One of Reagan’s finest speeches

Forty-five years ago yesterday, Ronald Reagan gave a televised speech that laid out much of what today’s conservatives believe, and not a few things we have forgotten and need to remember. Watch or read the whole speech here.

A couple of things in it particularly caught my eye:

1. Not too long ago, two friends of mine were talking to a Cuban refugee, a businessman who had escaped from Castro, and in the midst of his story one of my friends turned to the other and said, “We don’t know how lucky we are.” And the Cuban stopped and said, “How lucky you are? I had someplace to escape to.” And in that sentence he told us the entire story. If we lose freedom here, there’s no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.

In four and a half years in Europe, I realized that there were plenty of places there for liberals to flee and find the kind of government they want, if they were ever to make good on threats to “leave the U.S. if _______ is elected.” But there isn’t anywhere else for similarly discouraged conservatives to go. Indeed, this is still the place to which discouraged conservatives in Europe and elsewhere in the world look. This is truly the last stand on earth. And that matters because of the next quote:

2. But beyond that, “the full power of centralized government”—this was the very thing the Founding Fathers sought to minimize. They knew that governments don’t control things. A government can’t control the economy without controlling people. And they know when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. They also knew, those Founding Fathers, that outside of its legitimate functions, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector of the economy.

This is as good a summary of what conservatives oppose about today’s power grabs in Washington or other world capitals — from people whom Reagan dubbed “a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol” — as any that exists.

If you have time, watch or read the entire speech.

Thanks to Erick Erickson of RedState and Peach Pundit for reminding us of this anniversary (even if I’m a day late in noticing his reminder).

114 comments Add your comment

StJ

October 28th, 2009
10:46 am

Spot on. I couldn’t agree more.

F. Sinkwich

October 28th, 2009
10:56 am

Wonderful words by a great American. The contrast between his beliefs and those of the current Whitehouse occupant is striking.

The moonbats will be here shortly…

David Axelfraud

October 28th, 2009
11:46 am

DAMN STRAIGHT!!!!!

Now, everyone needs to see this home made trailer park commercial. It’s so funny.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-RLqLx1iYI

David Axelfraud

October 28th, 2009
11:53 am

Kyle, this is still my all-time favorite Reagan speech. It leaves liberals speechless.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvg7lRsCVJ8

David Axelfraud

October 28th, 2009
11:59 am

Best Reagan quotes:

Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other.

Welfare’s purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence.

One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project.

under the name of liberalism the American people would adopt every fragment of the socialist program.

Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction.

One legislator accused me of having a nineteenth-century attitude on law and order. That is a totally false charge. I have an eighteenth-century attitude. That is when the Founding Fathers made it clear that the safety of law-abiding citizens should be one of the government’s primary concerns.

[Evolution] has in recent years been challenged in the world of science and is not yet believed in the scientific community to be as infallible as it once was believed. But if it was going to be taught in the schools, then I think that also the biblical theory of creation, which is not a theory but the biblical story of creation, should also be taught.

If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth.

Abraham Lincoln freed the black man. In many ways, Dr. King freed the white man. How did he accomplish this tremendous feat? Where others — white and black — preached hatred, he taught the principles of love and nonviolence.

My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.

government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem

David Axelfraud

October 28th, 2009
11:59 am

The ten most dangerous words in the English language are “Hi, I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”

booger

October 28th, 2009
12:23 pm

My favorite. Not quoted but as I remember…….Govt. says, If it moves tax it. If it keeps moving regulate it. If it stops moving, subsidize it.

booger

October 28th, 2009
12:26 pm

Kyle, this is solid gold. I feel lucky to have lived as a grown up in this country before we became needy and dependant, and before we had a government which enabled such behavior.

Shawny

October 28th, 2009
12:35 pm

That point #2 says it all. What is going on now with Reid, Pelosi, and Obama is nothing but a power grab. It is not FOR THE PEOPLE. Not if it is for the expansion of govt.

Captain USA

October 28th, 2009
12:58 pm

The best Reagan quote: “I don’t remember.” When asked about the meetings where he planned to sell military weapons to the terrorist regime in Iran.

David Axelfraud

October 28th, 2009
1:11 pm

Captain USA, funny. How about the quote from Jimmy Carter when he helped bring in the Iranian terrorist regime.

JF McNamara

October 28th, 2009
1:26 pm

“In four and a half years in Europe, I realized that there were plenty of places there for liberals to flee and find the kind of government they want, if they were ever to make good on threats to “leave the U.S. if _______ is elected.” But there isn’t anywhere else for similarly discouraged conservatives to go.”

I wonder why? It could be that the rest of the developed world understands that what conservatives want idealogically is neither practical nor desired in real world practice through both intellectual study and failed experimentation.

