Duty, and Honor

So this happened, as it should have.

Professor Williams is, of course, correct. But there is more to the story, and what it entails. First Fergus died at Loos, that horrible battle that also cost Rudyard Kipling his only son, not to mention almost 60,000 more British casualties in four days.

At the time of the battle, Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, then 14 years old, was helping her mother to prepare the family home (actually castle) Glamis for use as a convalescent hospital for men wounded in the war. His death (and his brother being on the missing list) devastated her mother, and much of the work of the conversion fell on her shoulders, even to the point of fighting a fire in the castle with some help from the soldiers. I wrote about her here and quoted one of her mottos: Duty Is the Rent You Pay For Life.

I’m quite sure that duty was in her mind when she placed that bouquet on the tomb of the unknown warrior in 1923. She had just married the younger brother of the Prince of Wales, who as Edward VIII would be forced to abdicate the throne in order to marry his American divorcee, Wallis Simpson. (That may have been judging by subsequent events one of the main reasons that the allies won the Second World War) and so she became the Queen. She was a paragon of duty to her people during the war, during the Blitz when it was proposed to evacuate her and her children Elizabeth and Margeret to Canada. Her reply was this.

“The Princesses will never leave without me. I will not leave without the King and the King will never leave,” 

In fact, it appears they intended to go down hard. In addition to learning how to drive and repair trucks, as soon as she was old enough.

Princess Elizabeth, now the Queen, firing a Lee-Enfield at small arms practice during World War II.

I am also reminded that in November of 1921, that same unknown warrior received a singular honor, one never before and never since granted. Let’s let the American Ambassador tell us about it.

“By an Act of the Congress of the United States, approved on March 4 of the present year, the President was authorized “to bestow, with appropriate ceremonies, military and civil, a Medal of Honour upon the unknown unidentified British soldier buried in Westmister Abbey.” The purpose of Congress was declared by the Act itself, in these words: “Animated by the same spirit of comradeship in which we of the American forces fought alongside of our Allies, we desire to add whatever we can to the imperishable glory won by the deeds of our Allies and commemorated in part by this tribute to their unknown dead.”

The Congressional Medal, as it is commonly termed because it is the only medal presented “in the name of Congress,” symbolizes the highest military honour that can be bestowed by the Government of the United States. It corresponds to the Victoria Cross and can be awarded only to an American warrior who achieves distinction “at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty.”

A special Act of Congress was required to permit the placing of it upon the tomb of a British soldier. The significance of this presentation, therefore, is twofold. It comprises, in addition to the highest military tribute, a message of fraternity direct from the American people, through their chosen representatives in Congress, to the people of the British Empire.

It was placed on that tomb by the second senior American officer in history, (Washington is, and always will be the senior American general) General of the Armies John. J. Pershing, saying this:

One cannot enter here and not feel an overpowering emotion in recalling the important events in the history of Great Britain that have shaped the progress of the nations. Distinguished men and women are here enshrined who, through the centuries, have unselfishly given their services and their lives to make that record glorious. As they pass in memory before us there is none whose deeds are more worthy, and none whose devotion inspires our admiration more, than this Unknown Warrior. He will always remain the symbol of the tremendous sacrifice by his people in the world’s greatest conflict.

It was he who, without hesitation, bared his breast against tyranny and injustice. It was he who suffered in the dark days of misfortune and disaster, but always with admirable loyalty and fortitude. Gathering new strength from the very force of his determination, he felt the flush of success without unseemly arrogance. In the moment of his victory, alas! we saw him fall in making the supreme gift to humanity. His was ever the courage of right, the confidence of justice. Mankind will continue to share his triumph, and with the passing years will come to strew fresh laurels over his grave.

As we solemnly gather about this sepulchre, the hearts of the American people join in this tribute to their English-speaking kinsman. Let us profit by the occasion, and under its inspiration pledge anew our trust in the God of our fathers, that He may guide and direct our faltering footsteps into paths of permanent peace. Let us resolve together, in friendship and in confidence, to maintain toward all peoples that Christian spirit that underlies the character of both nations.
And now, in this holy sanctuary, in the name of the President and the people of the United States, I place upon his tomb. the Medal of Honour conferred upon him by special Act of the American Congress, in commemoration of the sacrifices of our British comrade and his fellow-countrymen,and as a slight token of our gratitude and affection toward this people.

