Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – “We have the third edition of the American history quiz posted at FranklinsOpus.org. Where do you get this story that makes up the question about the Maginot Line? I had never heard that. That’s one of the ones I did not know. I’m looking at it going: Oh, crikey. I’m just gonna guess.” Check out today’s transcript for the rest…
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: You have to tell me, how did you find out, what is the story behind — Stephen Klugewicz from FranklinsOpus.org is on the Dude Maker Hotline. We have the third edition of the American history and civics quiz posted at FranklinsOpus.org. Where do you get this story that makes up the question about the Maginot Line? I had never heard that. That’s one of the ones I did not know. I’m looking at it going: Oh, crikey. I’m just gonna guess. I’m gonna pull a wild one out of the hat and I’m going to guess.
Stephen Klugewicz: I’m afraid to give away the answer here if we discuss this. You’re talking about the Christmas Truce one?
RELATED MATERIAL: Test your knowledge even more. Take Stephen’s previous American History & Civic Literacy Quizzes. Quiz # 1 and Quiz # 2
Mike: Yes, the Christmas Truce, the infamous Christmas Truce. Folks, I’m going to help you out with this one, ladies and gentlemen. I knew because of the date that one of the answers could not have been. I was able to eliminate one which had a certain country in it. I was like: That country wasn’t involved until 1917. That answer can’t be. I knew that one was out the door, but I had never heard that story. Now I’m intrigued to learn the story. Among World War I historians, this must be a popular story, I bet.
Klugewicz: Yes, and it’s reached into popular culture, too. There’s been a movie about it, I think a made-for-TV movie. It’s been featured on TV a couple times previous to that. It’s a story that’s out there. I guess I shouldn’t say too much more. We’re giving away the answer. It’s fairly well known.
Mike: There are 20 questions, folks. The federalism questions, I just swat those out of the way. Those aren’t even a challenge. The Khrushchev question, this is a multiple choice. Folks, pay very close attention to the wording of that question. If you look at the wording of Stephen’s question, you can narrow it down to a 50/50 shot like I did. Even if you don’t know the answer, if you know Dr. Klugewicz, you know he is a wordsmith without equal. When I read your question, I went: Okay, you gave me a clue, thank you. Now, which one is it? I flipped the coin and, of course, I flipped the coin wrong. That’s another one of these stories. The question is: What American landmark did Nikita Khrushchev want to visit when he was here in 1959? I actually got that question on a Trivial Pursuit card. I missed it then, too. It was the same deal on the Trivial Pursuit card. We were going: Where in dude’s holy name would Khrushchev have wanted to go? We guessed wrong and your answer was correct, another thought-provoking question.
Klugewicz: It’s a great story. Just like the Christmas Truce one, we wanted to have fun with this. These are great stories. You’ll read more about these events now, right, Mike?
Mike: Totally. I absolutely will. It really disappointed me in my movie buff knowledge, and I’m not going to give the answer to this one away. Question #6: In 1939, this actor became the first man to win two Academy Awards for Best Actor when he won the price for his role as Father Edward Flanagan in the film Boys Town. I’m like: I got it, I got it! I was looking at that one and doing my best impersonation of Jackie Gleason. I didn’t have it. It wasn’t a 50/50 either. I didn’t have it. I guess I need to see the film Boys Town again.
Klugewicz: It’s a great film.
Mike: Stephen, it’s one of those movies that used to come on — you and I are the same age — when we were kids on UHF TV in black and white. Before there was A&E, there were television stations that didn’t have any money and couldn’t afford any real modern programming. They’d rebroadcast old movies. I saw it when I was a kid. I swear the impression in my mind was — I want to sing the song but I’m not going to.