Either that or everybody else in the developed world is stupid and chose a form of government and leadership that were inferior even after experiencing what conservatism has to offer.

Its probably the second option since conservatives are smarter than everyone else, but there is a little doubt in my mind.

Cutty

October 28th, 2009
1:30 pm

Centralized Government……. Meet Department of Homeland Security. Today’s ‘conservatives’ talk a good game, but they are no more conservative than any liberal. I thought this country was founded for the sake of free speech and expression, and no taxation for both liberals AND democrats. Which supposedly makes this country so great. Reagan and Bush I raised taxes, Bush II expanded government and raised the federal deficit. Don’t pin ‘centralized’ government on democrats alone. ‘Conservatives’ had an equal hand in where we are today. Free markets with no regulations got us here, and that same thinking won’t get us out. Find a ‘conservative’ in Congress now, and I’ll show you someone that is comfortable with the status quo. Their performance from 2001-2006 is all the proof I need.

Cutty

October 28th, 2009
1:33 pm

And if ‘Conservatives’ were so enthralled with small government, free markets, and low taxes, they would’ve acted upon contracting government while they were the majority.

Kyle Wingfield

October 28th, 2009
1:35 pm

JF McNamara: Most of those countries never had a system comparable to what we have had in this country. I’m generalizing here, but their markets weren’t as free and their governments weren’t as democratic. So it’s not as if they somehow evolved faster than us; they took a different course all along. Most of them also built the health systems we may now emulate amid the rubble of World War II, and they now are looking for ways to change those systems because they aren’t sustainable. To the degree that they haven’t, it’s because no one has the political will to make a change.

I would never suggest to anyone in those countries that they now adopt the employer-based health insurance system we implemented in the 1940s. For the life of me, I can’t understand why we would embrace their 60-year-old models rather than developing something new.

Kyle Wingfield

October 28th, 2009
1:37 pm

Cutty: “Free markets with no regulations”? Where? When? It’s been the better part of a century or more since anyone in this country could make such a simplistic statement about our economy with a straight face.

JF McNamara

October 28th, 2009
2:55 pm

Thanks for the reply Kyle, and sorry for being so sarcastic.

My point was that if people really thought that wholesale conservatism was the key, we would likely have one country (including America) that would have chosen that path. Furthermore, developing nations that have tried pure democracy from scratch have been utter failures and gone towards a European model.

People want their government to provide things for them and in many ways government does so more efficiently (even though no Republican would ever admit that). The Republican Presidents understood that the ideology was just that and have governed accordingly. The leaders of every other country understand people’s desires and they govern accordingly.

Not only that, but they understand that a society based on conservative ideals would likely fall into anarchy because privatization of everything would lead to excess expense, monopolism, and an established ruling class. African disaster nations where everyone is simply out for self are basically run by conservative principles. You earn what you keep, so lawlessness and violence aren’t far behind. The “earners” run the government because they have the money and supress everyone else.

Furthermore, they would rebel strongly against the religious overtones. You have to agree with that because religious freedom is what led to America in the first place.

Given human nature and the history of the world, I still believe that the reason you have no country to move to when the super liberals take over is because it simply won’t work. Its failed when tried and the more mature nations in Europe have gone against it.

We have a good dynamic here. Being on either extreme would be much worse than where we are now.

Algonquin J. Calhoun

October 28th, 2009
2:55 pm

The old, traitorous, moron Reagan should have been executed for giving arms to the Iranians when he knew they had killed hundreds of Marines by blowing up their barracks. The detestable scum bag put the United States into horrible debt with his economic policies to protect and further enrich the already wealthy. His deregulations opened the doors for government sponsored cheating in all sorts of industries. The best that can be said of this insect is he’s dead!

Chris Broe

October 28th, 2009
2:58 pm

Reagan gave that speech non compus mentis, Stuntwit.

jt

October 28th, 2009
3:05 pm

I miss you Mr. Reagan.

lmno

October 28th, 2009
3:10 pm

So the freedom that you are talking about is basically, free market capitilism?

It has nothign to do with freedoms like speech, assembly, and privacy from what I can tell.

No one cared if the government took away our freedom to talk on the phone unmonitored.

It seems to me the real thing conservatives are talking about is freedom from taxes. Keep the taxes low and they could care less if they strip search every brown person who enters and airport.

sane jane

October 28th, 2009
3:18 pm

Hi Kyle,

How about a comment on Bookman’s description of Reagan from a few days back:

Signed 3 major tax increases.
Cut & ran in Lebanon.
Ran up massive deficits.
Granted amnesty to illegals.
Secretly traded arms for hostages with Islamic terrorists.

