Reading the war diary of an Australian soldier who fought at Gallipoli presents an amazing contrast to today’s rudderless society.
A true bushman at heart like many of his compatriots, Ion Idriess, as a budding young author, wrote down his observations, thoughts and reactions amid the heat of battle in one of the bravest stands that soldiery have ever had to make in modern warfare. Idriess’s accounts of soldierly bravery and coolness in the face of battle present a spectacular contrast to Anglo-Saxon society today. The extent of sheer manliness, natural courage and the self-sacrificing initiative exhibited by those who fought on the impossible beachhead of Gallipoli is quite foreign to today’s self-indulgent generation.
The Turks who fought these British, Australian and New Zealand forces called the Australians “mad bushmen” for the tremendous risks they took in the face of Turkish fire. These Australian soldiers—the sons of pioneering bush stock, bred to the land, possessing the natural inventiveness of the farmer, accustomed to the instinct for self-preservation as well as looking out for one’s mate in strange territory, and natural horsemen to boot—quickly gained the respect of the enemy.
What is most profound in reading these real-time World War i accounts of a footslogging infantryman is the thread of sound common sense that runs through them. The examples of bravery that Idriess sets out in his memoir all bespeak sound, basic, self-possessed, cool-headed common sense in the midst of the chaos of bloody, terrifying warfare that carried the Anzacs (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) through to embedding their name in history.
This contrasts profoundly with the tremendous lack of common sense so prevalent today. Anglo-Saxon systems of education have whittled away at the young developing minds over the past half-century and more to produce a generation that lacks any semblance of a moral compass. The result is an approach to warfare that is but a cosseted version of that of their forefathers.
The image today is one of slack-jawed youth whose sole exercise is that which their two thumbs get playing the latest electronic game or texting their fellows in the banal language of the genre. It presents a contrast of extremes with the generation that grandfathered them and fought to guarantee them the freedoms they abuse so readily today.
A number of commentators have recently compared these days to the 1920s. At that time, gay abandon ruled in a libertine post-Great War society that had really thought the war to end all wars had been fought and that the League of Nations would enable sensible negotiation to peacefully resolve any future differences the nations might have.
As we know, that generation was severely tested by the shock of the greatest financial crash that modern Western society has ever known, to be followed by an even greater world war for which they were terribly ill prepared.
In addition to Ion Idriess’s memoir of the Great War, I have also recently read the views of a few other men who hail from the last generation that fought for the freedom of the world against the fanaticism of the tyrant in the 20th century. It is interesting to view today’s world through their eyes. That was the war of my father’s generation, World War ii. The views of these patriots of freedom cast a rapidly fading shadow over the society that has since emerged to face this disordered 21st century, even as the old soldiers who fought for our freedom fade away.
In January it was reported that in both France and Germany the last surviving World War i veterans of those nations died within a few days of each other. In November 2005, the last of the British World War i veterans died. Today, only one veteran of the Great War survives in the United States, one in Canada and one in Australia. The direct link between the “war to end all wars” and the 21st century is almost severed.
The youngest of World War ii veterans are now octogenarians. They have lived to witness schoolchildren in Britain thinking that Winston Churchill was a fictional character and, in Australia, a review board recommending that the Anzac history be cut from school history curricula.
Our last direct link with true victory in the global hot wars against tyranny—the last of the wars truly won by the Anglo-Saxon nations and their allies—is this generation who fought the enemy and triumphed 63 years ago.
Bryan Forbes, British film actor, screenwriter and director, who served in the Intelligence Corp of the British Army, commented recently, “My generation was the one, largely state-educated and reasonably literate, that fought in a war against acknowledged tyrannies to preserve basic and long-cherished freedoms. Since then what world have we been gradually forced to accept? A new religion of political correctness daily reaches fresh heights of idiocy, ignoring the fact that a society that willingly retreats from common sense is ultimately doomed” (Spectator, January 23).
An anonymous ditty making the rounds on the Worldwide Web ends in a requiem for common sense:
Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason.He is survived by his three stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, Someone Else Is to Blame, and I’m a Victim. Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.
One wonders how the free world would have survived had the kaiser and the Ottomans been confronted by bands of troops who put their “human rights” first before God, king and country, who blamed their mates for giving their position away instead of joining them in offensive battle, or who claimed that their country had victimized them for a mistaken landing rather than fighting to glory at Gallipoli and going on to liberate Jerusalem.
Veterans such as Forbes marvel at what subsequent generations have done with the freedoms so hard won by that earlier generation’s combination of common sense, bravery, courage and willing self-sacrifice under Churchillian leadership.
The visionary leadership is gone. One just has to listen, if you can bear it, to the pitiful rhetoric spouted by both sides in the current American primaries. Hear the pathetic platitudes trotted out by this lot—all of them wanting to throw the public a bone by promising some semblance of withdrawal from battle against a fanatical enemy bent on destruction of the Anglo-Saxon infidel. Contrast those with the sweeping oratory of Churchill that motivated millions to give their all in battle be it on the home front or the front line, till victory was achieved and the enemy vanquished.
Visionary Churchillian leadership died out with the fading of his generation from the scene. And with that generation, also, it seems, died plain, simple common sense, an understanding of the virtues that underpin a civil society, together with our will to pursue the enemy in battle until it is vanquished.
In the age of common sense, one knew one’s duty. In the age of common sense, due deference was paid to those in authority. Though one might grumble at its imposition, responsibly directed authority was readily accepted, for it was understood that disrespect of that authority led to appropriate discipline, otherwise confusion would reign. These rules of civility were taught from the cradle in the age of common sense.
