The Twenty-First Century Forgets
During the first half of the Twentieth Century, Great Britain fought two wars. For many those two wars are linked and are thought of as one war, with a brief pause in the middle when both sides had fought themselves to a standstill.
For us, the first of those wars was a war against arrogance and the policy of might is right. It gave rise to the second, perhaps mainly because the victors did not act according to the principles that they had been fighting for, and instead of trying to gain a lasting and just peace, ground the faces of their defeated enemy in the dirt. The second of those wars was against an evil dictator who corrupted those with whom he came into contact, and who stirred an evil note in the depths of all our beings. Although the German people themselves had to suffer some of the worst excesses of his degenerating energy, the waves of its evil spread all over Europe, and beyond. Let no one ever forget that there were Fascists, and others who sympathized with the Fascists throughout all the nations of Europe and in America.
In Britain, Sir Oswald Mosely and the Mitford sisters were but the tip of an iceberg much larger and much deeper than folk today would like to admit. In America there was no widespread revulsion at Charles Lindberg's rallies. Even an English bobby on Jersey refused to allow a Jewish servant to accompany her employers on the last boat to England because of a passport irregularity, although he must have had some inkling of the fate to which he was condemning her. We are none of us totally exempt from blame. Hitler only said very loudly the unspeakable words and did on an enormous scale the unthinkable deeds of violence and cruelty that lurk in the recesses of our hearts.
At the core of the evil, putrid, festering conspiracy that was the Nazis were their concentration camps, a phenomenon so terrible that many people on the allied side did not believe in their existence, despite all the evidence to the contrary, and to which many of the Germans who knew of them wilfully blinded themselves. The fact that Hitler and his henchmen had decided that the Jews, the Slavs, the Gypsies and others were inferior races of people, to be rounded up, enslaved and eventually starved or killed and their bodies thrown into cremation ovens was bad enough.
However in those concentration camps the Nazis employed pseudo-scientists to conduct the most revolting experiments on the subject race that they had created: many of the experiments involved genetics. The concentration camps themselves were the most terrible experiment in eugenics, an attempt to purge Europe of races that the Nazis had weighed in the balance of their hatred and found wanting. They experiments conducted in them had no medical purpose. Whatever statistics they were able to gather could have been obtained using other, humane research. They served only to further torture and degrade people who were totally defenceless.
Those human beings on whom they were perpetrated had no real voice, and the faint cries that did percolate through to the outside world went unheeded. It was only when the allied soldiers discovered the utter filth and degradation that was Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Ravensbruck, and all the other names, which even today have power to shock and revolt us because of their associations, that the world became aware of the most profound evil that depraved humanity had been able to commit against itself up to that time. The victory over the perpetrators of these evils was not won easily. Many men of different colours and creeds fought and died that the rest of us might live in a world from which such horrors were, so we thought, banished for good.
In Britain we were for a time left alone to bear the brunt of the German onslaught unsupported. The fight was touch and go. If Hermann Göring had continued his aerial assault on our airfields for one more day, instead of changing his tactics to the bombing of London, there can be no doubt that our, by then extremely attenuated, forces would have been overcome, and the German invasion would have been able to go ahead. If it had done so it would have been met by an army whose morale and numbers were diminished by the defeat at Dunkirk, and a home guard armed only with pikes.
Although that is perhaps the most striking, there were many other examples of 'the few' holding of the might of the German armed forces. If one looked only at the German technology and thoroughness that was ranged against us, one could be forgiven for assuming that the Germans must have won. The only reason that we prevailed, against all the odds, was surely ultimately because we put our trust in God, and in the righteousness of our cause, and were prepared to fight on, beyond hope, to further it, because it was simply the right and only course of action against the ultimate evil.
When all the tumult and the shouting had died, and we picked ourselves up from the gigantic struggle in which we had been engaged, we raised up monuments to those who had given their lives, willingly and unassumingly. Every year we lay wreaths of poppies on these memorials, and in our hearts we promise ourselves that such an evil tyranny shall never, never again arise upon the earth. Today, along with the rest of the population of these islands, I stood in silence for two minutes, and later on, on the news, I watched the Queen and other members of the Royal family laying wreaths at the cenotaph in Whitehall.
It is all over, we might mistakenly think. God is back in his heaven, and all is right with the world - or at least this particular portion of it. We have remembered the dead for another year, and will continue to do so, although the columns of those who fought and survived grow shorter and shorter as the time grows longer and the wars recede into the past, to be replaced in our minds by the present struggle in Iraq, an ill-conceived operation that has brought nothing but degradation and violence to the people that it was supposed to liberate.
