By Tony Sasse, columnist

The simple lessons of mankind can be

So clearly read in every history

Ideals, without a strong right arm, are less

Than voices crying in the wilderness.

A strong right arm is nurtured not by sloth,

pursuit of pleasure, or pride of cloth;

But by self discipline and sacrifice,

Which keep in check ease, luxury, and vice,-

The parasites, which with insidious greed,

destroy the host on which they feed.

Self-preservation must be bought at length

By tireless vigilance and tempered strength.  

– W.S. Kent-Hughes, Slaves of The Samurai, 1946.

We are correctly taught in school that history repeats itself, and those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

The words quoted above were written by a man who was at the time a POW in a Japanese prison camp in 1943. W.S Kent-Hughes, my grandfather, was captured along with the 8th Division at Singapore, having failed to defeat the Japanese Imperial Army in the short Malaya campaign. He wrote an entire book on 20 pages which he kept hidden inside the lining of a talcum powder tin, where discovery meant death.

When he wrote “the simple lessons of mankind can be, so clearly read in every history”, what was he talking about?

So let’s look at history…

Recent “bad guys” list and their losing battles

Ask yourself, what are the common features of all these bad guys, who seem to turn up every 100 years or so?

They all waged wars of aggression, none of these critical battles were on their home turf, they were all attacking their neighbours. These leaders were seeking to dominate and subjugate their neighbours, they were expansionist empires. When the USSR defeated the Nazi’s, unlike the Americans and the British, they did not go home!

These empires all rigorously suppressed dissention. There was no “loyal opposition”, no freedom of speech, and control of the conversation was ruthlessly enforced.

There was no time limit on the leadership. The Americans critically diffused the power between the Congress, Senate, Supreme Court and the President, and limited the President to 8 years – how very sensible.

There was no democracy, no putting the leadership to the people for selection.

“Non-conformists” were suppressed and persecuted, these invariably include the Jews and Bible-believing Christians, because they could see through the lies.

And finally, the leader usually ended up being worshipped as some sort of “god”.

It is interesting to note that there is no shortage of bad guys, men interested in attempting to dominate the world. They seem to turn up regularly.

So one lesson is clear, we need to be alert and ready, in case we fall prey to such a man, or group, that seeks to achieve power here in Australia.

Notice how Kent-Hughes also calls vice, sloth and the pursuit of pleasure as parasites, which ultimately destroys the host on which it feeds.  Narcissistic “every man for himself” lifestyles and philosophies have taken deep root in our culture, turning men into self-centred short term pleasure seekers. Civilizations which have taken this path have not survived, indeed of the last 23 empires, 19 fell into immorality of various types, decaying from the inside, and not surviving for long.

But Western Civilization has survived despite all the challenges from the bad guys.

How did that happen? Were we smarter that the Germans? No, they were really smart. Still are. Perhaps we were braver? No, the Japanese were fanatically brave. Was our food better. Hardly, the French still have far better food.

Two factors stand out. Firstly, our ancestors loved freedom. And they knew it had to be defended. Secondly, and the atheists will hate this, the Christian God matters. It’s no accident that on the American Founding Fathers put on their currency: “In God we trust.” Our ancestors managed to beat off some seriously powerful attempts to rule the world with these two critical factors.

Did we just get lucky at Dunkirk, where the weather was perfect during the critical 10 days of the evacuation, when at the same time Hitler lost his nerve and halted his Panzers for two weeks? His generals later stated that was when he lost the war. Or that Napoleon didn’t start Waterloo until late morning, enabling Bulcher to turn up in time at 6pm, and that Marshall Ney forgot the spikes needed to destroy the guns his brave charge had taken? As Wellington said: “that was a da** close run thing”.

Or that the weather defeated the Spanish Armada? Only one ship returned home from over 600. Or that a Japanese destroyer was delayed hunting a submarine, thus inadvertently directing American dive bombers to the carriers with no high altitude air cover as the Zero’s were all at 100 feet chasing and shooting down other planes. Three out of four Japanese carriers were destroyed. Hard work had cracked the Japanese naval codes, bravery and courage had completed the task.

Ask yourself, given the success we have had against megalomaniacs, do you really reckon it was all random good luck? General Eisenhower in his D-Day “order of the day” wrote: “let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God on this great and noble undertaking.” Even the Russian atheistic communists, when the chips were down soon after Hitler’s invasion, re-opened the churches. When your enemies steal your strategy, you know you’re on a winner.

Only a proud and arrogant civilization deletes both of the key factors of its survival and prospering through history. We should not be so stupid. The cruel and merciless guys are still out there.

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