Provocateur of the Right: The Responsibilities of Our Republic

October 8, 2015

Twice in my lifetime, the long arm of destiny has reached across the ocean and involved the entire life and manhood of the United States in a deadly struggle. There was no use saying: “We don’t want it, we won’t have it; our forebears left Europe to avoid those quarrels; we have founded a new world which has no contact with the old”—there was no use in that. The long arm reaches out remorselessly and every one’s existence, environment and outlook undergoes a swift and irresistible change. What is the explanation, Mr. President, of these strange facts, and what are the deep laws to which they respond?


I will offer you one explanation. There are others, but one will suffice: The price of greatness is responsibility. If the people of the United States had remained in a mediocre station, struggling with the wilderness, absorbed in their own affairs and a factor of no consequence in the movement of the world, they might have remained forgotten and undisturbed beyond their protecting oceans. But one cannot rise to be in many ways the leading community in the civilized world without being involved in its problems, without being convulsed by its agonies and inspired by its causes, If this has been proved in the past, as it has been, it will become indisputable in the future.


The people of the United States cannot escape world responsibility. Although we live in a period so tumultuous that little can be predicted, we may be quite sure that this process will be intensified with every forward step the United States makes in wealth as in power. – Winston Churchhill, 1943


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