was a major influence on his early political life: "Naturally such a man greatly influenced me.
When I crossed the floor of the House and left the Conservative Party in , it was by his side I took my seat. John Grigg , Lloyd George's biographer, has claimed that "Churchill soon fell under Lloyd George's spell and for the rest of his life never ceased to regard the Welshman as his master. Robert Lloyd George has argued that there were political reasons for this relationship. He wanted to demonstrate his commitment to the Liberal Party by moving towards its more radical wing, which was led by Lloyd George. At this stage Churchill was still, in many ways, the overgrown schoolboy - a genius, certainly, but impetuous, impressionable, grasping the ideas of Liberalism with all the passion of a convert to a new religion, anxious to prove his sincerity and commitment before the older acolytes of the faith.
Lloyd George's devoted secretary and mistress, Frances Stevenson , provides an interesting insight into the relationship. There was an aloof and withdrawn quality, an essential secretiveness which forbade access to any abiding intimacy In his relations with Churchill there was a difference From the earliest political days these two were strangely and prophetically drawn together. Each divined in the other, the quality of genius, which separated them from the ordinary run of men, and drew them together - the village boy and the Duke's grandson.
Violet Bonham Carter argued that "Lloyd George and Churchill had the closest, and in some ways the most incongruous alliance Lloyd George was throughout the dominant partner. His was the only personal leadership I have ever known Winston to accept unquestioningly in his whole political career. He was fascinated by a mind more swift and agile than his own, by its fertility and resource, by its uncanny intuition and gymnastic nimbleness and by a political sophistication which he lacked. A few days after he left the Conservative Party he admitted to a close friend he might have made a mistake as Arthur Balfour seemed to be turning against the idea of tariff reform: "As the Free Trade issue subsides it leaves my personal ambitions naked and stranded on the beach.
Every political Party values loyalty above independence of judgment, but only the Conservatives regard it as the ark of the covenant. Under pressure from the British Brothers' League , the Conservative government introduced an Alien Act , an attempt to reduce immigration to Britain.
Balfour claimed that the measure would save money for the country. Many countries which exclude immigrants have no Poor Laws they have not those great charities of which we justly boast. The immigrant comes in at his own peril and perishes if he cannot find a living. That is not the case here. From the famous statute of Elizabeth we have taken on ourselves the obligation of supporting every man, woman, and child in this country and saving them from starvation. Is the statute of Elizabeth to have European extension? Are we to be bound to support every man, woman, and child incapable of supporting themselves who choose to come to our shores?
That argument seems to me to be preposterous. When it is remembered that some of these persons are a most undesirable element in the population, and are not likely to produce the healthy children Although the word "Jew" was absent from the legislation, Jews formed the vast bulk of the "aliens" category. Speaking during the committee stage of the Alien Bill, Balfour argued that Jews should be prevented from arriving in Britain because they were not "to the advantage of the civilization of this country The Liberal Party did not strongly oppose this proposed measure but Churchill was aware of the significant number of Jews in his constituency.
Winston Churchill in politics, 1900–1939
He did not oppose the legislation on moral grounds but that it would be ineffective. He submitted to the Home Secretary that the machinery he was setting up would result in the residuum of immigrants rejected at any one of he specified ports going on to other ports not scheduled, and landing there with perfect impunity. Arthur Balfour now began to have second thoughts on this policy of Free Trade and warned Joseph Chamberlain about the impact on the electorate in the next general election: "The prejudice against a small tax on food is not the fad of a few imperfectly informed theorists, it is a deep rooted prejudice affecting a large mass of voters, especially the poorest class, which it will be a matter of extreme difficulty to overcome.
Asquith made speeches that attempted to frighten the growing working-class electorate "to whom cheap food had been a much cherished boon for the last quarter of a century and it annoyed the middle class who saw the prospect of a reduction in the purchasing power of their fixed incomes. Churchill now concentrated on writing his father's biography. Churchill wrote to most of Lord Randolph's former colleagues in the Conservative Party and asked them for help with the book.
Most of them refused as they were still angry by his recent defection to the Liberals. He portrays his father not as a man of ambition but as a man of principle who invented 'Tory Democracy' in the early s Lord Randolph's resignation is seen as a supreme act of self-sacrifice, undertaken for the cause of public economy and as a result of deep political differences between Lord Randolph and Lord Salisbury rather than personal incompatibility or clashing ambitions.
John Charmley has argued convincingly that the book, Lord Randolph Churchill "established its author's reputation as an historian, but that was only half its work; the other half was to establish the suitability of its hero as a role-model for his son. Wilfred Scawen Blunt wrote in his diary that Churchill was "playing precisely his father's game" and was now looking "to a leadership of the Liberal Party and an opportunity of full vengeance on those who caused his father's death.
Arthur Balfour resigned on 4th December Henry Campbell-Bannerman became the next prime minister. He immediate called for the dissolution of Parliament. The General Election took place the following month. The Liberal Party won seats The Labour Party , led by Keir Hardie did well, increasing their seats from 2 to In the landslide victory Balfour lost his seat as did most of his cabinet ministers.
Margot Asquith wrote: "When the final figures of the Elections were published everyone was stunned, and it certainly looks as if it were the end of the great Tory Party as we have known it. Campbell-Bannerman appointed H. Asquith as Chancellor of the Exchequer. Campbell-Bannerman announced that: "Our purpose is to substitute morality for egoism, honesty for honour, principles for usages, duties for properties, the empire of reason for the tyranny of fashion; dignity for insolence, nobleness for vanity, love of glory for the love of lucre On 15th November, , Churchill volunteered for an early-morning reconnaissance mission on an armoured train, which was a steam engine pulling iron-clad carriages.
The Boers blew up the railway line and derailed the engine, before mounting an attack by armed horsemen. The commanding officer was killed and despite his non-combatant status, Churchill took charge of the situation. He tried to get the engine back on the rails and reverse it towards the British camp. After an exchange of fire, he was captured.
He selected Edward Marsh as his Private Secretary, "an aesthete involved in many aspects of the arts world and also at the centre of the homosexual circle in Edwardian society. Churchill wrote that "Few people have been so lucky as me to find in the dull and grimy recesses of the Colonial Office a friend whom I shall cherish and hold to all my life. Soon afterwards Churchill issued a memorandum on the future status of South Africa. He also had to face questions on what became known as "chinese slavery".
