The musings of one Andrew Langer - defender of liberty, passionate protector of individual rights, foodie. (Note: Said Musings of Andrew Langer are his own, and the views represented herein are likewise his views, and not the views of any other people, entities, foodstuffs, etc [unless otherwise specifically and explicitly noted].)

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Baldwin and Churchill: Dissent, Appeasement, and Victorious Resolve

I was over reading Andrew Kessler's "Southpawspot" blog -, and he's got a post up regarding a Keith Olberman editorial that was televised the other night in response to SecDef Rumsfeld's American Legion speech. In his editorial, Olberman tries to compare this government to the government of Neville Chamberlain in Great Britain in the years preceding World War II, and, by extension, make the War on Terror and the War in Iraq into some sort of bizarro "appeasement" situation - and, by further extension, turn the anti-war activists into bizarro Winston Churchills.

Anyhow, Kessler reposted the editorial, and I responded to it there. But I thought it was worthy of its own post, right here on the Liberty Blog. What's interesting to me is that it was over a year ago that Kessler and I had our first online altercation over a year ago, and it centered on my use of a Churchill quote here on the Liberty Blog about solidarity in the face of terror (actually, more directly, it had to do with my linking that post to the online bulletin board for the public school that Kessler and I were classmates in).

But on to the issue of Olberman:

To me, what's amazing is that Olberman could use that analogy and come to a completely opposite conclusion than Churchill's.

I rewatched "The Gathering Storm" last weekend while I was flying home from Texas with the fam. For the uninitiated, that was HBO's amazing Winston Churchill biopic - taking place in the years of Churchill's pre-war decline.

The most basic that Olberman gets wrong is proclaiming that it was Chamberlain who tried marginalizing Churchill by isolating him and keeping a monopoly on the facts. It wasn't - it was Stanley Baldwin, Chamberlain's predecessor.

This isn't just nitpicking, as Baldwin's actions are almost more damning than Chamberlain's appeasement, and far more apropos to the situation we find ourselves in today. Baldwin was a pacifist, raised to the highest elected office in England because of his deep committment to peace and his antiwar views - views shared by a great many in England at the time.

In fact, if there is any lesson to be learned from the Baldwin versus Churchill incident, it's that it is profoundly dangerous for a government (and a people) to be so enamored of pacifism that they ignore very clear and very real threats to their existence.

Churchill's very point - his driving passion that brought him out of decline, that allowed him to confront Baldwin directly, that convinced others to risk everything to provide him with the facts that ultimately won the argument, that put him back in as Lord of the Admiralty and eventually as Prime Minister, was that there are some people who simply cannot be negotiated with. That the only response to such people is fierce determination and the force of arms.

It is, in fact, a cautionary tale that ought to be weighing heavily in the minds of the people this election season. Does America have real enemies? Are those enemies moving against us? What will happen to America if we do nothing? Worse, what will happen is we move backwards or retreat? Can these enemies be negotiated with, and for what? At what cost, ultimately, to our nation? What has history taught us about the honor and trustworthiness of our adversaries? What has history taught us about what our adversaries do after negotiations are completed?

Yes, America faces a choice - a choice other nations have faced in the past. We can appease, or worse, retreat from the battlefield. Or we can stay resolved - resolved that freedom is better than slavery, that prosperity is better than poverty, and that hope is better than despair.

There is no doubt in the end - dissent and disagreement with government _is_ the life's blood of human freedom. And one can criticize the prosecution of the war and still be supportive of that war's ultimate goals. But Olberman was wrong to use Churchill's courageous stand to support his arguments, when, in fact, it teaches us just how wrong Olberman is.

And, allow me to add, how wrong appeasement is. There are no half measures to be had here. We must be victorious - for, as Churchill said, "You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory. Victory at all costs - Victory in spite of all terrors - Victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival." (Blood, Sweat and Tears Speech, May 13, 1940)

- Andrew Langer


Blogger Cajun Tiger said...

The audacity and hypocrisy of the Olberman dribble didn't surprise me one bit. He is as far left as Moore and Franken if not more so.

September 07, 2006 9:31 AM

Anonymous Fred said...

What truly surprises me: Olberman has a TV show. Were I God, I would love nothing more than to bring Churchill back to life the moment Olberman starts yapping and say in my (naturally) thundering voice, "well, let's hear it from the man himself. Go ahead Sir Winston."

Then again, were I God, I'd simply extinguish Olberman. Which is why it's a Good Thing(tm) I am not God.

September 09, 2006 2:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrew you are famous, this appeared on alt.religion.scientology today and is the root of a furious debate!


I think everyone knows, by now, that Tom Cruise and Thomas Szasz are
linked up through CCHR:

But take a look at who is continually defending Szasz:

This is where it gets interesting. Reason 'pretends' to be
libertarian, what with occasional swipes at the US government and so
on. But it is actually a Neocon publication. Editor Jacob Sullum has
close ties to the Competitive Research Institute (CEI). Now they say
they are advocates of small business, but, if that's true why do they
get so much money from Exxon?

