Winston Churchill stands as an icon for the cause of freedom, but for those lovers of it in America, he’s a bit of an enigma. Churchill was often an imperfect political figure for a conservative; he switched parties and ideologies seemingly like they were underpants. But Churchill had core convictions about life and leadership that were permanent and enduring, and he was one of the most eloquent writers and speakers the English language has known.
And there’s a famous quote attributed to him — more than one, obviously — which is worth remembering.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts,” he is sometimes purported to have said.
Too often in politics, conservatives fail miserably to take those words to heart.
We constantly whine and moan about the end of everything, and we suffer from a lack of confidence in our ability to win the great fights of our time. We lack the courage to continue, and it results in compromises we hate ourselves for making.
We’ve watched as America went from birth control to no-fault divorce to abortion to gay marriage to transgenderism and we’re on the cusp of normalizing pedophilia, and the people driving these social degradations are the most miserable and emotionally unstable among us. We’ve failed to rally to the cause of the right. We’ve allowed God to be driven from our public square when it was never the intention of our Founding Fathers that this would be the case. And we’ve paid the price.
We paid that price in 50 years of largely unfettered abortion in this country, which has driven our birth rate below replacement and has cheapened the lives of so many in the past two generations of American women on the basis of lies. Twitter is full of unhinged people willing to “shout their abortions,” and there are Americans willing to firebomb pregnancy care centers for the sin of offering an alternative to the killing of the unborn.
We aren’t the bad guys, but we haven’t been the good guys the world has needed all too often, either. We’ve shrunk from the fight. We haven’t had the courage to continue. And we’ve accepted failure as fatal, knowing that’s a self-fulfilling prophecy that otherwise would not be.
But this year, we saw evidence that Churchill was correct. Failure is not fatal. This year, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and gave the people of these United States back the power to decide the future of unborn life. It was a miracle half a century in the works born of a movement that endured every obstacle imaginable. They were calumnized and demonized in the press, called religious nuts and worse by the Left, insulted and abused by Hollywood. To be pro-life was, for so long, to be one of the most uncool things anyone could be.
But the pro-life movement had the courage to continue. They knew failure was not fatal and that the mission must go on.
It took 50 years, and countless court cases and legislative fights. And then the pro-life movement had its moment in the Dobbs case.
Scott Stewart is the solicitor general of Mississippi. A former clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas, Stewart’s oral argument in Dobbs was a thing of mastery, and the opening statement should go down in American history as one of the greatest examples of boldness and truth — speaking truth to power, as the Left is so fond of saying‚ in our public life.
MR. STEWART: Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court:
Roe versus Wade and Planned Parenthood versus Casey haunt our country. They have no basis in the Constitution. They have no home in our history or traditions. They’ve damaged the democratic process. They’ve poisoned the law. They’ve choked off compromise. For 50 years, they’ve kept this Court at the center of a political battle that it can never resolve. And 50 years on, they stand alone. Nowhere else does this Court recognize a right to end a human life.
Consider this case: The Mississippi law here prohibits abortions after 15 weeks. The law includes robust exceptions for a woman’s life and health. It leaves months to obtain an abortion. Yet, the courts below struck the law down. It didn’t matter that the law apply — that the law applies when an unborn child is undeniably human, when risks to women surge, and when the common abortion procedure is brutal. The lower courts held that because the law prohibits abortions before viability, it is unconstitutional no matter what.
Roe and Casey’s core holding, according to those courts, is that the people can protect an unborn girl’s life when she just barely can survive outside the womb but not any earlier when she needs a little more help. That is the world under Roe and Casey. That is not the world the Constitution promises. The Constitution places its trust in the people. On hard issue after hard issue, the people make this country work. Abortion is a hard issue. It demands the best from all of us, not a judgment by just a few of us. When an issue affects everyone and when the Constitution does not take sides on it, it belongs to the people.
Roe and Casey have failed, but the people, if given the chance, will succeed. This Court should overrule Roe and Casey and uphold the state’s law.
What a delight that is to read! It’s clear, no-holds-barred unvarnished truth. It is unafraid, unbeaten after 50 years in the wilderness, and it heralds a verdict on the utter failure of Roe and Casey to deliver the settled law the Supreme Court is charged with bringing to the American people.
It isn’t an angry statement. If anything, it’s hopeful. It offers the audience — in this case, the court — the opportunity to remedy an injustice with clear terms.
As Stewart brought the case to the Supreme Court, there were no half measures available. He didn’t ask for the court to use weasel words to somehow “split the baby” and uphold both the Mississippi law and Roe v. Wade.
Scott Stewart had the sand, the courage, to go to the highest court in the land and demand that it reverse 50 years of garbage jurisprudence and failure. He admonished them that failure is not fatal if it is corrected.
We’re about to have a monumental election. The Left is mobilized (probably to an extent that has been overrated by its cheerleaders in the legacy media, but mobilized nonetheless) to get revenge for the Dobbs decision. They’re demanding to kill the Senate filibuster and impose a national codification of Roe, something which would do incalculable damage to public order and move us closer to the dissolution of America as we know it.
Because the Left, for all their horrific faults, has the courage to continue. They accept no defeats. They always up the ante. When Ron DeSantis scores one of the clearest political victories in modern times by flying illegals to Martha’s Vineyard and exposing just how utterly without substance the Left’s arguments are, their reaction is to rummage through the law books in an attempt to find crimes to charge him with — and to drum up lawsuits from illegal aliens who supposedly have had their constitutional rights violated by being flown for free to one of the most expensive resort destinations in America.
They have no shame and they refuse to accept defeat.
So no success is final. The abortion fight isn’t over. It has only just begun, and preserving the gains made this year alone will be a vicious fight.
Theodore Roosevelt said, “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
Now is the time for conservatives to dare mighty things. America needs a revival. It needs to rekindle its national spirit, to rebuild its soul. What the Left has become holds nothing of revival, but only decline.
We need an army of Ron DeSantises, Scott Stewarts, and Lynne Fitches (she’s the attorney general in Mississippi who gave a thumbs up to Stewart going all out to kill Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs case). We need bold warriors with the courage to continue and to dare mighty things.
We need to speak the truth and not waver. We need to reclaim our country as the shining city on a hill that destiny demands of it.
We need to fight to win and, as Churchill also said, to never surrender.
Remember Dobbs. It was perhaps American conservatism’s finest moment to date. Its spirit can and will make more such moments, but only if we have the courage to continue.