In opposition the Liberals had condemned the importation of Chinese labourers into the Transvaal as being a return to slavery. However, Churchill was now forced to admit that in his opinion, the terms upon which the Chinese were employed could not be described as "slavery" without "some risk of terminological inexactitude". Frederick Smith , the recently elected Conservative MP for Liverpool Walton , attack on Churchill became one of the most famous maiden speeches in Parliamentary history, made reference to the wording of the Government's motion that the election result gave "unqualified" approval to Liberal policies.
Smith argued that to "call a man an "unqualified slave", was to say that he could "be honestly described as completely servile, and not, merely, as semi-servile", but to call a man "an unqualified medical practitioner, or an unqualified Under-Secretary" was, he sneered, to say that "he is not entitled to any particular respect, because he has not passed through the normal period of training or preparation. Churchill caused considerable controversy when he made an attack on Lord Alfred Milner , the British High Commissioner at the time of the Boer War, who was deeply respected by the Conservative Party.
In a debate on 21st March, , he spoke of Milner with a patronising condescension which sounded both "impertinent" and "pompous", referring to him as a "retired Civil Servant without any pension or gratuity" and a man who "has ceased to be a factor in public life". Such language used by a junior minister in his early thirties about an imperial statesman was not appreciated by the House of Commons. Tory MPs renewed their criticisms of Churchill.
One remarked that even Judas, had, after all, had the decency to hang himself afterwards. Churchill's advocacy of greater self-government for South Africa made him appear to be liberal in his attitude to the British Empire, but he remained a staunch imperialist. What he condemned were imperial actions which fell below what he regarded was the level of behaviour appropriate to those who bore the white man's burden.
In September Churchill was given permission by the prime minister to go on a tour of Africa. He travelled by special train through Kenya stopping on many occasions to "hunt" local wildlife. He also visited Uganda and Egypt. Questions were asked when it became public that he wrote tourist accounts for Strand Magazine.
In his book My African Journey he argued that the world was divided into races of very different aptitudes - the Europeans at the top, followed by Arabs and Indians and then at the bottom of the pile the Africans. I reflected upon the interval that separates these two races from each other, and on the centuries of struggle that the advance had cost, and I wondered whether the interval was wider and deeper than that which divides the modern European from them both. Winston Churchill irritated his boss, Victor Alexander Bruce , 9th Earl of Elgin, with his habit of minuting his views in strong words on papers which would be read by subordinates.
The restless energy, uncontrollable desire for notoriety and the lack of moral perception make him an anxiety indeed! Churchill later recalled that he had hoped to enter the House of Commons to join forces with his father but his death destroyed that ambition. There remained for me only to pursue his aims and vindicate his memory. It was suggested that Churchill deserved promotion to the Board of Education.
This idea was rejected by Henry Campbell-Bannerman who pointed out that Churchill was a "very recent convert, hardly justifying cabinet rise. But he is only a Liberal of yesterday, his tomorrow being a little doubtful Also, wholly ignorant of and indifferent to the subject.
Henry Campbell-Bannerman suffered a severe stroke in November, He returned to work following two months rest but it soon became clear that the 71 year-old prime minister was unable to continue. On 27th March, , he asked to see Asquith. According to Margot Asquith : "Henry came into my room at 7. He began by telling him the text he had chosen out of the Psalms to put on his grave, and the manner of his funeral Henry was deeply moved when he went on to tell me that Campbell-Bannerman had thanked him for being a wonderful colleague.
Churchill developed a surprising close friendship with David Lloyd George , one of the most left-wing members of the Liberal Party. Lloyd George told his constituents in "Last week there was a very interesting speech by a brilliant young Tory member, Mr Winston Churchill. There is no greater admirer of his talent, I assure you, than the individual now addressing you - and many a chat we have had about the situation. We do not always agree, but we do not black each other's eyes. However, the King with characteristic selfishness was reluctant to break his holiday in Biarritz and ordered him to continue.
On 1st April, the dying Campbell-Bannerman, sent a letter to the King seeking his permission to give up office. He agreed as long as Asquith was willing to travel to France to "kiss hands". Asquith decided to promote Churchill to the cabinet as President of the Board of Trade. Aged 33, he was the youngest Cabinet member since However, at that time it was necessary for new Ministers had to submit themselves for re-election.
Churchill had upset too many people over the last two years and he lost North West Manchester to William Joynson-Hicks , the Conservative Party candidate, by votes. Asquith now had to force Edmund Robertson , the MP for Dundee , to go to the House of Lords , and he was elected to this seat in May, , with a comfortable majority. Paul Addison has described Churchill as "a great admirer of beautiful women, but self-centred and gauche in their company, Churchill had already proposed to Pamela Plowden and Ethel Barrymore, only to be rejected by both".
He met Clementine Hozier at a dinner party in Clementine held strong hostile views against the Tories. Churchill attempted to convince her that he shared her views: "The Conservative Party is filled with old doddering peers, cute financial magnates, clever wirepullers, big brewers with bulbous noses. All the enemies of progress are there - weaklings, sleek, slug, comfortable, self-important individuals.
In August he proposed marriage and it was accepted. Violet Asquith , the daughter of Herbert Henry Asquith , the prime minister, wrote in her diary when she heard the news: "I must say I am much gladder for her sake than I am sorry for his. His wife could never be more to him than an ornamental sideboard as I have often said and she is unexacting enough not to mind not being more.
Whether he will ultimately mind her being as stupid as an owl I don't know - it is a danger no doubt - but for the moment at least she will have a rest from making her own clothes and I think he must be a little in love. Father thinks that it spells disaster for them both. The unhappy child of a disastrous marriage and a financially precarious home, Clementine found in Winston a faithful husband who loved her, sustained her in material comfort, and placed her in the front row of a great historical drama.
Churchill admitted to Asquith when he was appointed as President of the Board of Trade that he was "ignorant of social issues". This was a problem as the Board of Trade was one of the key ministries in the social field. During his political career he had never questioned the immense inequalities in British society, where about a third of the population lived in poverty "where a third of the national income went to just three per cent of the population; half of the nation's capital belonged to one-seventieth of the population; the average national wage was 29s a week and most people were unable to make provision for old age, sickness and unemployment.
Churchill had a strictly limited view of the scope. Throughout his political life the major theme of his thinking was a concern about the stability of society and preservation of the existing order. However, he was aware that change was necessary in order to achieve "national efficiency". He had regular meetings with Beatrice Webb and explored her views on the subject. She wrote that Churchill was "very anxious to be friends and asked to be allowed to come and discuss the long-term question".