Let us look a little closer at this country of ours. The gods of expediency, of condoning a minor evil in order that what we see as a worse one should be defeated, have resulted in us propping up what looks like becoming another military dictatorship, totally against all the principles of democracy. On the same news, which showed the Queen laying a wreath to the fallen, we learned that President Musharraf of Pakistan, having secured his position by the most bare-faced infringements of his country's constitution, and imprisonment of the most prominent members of the judiciary and legal profession, who would otherwise have denied his right to power, is being kept in office by the combined influence of 'Great' Britain and the USA, who think that he is a 'safe pair of hands'.
That is not all, though it might be thought enough. Such disgraceful economies with truth and right are absolutely nothing compared to other evils that we connive at. In our so-called hospitals, in many instances dedicated to Saints, places designed for healing, the elderly are abused and the terminally sick are denied the basic necessities of food and drink. They are being starved to death because food, by a trick that would have made the Nazis hug themselves, is now classed as 'treatment' - our oh-so-caring National Heath Service supposedly not being able or willing to afford to keep them alive. The nearest thing to spiritual sustenance is in many cases a small room called by some such meaningless name as 'The United Faith Chapel'. Today I saw a DVD of Russian priests and nuns working in a hospital called only by a soulless number, which they had transformed into a place of light, bringing all the love and care of God to those sick in mind and body. Only when our hospitals can boast such care can we hold up our heads.
But our iniquities are even worse than this, making the atrocities of the Nazis almost forgivable. We also, by turning our backs on God in favour of convenience and modernism and all the other -isms that we now worship instead of our Lord and Saviour, have also created a subject race that cannot make its voice heard, although its blood, like Abel's, cries out from the ground. This race is not the Jews, or the Blacks or the Muslims: it is the innocent lives that we ourselves have kindled: our own flesh. Forty years ago the Abortion Act was passed in Great Britain, leading to some 6.7 million abortions: tiny human beings torn from their mothers' wombs and killed. We have outdone the estimated total of deaths in the concentration camps. Of course the harm is not only to the precious infants. Their mothers, deluded into having the abortions, often without being properly informed of all the alternatives, are scarred for life mentally and often physically as well. Even the doctors and nurses, who implement the procedures in complete opposition to their Hippocratic oath, can only be demeaned and spiritually hardened by it.
The cult of death may be further extended. A university professor has apparently advocated physician-assisted suicide (PAS) recently at a conference being held in Edinburgh, Scotland, organized by the Royal College of Physicians. Professor Sheila McLean of Glasgow University told The Scotsman that PAS is already practised, but under different names. She claimed that patients refusing treatment were in this category, and said the law should be extended to allow doctors to prescribe lethal drugs. She further suggested that people other than doctors could perform this function, and it should not be limited to those who are terminally ill. What is most disturbing about these comments is that just as the Mental Capacity Act, creating statutory killing by omission, is coming into force, Professor McLean is demanding that active medical killing should be legalized. Somewhere, in the darkest and most loathsome corner of Hell, Hitler and his henchmen must be rejoicing. They may have lost the war, but their evil, perverted ideas have won the peace!
But even that is not all. Unbelievably we have sunk to worse excesses even than that. Hidden in the hygienic recesses of laboratories the white-coated gods of the new religion, Science, hope to create obscene creatures by genetic manipulation of innocent human embryos, implanting them with genetic material of animals. In the face of this, Hitler's experiments are nothing but crude essays in the art of cruelty. The first reading of a bill to legalize this procedure is to take place in a few days in the House of Lords. By the time you read this article, unless a miracle of the order of our winning this Battle of Britain has happened, this measure will probably have become law. This also is pseudo-science: experimentation for the sake of experimentation without any medical validity, to satisfy who knows what evil fantasy. There is no valid medical treatment yet known to us that uses infant human stem cells.
What have we done? The watchmen on the walls have fallen into a perilous slumber. What meaning now has the sacrifice of so many young lives? What did men go through untold privations, suffer and die for in the two World Wars? Why do we go through the rituals of Remembrance Day, when we do not remember? How can we smugly buy our poppies while our government countenances such depths of evil? For the lives of the survivors and the tragic deaths of the fallen to have some meaning, it is surely necessary for us to confront these deep evils in our own society. It must be up to us, a pitifully small army of believers, like the few who fought so desperately to keep our islands safe from physical harm, to continue the fight against these insane abuses of right and common decency that have grown up, like some hideous canker, in our own country while our backs were turned.
We are indeed fighting not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities, and against spiritual wickedness in high places. The fight will be desperate, for we fight also against vested interests, against people who have argued themselves into believing that black is white. We may even be fighting the long defeat; but we have to fight on, beyond hope, for righteousness sake. Who knows: with God's help, we might, in some incredible and totally wonderful way, just win.