Thursday, October 23, 2008


"Do you love liberty? So do we. We have wounded who have given their blood for the sacred cause of liberty, but we have no bandages, no medicine. And what shall we give to our children who are asking for bread? The last piece of bread has been eaten." Radio Rakoczi, Nov. 6, fifty years ago. Hungary. The following day, the last words heard from that station were, "The battle continues with unflagging violence." Then dead air.

The Hungarians were revolting, it seems. In two weeks two hundred thousand had uprooted themselves, opting for the uncertainty of freedom in the west. The Soviets rolled into Budapest on November 4th. They killed thousands of civilians. But who can be bothered with these tiresome anniversaries. And how dare Hungarians be free. Who the hell are the Hungarians? Are they even white?

Marvin Olasky states, "President Dwight Eisenhower, probably wisely, was not willing to risk World War III by having U.S. forces directly challenge Soviet hegemony in Hungary." Indeed, we have to live in the real world. Heroism is for young men with no dependents. Self-sacrifice is what parents do for their own children. It is ridiculous to imagine that we can save the world. The world cannot be saved. No country can have a policy of idealistic intervention regardless of cost -- just as no man builds a tower without counting the cost. Costs must be counted. Did the Hungarians count the cost? No. And thousands died. Better to live without freedom, but to live.

I am a fool, however, and these lessons, these truths so obvious to sensible people seem ambiguous and unconvincing to me. I imagine that I can think of something that is beyond all reckoning of cost. I speak as a fool, of course, and I am doubtless wrong. How could I be right? How could integrity be worth so much as to be beyond all worth? It is ridiculous. I am a fool.

It makes me laugh, actually. Radio Free Europe, broadcasting advice and encouragement to the doomed freedom fighters. We're in yer corner, boys! Go git em. We'll hold yer hats. Imagine that man in the Radio Rakoczi building. Hunched over a big old-fashioned silver microphone, clutching it in both hands perhaps, maybe wearing a hat, maybe smoking if he had any cigarettes left. Staring intently with unfocused eyes at the woodgrain of the table, his words spilling out with the rough eloquence of passion. Begging for aid. Hoping against hope. Maybe they're coming. Maybe they'll be in time.

Khrushchev said, "If we depart from Hungary, it will give a great boost to the Americans, English, and French -- the imperialists." I don't laugh at that -- I just smirk. A smiling scowl, like a man staring into the sun. So clear and bright a truth makes me squint.

The towers we build, the costs of which we have so closely reckoned, these towers will be our security and our assurance. We have been wise and prudent in our building, and no great disturbance in the air can upset them.

But I sense that my tone and position are inconsistent. That's how fools are. Confused and emotional. They get upset over things that are none of their business. Hungarians. South Vietnamese. Kurds. Are the Kurds even white?

We ought to come beside those who falter and stumble, though. We ought to face down the aggressors, and if they do not blink we ought to fight them. For what other reason have we been given strength, but to use it to protect the weak? Blessings are given that they may be used. And blessings can be lost. A man ought to be worthy of his blessings.

There is evil in the world, and it ought to be met with resolve. With fierce effort. With unflagging violence.


Bumped of from the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution.

1 comment:

G.W.C. said...

"Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats." - H.L. Mencken

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." - George Orwell

Dig your foxhole deep, and aim true. HUA.