John Charmley has commented that: "Churchill may not have had any great insight into how to deal with the social problems of the masses, but he knew a lady who did. If Mrs Webb was anxious to be part of a secular priesthood, 'disinterested experts' devising 'a blueprint for society', then Churchill was eager to grant her wish. Churchill, like most politicians, was deeply worried about how Britain's share of world markets were passing to the United States and Germany. Churchill was greatly influenced by the reforms introduced by Otto von Bismarck in the s.
As The Contemporary Review reported: "English progressives have decided to take a leaf out of the book of Bismarck who dealt the heaviest blow against German socialism not by laws of oppression In the autumn of Winston Churchill advocated the introduction of unemployment insurance. The scheme was restricted to trades which suffered from cyclical unemployment shipbuilding, engineering and construction and excluded those in decline, those with a large amount of casual labour and those with substantial short-time working such as mining and cotton spinning.
It would cover only about two million workers. The plan was that employees would contribute twice as much per week as the State and employers. The benefit would only be paid for a maximum of fifteen weeks and at a low enough rate to "imply a sensible and even severe difference between being in work or out of work. In April , Churchill presented the draft Bill to the Cabinet. Employer and State contributions had increased but benefits had decreased and were to be calculated on a stiff sliding-scale over the fifteen weeks so that so that, as Churchill told fellow ministers, "an increasing pressure is put on the recipient of benefit to find work".
The Cabinet was divided over the issue. Some like David Lloyd George wanted a more generous and more wide-ranging scheme. Lloyd George took over responsibility of the introduction of a national insurance scheme but the paying of unemployment benefits did not take place until four years later. The measure organised employers to create a minimum wage in certain trades with the history of low wages, because of surplus of available workers, the presence of women workers, or the lack of skills.
It was designed to cover only , workers in just four carefully defined trades, chain-making, ready-made tailoring, paper-box making, and the machine-made lace and finishing trade. Churchill argued: "It is a serious national evil that any class of His Majesty's subjects should receive less than a living wage in return for their utmost exertions. It was formerly supposed that the working of the laws of supply and demand would naturally regulate or eliminate that evil. The first clear division which we make on the question to-day is between healthy and unhealthy conditions of bargaining.
That is the first broad division which we make in the general statement that the laws of supply and demand will ultimately produce a fair price. Where in the great staple trades in the country you have a powerful organisation on both sides, where you have responsible leaders able to bind their constituents to their decision, where that organisation is conjoint with an automatic scale of wages or arrangements for avoiding a deadlock by means of arbitration, there you have a healthy bargaining which increases the competitive power of the industry, enforces a progressive standard of life and the productive scale, and continually weaves capital and labour more closely together.
But where you have what we call sweated trades, you have no organisation, no parity of bargaining, the good employer is undercut by the bad, and the bad employer is undercut by the worst; the worker, whose whole livelihood depends upon the industry, is undersold by the worker who only takes the trade up as a second string, his feebleness and ignorance generally renders the worker an easy prey to the tyranny.
In the midst of the worst recession since , the Government was under increasing pressure to take some action to deal with unemployment and the labour market. William Beveridge proposed a national scheme of labour exchanges. It was based on the system used in Germany whose 4, exchanges that filled over one million jobs a year. Churchill shared Beveridge's passion for efficiency and a hatred of waste and his views on the working class.
Beveridge told his brother-in-law, R. Tawney : "The well-to-do represent on the whole a higher level of character and ability than the working class because in the course of time the better stocks have come to the top. A good stock is not permanently kept down: it forces its way up in the course of generations of social change, and so the upper classes are on the whole the better classes.
Winston Churchill told the Cabinet that labour exchanges would not in themselves create more jobs. The exchanges were viewed as a way of improving the efficiency of the industrial system, providing "intelligence" about the state of industry and saving economic waste through the more efficient use of labour. It was also hoped that exchanges would have a social and moral function since they would, as Churchill predicted "enable the idle vagrant to be discovered unmistakably and sent to an institution for disciplinary detention.
The proposal for creating labour exchanges was announced on 17th February There would be a network of several hundred exchanges as part of a national reporting system on the labour market. The trade union movement initially opposed the scheme as they feared that labour exchanges would be used to break strikes.
The only concession he made to the unions was that a man would not to be penalised for refusing to accept a job at less than union rates. He told the Engineering Employers Association: "If anybody had said a year ago that the trades unions would have agreed to a government labour exchange sending or 1, men to an employer whose men are out on strike Churchill's proposals were so lacking in radicalism that they were fully supported by the Conservative Party. However, to those who wish to see Churchill as a friend of the poor, this measure was very important in helping the working-class find work.
Geoffrey Best , the author of Churchill: A Study in Greatness , claimed that even though Churchill's reforms "were small and limited measures in themselves, mere particles in the radiant beams of his grand vision of Britain Roy Jenkins took a different view: "Churchill's approach although liberal, was highly patrician. There was never any attempt to pretend that his own often urgent need for large sums of money in order to sustain his extravagences bore any relation to the problems of the deserving poor. He did not pretend to understand these from the inside, merely to sympathize with them on high.
He was of a different order, almost of a different race. By February , 61 exchanges were open and a year later the total had risen to Nearly all of them were situated in converted buildings in the worst parts of towns in order to save money. In the first year nearly one and a half million applications were registered, but jobs were found for only a quarter of the applicants.
They were strongly disliked by the trade unions, who suspected them of undercutting union rates and providing blackleg labour. This included increases in taxation. Whereas people on lower incomes were to pay 9d. Lloyd George also introduced a new super-tax of 6d. Other measures included an increase in death duties on the estates of the rich and heavy taxes on profits gained from the ownership and sale of property.
Ramsay MacDonald argued that the Labour Party should fully support the budget. Lloyd George's Budget, classified property into individual and social, incomes into earned and unearned, and followers more closely the theoretical contentions of Socialism and sound economics than any previous Budget has done. David Lloyd George admitted that he would never have got his proposals through the Cabinet without the strong support of Herbert Asquith and Winston Churchill.
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He spoke at a large number of public meetings of the pressure group he formed, the Budget League. Churchill rarely missed a debate on the issue and one newspaper report suggested that he had attended one late night debate in the House of Commons in his pajamas. Lloyd George told a close friend: "I should say that I have Winston Churchill with me in the Cabinet, and above all the Prime Minister has backed me up through thick and thin with splendid loyalty.