And so now, this grave has been decorated by an American Princess, now a Duchess, as she enters into what to many looks like a fairytale world, but is, in fact, a world that few of us would care to make our life in. It is a world of duty paramount, to do the right thing for the right reason. And that, in fact, is what caused the abdication, Edward VIII’s unwillingness to place his duty above his personal happiness.

The Duchess of Suffolk joins a distinguished line of American women, who in marrying British nobility, have strengthened both countries, Jennie Jerome, Winston Churchill’s mother, Lady Astor, the first woman to serve in Parliament, and now Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Suffolk. May God give her the ability to see the right, and the ability to do right.

 

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Picture This Week

So, another week in the books.

YANNY, LAUREL, OR….

Muppet Outtakes!!!

Once upon a time, P.J O’Rourke gave a most cogent explanation of why America doesn’t get invaded. You might remember it. In any case, here is the visual aid.

Mom taught us to share, right?

Congratulations to  Kaitlyn Marie, a graduate of Kent State University, class of 2018. Now she can protect herself on campus.

As usual, mostly from PowerLine and Bookworm, and diverse other places. Enjoy!

ps.

And just a royal wedding quibble or two. A couple of my Anglican friends, @DrJulesGomes and Gavin Ashenden had reservations on the Bishop’s message at the royal wedding yesterday. I don’t disagree with them, and the bishop will likely never have a more bully pulpit, But I have my doubts that anybody was really paying all that much attention, it was after all a show wedding, and I don’t know about you, but at my wedding, I had a few other things on my mind beyond what the preacher was preaching at me.

It also struck me that if this was my daughter marrying into the British Royal Family, I’d want her to have the best and that Rolls Royce she went to church in, while a pretty decent car, and rare too, wasn’t considered the best when it was built. This was:

That is a 1936 Packard All Weather Cabriolet V12, which quite a few reviewers at the time thought was a better car than the Rolls Royce. This particular one would have been highly appropriate having both show business and British connections. How does that work, you ask? Well, its original owner was a chap by the name of Charlie Chaplin.

Ask the man who owns one.

Of Special Relationships

Well, in case you missed it there was a wedding at St. George’s Chapel, in Windsor castle this morning. A half black American divorcee married Prince Harry. I didn’t plan on watching but I was up, so I watched a fair amount of it. It was an interesting service, a combination of traditional Church of England and American African Episcopal. It worked amazingly well together. But then the United Kingdom and the United States usually do.

St George’s Chapel is the mother church of the Order of the Garter, the oldest and most prestigious order of chivalry in the world, founded by King  Edward III, also the founder of the order in 1348.

It is also the burial place of King Henry VIII and George III (and a fair number of others) but those two are arguably the two most important in American history, one the author of the original Brexit, and the turning of England away from Europe and out into the world, and the other one of the causes of the United States. Wonder what they would have thought!

So maybe it’s a good time to take stock of the general Special Relationship. Despite Brexit (as the BBC would surely say) and Trump. it continues with a deep bond between our peoples. Actually, I think that both Brexit and Trump strengthen it. Both are well within our character. Neither country is likely to take well to being ruled by a foreign so-called elite.

Ginny Montalbano interviewed Nile Gardiner about that very thing.

Ginny MontalbanoHow do you see the U.S.-U.K. alliance under the Trump administration so far?

Nile Gardiner: I think overall the current state of the special relationship is very strong. And so the interaction between the British government and the U.S. administration at the moment is very close-knit.

I would say that it’s stronger today than it was under the Obama administration, when there were significantly more tensions and disagreements between the two sides. And a good example of that was the Obama administration’s lack of support for Britain over the Falklands issue against a backdrop of Argentine aggression.

Right now the special relationship is in very good health. You have a U.S. administration that is very pro-British, is very pro-Brexit, that is strong in favor of a U.S.-U.K. free trade agreement, and works incredibly closely with the British government in every area.

Montalbano: Sort of unexpectedly, President Trump has struck up a great dynamic with the French president, Emmanuel Macron. Has that dynamic affected our relationship with the U.K.?

Gardiner: I don’t really think that the recent state visit by the French president makes any difference in terms of the U.S. relationship with Britain. Clearly, Emmanuel Macron has launched a charm offensive in Washington.

