Category: Quotations

Winston Churchill, Magnanimity and the “Feeble-Minded,” Part 2

Winston Churchill, Magnanimity and the “Feeble-Minded,” Part 2

Con­tin­ued from Part 1

Youthful discretions

Churchill was born into a world in which vir­tu­al­ly all Britons, from the Sov­er­eign to a Covent Gar­den gro­cer, believed in their moral supe­ri­or­i­ty. They preached it to their chil­dren. All learned that the red por­tions of the map showed where Bri­tan­nic civ­i­liza­tion had tamed sav­agery and cured pan­demics. Churchill’s asser­tions, espe­cial­ly as a young man, were often in line with this. And yet he con­sis­tent­ly dis­played this odd streak of mag­na­nim­i­ty and lib­er­tar­i­an impulse.

It was Churchill, the aris­to­crat­ic Vic­to­ri­an, who argued that Dervish ene­my in Sudan had a “claim beyond the grave…no less good than that which any of our coun­try­men could make.”…

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Winston Churchill, Eugenics and the “Feeble-Minded” (1)

Winston Churchill, Eugenics and the “Feeble-Minded” (1)

I pub­lished in 2010 an account of Churchill’s youth­ful (cir­ca 1910-12) fling with Eugen­ics, a pseu­do-sci­ence pop­u­lar at the turn of the cen­tu­ry. Eugen­ics favored ster­il­iz­ing or con­fin­ing the “fee­ble-mind­ed” to “main­tain the race.”

This drew an irate let­ter from a read­er who said he will nev­er think the same of Churchill, know­ing that he could have sup­port­ed such hor­ren­dous ideas:

No tru­ly edu­cat­ed intel­li­gent per­son, even in those ear­ly years, can have bought into Eugen­ics. Churchill’s was not just a fling of youth or imma­tu­ri­ty but the decid­ed opin­ion of a near­ly mid­dle-aged man. His sup­port of Eugen­ics could only lead to the extrem­i­ties prac­ticed to by the Nazis.…

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Churchill’s “Wrung Like a Chicken”: Who Said It First?

Churchill’s “Wrung Like a Chicken”: Who Said It First?

“Wrung Like a Chick­en” is excerpt­ed from an essay for the Hills­dale Col­lege Churchill Project. For the orig­i­nal text includ­ing more images and end­notes, please click here. Sub­scrip­tions to this site are free. You will receive reg­u­lar notices of new posts as pub­lished. Just scroll to SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW. Your email address is nev­er giv­en out and remains a rid­dle wrapped in a mys­tery inside an enigma.

Ottawa, 30 December 1941

In his first and as it proved only address to the Cana­di­an Par­lia­ment, Win­ston Churchill brought down the house in words which will live as long as his sto­ry is told:

The French Gov­ern­ment had at their own sug­ges­tion solemn­ly bound them­selves with us not to make a sep­a­rate peace….…

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