Churchill launched a bitter attack on the House of Lords: " When I began my campaign in Lancashire I challenged any Conservative speaker to come down and say why the House of Lords My challenge has been taken up with great courage by Lord Curzon. No, the House of Lords could not have found any more able and, I will add, any more arrogant defender His claim resolves itself into this, that we should maintain in our country a superior class, with law-giving functions inherent in their blood, transmissible by them to their remotest posterity, and that these functions should be exercised irrespective of the character, the intelligence or the experience of the tenant for the time being and utterly independent of the public need and the public will.
Now I come to the third great argument of Lord Curzon Despite the passionate speeches of Churchill and Lloyd George it was clear that the House of Lords would block the budget. Herbert Asquith asked the King to create a large number of Peers that would give the Liberals a majority. Edward VII refused and his private secretary, Francis Knollys , wrote to Asquith that "to create new Peers, which I am told would be the number required On 30th November, , the Peers rejected the Finance Bill by votes to Asquith had no option but to call a general election.
During the campaign Churchill led the Liberal onslaught against the House of Lords. He argued that "the time has come for the total abolition of the House of Lords" and described the former Foreign Secretary, Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice , 5th Marquess of Lansdowne, as "the representative of a played out, obsolete, anachronistic Assembly, a survival of a feudal arrangement utterly passed out of its original meaning, a force long since passed away, which only now requires a smashing blow from the electors to finish it off for ever.
John Grigg , the author of The People's Champion argues that the reason why the "people failed to give a sweeping, massive endorsement to the People's Budget" was that the electorate in was "by no means representative of the whole British nation". He points out that "only 58 per cent of adult males had the vote, and it is a fair assumption that the remaining 42 per cent would, if enfranchised, have voted in very large numbers for Liberal or Labour candidates.
In what was still a disproportionately middle-class electorate the fear of Socialism was strong, and many voters were susceptible to the argument that the Budget was a first installment of Socialism. On the day the election results were announced Churchill accepted the post of Home Secretary, with the responsibility for the police, prisons, and prisoners.
Only Robert Peel, the founder of the police force, had held the office at an earlier age, thirty-three. The prospects of the new office filled him "with excitement and exhilaration". From his first days as Home Secretary he embarked upon a comprehensive programme of prison reform. This included reducing the time someone could spend in solitary confinement. In March , he created a distinction between criminal and political prisoners. I do not feel that any differences of prison treatment should be based upon a consideration of the motives which actuated the offender.
Motives are for the Courts to appraise, and it must be presumed that all due consideration has been given to them in any sentence which is imposed I feel, as did my predecessor, that prison rules which are suitable to criminals guilty of dishonesty or cruelty, or other crimes implying moral turpitude, should not be applied inflexibly to those whose general character is good and whose offences, however reprehensible, do not involve personal dishonour. Churchill upset the trade union movement during the Newport Docks strike in May With the dockers on strike, the owners wanted to bring in outside labour to break the strike and the local magistrates, alarmed at the possibility of mass disorder, asked the Home Office to provide troops or police to protect the blacklegs.
Churchill was on holiday and Richard Haldane , who was in charge at the time, refused. Churchill quickly returned to London and authorised the use of Metropolitan police, with troops in reserve, to support the owners and protect the outside labour they brought in. Six months later Churchill was faced with another dispute in South Wales, this time in the Rhondda valley where a lock-out and strike following a conflict over pay rates for a difficult new seam led to a bitter ten-month strike. Once again Churchill was asked to send troops after strikers rioted. At first Churchill called for arbitration.
The following day he was attacked by Conservative newspapers, particularly by The Times , that declared that if "loss of life" occured as a result of the riots, "the responsibility will lie with the Home Secretary. On 8th November, , Churchill sent in the cavalry and went on patrol in Tonypandy and the neighbouring valleys. He also deployed Metropolitan police and 1, officers from other forces to support two squadrons of hussars and two infantry companies stationed in the area. James Keir Hardie , the leader of the Labour Party , protested against the "impropriety" of sending in troops and the "harsh methods" being used.
Churchill told King George V that the "owners are very unreasonable" and "both sides are fighting one another regardless of human interests or the public welfare. The following month Churchill was once again in the headlines. Svaars told the landlord that he wanted it for two or three weeks to store Christmas goods.
According to one newspaper account: "This particular house in Exchange Buildings was rented and there went to live there two men and a woman. They were little known by neighbours, and kept very quiet, as if, indeed, to escape observation. They are said to have been foreigners in appearance, and the whole neighbourhood of Houndsditch containing a great number of aliens, and removal being not infrequent, the arrival of this new household created no comment. A neighbouring shopkeeper, Max Weil, heard their hammering, informed the City of London Police, and nine unarmed officers arrived at the house.
Sergeant Robert Bentley knocked on the door of 11 Exchange Buildings. The door was open by Gardstein and Bentley asked him: "Have you been working or knocking about inside? Bentley gently pushed open the door, and was followed by Sergeant Bryant. Constable Arthur Strongman was waiting outside. Police Sergeant Bentley appeared to have a conversation with the person, and the door was then partly closed, shortly afterwards Bentley pushed the door open and entered.
As he did so the back door was flung open and a man, mistakenly identified as Gardstein, walked rapidly into the room. He was holding a pistol which he fired as he advanced with the barrel pointing towards the unarmed Bentley. As he opened fire so did the man on the stairs.
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The shot fired from the stairs went through the rim of Bentley's helmet, across his face and out through the shutter behind him His first shot hit Bentley in the shoulder and the second went through his neck almost severing his spinal cord. Bentley staggered back against the half-open door and collapsed backwards over the doorstep so that he was lying half in and half out of the house.
Sergeant Robert Bentley was very badly injured. The burglars also opened fire on the other policemen. Two bullets hit Sergeant Charles Tucker, who was killed outright. Constable Arthur Strongman, not knowing the sergeant was dead, carried him to safety, followed by one of the gunmen, who kept firing, but missed. Constable Walter Choate saw a gunman running through the shadows.
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His action probably saved PC Strongman's life, because two other burglars now ran to their captured confederate's assistance, firing at PC Choate, until he finally let go. The men escaped but on 1st January, , the police was told that they would find the men in the lodgings rented by a Betsy Gershon at Sidney Street.
It seems that one of the gang, William Sokolow , was Betsy's boyfriend. This was part of a block of 10 houses just off Commercial Road. The tenant was a ladies tailor, Samuel Fleischmann. With his wife and children he occupied part of the house and sublet the rest.
Other residents included an elderly couple and another tailor and his large family. Betsy had a room at the front of the second floor. Superintendent Mulvaney was put in charge of the operation. At midday on 2nd January, two large horse-drawn vehicles concealing armed policeman were driven into the street and the house placed under observation. By the afternoon over officers were on the scene, with armed men stationed in shop doorways facing the house.
