mises.org/library/rethinking-churchill
Churchill as IconOpportunism and RhetoricChurchill and the "New Liberalism"World War IBetween the WarsEmbroiling America in War—Again"First Catch Your Hare"War Crimes Discreetly Veiled1945: The Dark SideThe Triumph of the Welfare State Churchill as Icon

When, in a very few years, the pundits start to pontificate on the great question: "Who was the Man of the Century?" there is little doubt that they will reach virtually instant consensus. Inevitably, the answer will be: Winston Churchill. Indeed, Professor Harry Jaffa has already informed us that Churchill was not only the Man of the Twentieth Century, but the Man of Many Centuries.1

In a way, Churchill as Man of the Century will be appropriate. This has been the century of the State—of the rise and hypertrophic growth of the welfare-warfare state—and Churchill was from first to last a Man of the State, of the welfare state and of the warfare state. War, of course, was his lifelong passion; and, as an admiring historian has written: "Among his other claims to fame, Winston Churchill ranks as one of the founders of the welfare state."2 Thus, while Churchill never had a principle he did not in the end betray,3 this does not mean that there was no slant to his actions, no systematic bias. There was, and that bias was towards lowering the barriers to state power.

To gain any understanding of Churchill, we must go beyond the heroic images propagated for over half a century. The conventional picture of Churchill, especially of his role in World War II, was first of all the work of Churchill himself, through the distorted histories he composed and rushed into print as soon as the war was over.4 In more recent decades, the Churchill legend has been adopted by an internationalist establishment for which it furnishes the perfect symbol and an inexhaustible vein of high-toned blather. Churchill has become, in Christopher Hitchens's phrase, a "totem" of the American establishment, not only the scions of the...

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