It is not easy being an entrepreneur in the West today. There is much about which we might legitimately complain, and in this blog we often do just that.
However, let us pause for a moment, and put our complaints and worries in perspective.
For sixty years, Western Europe and the United States have enjoyed unprecedented peace, prosperity, and personal liberty. Without that extraordinary combination of blessings, free enterprise – and most of our businesses – would not exist. Indeed, many of us would not exist.
Today is Battle of Britain Day in the United Kingdom. It is a particularly important celebration because it is exactly 70 years since the Battle: a few of “the Few”, the RAF pilots who fought in it, are still with us – that will probably not be the case when we come to the 80th anniversary – so we ought to make a special effort to appreciate it while they are here.
Ignore the revisionist “historians” who try to deny its significance. The Battle of Britain marks one of those decisive moments in history when the world could have gone in either of two opposing directions.
Had those RAF pilots not defeated the Nazis in that long summer of 1940, Britain would have been knocked out of the War, probably invaded and conquered. Had that happened, it would have been impossible to free Europe from totalitarianism – even if the United States had belatedly been minded to do so, it could never have been done without the offshore base that Britain provided. Nothing could have prevented the triumph of a system that, among many other evils, feared and hated all forms of private initiative and free enterprise.
Churchill understood the stakes: at the time he warned that if Britain lost, “The whole world, including the United States, including all we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.”
That did not happen. It nearly did – but it did not. We should take a moment today to express our gratitude for that handful of nonagenarians we still see among us, and for their friends who did not make it this far.