Meanwhile, plain-clothed policemen began to evacuate the residents of Sidney Street. One of Churchill's biographers, Roy Jenkins , pointed out that Churchill "could not resist going to see the fun himself Clive Ponting has also been very critical of Churchill's actions. When the house caught fire he ordered, probably with police consent, the fire brigade not to attempt to put it out.
When the fire burnt itself out, two bodies were found and Churchill left the scene just before 3pm. His presence had been unnecessary and uncalled for - the senior Army and police officers present could easily have coped with the situation on their own authority. But Churchill with his thirst for action and drama could not resist the temptation. Martin Gilbert took a very different view and believed that the Conservative Party saw this as an opportunity to unfairly attack Churchill. Arthur Balfour remarked in the House of Commons: "He Churchill was, I understand, in a military phrase, in what was known as the zone of fire - he and a photographer were both risking valuable lives.
I understand what the photographer was doing, but what was the right honourable gentleman doing? Edward Marsh remarked, "Why are the London music-hall audiences so bigoted and uniformly Tory? That summer Churchill once again became involved in another industrial dispute. He became convinced that German money was funding a dock and rail strike over union recognition in Liverpool and on the 14th August he sent in the army who opened fire on strikers.
It is estimated that about 50, soldiers arrived in the city. When he heard the news he immediately telephoned Lloyd George to complain as he wanted an open conflict followed by a clear defeat for the unions. Winston Churchill had been a long-term opponent of votes for women. As a young man he argued: "I shall unswervingly oppose this ridiculous movement to give women the vote Once you give votes to the vast numbers of women who form the majority of the community, all power passes to their hands.
When a reference was made at a dinner party to the action of certain suffragettes in chaining themselves to railings and swearing to stay there until they got the vote, Churchill's reply was: "I might as well chain myself to St Thomas's Hospital and say I would not move till I had had a baby. Under pressure from the Women's Social and Political Union , in the Liberal government introduced the Conciliation Bill that was designed to conciliate the suffragist movement by giving a limited number of women the vote, according to their property holdings and marital status.
According to Lucy Masterman , it was her husband, Charles Masterman , who provided the arguments against the legislation: "He Churchill is, in a rather tepid manner, a suffragist his wife is very keen and he came down to the Home Office intending to vote for the Bill. Charlie, whose sympathy with the suffragettes is rather on the wane, did not want him to and began to put to him the points against Shackleton's Bill - its undemocratic nature, and especially particular points, such as that 'fallen women' would have the vote but not the mother of a family, and other rhetorical points.
Winston began to see the opportunity for a speech on these lines, and as he paced up and down the room, began to roll off long phrases. By the end of the morning he was convinced that he had always been hostile to the Bill and that he had already thought of all these points himself He snatched at Charlie's arguments against this particular Bill as a wild animal snatches at its food. Churchill argued in the House of Commons: "The more I study the Bill the more astonished I am that such a large number of respected Members of Parliament should have found it possible to put their names to it.
And, most of all, I was astonished that Liberal and Labour Members should have associated themselves with it. It is not merely an undemocratic Bill; it is worse. It is an anti-democratic Bill. It gives an entirely unfair representation to property, as against persons Of the 18, women voters it is calculated that 90, are working women, earning their living. What about the other half? The basic principle of the Bill is to deny votes to those who are upon the whole the best of their sex. We are asked by the Bill to defend the proposition that a spinster of means living in the interest of man-made capital is to have a vote, and the working man's wife is to be denied a vote even if she is a wage-earner and a wife What I want to know is how many of the poorest class would be included?
Would not charwomen, widows, and others still be disfranchised by receiving Poor Law relief? Winston Churchill was extremely proud of the British Empire but he was very concerned about its future. Superficially the empire seemed the strongest power in the world. However, he was aware that it was in trouble. This vast, sprawling Empire was not integrated politically, economically or strategically and was a drain on Britain's very limited resources.
An island of some forty million people with an economy that was being rapidly overtaken by other powers such as the United States and Germany. It has been argued that during this period "Churchill came up against the fundamental factor that was to shape all his political life - Britain's position as a great power was declining.
In authorized an additional four dreadnoughts , hoping that Germany would be willing to negotiate a treaty about battleship numbers. If this did not happen, an additional four ships would be built. In , the British eight-ship construction plan went ahead, including four Orion-class super-dreadnoughts. Germany responded by building three warships, giving the United Kingdom a superiority of 22 ships to Negotiations began between the two countries but talks foundered on the question on whether British Commonwealth battlecruisers should be included in the count.
David Lloyd George complained bitterly to H. Asquith about the demands being made by Reginald McKenna to spend more money on the navy. He reminded Asquith of "the emphatic pledges given by us before and during the general election campaign to reduce the gigantic expenditure on armaments built up by our predecessors You alone can save us from the prospect of squalid and sterile destruction. Asquith took this advice and Churchill was appointed to the post on 24th October, McKenna, with the greatest reluctance, replaced him at the Home Office.
He was now in charge of the greatest naval establishment in the world, "with its fleet patrolling the seven seas, and its training schools and dockyards and warehouses and harbours forming a service that embodied British might. Churchill was very excited by this new post. Do you know I would greatly like to have some practice in the handling of large forces. I have much confidence in my judgment on things, when I see clearly, but on nothing do I seem to feel the truth more than in tactical combinations.
It is a vain and foolish thing to say - but you will not laugh at it. I am sure I have the root of the matter in me - but never I fear in this state of existence will it have a chance of flowering - in bright red blossom. Churchill's appointment worried the press: "The Conservative journals, invariably pro-Navy had little faith in Churchill's appointment, fearful that his rhetorical style and changeable moods, as they saw it, were unsuitable to that pre-eminent administrative post. For example, the Sunday Observer commented: "We cannot detect in his career any principles or even any consistent outlook upon public affairs.
His ear is always on the ground; he is the true demagogue, sworn to give the people what they want, or rather, and that is infinitely worse, what he fancies they want. No doubt he will give the people an adequate Navy if they insist upon it. Churchill also concerned himself with land forces. On 13th August, , he sent a memorandum to the Committee of Imperial Defence. He warned that in event of a war France would have great difficulty holding a German attack.
Churchill " outlined the measures Britain should take, including , men to be sent to France on the outbreak of war and , troops of the British Army in India who should be moved at once out of India, enabling them to reach Marseilles by the fortieth day. The Spectator claimed that Churchill "has not the loyalty, the dignity, the steadfastness to make an efficient head of a great office.
