About This Blog

Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) was the greatest economist of my time. His greatest works can be accessed here at no charge.

Mises believed that property, freedom and peace are and should be the hallmarks of a satisfying and prosperous society. I agree. Mises proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the prospect for general and individual prosperity is maximized, indeed, is only possible, if the principle of private property reigns supreme. What's yours is yours. What's mine is mine. When the line between yours and mine is smudged, the door to conflict opens. Without freedom (individual liberty of action) the principle of private property is neutered and the free market, which is the child of property and freedom and the mother of prosperity and satisfaction, cannot exist. Peace is the goal of a prosperous and satisfying society of free individuals, not peace which is purchased by submission to the enemies of property and freedom, but peace which results from the unyielding defense of these principles against all who challenge them.

In this blog I measure American society against the metrics of property, freedom and peace.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

How Small Are We Beside The King

China Girl is a 1942 “war” movie that some might call propaganda. The Americans are the good guys; the Japanese are the bad – cold-blooded executioners all. Starring Gene Tierney and George Montgomery, the film recounts the savage Japanese invasion of China in early World War II.

Tierney, renowned as the most beautiful actress ever to grace the silver screen, plays the half-Chinese, half-white daughter of her stoic Chinese father who runs a school for young Chinese children. Montgomery plays a dashing, devil-may-care American news photographer. The two fall in love.

What’s great about the movie (besides the early forties slang: scram, swell, dame, joint, jalopy) is the depiction of the American character: rugged, ambitious, fearless, enterprising, resourceful, defiant of authority, selfish yet noble when push comes to shove. We rarely see such a depiction in movies today.

Another theme of the movie is the incredible bravery, discipline and character of the Chinese people in the face of the furious Japanese onslaught. In one scene the Japanese air force mercilessly bombs a Chinese village. Tierney and her father are teaching school in the middle of the raid. As walls are collapsing around them, Tierney and her father keep the young children from panic by reciting the following poem.

No credit is given to the poem’s author, other than a reference in the script that it was written by a famous writer on the other side of the world. The movie was written by Ben Hecht, one of Hollywood’s greatest writers and an early advocate of America’s entry into the war against Hitler. I suspect the poem was his.

The poem is a moving tribute to hope and heroism in the face of tyranny. It is an inspiration to freedom-fighters the world over. I transcribed it as best I could from the movie’s dialogue.  I apologize to the author for any inaccuracies.

How small are we beside the king.
How little is our hand to raise
Against the awful bludgeoning
Of wicked men who rack our days.

How tiny is the voice we own
Beside the tyrant’s trumpet blare.
How unheard is the little groan
We utter in our great despair.

We are the easily slain. Death calls
Us everlastingly to him,
And yet it is our hand that holds
The light aloft that none can dim.

No tyrant’s dream of earthly might,
No canon roar, nor battle toll,
Can quench this small but holy light
Of freedom rising from our soul.

The little glow of love that keeps
The face of mankind always fair,
Out of our agony it leaps.
It died and died and still ‘tis there.

Above the graves where heroes lie
There gleams the light of victory.
For freedom’s soldiers when they die
Hand down their spirit to the free.

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