But the reality remains that as much as the French aspire to their own special relationship with Great Britain, there is only one special relationship, and that is between the United States and the United Kingdom.

France, of course, is an important ally of the United States, but the strength of the bond between the United States and the United Kingdom is far, far deeper.

I would say that unquestionably today America’s most important ally on the world stage remains Great Britain. When you look at the U.S.-French partnership … there’s a lot of disagreement between the two sides on a wide variety of policy areas.  And I think ideologically Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump are worlds apart.

So while they have struck a good working relationship,  the worldviews of Macron and Trump are very, very different. There’s more synergy, I think, between the foreign policy of U.S. administration and Great Britain right now than there is between the U.S. and France.

MontalbanoThe royal wedding is coming up. Meghan Markle, who is 36, is older than Prince Harry, who is 33. She’s American, biracial, and divorced. What are the implications of this American actress marrying into the royal family?

Gardiner: You have an American marrying into the royal family for the first time certainly since the days of Edward and Mrs. Simpson. This is highly significant, because this will undoubtedly strengthen the bond between the United States and the United Kingdom, the two most important defenders of freedom on the world stage.

With an American marrying into the royal family, that can only be a huge positive for the royal family and for the U.S.-U.K. relationship. I think Meghan Markle will be very warmly welcomed by the royal family and by the British people, and I think she already has been.

I have no doubt that she and Prince Harry will be tremendous representatives for the royal family, not only in Britain but across the world.

I pretty much agree with him, and one thing that I like about Harry, now Duke of Sussex, is that he is the first royal in a long time to be a combat veteran, in Afghanistan, we have seen often how much better that makes men, and I doubt it is different with him,

And I really like that they invited no (none, nada) politicians to the wedding. Not to mention that sewn into her veil was a flower from each of the Commonwealth countries. A family affair.

We’ve been friends with the cousins now for a century, and I see no reason for it not to last as long as our countries do.

Other stuff, mostly in Britain

Well, I’ve nothing much prepared for today, so let’s get a bit more bashing of Britain out of our blood, shall we. Then perhaps we can move on. I’m quite pleased, by the way, that yesterday’s article drawing on Solzhenitsyn was our most read post in over a month, and I think the most read ever, in the UK. Still lot’s of good and decent folks there, just not in authority. Let’s start with why the mayor of Londonistan thinks Trump should not visit

There some good stuff in that, as for visiting London, well I tend at this point (admittedly still in pretty hot blood) think instead of visiting England, Trump should appoint a commission to look into the lack of civil rights in the country.

Peter Hitchens is not right yet about emigrating, but the trend is not favorable, and I would seriously consider it if I planned on having kids. Who wants to watch the government starve your sick kid to death.

The Council of Ealing (it’s in west London, BTW) has passed an ordinance prohibiting prayer vigils within a hundred meters (328 ft, for normal people) of a human abattoir abortion provider. There is no record at all of the people, mostly Catholics, interfering at all with those going to and from the so-called clinic. From the Catholic Herald.

They accused Ealing Council of violating basic rights to free speech, prayer, and free assembly

A group of mothers has lodged a High Court challenge against a so-called “buffer zone” outside an abortion clinic today.

Alina Dulgheriu, a mother who was helped by a pro-life vigil, filed the challenge to Ealing Council’s decision to enforce a Public Space Protection Order mandating a 100m (328 ft) exclusion zone around an abortion clinic.

Ms Dulgheriu was joined at the press conference by other mothers who had been supported by vigils. “Without sufficient justification, Ealing council has decided to criminalise otherwise lawful behaviour…to criminalise charitable activity that is needed by some of the most vulnerable women in our society,” she said.

Situation normal for the UK these days.

And a bit more on Alfie, more even-tempered than I can manage, but just as accurate, from Sohrab Ahmari writing in Commentary.

[…]The cases are silly, but the chilling effect on free speech in Britain is all too serious—and real.

That brings us back to Alfie. As the case has progressed, the political, religious, and class fault lines running through it have become ever more visible. Alfie’s parents are working class and Catholic. Judging by the social-media outpouring, many of their supporters hail from a similar class firmament: the type who voted for Brexit, who read the Sun and the Daily Mail, who are puzzled by all this talk about gender and newfangled pronouns, and who quietly cheer Donald Trump across the pond.