This brought him plaudits from old enemies like Alfred Harmsworth , Lord Northcliffe, whose newspapers, The Daily Mail , The Times , The Daily Mirror and The Evening News , had constantly attacked the Liberal government, told Churchill: "I judge public men on their public face and I believe that your inquiring, industrious mind is alive to the national danger.
He also established an Air Department at the Admiralty so as to make full use of this new technology. Churchill was so enthusiastic about these new developments that he took flying lessons. The Army envisaged its air service as primarily one of reconnaissance, avoiding, wherever possible, any actual air battles. On 7th February, , Churchill made a speech where he pledged naval supremacy over Germany "whatever the cost". He claimed that Churchill was "clever enough" to realise that the British public would support "naval supremacy" whoever was in charge "as his boundless ambition takes account of popularity, he will manage his naval policy so as not to damage that" even dropping "the ideas of economy" which he had previously preached.
The Admiralty reported to the British government that by Germany would have seventeen dreadnoughts, three-fourths the number planned by Britain for that date. At a cabinet meeting David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill both expressed doubts about the veracity of the Admiralty intelligence. He in turn discussed the issue with H. Lloyd George wrote to Churchill explaining how Asquith had now given approval to Fisher's proposals: "I feared all along this would happen.
Fisher is a very clever person and when he found his programme in danger he wired Davidson assistant private secretary to the King for something more panicky - and of course he got it. The "new ruler of the King's navy demanded an expenditure on new battleships which made McKenna's claims seem modest". According to George Riddell , a close friend of both men, recorded they were drifting wide apart on principles". On 28th July, , Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia.
The following day the Kaiser Wilhelm II promised Britain that he would not annex any French territory in Europe provided the country remained neutral. On 30th July, Grey wrote to on Theobold von Bethmann Hollweg : "His Majesty's Government cannot for one moment entertain the Chancellor's proposal that they should bind themselves to neutrality on such terms. What he asks us in effect is to engage and stand by while French colonies are taken and France is beaten, so long as Germany does not take French territory as distinct from the colonies.
From the material point of view the proposal is unacceptable, for France, without further territory in Europe being taken from her, could be so crushed as to lose her position as a Great Power, and become subordinate to German policy. Altogether apart from that, it would be a disgrace to us to make this bargain with Germany at the expense of France, a disgrace from which the good name of this country would never recover. The Chancellor also in effect asks us to bargain away whatever obligation or interest we have as regards the neutrality of Belgium.
We could not entertain that bargain either. Scott , the editor of the Manchester Guardian , made it clear what he thought of the conflict. We wish Serbia no ill; we are anxious for the peace of Europe. But Englishmen are not the guardians of Serbia well being, or even of the peace of Europe. Their first duty is to England and to the peace of England We care as little for Belgrade as Belgrade does for Manchester. Asquith appeared to support them. At this point, Churchill suggested that it might be possible to continue if some senior members of the Conservative Party could be persuaded to form a Coalition government.
Churchill wrote to Lloyd George after the Cabinet meeting: "I am most profoundly anxious that our long co-operation may not be severed I implore you to come and bring your mighty aid to the discharge of our duty. Afterwards, by participating, we can regulate the settlement. I am deeply attached to you and have followed your instructions and guidance for nearly 10 years. Lloyd George later recalled: "Money was a frightened and trembling thing.
Money shivered at the prospect. Big Business everywhere wanted to keep out. We should be able to capture the bulk of their trade in neutral markets. On 2nd August another Cabinet meeting took place. That change centred on Lloyd George. According to Asquith, on the morning of 2 August, Lloyd George was still against any kind of British intervention in any event Throughout that long Sunday he had contemplated retiring to North Wales if Britain went to war. It appears that until 3 August he intended to resign from the Cabinet upon any British declaration of war In fact, Lloyd George was first firmly against war, and then equally firmly for war.
Lloyd George's change of mind shocked government ministers. John Burns immediately resigned as he now knew war was inevitable. Charles Trevelyan , John Morley and John Simon also handed in letters of resignation with "at least another half-dozen waited upon the effective hour". Taylor : "At The council sanctioned the proclamation of a state of war with Germany from 11 p.
That was all. The cabinet played no part once it had resolved to defend the neutrality of Belgium. It did not consider the ultimatum to Germany, which Sir Edward Grey, the foreign secretary, sent after consulting only the prime minister, Asquith, and perhaps not even him. Asquith supported the war but was deeply disturbed by the way some Cabinet ministers such as Winston Churchill responded: "Winston dashed into the room radiant, his face bright, his manner keen and told us - one word pouring out on the other - how he was going to send telegrams to the Mediterranean, the North Sea and God knows where!
You could see he was a really happy man, I wondered if this was the state of mind to be in at the opening of such a fearful war as this. Frances Stevenson , Lloyd George's secretary and mistress, was also shocked by Churchill's reaction to the outbreak of war. She was with a group of friends when "upon this grave assembly burst Churchill, a cigar in his mouth, radiant, smiling with satisfaction. Little he recked of the terrors of war and the price that must be paid. His chance had come! All his works demonstrate his love of war, glamorize its glories and minimize its horrors.
He also landed a brigade of Marines at Ostend. Under his instructions carried out Britain's first-ever military bombing operations attacks on Zeppelins and their hangers. The world Churchill repudiates is one in which the coincidence even of virtue and good fortune does not produce well-being; or perhaps one should say that it is one in which fortune, instead of being fickle, is constant in its hostility to virtue. It is a world in which human agency is so swallowed up by "mass effects" that courage and genius appear impotent and irrelevant.
It is a world in which it seems senseless to do other than to march with the strongest legions, and in which vulgar success seems better than noble failure. Before the rise of Hitler Churchill saw in Bolshevik Communism the incarnation of everything in the modern world that was hateful to him.
Source 6 - Extract from Churchill's notes for the Iron Curtain speech
It was in the western democracies that there first appeared "enormous numbers of standardized citizens, all equipped with regulation opinions, prejudices and sentiments, according to their class or party. Under Communism the "individual becomes a function: the community is alone of interest: mass thoughts dictated and propagated by rulers are the only thoughts deemed respectable.
In his understanding of this he is not inferior either to Tocqueville or John Stuart Mill. The progress of democratic modernity "appreciably raises the general level of intelligence," but it is "destructive of those conditions of personal stress and mental effort to which the masterpieces of the human mind are due. That it may however cause great personal stress is beyond question. The regulation of opinion by the more impersonal process of standardization with which we are familiar in the free countries may be more insidious and, in the long run, even more deadly to the soul.
