Volume 2, Issue 5
Winston Churchill uttered these words at a time when Europe was trying to decide if should they go along with business as usual and hope that things worked out, or if they should they stand against the forces that were undermining the very foundation of their culture. Churchill was emphatic in his warnings to European leadership that Hitlerian fascism must be checked at the German border. Hitler was an anathema to every principle critical to human dignity. Yet there were those leaders who were willing to pursue business as usual through the normal channels to persuade Hitler to change his ways and take up his role as a leader of a nation which believed in the rule of law. Churchill cried out to hold Hitler accountable to principles of law and liberty. The world did not heed his warning and World War II came.
Today we find ourselves in a world without bold leadership. A world silent in the call for principles that bind us as a society. A world that has relaxed into the false hope that the ill winds of destruction will be weathered without facing them.
“I think it is incredible that nearly a half century after Reagan’s speech at the Republican Convention, the debates between advocates of a managed economy and supporters of a free enterprise economy are once again issues in Presidential politics. This time, however, they’re not just issues for the voters in our country; they’re also hotly debated topics around the world. The global economy is in the midst of massive transition as a result of new technologies, advanced communications, and the emergence of new global trade organization, and this is something that’s going to be a major challenge in the years ahead.”
Greece, as of this day, is in gridlock with the European Union in reference to its financial aid package. Greece is demanding less austerity, more money, and new terms. The EU delegation, led by Germany, is demanding that Greece face reality and negotiate in good faith to reform their government financial structure. The citizens of Greece are in absolute denial. They have hit a wall and cannot deficit spend any longer at the expense of other countries. They are threatening to leave the EU and go to Russia and China for economic aid. Russia is in no position to help them. China’s banking system is in no position to underwrite their currency. Yes, it would cause disruptions if Greece defaulted on their debt and left the EU. But at what price can Germany and the EU continue to pay for Greece’s deficit habit without jeopardizing the financial security of their own citizens. The economic conflict in Greece today is a window into our own future in the United States if we do not face the economic principles that you cannot spend and borrow forever without consequences.
“When the Berlin wall came down in 1989, it was a great day for freedom loving people everywhere. But today we’re faced with a new set of circumstances and a very different political environment. In this first decade of a new century, we’re being asked to deal with forces of unprecedented complexity and diversity – not only the dangers of terrorism and Islamic fascism, but also new forces and problems that will raise questions the men of that earlier generation could never have imagined. Our moral imperatives are still the same – we understand the need to preserve our way of life – but how will we deal with problems posed by the internet, global communications, the rise of non-state states, and other issues that will test our resolve and determine where we stand a generation from now?”
Recently, the students of a university in the state of California circulated a petition to divest all university funds from all corporations doing business with the state of Israel. Now let’s think about this and apply it to principles. If the United States of America had at its base the consistency for foreign policy of advocating axioms that we want for ourselves as well as for all nation states of the world, then a foreign policy strategy could be developed that the world would understand. I would submit that these axioms include: rule of law, due process, free and independent courts, a free and independent press, and transparency. Whatever form of government a country established to meet the needs of their culture would be satisfactory if in fact that government protected their citizens as well as ours in joint foreign relations if they adhered to these axioms. A strategy cannot be established without a guiding purpose.
The only country in the Middle East that protects all of these rights is Israel. No other country in the Middle East meets this standard in its entirety. We should not divest ourselves of a nation state that agrees with us on the principles of integrity of statesmanship. Through the prism of principles, we may debate with Israel on priorities or policy. But we would not reject them out of hand because of the common purpose of our state’s obligations to its citizens.
I asked a group of Millennials recently what they want from government in their lives today. Most answers centered around their ability to make choices for themselves and their family. When I then asked what principle do you hold tantamount that allows your freedom of choice as well as my own, they answered that the country is on the wrong track and needs to be course-corrected. I rejoindered, “That is not a principle - that is an analysis.” Then it became clear that what we both want is basic freedom. When we discussed further what is required to maintain freedom, we agreed upon the elements of constitutional freedom, economic sensibility, government by the people, honest foreign relations, and citizen responsibility. Upholding these principles allows us to maintain and environment of freedom. (For further discussion on these ideas, go to www.newhorizoncouncil.com )
Today in presidential politics, the debate still centers around cosmetic changes to the current system and, therefore, business as usual. No one has yet stated what they would do empirically to face the ill winds. The press is now dividing the candidates in the Republican primary into four categories: establishment, anti-establishment (Tea Party), Libertarians, and Evangelicals. This is over simplified. Journalists spend very little time analyzing the Democrats right now because Hillary Rodham Clinton is leading in the polls with 68% of likely Democratic primary voters. But those who do write about them talk about establishment progressives, new progressives, and social liberals. Bold ideas have yet to be given a fair audience.
I would suggest that there is a category of Americans yet described. It is those who believe that there are valid points made by each faction. But until someone establishes binding principles, partisan politics will only allow the discussion to be held from a viewpoint of self-interest and in direct opposition to another point of view. There is a greater core of America that still believes in individual rights and liberty, that a family should make decisions for themselves without interference of social planning from the government, that limited government is a virtue, and that in freedom for all, there is liberty for all.
“Society is not something that is kept together physically; it is held by invisible bonds of common thought. If the bonds are too far relaxed, the members would drift apart.”
Lord Patrick Devlin
“What made America great, as the French President (Nicholas Sarkozy) wisely stated, was her ability to transform her own dreams into hope for all mankind. If countries like China, Russia, and France can see it, you have to wonder why our own citizens remain so divided. Unless we can come together in one accord to bring about a new consensus of like-minded men and women who cherish the promise of freedom, our prospects for the century ahead may look bleak indeed. We have the resources and we have the opportunity in this election year to turn a corner. The only question is, will we remain an island of freedom, and will the rest of the world be able to count on us to lead the way?”
Moment of Truth, page 132
My name is Marc Nuttle and this is what I believe.
What do you believe?