To Conquer with Chivalry and Mercy

Winston Spencer Churchill was one of the greatest men of the past century and of modern times more broadly. A world-class statesman, he embodied the cardinal virtues of courage and prudence. This was once the nearly universal consensus of free and informed opinion, often accompanied by genuine admiration and gratitude. To be sure, there have always been outliers: inveterate British socialists, eccentric Tory historians who still defend the wisdom of appeasement, isolationists and pacifists of various stripes, and anti-anti-Communists who cannot forgive Churchill for his lucidity about totalitarianism in all its forms. Today, however, Churchill’s cultured despisers have become mainstream. They take aim at Churchill’s alleged racism, his support for the irredeemably evil West, and his defense of what the political scientist Kirk Emmert called “civilizing empire.”

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