Sketches on Atheism

Give them what they want

winston“Give them what they want.” It’s perhaps Winston Churchill’s least known quotable quotes, but potentially his most important and far reaching.

“Give them what they want.” At face value it’s certainly not as outwardly rousing as his “We’ll fight them on the beaches” speech or his brilliantly biting, “Yes, I might be drunk, but come the morning I will be sober and you, Madam, will still be ugly.” “Give them what they want” is, however, perhaps the most strategically savvy, forward thinking, patriotic sentence to have been delivered by Churchill between the years 1939 and 1945, and it is a sentiment Prime Ministers and Presidents around the world should embrace with equal passion today.

To understand what I’m hitting at here you must first know the backstory to these five simple words, and that goes something like this:

In the summer of 1943 a young accountant whose name has been lost to history took on a new assignment inside His Majesty’s Treasury. With investigative authority issued from No. 11 Downing Street this particular bean counter was tasked with rooting out excesses in spending primarily inside the Ministry of Defence. At the time Britain’s wartime budget was in a shambles, the country was racking up debt at completely unsustainable levels and, being British, the Chancellor of the Exchequer figured there was no time like the present (war or no war) to do some financial housecleaning.

By January 1944 this young accountant was staring at an incalculably expensive mystery. Untold sums of treasure were being channelled to the Post Office Research Station in Dollis Hill but he couldn’t for the life of him understand why. There was nothing out there. Nothing that could account for the vast investments he was tracking and which seemed to just disappear without anything to show for it all. He started asking around, but no answers were forthcoming. He knocked on politicians doors but no one seemed to know anything. Slowly but surely this young accountants questions worked their way up through strata of military and governmental authority until news of this mounting mystery reached the Prime Minister’s office.

Churchill’s response was to summon his driver and personally go and investigate. When he returned to London later that day he sat down behind his desk and penned a handwritten memo which simply said, “Give them what they want.”

What Churchill had seen that day was the working Colossus Mark 1 and a nearly completed Mark 2: huge vacuum tube computers assembled by Tommy Flowers, Sidney Broadhurst, William Chandler, Allen Combs and Harry Fensom to service the mathematicians at Bletchley Park who were struggling to decipher German communications traffic encrypted by the Lorenz SZ40/42 machines.

“Give them what they want.” The beauty is in its simplicity. “Give them what they want.” This is how governments today should approach the sciences. Space telescope? Give them what they want. Space elevator? Give them what they want. Ion drive propulsion? Give them what they want. Dyson Sphere? Please, give them what they want!

16 thoughts on “Give them what they want

    • I was reading through your blog with great fascination earlier today. Beautifully written each and every post, but i see the darkness there. America’s not lost, but the greed does have to be reigned in. Being an Australian watching the happenings there i honestly just shake my head sometimes. I mean, the fight over healthcare??? What the hell was that? Healthcare is what every civilised nation dives into just as soon as they have the resources to do so.

      Anyway, i wrote a post on American Politics 2012. You might enjoy it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for your kind words John.

        Yes, the darkness is where I spend much of my time. I feel I must go into it in order to bring things trying to hide there into the light. What you don’t know can kill you.

        It’s not so much america per se that I’m really thinking about John. And I’m sorry to disagree with, you because I feel instinctively we are kindred spirits, but I think america is beyond lost.

        Today america is the base of operations, the global power du jour, for the real global empire, which is the empire of usury; the privately owned, for-profit, international banking cartel, which fuels the economic colonisation that is capitalist globalisation.

        The american federal reserve is a significant member of the cartel., along with the IMF, World Bank, BIS, etc, etc, ad nauseum.

        I think, if you’ll look into the darkness, you’ll see that virtually all the “advanced” nations are under siege by the financial empire. There is a process of purposed degeneration underway, a form of economic terrorism, intended to reduce sovereign nations to the status of third world countries.

        “It’s easy to imagine a future in which growing numbers of cities have their frail and long-neglected infrastructures knocked out by disasters and then are left to rot, their core services never repaired or rehabilitated. The well-off, meanwhile, will withdraw into gated communities, their needs met by privatized providers.”
        Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine

        I hope you’ll forgive my lengthy comments. They often serve as rough drafts for posts on my blog. If you happen to see most of this one there, you’ll know why.

        And now I must away to check out your american 2012 post.