In the age of common sense, soldier and bravery were synonymous. One example Idriess gives of this common understanding, indeed, common spirit of courage that pervaded the Anzacs at Gallipoli during World War i, was the eagerness of the wounded to return to battle. His account of merrily returning to the front after the boredom of hospitalization recovering from war wounds reads, “We all know what to expect ahead of us. It was the old Australian spirit leaving Cairo and Alexandria yesterday. Yelling and cheering, laughing and joking at the least little thing. That is the spirit that will never die” (The Desert Column).
Sadly, that spirit certainly appears to be in the advanced stages of dying in this 21st century.
It was in the same old Anzac spirit that Australia’s conservative prime minister for the past 10 years, John Howard, promised President Bush that he would continue, and even add to, Australia’s troop commitment in Iraq. Howard was defeated by socialist Kevin Rudd in the November Australian election. One of the first decisions Rudd made was to renege on Australia’s promise to retain a troop presence in Iraq.
Contrast that earlier willingness of World War i soldiers to return to the fray with the attitude of a certain element in the American military today, as reported in the Boston Globe a few years ago. “U.S. soldiers in Kuwait who are headed to Iraq put Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on the defensive yesterday, grilling him about extended tours of duty and the continued lack of armor to protect vehicles from roadside bombs. Rumsfeld’s photo opportunity and question-and-answer session with troops at Camp Buehring turned into an extraordinary public confrontation between the defense secretary and troops in uniform. The complaints were aired in the same week that a group of soldiers filed suit to prevent the government from extending their time in combat” (Dec. 9, 2004).
Since then the world has been treated to a display of the very opposite of that Anzac spirit with the well-covered incident of the capitulation of a boatload of armed British marines to the Iranian enemy in March last year.
In a little over half a century we have devolved in moral fiber from nations willing, even eager, to do battle with any tyrant, to a mindset that justifies sheer cowardice as a right. What is it that has so changed the outlook of the average Anglo-Saxon?
More than a hint is given in Bryan Forbes’s piece in the British Spectator magazine.
That view is endorsed by Melanie Phillips in her blog for the Spectator last week: “Last night’s Moral Maze, on which I am a panellist, discussed the Home Office guidelines which advise officials not to call Islamists Islamists or Islamic terrorists Islamic terrorists but to use instead euphemisms based on the premise that the jihad against the West is not a war of religion but merely ‘violent extremism’ and that the jihadis are not jihadis but ‘criminals.’ So gripped is the Home Office by the belief that speaking the truth to Muslims will ‘alienate’ them that its Orwellian attempt to manipulate the language descends into pure farce when it suggests that even the word ‘Islamophobia’ should be avoided since this can be misunderstood as a slur on Islam and perceived as singling out Muslims” (February 7).
This extreme version of political correctness is the consummation of government-endorsed efforts to brainwash whole populations into a totally confused mindset that cannot distinguish right from wrong, good from bad, acceptable behavior from perversion nor truth from open lying and deceit.
Phillips’s reaction to this effort at the mind control of the masses: “I found the program deeply troubling, indeed terrifying, since it revealed so much deep denial of the blindingly obvious among otherwise intelligent people who on this subject appear to be impervious to facts and to reason itself.”
Just short of a century ago, the Anzacs fought a tenacious Islamic enemy. Though they had respect for the Turks’ fighting ability, they knew, without doubt, that they were the enemy, and they fought that enemy with every fiber in their being. No half measures—they fought for outright victory!
Eight years ago, three members of the Australian Parliament moved a motion that the Anzacs’ stand in the Middle East never be forgotten in Australian history.
In the course of that discussion, one member reiterated the history of a famous Anzac mounted infantry charge: “It should be borne in mind that there were 4,500 Turks in the trenches. Behind them was wave after wave of barbed wire. Behind that were wave after wave of machine guns, and cannons were behind them. They extended from Gaza to the wells at Beersheba. … The Aussies, as Aussies do, said, ‘Give us a crack at it.’ They charged. The Turks could not believe that anybody would be foolish enough to take them on head-on. Today it is history that not only did they get through Gaza and the wells of Beersheba, but they were the first into Jerusalem and liberated Jerusalem. They changed history forever” (May 3, 2000).
Now, the tiny nation of Israel finds that it is on the path to yielding up to the enemy half of that hard-won ancient city of Jerusalem, and a weak-kneed prime minister of Australia withdraws troops from the battle against a fanatically religious enemy of Israel, weakening the allied effort in Iraq and thus opening the gate wider for Jerusalem to return to the captivity from which those Anzac forces released it less than a century ago.
As Melanie Phillips observes, “If people really are incapable of seeing that what we have to fight is religious fanaticism operating through a strategy of mind-bending intimidation and coercion, and instead succumb to that very intimidation and coercion, then we are indeed finished” (op. cit.).
Today we face twin terrorists: 1) Islamic fanaticism, and 2) the rabid, feminized, racist, politically correct thought police.
Oh for a return to the days of common sense!
Truly, the ancient prophet said it all: “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls. But they said we will not walk in it” (Jeremiah 6:16, nkjv).
Surely our Anglo-Saxon peoples are being very deliberately led by their nose away from the sound common sense that once directed them to the basic, Bible-based, proven principles of living, and directly toward the way of confusion and destruction. Even as the Prophet Isaiah declared, “For the leaders of this people cause them to err, and those who are led by them are destroyed” (Isaiah 9:16, New King James Version).
Is there any hope at all for our peoples?
Read our booklet The Wonderful World Tomorrow—What It Will Be Like. It will give you a vision of hope in the future that goes far beyond this age of the destruction of sound, common sense, to a time of a great revival of truth and the restitution of the only system of government that will lead man to the attaining of his full, incredible human potential.