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?
In the United States, also, economic crisis has led to an extension of the activities of the Executive and to the pillorying, by irresponsible agitators, of certain groups and sections of the population as enemies of the rest. There have been efforts to exalt the power of the central government and to limit the rights of individuals. It has been sought to mobilize behind this reversal of the American tradition at once the selfishness of the pensioners, or the would-be pensioners of Washington, and the patriotism of all who wish to see their country prosperous once more. It is when passions and cupidities are thus unleashed and, at the same time, the sense of public duty rides high in the hearts of all men and women of good will that the handcuffs can be slipped upon the citizens and they can be brought into subjugation to the executive government. Then they are led to believe that, if they will only yield themselves, body, mind, and soul, to the State, and obey unquestioningly its injunctions, some dazzling future of riches and power will open to them….
I take the opposite view. I hold that governments are meant to be, and must remain, the servants of the citizens; that states and federations only come into existence and can only be justified by preserving the ‘life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness’ in the homes and families of individuals. The true right and power rest in the individual. He gives of his right and power to the State, expecting and requiring thereby in return to receive certain advantages and guarantees….
(From “What Good’s a Constitution?” by Winston Churchill, 1936)
May 22, 2013
“Our Conservative aim is to build a property-owning democracy, both independent and interdependent. In this I include profit-sharing schemes in suitable industries and intimate consultation between employers and wage-earners. In fact we seek so far as possible to make the status of the wage-earner that of a partner rather than of an irresponsible employee. It is in the interest of the wage-earner to have many other alternatives open to him than service under one all-powerful employer called the State. He will be in a better position to bargain collectively and production will be more abundant; there will be more for all and more freedom for all when the wage-earner is able, in the large majority of cases, to choose and change his work, and to deal with a private employer who, like himself, is subject to the ordinary pressures of life and, like himself, is dependent upon his personal thrift, ingenuity and good-housekeeping. In this way alone can the traditional virtues of the British character be preserved. We do not wish the people of this ancient island reduced to a mass of State-directed proletarians, thrown hither and thither, housed here and there, by an aristocracy of privileged officials or privileged Party, sectarian or Trade Union bosses.”
Winston Churchill, 1946