I just want to share with you something real quick. A friend of mine yesterday sent me a video from Archbishop Fulton Sheen. Apparently there was a television show back in the 1950s that Fulton Sheen used to host. I rarely have time to watch lengthy videos and it’s 21 minutes long, but it was a really good one. I actually posted it in today’s Pile of Prep. He gave a discussion about two forms of freedom. There’s freedom from something and freedom for something. I’d seen Russell Kirk discuss this pretty recently here. Before you came on, I was talking about how I field a lot of calls and emails from people, talk to a lot of people who are generally, by and large, as I’m sure you are, and I find myself to be as well, politically dissatisfied.
If you and I were driving around in a limousine, tooling around Washington, DC next time I’m up there, and some reporter stuck a microphone under our chins like a reporter stuck one under the chin of that vagabond Mick Jagger and asked him if he was satisfied, if they asked the question of us about political satisfaction, I would say: No, I’m not politically satisfied and don’t find there are many instances in life where you’re politically satisfied. Would you answer the question the same way? And is that something that — we’re in the season of Advent. For our Jewish friends it’s Hanukkah. It’s a time of year for spiritual reflection. We put too much emphasis, do you think, and influence on our politics?
Klugewicz: Yes, we’ve certainly come a long ways since the so-called founding of the country in terms of the expansion of government. Mike, I think you and I would agree on some key turning points in American history during which government expanded radically. Yes, certainly there’s a lot to be upset about. As I think you’re hinting at, politics has come to dominate life. There might be an opportunity here to emphasize cultural change and the little platoons that Edmund Burke talked about as really the antidote to expansive government. I don’t know if there are political solutions. Can government be rolled back? Can a government program ever be ended? Increasingly this seems like the answer is in the negative for these questions. We have to turn to culture, to our little platoons, to our local communities, churches, civic organizations to really fix what’s wrong with the country.
Mike: This is one of the ways that we can talk about this and try to have it make sense for everyone that’s listening out there. Remember the film Apollo 13? There’s Jim Lovell wonderfully portrayed by Tom Hanks, in his backyard before he goes on Apollo 1. He’s in his chaise lounge in his backyard and he’s looking up at the moon. He takes his thumb and holds his thumb up. He can cover the moon with his thumb and then he moves his thumb to the side. He’s doing what man, since the first historian, Plutarch, has done, looked up at the moon and gone: Hmm, I wonder what it’s like up there. How many years does it take from the time we have early history — do you put early history at 8,000 BC? You’re the historian. Where do we start, 8,000 or 9,000 or 7,000 BC?
Klugewicz: I don’t go that far back. I would go with the English and say that’s time immemorial. If you want something to be traditional, you just say: That’s been the case, we’ve done it since time immemorial.
Mike: We’ll use time immemorial. I’m getting ready to make a point here if you’re wondering where I’m going with this. For time immemorial, American man has wondered and marveled at the longevity of this monstrous beast called a federal agency. There has yet to be one slayed. It’s like a dragon. There’s not one dragon head that’s ever been put on a pike that is a federal agency. But sometime in our lives, sometime there will be a King Arthur. At some point in time there will be a Cromwell. Someone will take a sword and whack the head off of a federal agency. Do you think that will happen in our lifetime?
Klugewicz: It could. Who would have thought that the Soviet Union would collapse when you and I were kids?
Klugewicz: We don’t get this long perspective that we need to have on history. We think that things can’t change, that they’ve been around forever or time immemorial. But things do change and governments fall, countries fall, as we’ve seen in our lifetimes, yet people laugh when you say something like there could be secession.
Mike: They do laugh. Either they laugh or they get very angry and violent and start calling you a traitor.
Klugewicz: Yes, if you question our friend Abraham Lincoln, you’re considered unpatriotic. I’ve thrown out, and I know you have, secession at conferences. You really are laughed off as a nut. In the same way Ronald Reagan was laughed off when he talked about the end of the Soviet Union when he first came to the presidency.
Klugewicz: People laughed at him: He’s crazy. It’s never going to happen.
Mike: But it did happen.
End Mike Church Show Transcript