CEI's Myron Ebell seems to lead the Exxon charge. Exxon has admitted
to paying him as much as $125,000 a year, and his net worth is
estimated to be in the millions.

But there are even more curious characters. Frequent Reason
contributor and Sullum disciple John Berlau is currently on the staff
of CEI. He's written the occasional piece defending Scientology's
right to exist as a religion. But, more interestingly, he has taken a
strong interest in the death of Washington, DC, area escort Theresa
Howell, who worked under the name Summer Breeze. Howell had a problem
with drugs and alcohol, and, on the DC-based prostitution website, she talked of her exploration of Scientology as a

Berlau tried, without apparent success, to conduct his own
investigation of her death. The police investigation said Howell fell
down stairs while drunk, Berlau was looking for something else. Ever
since then, Berlau has occasionally ventured into rather dark
journalistic and possibly personal territory exploring the sex trade.

Berlau does not have a good reputation as a journalist, he has
supposedly blackmailed people into cooperating with him, threatening to
give them adverse publicity if they will not serve as his journallistic

His claim to fame is the Sandy Hume award, which seems to be about as
prestigious as a Buzz Lightyear Space Patrol membership badge.

Often leaping to Berlau's defense is blogger and self-described
'foodie' Andrew Langer. Langer is running for local office in Virginia
and has garnered support from both Narconon and Applied Scholastics.
When it appeared Berlau was involved in a series of prostitution sting
operations in Maryland, Langer editorialized at length about Berlau on
his blog. Berlau supposedly participated in the entrapment of
prostitutes and clients, and offered them "a chance" if they would
consent to interviews for a book he is writing on the topic. Pollice
in Montgomery and Prince George's County had to call off the operation
due to the adverse publicity.

Also at CEI is lawyer and erotic model Solveig Singleton. She often
double teams with Ebell on what has to be described as their Exxon
account, but she's also very active at events in Europe, and was very
openly critical of the German and French government positions on
Scientology. CEI must not pay well, as she continues to do

None of these people can be found in Scientology completions, but it
certainly is odd that they go to such lengths to defend Scientology and
its front groups.

September 09, 2006 6:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe I am showing my age, but isn't this the same Keith Olberman who used to be kind a 'wild and crazy guy' with an imaginary friend called Morgul the Friendly Drelb or some such thing, and now he's somehow managed to turn himself into a foreign policy expert? Is he trying to tell us that Raxmo the Unfriendly Drelb did 9/11 and is planning to kidnap all of the gerbils in Boise and give them to Richard Gere?

September 10, 2006 7:45 AM

Blogger Andrew Langer said...

More BS from the person who is apparently still upset that I called him out on his idiotic allegations against John Berlau.

Has it been six months already?

Incidentally, friend, I'd hardly call three messages in a Usenet thread a "furious debate".

September 11, 2006 11:07 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never heard of Berlau, saw Reason magazine for free once at LaGuardia airport, but I what I want to know is, are Narconon and Applied Scholastics supporting your campaign, these are well documented Scientology front groups.

September 11, 2006 12:40 PM

Blogger Andrew Langer said...

The errors in that comment (which has been repeated here, on Usenet, and on Craigslist) are numerous. To answer your question, no, neither Narconon, Applied Scholastics, nor anyone else affiliated with scientology is supporting my campaign.

In point of fact, I'm running a shoestring campaign, haven't really solicited donations from anyone, and even were I not, I wouldn't take any money from anyone affiliated with scientology.

In one of my stints working for a NY law firm during college breaks, I was part of a team defending a client from a vindictive lawsuit by the Church of Scientology. I learned more than I needed to know about that "organization" (and I use that term loosely).

Incidentally, this is a minor office I'm seeking. I wouldn't even really call it an "office - it's a seat on a committee - a political party's central committee for a county. And the race itself is _not_ in Virginia (which is one of the many errors the commenter makes).

It's on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where I live and have lived for several years.

September 11, 2006 3:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you've been up against Scientology before, maybe they are behind this? They have very long memories. Look at, their 'anti critic' site and there are people on there who have had nothing to do with them for years.

A Craigslist smear campaign is about their speed.

September 11, 2006 5:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Also at CEI is lawyer and erotic model Solveig Singleton. She often
double teams with Ebell on what has to be described as their Exxon
account, but she's also very active at events in Europe, and was very
openly critical of the German and French government positions on

Wazzup with this stuff? I am neither at CEI, nor am any kind of model, nor, when I was at CEI, did I work on anything remotely related to anything Myron does or anything to do with Exxon, nor have I ever written anything about anyone's position on Scientology. I write about tech policy. Mostly privacy, copyright, and patents. Weird.


November 27, 2006 4:04 PM


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