A More Hollow Than Hallowed Victory

by Milo Clark

November 20, 2000



Whatever the outcomes of year 2000 American Presidential politics, the will of the people, in actuality, represents a minority, those who voted, of a minority, those registered to vote, of total population. That minority of a minority now will constitute an electoral majority determining the titular leader, monarch, in fact, of the once allegedly democratic, although more republican in constitution and practice, United States of America. More hollow than hallowed is that victory!

Historian John Lukacs, in his many works, especially Outgrowing Democracy, establishes the processes whereby this outcome has been predictable to those who will look. This once democracy, more republic, is now a monarchical state with a sham monarch and mock legislature.

The monarch is run, as is the country, by bureaucracies and bureaucrats, inside and outside government, per se. No electorally vested American monarch of recent history has written a speech, a paper, a report or much of anything by himself. The thousands of tons of presidential paper, memorabilia and kitsch now sequestered in numerous ostentatious and expensive presidential libraries are more evidence of bureaucratic process than anything resembling leadership, whatever that may have become.

Rarely in recent history has a titular and allegedly constitutionally constituted monarch had a thought of his own independently arrived at. Rather his staff rubs the collective tummies of the poll skewers, public opinion interpreters and focus group reporters, prepares position papers and memoranda by which the monarch identifies his policies and his responses, assumes form, and is created yet anew.

Sir William Stephenson is quite unknown nowadays, as he preferred following his demanding years of service during World War II. As chief of British Security Coordination (BSC), he was code-named "Intrepid."

Several novelistic reports and inventions have picked up the codename and spun crowded webs of intrigue around it. Stephenson regretted these. He cooperated with American author, William Stevenson, no relative, in a book published in 1972, A Man Called Intrepid, the Secret War in part to do several things in addition to setting the record as straight as passing years and the British Official Secrets Act would allow.

Sir William wrote a foreword.. He recounts an outline of World War II, ". . . the malignancy of modern barbarism." At the end, "I closed the books on BSC, never, I hoped, to open them again."

And, yet, "the certainty of peace had proved little more than a fragile dream. 'And so the democracies triumphed,' Sir Winston Churchill wrote later, 'And so we were able to resume the follies that had nearly cost them their life.'"

". . . Prophetic as he was, Churchill did not foresee the awesome extremes to which these follies would extend." And now, 56 years later, there is no excess of new or old barbarism which is not being exceeded.

In reference to the quality and scope of the book, Sir William wrote, "I have read the manuscript and can vouch for its authenticity. I willingly answered all the author's many and probing questions, for they are part of a larger question that must be answered now and in the future: Will the democracies consent to their own survival?"

". . . We failed . . . prior to 1939."

". . . The weapons of secrecy have no place in an ideal world. But we live in a world of undeclared hostilities. . . ."

". . . So there is the conundrum: How can we wield the weapons of secrecy without damage to ourselves? How can we preserve secrecy without endangering constitutional law and individual guarantees of freedom?"

" . . .Perhaps the story of British Security Coordination can help. . . . "Codes were broken, cadres were built, new technology was sent to agents and guerillas." "Equally true but possibly not so evident, is an important characteristic of BSC -- it consisted of volunteer civilians convinced that individual liberty lies at the root of human progress. We were amateurs steeped in the traditions of freethinking individuals."

". . . When the history of World War II is revised in the light of the secret war, this may be the most striking element: the great engines of destruction did not determine the outcome. The invincibility of free people and the ingenuity of free minds did. I believe this as I believe today that the spirit of human resistance refuses to be crushed by mere technology." [viz: Lukacs, Five Days in May 1940]

". . .What seems poignantly evident to me is that humankind already has awesome enemies to engage -- poverty, disease, and ignorance for example -- and in such common cause there is reward and glory enough for all."


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Published November 20, 2000
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