It was given by Ronald Reagan in the closing days of the 1964 campaign between Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater. I happened to catch it on Mark Levin’s radio show as I was coming home this afternoon…and, man, do we need a Ronald Reagan in 2007!. Here’s a quote:
It’s time we asked ourselves if we still know the freedoms intended for us by the Founding Fathers. James Madison said, “We base all our experiments on the capacity of mankind for self-government.” This idea that government was beholden to the people, that it had no other source of power except the sovereign people, is still the newest, most unique idea in all the long history of man’s relation to man. For almost two centuries we have proved man’s capacity for self-government, but today we are told we must choose between a left and right or, as others suggest, a third alternative, a kind of safe middle ground. I suggest to you there is no left or right, only an up or down. Up to the maximum of individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism; and regardless of their humanitarian purpose those who would sacrifice freedom for security have, whether they know it or not, chosen this downward path. Plutarch warned, “The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations, and benefits.
Today there is an increasing number who can’t see a fat man standing beside a thin one without automatically coming to the conclusion the fat man got that way by taking advantage of the thin one. So they would seek the answer to all the problems of human need through government. Howard K. Smith of television fame has written, “The profit motive is outmoded. It must be replaced by the incentives of the welfare state.” He says, “The distribution of goods must be effected by a planned economy.”
Another articulate spokesman for the welfare state defines liberalism as meeting the material needs of the masses through the full power of centralized government. I for one find it disturbing when a representative refers to the free men and women of this country as the masses, but beyond this the full power of centralized government was the very thing the Founding Fathers sought to minimize. They knew you don’t control things; you can’t control the economy without controlling people. So we have come to a time for choosing. Either we accept the responsibility for our own destiny, or we abandon the American Revolution and confess that an intellectual belief in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.
Where is the man (or woman) who will stand up and say such things in 2007? We’ve lost a lot of political courage in the 43 years since that speech was given, and we’ve got to get it back – because this 1964 speech even speaks to our current difficulties in the War on Terrorism:
The specter our well-meaning liberal friends refuse to face is that their policy of accommodation is appeasement, and appeasement does not give you a choice between peace and war, only between fight and surrender. We are told that the problem is too complex for a simple answer. They are wrong. There is no easy answer, but there is a simple answer. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right, and this policy of accommodation asks us to accept the greatest possible immorality. We are being asked to buy our safety from the threat of “the bomb” (Ed.Note: in 2007, “the bomb” has been replaced by “terrorists”) by selling into permanent slavery our fellow human beings enslaved behind the Iron Curtain (Ed.Note: in 2007, those ruled by Islamo-fascists), to tell them to give up their hope of freedom because we are ready to make a deal with their slave masters.
“We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right”. President Bush has shown this courage since Septemer 11, 2001 – will any of the Presidential candidates, Democrat or Republican, have the courage to do the right thing? On the answer to that question will turn the fate of America is 2008. Now, go read the whole thing and become a Reaganite.