On the other side stands an administrative elite that has had it with “these people”—with their voting habits, their sentimentality and patriotism, their common sense on Islam and integration, and, well, their failure to understand that it is up to experts, not parents, to discern the “best interests” of a toddler like Alfie. The members of this elite worry a lot these days about the health of liberal-democratic order. An entire cottage industry has sprung up, churning out books and policy briefs on how to preserve democracy against populists and uncouth, excitable majorities. But fair-minded observers of the Alfie Evans debacle can decide for themselves which camp poses the greater threat to freedom in Britain.

Never in all my life did I think I would see such words published about Britain, let alone agree with them completely. Sad days, my friends.

In other news, I understand that the White House correspondents hosted a very ugly bash the White House Press Secretary dinner Saturday night. Inventive group, these cretins, always finding more ways to alienate themselves from the people of America. Rather like the London elites, in fact.

 

Solzhenitsyn and Alfie Evans

Well, it’s been a bit over a day since Alfie went home, and perhaps we can start to draw some lessons. For me, personally, it has been a long time since I have been called both ignorant and stupid, within two sentences. I found it rather funny, in truth, since I know what I believe and why. It has been built up over many years and does not change with the wind. And besides I understand that some Britons believe the state to be god, and the NHS its religion, so I’m an apostate. I’ve learned better, as has anybody that has studied American history.

Over Christmas in 2013, Jessica undertook to analyze in part Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s Commencement Address at Harvard in 1978. Applying it to Alfie’s ordeal is illuminating, I think. As Jess indicated, many expected it to be a paean to the west from a man who escaped from the Soviet system. It was anything but. He deplored the Soviet system, but he saw very clearly the flaws in the west, those cracks have widened considerably since 1978, and now threaten to tear us asunder.

In her post entitled The Exhausted West?, she quoted this:

Destructive and irresponsible freedom has been granted boundless space. Society appears to have little defense against the abyss of human decadence, such as, for example, the misuse of liberty for moral violence against young people, motion pictures full of pornography, crime, and horror. It is considered to be part of freedom and theoretically counterbalanced by the young people’s right not to look or not to accept. Life organized legalistically has thus shown its inability to defend itself against the corrosion of evil.

It’s a theme we hit hard and often here, libertinism opposed to liberty with its duties.

The West was, he said, ‘spiritually exhausted’. The ‘human soul longs for things higher, warmer, and purer than those offered by today’s mass living habits, introduced by the revolting invasion of publicity, by TV stupor, and by intolerable music.’

The origin of this decadence lay, Solzhenitsyn suggested, in the anthropocentric views of man’s destiny which came in with the secular thinking of the Enlightenment. Man was at the centre of all things, and the ends for which he was meant were material ones:

As an aside, I believe and Melanie Phillips wrote convincingly that:

Some of this hostility is being driven by the perceived threat from Islamic terrorism and the Islamisation of Western culture. However, this animus against religion has far deeper roots and can be traced back to what is considered the birthplace of Western reason, the 18th-century Enlightenment.

Actually, it goes back specifically to the French Enlightenment. In England and Scotland, the Enlightenment developed reason and political liberty within the framework of Biblical belief. In France, by contrast, anti-clericalism morphed into fundamental hostility to Christianity and to religion itself.

“Ecrasez l’infame,” said Voltaire (crush infamy) — the infamy to which he referred being not just the Church but Christianity, which he wanted to replace with the religion of reason, virtue and liberty, “drawn from the bosom of nature”.

Returning to Jessica’s point.

Everything beyond physical well-being and accumulation of material goods, all other human requirements and characteristics of a subtler and higher nature, were left outside the area of attention of state and social systems, as if human life did not have any superior sense. That provided access for evil, of which in our day there is a free and constant flow. Mere freedom does not in the least solve all the problems of human life and it even adds a number of new ones. 

All very very true, and phrased better than I could have then or can now. In her next post, Light from the East?, she continued the thinking with this:

in early democracies, as in American democracy at the time of its birth, all individual human rights were granted because man is God’s creature. That is, freedom was given to the individual conditionally, in the assumption of his constant religious responsibility.