I do not think that he would be surprised to find that he has no successor in the free world today; but that from the bowels of old Russia has arisen such a reproach and such a challenge to Bolshevik despotism as he himself was wont to cast. Churchill ends My Early Life, published in —when he was 56 years old—by recording that on September 12, , he had married and "lived happily ever afterwards. But when he wrote those lines Churchill's marriage and his life were destined to endure for 35 more years. And Churchill, who had read the Nicomachean Ethics, knew that no man can be called happy before the end.
It is a collection of essays on a variety of subjects, written mostly in the mids. It may, for the most part, be described as episodic autobiography. The first chapter is entitled "A Second Choice," and begins with the words, "If I had my life to live over again. This impression is strengthened by the Preface of the latter book, which begins by speaking of "the extreme diversity of event and atmosphere through which a man of my generation, now in its twelfth luster [three score years] has passed and is passing. It is difficult for us to think that Churchill could ever have been thought—or could ever think that he would be thought—a "dilettante.
The old man rumbled as the question filtered through his defective hearing. Then came the answer, "Ambition! But that ambition, through a very long life, was harnessed to righteous anger: anger at Tory narrowness, or at the mean-spiritedness of Socialism; anger at Germany's challenge to British naval power, and at the invasion of Belgium; above all, anger at the inhuman cruelty and tyranny of Bolshevism and Nazism.
Churchill was always a man to take arms against the tides of trouble, never one to float passively upon them. Yet at the end of the s, when his countrymen were tired of struggle and, as it seemed, tired of him as well, Churchill seemed destined—in his own mind as well as in the minds of others—to be no more than a spectator of the deadly scene.
The two essays mentioned foretell the multiplied horrors of any future wars, wars whose beginnings were already being prepared. There is scarcely any great scientific development with which we are now familiar, including nuclear fission and fusion, and the genetic revolution in biology, which is not anticipated in the second essay. That Science, while permitting a more comfortable life for the masses, also is providing the instruments of destruction and of tyranny, unparalleled by anything in the past, is a thesis set forth with the greatest comprehension.
Churchill was certainly never a dilettante. The more famous warnings of the later s have however a theoretical foundation in his writings of the s and the early s. Some of the horrors Churchill considered in "Fifty Years Hence" have not yet come to pass. This however is but a chilling reflection since the time has not fully elapsed. But perhaps the worst of the horrors is a vision, neither of tyranny nor of war, but of the good life. It is one Churchill says he had recently encountered in a book he had read that "traced the history of mankind from the birth of the solar system to its extinction.
A state was created whose citizens lived as long as they chose, enjoyed pleasures and sympathies incomparably wider than our own, navigated the interplanetary spaces, could recall the panorama of the past and foresee the future. The citizens who "lived as long as they chose" might be the Struldbrugs of Gulliver's Travels, with the difference that these "immortals" apparently retain the option of death. One wonders—and one wonders how Churchill wondered—at the meaning of "past" and "future" for beings to whom both were a matter of present knowledge.
However, we need not speculate what Churchill's response was to the whole of this vision. What did they know more than we know about the answers to the simple questions which man has asked since the earliest dawn of reason—'Why are we here? What is the purpose of life? Whither are we going? It is this fact, more wonderful than any that Science can reveal, which gives the best hope that all will be well.
I do not know that there is any more revealing passage in all of Churchill's writings. I do not know anywhere that he asserts more categorically the absolute disjunction of modern scientific progress and intrinsic human well-being. The perception of this disjunction must have shaped Churchill's attitude toward the world more powerfully than any merely political judgment.
Churchill certainly thought that Science had brought many good things to mankind. Yet he must certainly have thought them instrumental goods, rather than final ones, if he could expostulate, "what was the good of all that? Their messages in religion, philosophy, and art have been the main guiding lights of modern faith and culture.
Churchill knew of course that there were modern messages in art, philosophy, and religion, messages that differed from, and were often in direct opposition to, those which came from the two ancient cities. Along with this retelling is a sustained polemic against "Professor Gradgrind and Dr. Dryasdust" who may be taken, not only as representatives of the higher biblical criticism, but of much else in modern thought.
The end of the higher criticism is to transform the Bible into a merely human record of merely human purposes, to take away the awe and wonder which attends a pious reading of the sacred text.
Churchill's reading is, of course, not exactly a pious one. Yet the events the Bible records are, from his point of view, of such heroic character, that to see the workings of divine purpose in them is, to him, entirely natural. That Churchill can speak so confidently of what Science can and cannot reveal is itself something of a revelation. Churchill does not doubt that modern Science deals only with the subhuman, and not at all with the distinctively human, or with that elevation and transcendence of the human that is the divine.
When Churchill speaks of "citizens" with "pleasures and sympathies incomparably wider than our own," he is speaking ironically. The key to that irony may be found in the word "wider. But what travel to another planet could ever be illuminated by such pleasures and sympathies as those described by Geoffrey Chaucer in the Canterbury Tales?
What mystery could there be upon any unknown planet equal to the mystery of the Saint to whose shrine the Canterbury pilgrims were traveling? From Churchill's point of view the greatest discovery that interplanetary travel could yield would be the discovery of human life elsewhere in the universe. But to discover human life elsewhere in the universe means to discover, not other beings capable of interplanetary travel, but other beings capable of asking the "simple questions.
What greater mystery is there, or can there be, besides the one within each of our souls? Where can we look with better hope, for a light wherewith to lighten this mystery, than that which came forth, in olden times, from Athens and Jerusalem? They could not be deeper. The expansion of the "faculties of man" of which Churchill speaks is part of "material progress.
The fact that "no material progress can bring comfort to the [human] soul" is itself said to be "the best hope that all will be well. This was the period when the progress of Science, and in particular biological science, gave rise to widespread hopes that the human species itself might deliberately be evolved into a state or condition in which famine, pestilence, and war, might no longer be necessary, or even the possible, conditions of the survival of the fittest.
Marxism is one particular expression of the ideals of the evolutionary enlightenment. The fittest might be planned in laboratories, and the test of their fitness would be their faculty for the harmonious and simultaneous enjoyment of all the objects of their desires. Of course, their "natures" would be such that they would only desire those things that could be enjoyed simultaneously and harmoniously!
A perfect mastery of nature would permit and require a perfect freedom for man. But Churchill implies that this state of perfect freedom, were it possible, would be a state of perfect misery. Swift's Struldbrugs are perfectly miserable human beings because they cannot die.