        Liked by 1 person

      • No need to apologise about lengthy reply’s, that’s what all this about, isn’t it?

        “There is a process of purposed degeneration underway, a form of economic terrorism, intended to reduce sovereign nations to the status of third world countries”

        Why would such an organisation want to do such a thing? Sure, banks like to tie people (a family, for example) into long-term loans (a mortgage, for example), but its antithetical for them to purposefully promote instability in that family. Same principal applies to nations. Plus I just can’t see how such an organisation could exist. We humans aren’t smart enough to keep such elaborate conspiracies going. Well, we’re smart enough to dream them up, perhaps even begin to act on those dreams, but wildly inadequate at keeping it going. A Star Chamber simply couldn’t last. People talk. The heads of the IMF and World Bank change, and there’s just no way you could brief so many people.

        Granted, the hedge fund managers and investment bankers are blisteringly naughty, greedy, sometimes horrible people, but that doesn’t make them inherently evil. New money is gluttonous. Old money is careful and protective.
        Some years ago I spent quite a lot of time with a fabulously wealthy woman. I won’t name names but just know she was amongst the world’s richest women, a billionaire more times over than any human being should probably be. She stayed with a good friend of mine in Australia and despite the age difference we kind of became friends. When I was last travelling through the States I in-turn stayed with her in Washington and in West Virginia over a month or two. Nothing sexual, simply hospitable. Genuinely nice person, but the company she kept was the stuff of movie scripts… although far less interesting. Believe me, if there was a Star Chamber she’d be on the board. I didn’t see any signs of it.
        I think it just all boils down to this: people can be terrible cunts. Get enough people being terrible cunts and it does feel like there is some organised fuck-up going on, but there really isn’t. We’re just not that skilled.

        Liked by 1 person

      • A comprehensive reply would be long enough to fill a rather large book, perhaps several hundred or a thousand pages, maybe more. I don’t think I have the organisational skills to put together such a tome. I’ve been trying, for many years, to get some if down in the individual essays I write.

        It’s not an “elaborate conspiracy”, it’s a war and it’s been ongoing for many centuries. It doesn’t require thousands of individuals to keep deep dark secrets. It only requires a small command group with a common cause and a bunch of obedient “soldiers” who are “just following orders”, usually without question or even curiosity.

        Such a scenario, once set in motion, seems to become self-sustaining; even though it’s ultimately self-destructive. The rise and fall of empires throughout history has been witness to the cycle it produces. The difference today is that it has finally gone truly global.

        It’s often not a matter of “conspiracy” but more one of instinct. Think of a wolf pack. They really don’t “conspire” to kill and devour a deer.

        If you’ve ever seen the scifi movie “Independence Day”, you can think of the human race as the alien species that attacked Earth. The hordes that do the killing and plundering are just “workers” doing their job.

        “I saw… its thoughts. I saw what they’re planning to do. They’re like locusts. They’re moving from planet to planet… their whole civilization. After they’ve consumed every natural resource they move on…”
        President Thomas Whitmore: (Played by Bill Pullman) From the movie, Independence Day

        Why would a group of political and industry leaders willingly turn over all the resources of their country to the “free market” when they know it will result in the impoverishment of the majority of the populace, the destruction of the environment and the deaths of large numbers of innocent men, women and children?

        I guess, in the end, it really does come down to the battle between “good” and “evil”.

        Liked by 1 person

      • RWP: ref your Dec 7 2012 3:46 pm

        Before anyone can debate this vast issue there needs to be some objective definition of terms. As one tiny example, “Free Market”. I gather you are referring to the very ‘unfree’ market—the one that is manipulated, commandeered, and commanded to the nth degree and back.

        Quite simply the Free Market doesn’t exist.

        Not to any viable degree; two neighbours dickering over the cash value of a (say) lawn mower unwanted by one but useful to another, the sale unseen and unrecorded … that’s a ‘free market’ at work.

        Cartel capitalism, crony capitalism, so-called ‘democracies’ controlling the means of exchange—are not Free Market.

        This is a huge issue, a genuinely vast matter of extreme importance—and yet nobody can discuss it meaningfully because the language has been fouled beyond utility. We have neither the words, nor concepts, nor ability anyway.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. “There is a process of purposed degeneration underway, a form of economic terrorism, intended to reduce sovereign nations to the status of third world countries”

    The TPP could very well accomplish this.

    Liked by 3 people

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