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Samizdata quote of the day

The Americans will always do the right thing, once all other possibilities have been exhausted

– attributed to Winston Churchill

25 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • A cowardly citizen

    May not be a real quote of Churchill’s. It doesn’t tie with his own nationality, and the supposed date (1944) is somewhat unlikely.


  • Julie near Chicago

    Winston! thou shouldst be living at this hour:
    For we hath need of thee: we are a fen
    Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen,
    Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower,
    Have forfeited their ancient Freedom’s dower
    Of inward happiness. We useless men–
    Oh! raise us up, return to us again;
    And conjure forth our virtue, freedom, power.
    Thy soul was like a star, and dwelt apart:
    Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea:
    Not cracking like unto the Bell of Liberty
    Now left alone, forlorn, forgotten, without prize;
    But rather sound as thund’ring heavens, ringing, free.

    So didst thou travel thy uncommon way,
    Despite thy heart’s despair; yet ere the end
    Thy course proved true, thy destination found;
    So thus thou gave our Anglospheric lands
    A chance to travel further th’upward path
    Toward days of satisfactions freely picked.

    And boy, are we mucking it up.

    –With suitable apologies to Wordsworth

  • Julie near Chicago

    @Fellow Cowardly Citizen:

    “Well, if he didn’t say it, he darn well should have!”

    –A Randy Quaid character quoting a Jimmy Stewart character, IIRC


    (Thanks for the info though–it just struck me as funny.)

  • I always thought it was Abba Eban.

  • I hereby quote G K Chesterton, merely because he wrote the funniest Wordsworth parody ever.

    Sonnet to a Stilton Cheese:

    Stilton, thou shouldst be living at this hour
    And so thou art. Nor losest grace thereby;
    England has need of thee, and so have I—
    She is a Fen. Far as the eye can scour,
    League after grassy league from Lincoln tower
    To Stilton in the fields, she is a Fen.
    Yet this high cheese, by choice of fenland men,
    Like a tall green volcano rose in power.
    Plain living and long drinking are no more,
    And pure religion reading “Household Words”,
    And sturdy manhood sitting still all day
    Shrink, like this cheese that crumbles to its core;
    While my digestion, like the House of Lords,
    The heaviest burdens on herself doth lay.

  • Russ in Texas

    May be fake, but I’ve heard it since I was a teen.
    Horrifying corollary to this quote would be the assumption that there are other nations which will continue not doing the right thing even when it’s the only choice left. ::eek::

    Actually, now that I think about it, I can name several countries like that….

  • Laird

    I thought it was Abba Eban, too. And it wasn’t limited to Americans, either: “Men and nations will always do the right thing in the end – after they exhaust every other possibility.”

  • Paul Marks

    “Americans” is too broad a term – let us stick with individual towns.

    Most people in Bedford New Hampshire appear to have done the right thing (politically and in other ways) since 1932 – and even in 1932 they seemed to be doing the right thing.

    After Franklin Roosevelt denounced Herbert “The Forgotten Progressive” Hoover as a socialist – and pledged to cut taxes and government spending.

  • veryretired

    Considering that just about everything that the US has done for the past century has been opposed and condemned by much of the intelligentsia of europe, I suppose “doing the right thing” might be somewhat of a contentious issue.

    During my lifetime, the ridicule for daring to oppose worldwide socialism was continuous and relentless.

    Fortunately, while our east coast liberals seem smitten with the opinions of their continental mentors, most of us here in flyover country just don’t give a crap.

    Most of our families fled here to get away from you.

    And, by the way, you’re on your own now. We won’t be loading up any troop ships to make the world safe for backstabbers and appeasers any more.

    Good luck!

  • Tostig Blake

    And, by the way, you’re on your own now. We won’t be loading up any troop ships to make the world safe for backstabbers and appeasers any more.

    That’s just fine by me. And please feel free to count us out of your wars as well from now on. Sounds like a win-win.

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    Didn’t I read right here that Lincoln advised us to never trust everything we read on the Internet? If you become famous, others will post-date sayings to you. Even if Churchill had been the first to say this sentence, other people used these individual words before him! How many times have ‘You’ and ‘the’ been used without attribution? plagiarism is everwhere, as someone famous will say in the future!