Churchill too seems to say that it is the necessity of death, as much as its possibility, that makes life purposeful; and that the necessity of death enforces upon human life the quest for its purpose and that without this quest for purpose life would lose its purpose. Without such a purpose, and the consciousness of such a purpose, life would be meaningless and unbearable.
Churchill rejects modern scientific utopianism, in part because it is undesirable. But he rejects it also because he knows it is impossible. It is, we have seen, an hypothesis of this utopianism, that there might be a "race of beings which had mastered nature. And one will not cause any event that is not necessary for the simultaneous and harmonious satisfaction of all desires. The necessities of the knowledge of the perfect human condition will determine all events in the world.
It is for this reason that this race of the future will be able to know the future. Yet Churchill asserts that no material progress, which must perforce comprehend all scientific progress, "even though it takes shapes we cannot now conceive," can comfort the human soul. How can Churchill say that he knows that any possible future knowledge is thus limited? And why is that known limit upon all possible future knowledge a cause, not of despair, but of hope?
In his denunciation of Bolshevism, Churchill finds the ultimate degradation to consist in the fact that "No one is to think of himself as an immortal spirit, clothed in the flesh, but sovereign, unique, indestructible. No one is to think of himself as that harmonious integrity of mind, soul, and body, which, take it as you will, may claim to be 'the Lord of Creation. He did not accept it in any simple doctrinal sense, but it is just as sure that in some symbolic or paradigmatic sense it was an essential element of his being.
Human beings rise above the level of the beasts, above all because they accept responsibility for their actions. They are responsible, not for the success or failure of those actions, but for their goodness or badness. Goodness and badness have an import beyond time. However difficult this may be to understand in any positive, non-mythical sense, we may perhaps understand it negatively. If the aim of modern science is to enable men perfectly to predict—and thus know the future—so as to place the future wholly within their power, then the excellence of human actions would be measured entirely by the results of those actions.
It is because chance plays so large a role in the outcome of our actions that a standard of goodness or badness beyond results has always commended itself to men of superior virtue. Human identity is itself a result, not merely of human freedom, but of the interaction of human freedom and chance. Indeed, if there were no chance there could not be freedom. Such at least is the thesis of that essay of Churchill's which goes most deeply into these questions. The title of this essay, as we have noted, is "A Second Choice. An act of choice arises because of alternatives that are not predetermined.
Chance affects the outcome of our choices in ways that are incalculable. An act may be impulsive, or it may be calculated. An impulsive act may be impulsive in different ways: it may be in response to the prompting of ingrained temperament and habit, or it may be in response to external forces which sway the agent in the moment of choosing or acting. An act of calculation may also be such in very different ways. It may attempt to estimate cause and effect through a long chain, each link of which is highly probable.
But it may be improbable that such a long chain could be maintained unbroken, that every link would remain unassailed by unforeseen contingencies. On the other hand, someone may on the calculated ground of the imponderability of calculation abandon any attempt at foresight into a remote future, and decide therefore to gain every immediate advantage, and leave the future to take care of itself. Clearly, these are opposite tendencies that might be attributable to the same ostensible cause.
Churchill begins thus. And if these came into contact with the same external facts, why should I not run in fact along exactly the same grooves? Of course if the externals are varied, if accident and chance flow out through new uncharted channels, I shall vary accordingly. But then I should not be living my life over again, I should be living another life in [another] world Certainly there can be "another" Winston Churchill; but "another" means a different one.
Churchill explains this quite simply by considering what happens when he goes to the Monte Carlo to play roulette and usually stakes—and loses—his money on the red. Had the ivory ball fallen, on a certain one of those occasions, into the red slot instead of the black, he might have made a lot of money which, prudently invested in Chicago Lake Shore property, might have made him rich.
On the other hand, he might have been fired by his good luck into becoming a confirmed gambler. Of course, it also becomes uninteresting because the identity of the actor becomes lost. To speak of an "I" having another choice, the "I" must in some sense be recognized as myself. In the same way—although Churchill says nothing of this—when men seek immortality, they do so for an identity that they believe they possess, although that identity is as indefinable, as much a matter of faith, as the immortality they seek for it. As Churchill continues, it becomes clear that a second choice, to be real, cannot simply mean a repetition of the choice given to each of us at birth.
To re-live the life we have already had, with nothing better "in health, character, knowledge and faith to guide one, would be pointless. Such a life would be merely redundant. But what about bringing to bear the same character in a new environment? Churchill does not mention this alternative, although it is the one to which our attention will ultimately be directed.
This alternative implies facing another unknown future, as if one's life could at once be completed, and begin anew. Here however Churchill elects to say that if "there is to be any reality in the new choice offered me; I must have foreknowledge. With this knowledge he says he may "guide the human race away from the errors to which they are slaves, away from the endless tribulations in which they plunge themselves.
It is worth more leisure than we presently have to reflect upon this conception of omnipotence. In particular, we might wish to explore in what ways it resembles, and in what ways it differs from the ring of Gyges, in Plato's Republic, which rendered its possessor all-powerful, by enabling him to become invisible at will. To know the future, and to control it by knowing it, means that it is already fixed. If it is already fixed, then one cannot change it. To say that everything about the future is determined except one's own agency and its consequences means that all natures but one are subject to determinism and necessity.
In traditional theology, God's foreknowledge and man's freedom was a riddle transcended by faith; but faith and reason were admittedly different principles. Yet the simultaneous assertion of scientific determinism and the freedom to manipulate or control all nature—including human nature—is the contradiction which lies at the heart of all modern scientific utopianism, whether in its Marxist, Freudian, or behavioral forms.
In a perfectly non-academic way, Churchill was perfectly aware of this. Oddly enough, the example Churchill selects to show what the character of this foreknowledge would be, is not one of saving mankind from its follies. Instead, he pretends to choose to use his foreknowledge for purely private gain, namely, by picking the winner of the Derby.
He knows by remembering, who the winner was, and this time places huge "bets" which aren't bets at all. But this intervention in the skein of causality, he points out, cannot change one thing only. It must change everything. For all events are related by a causality which has—to make foreknowledge possible—fixed everything in a determinate relationship with everything else. So much is this the case that, when the next Derby rolls around, Churchill has no benefit at all from his now obsolete foreknowledge.
By "remembering" a future which is now no longer possible, his mind is cluttered with impressions which are irrelevant. In fact, he would be completely disoriented. The truth then is, that foreknowledge, were it possible, would remain such, only so long as the fore knower did not intervene in events.