Isn’t Reagan The Lionization different from Reagan The Actual President?

TnGelding

October 28th, 2009
3:29 pm

Well, the consevatives can always go to Iraq or Afghanistan. Don’t they claim Bush liberated tens of millions there?

Kyle Wingfield

October 28th, 2009
1:37 pm

And for good reason. Fraud and greed eventually bring capitalism to a halt. Big Business runs wild with a Republican in the White House.

Kyle Wingfield

October 28th, 2009
1:35 pm

The only thing wrong with the employer based system is it prohibits our corporations from competing fairly in the global market place. Doctors embraced it in the 40s because at least then they would eventually get paid. We need to get all federal taxes off of the employers and on to the employees and consumers who are paying them anyway.

As for health care reform, why should minimum wage workers and small business people be paying for my health care when they can’t afford it for themselves? Surely we can give them the same deal we senior citizens have.

Reagan had an opportunity to be a change president, but he compromised it away in order to increase defense spending to protect us from the Evil Empire. Instead of reducing the size of government as he campaigned on, he allowed the Democrats to greatly increase it.

sane jane

October 28th, 2009
3:32 pm

Algonquin, why do you resort to namecalling & all sorts of personal attacks? It completely deflates and distracts from whatever (legit) point you might otherwise be trying to make.

This kind of invective helps NO ONE. We are all still Americans, right? We’re never going to improve or elevate discourse if we’re always too busy smearing the other side.

Make your point, state your case. But leave the taunting for the schoolyard, huh? You’re giving liberals a bad name. (not to mention giving conservatives a real example of disgusting lefty behavior)

David Axelfraud

October 28th, 2009
3:33 pm

Algonquin J. Calhoun is a sad piece of scum who deserves to be deported back to her native land of North Korea. There Ms. Calhoun can bask in the glow of her master Kim Jong Il.

What a dumb a$$.

David Axelfraud

October 28th, 2009
3:36 pm

TnGelding, at least when a Republican is in office everyone has a job.

Obama = Jimmy Carter part 2

David Axelfraud

October 28th, 2009
3:40 pm

sane jane, no president has been perfect. But stating that Reagan ran up massive deficits is interesting since liberals always overlook Carter, Clinton and Obama.

Obama has outdone Bush Sr, Bush JR, Clinton, Reagan and Cater combined.

TnGelding

October 28th, 2009
3:41 pm

booger

October 28th, 2009
12:26 pm

Loved the non quote. Ain’t it the truth!

But what planet have you been living. Many of the draftees in WWII were so malnourished they had to be sent back home.

HDB

October 28th, 2009
3:42 pm

Don’t forget…..Reagan also brought forth a new age of racism….by declaring his support for “states rights” in Philadelphia, Mississippi…the place where three civil rights workers died, his non-support for Affirmative Action, his firing of the Air Traffic Controllers…..and the cuts in the social safety net! Unemployment rose under Reagan…….and the rich got richer! Iran/Contra….arms for hostages…..

Reagan was really good for the nation!! I’m STILL trying to recover from him!!

Reynolds Pitts

October 28th, 2009
3:42 pm

I love that you conservatives are yet again rehashing Reagan. He’s been out of office for over 20 years now, though he was “out of it” well before his term ended. It is like ‘Bama fans who can’t let go of the Bear. Folks, it is high time for you to have some fresh ideas relevant to today’s realities. If not, you’ll remain out of power for a long time to come. How about coming up with something new instead of living in the past?

David Axelfraud

October 28th, 2009
3:47 pm

List of Obamas accomplishments:

………………………………………..He bought a dog for his kids.

…………………………..Nope. Nothing else. That’s all that Obama has accomplished in 9 months. Nice.

TnGelding

October 28th, 2009
3:47 pm

David Axelfraud

October 28th, 2009
3:36 pm

It was 3 years into both the Reagan and Bush administrations before jobs were being created. And it only cost $10 trillion in deficit spending to create them. Clinton created jobs and reduced the deficit each and every year. And then along came the Unmentionable!

Carter’s fiscal policy was superb. Monetary policy is the Federal Reserve’s responsibility.

sane jane

October 28th, 2009
3:47 pm

Axelfraud (great name, by the way), that misses the point – of COURSE Carter and Obama ran up deficits (not sure about Clinton though – didn’t he balance the books and even leave a surplus?), because that’s what you would expect a lib/Dem to do.

My point (Jay’s point, actually) was that Reagan wasn’t the rock-ribbed conservative he is now portrayed as.

