Opinion

Who’s in Charge of the ‘Clattering Train’?

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Posted: May 15, 2021 12:01 AM
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Who’s in Charge of the ‘Clattering Train’?

Source: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

A sense of dread overtook Winston Churchill in the mid-'30s.  With the ebb and flow of the civilized world packed into his bones, Churchill’s instinct was telling him that a mortal danger was growing inside a vanquished Germany.   

In violation of the peace treaty, Germany had been secretly rebuilding its military at a pace that put them months away from achieving air parity with Britain. Churchill poured his energy and rhetorical genius into getting Parliament to take action before it was too late.

“Germany is arming fast, and no one is going to stop her,” he told the House of Commons in 1934.  “I dread the day when the means to threatening the heart of the British Empire should pass into the hands of the present rulers of Germany. ... It has not come yet … but it is not far distant.  There is time for us to take the necessary measures …”

Mortal danger could not have come at a worse time. With the debris still piled up from the First World War, the British wanted nothing to do with dark clouds billowing hundreds of miles away.  They wanted peace, safety, and a nice life.

As the peril that soon caused the deaths of tens of millions approached, Churchill’s opponents poured their energy into articulate nonsense and shortsighted, hand-to-mouth politics.  Public opinion was so blurred by the liquor of peace that any serious talk of taking “necessary measures” was ridiculed, downplayed, and rationalized – even as proof gushed in from Germany that Churchill’s instincts had meat on the bones.

Churchill wrote in his memoirs that Parliament’s feebleness reminded him of a poem that he read by Edward Milliken in Punch magazine about a tragic railway accident.   Here’s the short version:

“Who is in charge of the clattering train?

The axles creak and the couplings strain;

And the pace is hot, and the points are near,

And Sleep has deadened the driver’s ear;

And the signals flash through the night in vain,

For Death is in charge of the clattering train.”

Long before Churchill was locked in mortal combat against Hitler’s tyranny, he battled the tyranny of public opinion in his own country.  He lost. The storm came, and Hell came with it. Hitler’s crimes were so hideous, wrote Churchill, that none equaled its scale in wickedness that so darkened the human record.

Churchill had been right too soon.  Slow-moving public opinion – preoccupied with a situation that no longer existed – was overrun by fast-moving events.

After the catastrophe, President Roosevelt asked for suggestions on what to call the war.  “The Unnecessary War,” Churchill said.

“There never was a war more easy to stop than that which has just wrecked what was left of the world from the previous struggle,” he wrote.  “… the malice of the wicked, was reinforced by the weakness of the virtuous.”

In America, history is starting to rhyme.  Hitler is not the point.  Weakness and timidity in the face of mortal danger is.

America is being driven at warp speed toward a train wreck by drunken drivers asleep at the switch.  We don’t need experts to tell us that.  We know it in our bones.  We see it with our own eyes.  The unheeded creaks, the clattering, and the flashing signals have overtaken us with a sense of dread because feeble leaders are not taking “necessary measures” to stop the clattering train.

We scream, only to have our warnings ridiculed, downplayed, and rationalized with tyrannical opinions regurgitated by woke zombies in politics, media, business, education, entertainment, and sports.

It’s been “rather uncomfortable,” as Jordan Peterson might say.

In four short months, Biden and the Democrats are pushing America toward catastrophe.  They dictate to us without consensus. They dictate to us against our wills.  They dictate to us against the country’s best interests.  And they use troops, violent protesters, businesses, and corrupt government agencies to enforce their dictates.  Biden’s government is a dictatorship.

How is this possible?

Because Democrats have created a two-headed Frankenstein: a deranged political class, and a derangement in the functions of power.

“I think we confuse ideology with insanity,” Newt Gingrich told Mark Levin recently.  “I think some of the people who are calling for eliminating the police [and] closing down all prisons – you have to wonder what planet they’re on.  These things are not ideological left wing; they are people who are out of touch with reality, and they’re best dealt with, I think, as though they have some kind of pathology.  … We’re really dealing with a mental health problem, and that’s why you can’t have a conversation with them.”

In short, these people are crazy.

Yet, these are the people who the enfeebled Joe Biden has hired to run the government.  And these are the groups, opinion leaders and pundits he looks to outside government to, in effect, govern the United States.  An unelected mass is governing, not by rule of law, but by the tyranny of opinion.

In the '50s, this is what journalist Walter Lippmann called “a morbid derangement in the functions of power.”

“Where mass opinion dominates the government, there is a morbid derangement of the true functions of power,” he wrote in The Public Philosophy (1955). “The derangement brings about the enfeeblement, verging on paralysis, of the capacity to govern. This breakdown in the constitutional order is the cause of the precipitate and catastrophic decline of Western society. It may, if it cannot be arrested and reversed, bring about the fall of the West.”

We sit where Churchill did decades ago: at the ever-shrinking window between taking “necessary measures” and facing unnecessary mortal danger.  This is not a wish for civil war.  Generations that burned for war ended up with senseless slaughter, unbearable sorrow, and deep regrets.

But given the dire situation, hard decisions must be made to turn things around.  It’s insane to believe that normal solutions can solve our abnormal problems. If we take necessary measures now, we can avert the excruciatingly difficult “unnecessary” measures that will be needed if only half-measures are taken now.

When there was still time to avert peril, Churchill urged leaders to uphold their sacred duty to the country, with no regard for public opinion.

“They must face the storm,” he said.  “They will have to encounter every form of unfair attack.  Their motives will be misrepresented.  … Every kind of attack will be made upon them by many powerful, numerous, and extremely vocal forces in this country.  They are going to get it anyway.  Why, then, not fight for something that will give us safety?”

Our leaders, too, must face the storm now before it’s too late.  We’re not living in some backward socialist state. This is America!  All this woke stuff is starting to wake people up.