August 12, 2023 - 9:00 pm
Britain slept in the 1930s as an inevitable war with Hitler loomed. A lonely Winston Churchill had only a few courageous partners to oppose the appeasement and incompetence of his conservative colleague Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.
One of the most stalwart truth-tellers was a now little-remembered politico and public servant — Leo Amery, a polymath and conservative member of Parliament. Yet in two iconic moments of outrage against the Chamberlain government’s temporizing, Amery galvanized Britain and helped end the government’s disastrous policies.
In the hours after Hitler invaded Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, there was real doubt whether Chamberlain would honor its treaty and declare war on Germany. A Labour Party member, surrogate Arthur Greenwood, got up in the House of Commons to announce that he would be speaking for Labour on behalf of his ill party leader Clement Attlee.
Immediately Amery interrupted, shouting out, “Speak for England, Arthur!”
He was met with overwhelming applause and soon public acclamation. After all, Amery was a political voice in the wilderness warning that neither his own party nor the opposition Labour Party was speaking or acting for the real interest of the British people.
Amery, a shocked Greenwood and others had finally had enough of the partisan nonsense and demanded the nation unite against Nazi Germany. Hours later, Britain declared war on Germany, the first major power to do so.
On a second iconic occasion on May 7, 1940, Amery voiced even stronger views — again, widely held by the public, but rarely voiced by the timid political class.
The inept Chamberlain government had just lost a winnable Norway campaign to Germany. Amery responded with a blistering attack on the incompetence of the conservative Chamberlain administration by quoting Oliver Cromwell’s hallmark 1653 order to the Long Parliament: “You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go.”
Three days later after Amery’s speech and the invasion of France, an ill Chamberlain and most of his advisers resigned. Churchill became prime minister. The rest is history.
We need a voice like Amery’s. Like Britain from 1939 to 1940, America is in existential danger.
The Biden administration has utterly destroyed the southern border — and immigration law with it. Biden greenlighted 7 million illegal aliens swarming into the United States without legal sanction or rudimentary audit.
China spies inside and over the U.S. with impunity. Beijing has never admitted to its responsibility for the gain-of-function COVID virus that killed 1 million Americans.
President Joe Biden printed $4 trillion at exactly the wrong time of soaring post-COVID consumer demand and supply shortages. No wonder he birthed the worst inflation in 40 years.
In response, interest rates tripled, gas prices doubled.
Our military is thousands of recruits short. It lacks sufficient munitions.
Following Biden’s humiliating pullout from Afghanistan, vast troves of arms were abandoned in Kabul. Billions more in scarce weapons were sent to Ukraine.
The Pentagon’s woke agenda trumps meritocracy in promotions and advancement.
Our enemies — Russia, China, Iran, North Korea — are on the move, while the United States seems listless.
The Biden renegade Department of Justice, CIA and FBI have become weaponized. Ideology, politics, and race — not the law — more often guide their investigations, intelligence operations and enforcement.
The downtowns of our once majestic major cities are becoming unlivable. They are mired in refuse and trash, violent crime and homelessness. Stores and businesses leave. Millions each year flee the blue urban coasts to the red west and south.
To even say there are still two biological genders, that global warming may not be entirely man-made or necessarily destroying the planet, or that class, not race, is the proper barometer of inequality is to face ostracism and career cancellation.
The public assumes that Biden is severely cognitively challenged, likely corrupt and a serial fabricator.
Most know what must be done, but few will tell the truth: Balance the budget. Return to legal-only immigration. Restore a well-funded, but unwoke Pentagon.
Insist on racial unity. Curb the overweening administrative state. Enforce the rule of law.
Produce more gas and oil. Re-establish civic education. Insist universities protect free speech and due process — and stop proselytizing.
In other words, restore what until recently made America the strongest, most prosperous and freest nation in the world. And quit undoing all the great good that eight generations of prior Americans bequeathed to us.
Somewhere out there an American Leo Amery is growing infuriated over what is being done to America. And if he finally stands up like Amery to call out our bankrupt political class, the American people will echo his famous order to this disastrous government: “Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go.”
Victor Davis Hanson is a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness and a classicist and historian at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.