Winston Churchill said that "All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope."
But Churchill was wrong. He was wrong because, while these things can be named in a single word, they are not their names. These things are not simple. They never were and never will be. When you say "freedom," you have not expressed freedom. You have merely given it a label. Freedom cannot be expressed in a word. Freedom is an incomplete concept. When someone insists on freedom, you must ask them, “Freedom – to do what?” Until you know the “to do what?” part of what they seek, you won’t know if it’s freedom they want or licentiousness, two things that must never be confused.
But Churchill is too given to such comments, which are more memorable than they are true. They ring in the ears, but that ringing is not the ring of truth, but of shallowness dressed up in the bright ribbons of rhetoric. For those who merely look, that might be enough. For those who think, it is not. To say, as Churchill does above, that “all the great things are simple” is flatly false, almost stupidly false: “All”? Really, “all”?
As Mike Arnold reminds me, Churchill's comment is a comment on how politicians see the world.
As for me, I have never understood the rampant Churchill-olatry abroad in some circles. I have my guesses, but they must wait for another time.