When Leaders Value Differing Voices

I have been plodding through William Manchester’s epic biography of Winston Churchill. Last night I found a number of episodes in Churchill’s life that are COMPLETELY out of step with our cultural moment. Each page that I read showed the superiority of Churchill’s worldview (with all of his personal flaws) over the current politically correct, “intersectional” nonsense posing as intellectually relevant modern thought (sic).

Churchill was able to appreaciate the artistry and thought of a pacifist, even befriending him after the war, even though he himself thought of war and the necessity of war (at times) in far different terms. Without agreeing or disagreeing with Churchill’s own views, there is a refreshing largeness to his mind compared to the narrow leftist agenda of our own time. The excerpt below captures it well. Oh how we need leaders, men and women, who can think and value an opposing view.

“One of Winston’s acquaintances wrote a friend: ‘By the way, who is Siegfried Sassoon? . . . Winston knows his last volume of poems by heart, and rolls them out on every possible occasion.’ A lieutenant, recalling such a recitation, wrote: ‘I had never heard of Sassoon or his poems and we were soon told something of his history. . . . We quickly realized that the main theme of the poems was anti-war, the futility of war and the misery war brought. We heard that the Generals were seriously worried at the damage to morale these poems might inflict on the troops.’ An officer said to Churchill: ‘I should leave that man alone if I were you. He might start writing a poem about you. Churchill instantly replied: ‘I am not a bit afraid of Siegfried Sassoon. That man can think. I am afraid only of people who cannot think.”
The Last Lion, Volume 1, of William Manchester’s
three volume biography of Winston Churchill, p. 580

Pray that God might give us such men and women to lead
us before Jesus comes to judge the living and the dead.

2 thoughts on “When Leaders Value Differing Voices

  1. Churchill did not reject ideas out of hand. He thought through the ideas, understanding what the seed thoughts were and if there was any truth in them. This made him a strong leader. A challenge to all of us to learn to be respectful towards others while never shrinking back from the truth.


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