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Why We Love WSC (Cont)

This from Volume I, page 296 of Churchill's "Life of Marlborough":

To understand history the reader must always remember how small is the proportion of what is recorded to what actually took place, and above all how severely the time factor is compressed. Years pass with chapters and sometimes with pages, and the tale abruptly reaches new situations, changed relationships, and different atmospheres. Thus the figures of the past are insensibly portrayed as more fickle, more harlequin, and less natural in their actions than they really were. But if anyone will look back over the last three or four years of his own life or of that of his country, and pass in detailed review events as they occurred and the successive opinions he has formed upon them, he will appreciate the pervading mutability of all human affairs. Combinations long abhorred become the order of the day. Ideas last year deemed inadmissible form the pavement of daily routine. Political antagonists make common cause and, abandoning old friends, find new. Bonds of union die with the dangers that created them. Enthusiasm and success give place to resentment and reaction. The popularity of Governments departs as the too bright hopes on which it was founded fade into normal and general disappointment. But all this seems natural to those who live through a period of change. All men and all events are moving forward together in a throng. Each individual decision is the result of all the forces at work at any given moment, and the passage of even a few years enables - nay, compels - men and peoples to think, feel, and act quite differently without any insincerity or baseness.

There are such memorable turns of phrase in that one paragraph: more harlequin, pervading mutability of all human affairs, form the pavement of daily routine, normal and general disappointment. No wonder that Churchill received the Nobel Prize for Literature. And, the point he is making is not unprofound.

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November 21-December 5, 2014

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