  • bloke in spain

    “And please feel free to count us out of your wars as well from now on”
    Just trying to remember the last American War we were counted in. S’pose 1812 but we weren’t exactly being helpful at the time.

  • veryretired

    Oh, Bloke, he’s just being snarky about Iraq.

    I understand the desperate need to yell “squirell” whenever anyone mentions the reality of whose ideas, and social/political systems, were responsible for the carnage and conflict around the world in the 20th century.

    It must be very difficult to deal with the facts, so it’s a win/win for him to pretend the US has produced just as much slaughter and chaos as the century of totalitarian fascism and marxism that consumed the european mind and culture.

    But you’re fine now—you have the EU to save you, so you don’t need the US.

    Best wishes!

  • Tostig Blake

    I understand the desperate need to yell “squirell” whenever anyone mentions the reality of whose ideas, and social/political systems, were responsible for the carnage and conflict around the world in the 20th century.

    I don’t think Britain’s ideas and social/political system, were responsible for all that much of the carnage and conflict around the world in the 20th century. And we need the EU to save us about as much as we need the USA to save us.

  • Alisa

    I thought Britain was not part of Europe, and so present company is, for the most part, not included?

  • veryretired

    I’m not interested in some big pissing contest here. I have read and watched european media, including the bbc, and listened to all the speeches and watched all the demonstrations.

    The attitude for as long as I can remember was a mix of condescension and disdain toward those crude Americans and their lack of european sophistication.

    The sophisticated political and social theories of europe’s ever thoughtful intellectuals and political leaders metastasized around the world in multiple variations of fascism, socialism, and autocratic militarism.

    And, for most of the 20th century, the US was called upon to attempt to pacify the ruptures caused by the collapse of one empire after another, both european and asian.

    Let’s try to remember that the overwhelming opinion of the American people on 12/6/41 was to stay out of any foreign wars, especially european ones, and let people around the world solve their own problems as long as they left us alone.

    We were heartsick over the carnage of WW2, and frustrated and angry over the seemingly endless cold war that we inherited from that last of the european civil wars.

    Here’s the thing—we have seen and heard exactly what europe thinks of us, and noted time and time again the endless protests against everything we try to do anywhere in the world, as we have also noted the abscence of any of that outrage towards any of our adversaries, secular or religious.

    Now, is that an overbroad generalization, and perhaps unfair to many of our good friends in europe and elsewhere? Yes, certainly it is.

    But it’s mild in comparison to the horse crap that’s been flung our way for decades, so tough tit.

    I realize that your feelings are as delicate as a spider’s web, but, you know, that’s the price of having us crude, unsophisticated yanks around.

    And now I’m done with this.

  • Tostig Blake

    I don’t think the Americans are crude and unsophisticated. I just think that the USA does what the elite think is in the USA’s interests.

    To you, World War 2 comes to mind. Ok. And we liquidated our empire and economy to pay for your help. Fair enough. For me, Suez comes to mind as well. I just want the UK to do the same as the USA and that means staying out of the USA’s wars and doing what is on our interests even if that is not in your interests. The Cold War is over. Go home. I know we certain should.

  • Laird

    ‘The Cold War is over. Go home.”

    Exactly right.

  • Julie near Chicago

    “Go home. Go home, gentlemen, and hide under the bed.”

  • Paul Marks


    As you know the “enlightened elite” in the United States have worshipped European collectivism for a long time.

    Richard Ely (mentor of both T. Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson) and his followers ran a collectivist jihad in American universities more than a century ago – driving out as many noncollectivists as they could (ironically in the name of “academic freedom”).

    Even back in the early 19th century H. Mann in Mass (the “father of American Public Education”) hated American practicies (business and so on) and worshipped Prussia.

    The treason of the intellectuals has been going on a very long time.

  • Winger

    Getting back to the original subject: isn’t that similar to saying that you found a lost item in the last place you looked?

  • veryretired

    Iteresting letter by Michael Ledeen at pajamas media regarding this issue.