Tomorrow is the 4th of July, and that is a special day for those who love freedom.
That is, of course, the day on which the original 13 American colonies declared independence from their British progenitor, and thereby sparked a war that raged for the next 4 years, until General Cornwallis finally surrendered at Yorktown.
Certain myths and legends have grown out of that war which live on in the American consciousness, contrary to the actual facts. For instance, Gen. Cornwallis did not surrender to George Washington – he refused to do so because he had a very dim opinion of both the American fighting forces and his opposite number. In fact, he didn’t surrender at all – he feigned illness and sent his subordinate, General O’Hara, to give Cornwallis’s sword to the French General Rochambeau.
Furthermore, the early days of the war were not “strategic retreats”, as they have sometimes been called – they were out-and-out military disasters and showed repeatedly that General Washington’s skills as a military leader might be greatly overrated. Indeed, that had been known since the French and Indian Wars; it has been argued that said war was inadvertently started by Washington. I’ve seen it argued that Washington wasn’t even the Continental Congress’s first choice to lead the nascent American army – Benedict Arnold was, but it was Washington’s personal charisma and political charm that changed their minds.
Even so, the legendary Christmas attack across the Delaware on Christmas to slaughter the Hessian troops was a stroke of genius on Washington’s part, aided in no small measure by some very lucky strokes with the weather.
But eventually, Washington had to retreat to Valley Forge for the winter of 1777-78. And that winter nearly broke his army.
A full one-sixth of the poorly funded, poorly trained, poorly equipped soldiers there died of starvation, disease, and cold. It is during that time that one of the less well-known and less savoury aspects of Washington’s character – his fondness for luxury at the expense of the Congress – came to light, to the point where he happily ate game meats while his army starved.
And yet… Valley Forge is exactly where Washington put all of his experience, gained through so many setbacks and defeats, to work. That was where the world saw how much George Washington had learned from his failures, and used the lessons to adapt, react, and overcome.
It is because of Valley Forge that we think of Washington as a legendary commander today.
That is where he spent the winter drilling and training and relentlessly shaping his men into a true army. When the summer fighting season dawned, the American army was ready and willing and able to take on the British in open-field combat – and win.
Washington’s life holds a great many lessons for all of us, especially with respect to picking yourself up and dusting yourself off after you fail. I hope to expand upon these points in Sunday’s podcast, so stick around for that.
Those lessons are especially apt and apposite given the way that America is tearing itself apart right now. The nation that Washington and his men fought and bled and died for, has long since disappeared. In its place is an empire held together by the threat of force, made up of several distinct nations, and rapidly falling apart at the seams.
Washington and the other Founding Fathers would have been appalled and horrified by the way that their priceless gift to their descendants, their posterity, has been utterly squandered. But there is no going back. The choices that brought us to this point were made long ago. All we can do is push forward and deal with the consequences.
So let us now celebrate the good things about America, while learning the lessons from its decline and eventual fall.
Part of that celebration surely must involve looking at a hot girl in a bikini. And for this edition, we must surely pick an all-American girl.
Her name is Shantal Monique, age 31 from a small town near Seattle, WA. She has gained some fame as a South African Playmate of the Year and is currently based in Los Angeles (for as long as that lasts, I suppose).
Happy Friday, chaps – and more importantly, happy Independence Day for all of you heathen rebel colonists who broke away from the Motherland and insist on speaking a funny dialect of English and spelling everything incorrectly and drinking “beer” that tastes like frozen horse piss. You showed the rest of us what it means to be free – and what it takes to defend that freedom. Here’s hoping that you guys remember those lessons now that the woke mob is coming for each and every one of us.