When America’s Founding Fathers separated Church and State they did not do so because they were atheists or thought Christianity wrong, they did so because they did not want one Church to dominate in their society; they do, indeed, seem to have assumed that man would be bound by the responsibilities which the Christian faith laid upon him; realists, they did not think man would always live up to these, but they did not see freedom as license; can we now say that of ourselves and our leaders? What is it which binds us? […]

Solzhenitsyn’s critique is a Christian one:

There is a disaster, however, that has already been under way for quite some time. I am referring to the calamity of a despiritualized and irreligious humanistic consciousness.

Of such consciousness man is the touchstone, in judging everything on earth. Imperfect man, who is never free of pride, self-interest, envy, vanity, and dozens of other defects. We are now experiencing the consequences of mistakes that were not noticed at the beginning of the journey. On the way from the Renaissance to our day we have enriched our experience, but we have lost the concept of a Supreme Complete Entity, which used to restrain our passions and our irresponsibility.

I doubt that I am the only one to see this applying to the NHS certainly, but also to the lawyers, and judges of the British legal system. My question for them is this, “What besides self-pride, drove you to remove Alfie’s parent’s God-given responsibility for their son, even to prevent them from choosing another caregiver, futile though it may well have been. What were they so afraid of that they were willing to risk a storm from Europe, especially Italy and Poland,  and the United States? I think it was exactly that exacerbated by the fact that the Italian hospital is supported by the Vatican. How shameful if Christians could help this little boy when the minor god-emperors of the NHS could not. Remember this is the health care system that was hubristic enough to proclaim themselves, at the 2012 Olympic games, as the best in the world. While providing 2d world, at best, care to their inmates.

For a true understanding of man’s real destiny, God is essential:

If humanism were right in declaring that man is born only to be happy, he would not be born to die. Since his body is doomed to die, his task on earth evidently must be of a more spiritual nature.

But if we refuse to recognise this, or think it of no importance, then we shan’t see any reasons for exercising any self-restraint save for that imposed by the law – and if the law is the only guide we have, then we have become a society without a spirit of self-sacrifice or restraint:

People in the West have acquired considerable skill in using, interpreting, and manipulating law. Any conflict is solved according to the letter of the law, and this is considered to be the supreme solution. If one is right from a legal point of view, nothing more is required. Nobody may mention that one could still not be entirely right, and urge self-restraint, a willingness to renounce such legal rights, sacrifice, and selfless risk: it would sound simply absurd. One almost never sees voluntary self-restraint. Everybody operates at the extreme limit of those legal frames. 

And that is the root of the decadence in our societies, and why they will not last as they are. How they will change, is not in sight, perhaps they will reform, under duress, as they have before, perhaps our societies will be subsumed in Islam, perhaps something else, but what cannot continue, won’t. And that is the lesson Alfie has for us.

 

Rest in Peace

BBC – Alfie Evans, the 23-month-old toddler at the centre of a High Court legal battle, has died, nearly a week after his life support was withdrawn.

The boy from Merseyside, who had a degenerative brain condition, died at 02:30 BST, his father Tom Evans said.

On Facebook he wrote: “My gladiator lay down his shield and gained his wings… absolutely heartbroken.”

Here’s the father’s message from instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BiGlA1lDS4Y/embed/captioned/?cr=1&v=8&wp=658&rd=therightscoop.com#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%2C%22os%22%3A2464.6000000066124%7D

Here’s more:

Alfie Evans’ parents have paid heartbreaking tributes to their little boy after he passed away this morning – five days after his life support was switched off against their wishes following a legal battle.

The 23-month-old, who was being treated at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool died at 2.30am, Kate James and Thomas Evans said on Facebook.

The youngster was at the centre of a legal battle over his treatment that touched hearts around the world.

Mum Kate James posted on Facebook: “Our baby boy grew his wings tonight at 2:30 am. We are heart broken. Thankyou everyone for all your support.”

Dad Tom wrote: “My gladiator lay down his shield and gained his wings at 02:30. Absolutely heartbroken. I LOVE YOU MY GUY.”

He posted crying emojis and a broken heart next to the message.

From: BREAKING: Little Alfie Evans is now in Heaven…

Pretty much pre-ordained, and yet the world will mourn this little warrior, and while we will seldom speak of him, he will inform our battle for life going forward, and some day, we will once again win that battle.

Meantime, I saw a Tweet this morning that summarized my thought on this.

God give him rest, and comfort his parents, as they too remain in our thoughts

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