(in the same way that Obama is FAR more mainstream and centrist than the “radical, leftist, marxist” meme conservatives try to pin to him)

(agreed that Obama has pretty much been all talk thus far, and no action – not the “transformative president” as advertised; he’s FAR more business-as-usual from what I can tell)

David Axelfraud

October 28th, 2009
3:48 pm

HDB, so, you’re recovering from Reagan making MLK a national holiday? Wow, that must be horrible. I mean, all those beatings blacks took in Alabama under a racist Democrat named George Wallace must not even register with you.

Bottom line: Go sell stupid somewhere else, Jesse Jackson.

TnGelding

October 28th, 2009
3:49 pm

David Axelfraud

October 28th, 2009
3:40 pm

The deficit was projected to be over a trillion dollars before Obama took office. Let’s see what it is when he leaves.

David Axelfraud

October 28th, 2009
3:51 pm

sane jane, if Reagan was not such a great president then why did Obama bring up his name and run a similar campaign during last year’s election?

Also, yes, Clinton ran up deficits. Oh yeah, Clinton magically balanced the budget. Just like he didn’t have sex with that intern.

Obama is a centrist????????????????? Wow, I didn’t know moderates wanted total government control over every aspect of their lives. Huh, all these polls showing Obama losing every independent voter must be a sham. CALL UP CNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

David Axelfraud

October 28th, 2009
3:54 pm

TnGelding writes: Carter’s fiscal policy was superb.

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!! That’s the best joke I’ve heard in weeks! Thanks for the laugh TN!

Carter brought about a massive recession. Reagan tax cuts brought America back to life. Clintons second term ended on a recession. Bush had 911 to deal with. Hmmmmmm, guess you forgot about that one.

Publius

October 28th, 2009
3:56 pm

Reagan raised taxes – Yes, but he is also responsible for conprehensive tax reform – the true desire of conservatives (1986 tax code). Temporary tax cuts – as well as stimulus spending for that matter – do very little for the economy because the American citizen cannot rely on long-term increased standard of living. Tax reform gives people confidence that they will be able to maintain increased standard of living, and as a result they adjust their lifestyle accordingly. They invest in the economy and this brings real economic prosperity.

Furthermore, the minor tax hikes that can be attributed to President Reagan pale in comparison to how far down he brought taxes during his tenure as president (Top bracket of 70% down to 28%).

David Axelfraud

October 28th, 2009
3:56 pm

TnGelding, Obama has already ADDED 3 trillion to the national debt. His projected total is 11 trillion.

David Axelfraud

October 28th, 2009
3:58 pm

sane jane, Bookman believes that Ford was the best Republican president we’ve ever had. FORD!!! His words. Ask him if you don’t believe me. Jay Bookman has Rush Limbaugh and Neal Boortz ding dong envy. I would say pe**& but Kyle would get upset at me.

TnGelding

October 28th, 2009
4:00 pm

David Axelfraud

October 28th, 2009
11:53 am

Great speech…for Goldwater. Too bad he didn’t live up to it himself. But he was 12 years younger then. He had a lot of stamina for his age, but he became too old while in office to be the president he could have been.

David Axelfraud

October 28th, 2009
4:00 pm

TnGelding writes: The deficit was projected to be over a trillion dollars before Obama took office. Let’s see what it is when he leaves.

Um, by the time Obama Hussein leaves office, unemployment will be at 25% and we will have lost both wars.

lmno

October 28th, 2009
4:00 pm

If we had a true free market capitalist system, the river would STILL be on fire in Cleveland.

David Axelfraud

October 28th, 2009
4:02 pm

TnGelding, Goldwater is a respected conservative who paved the way for people like Reagan. He paved the way for Rush Limbaugh, VDH, Reagan, Sowell and many many other bad a$$ conservatives.

David Axelfraud

October 28th, 2009
4:02 pm

lmno, ever see that funny Cleveland tourism video on youtube?

TnGelding

October 28th, 2009
4:02 pm

David Axelfraud

October 28th, 2009
4:00 pm

Ok, I’ve got you on record. We’ll see.

The Unmentionable only had 7 1/2 years to “win” the wars.

Publius

October 28th, 2009
4:03 pm

Alright, this debate is descending rather quickly into a juvenile smartassathon. Thanks for the thoughtful arguments (liberals and conservatives). I’m out.

lmno

October 28th, 2009
4:03 pm

“Um, by the time Obama Hussein leaves office, unemployment will be at 25% and we will have lost both wars”

Unemployment will begin to improve by Christmas. We lost the Iraq war the day we started it. We lost the afghanistan war the same day.

David Axelfraud

October 28th, 2009
4:06 pm

TnGelding, at least Bush, the unmentionable to your kind, kept us safe and killed a bunch of worthless jihadist.

Obama Husseins plan: Uh……mm……..uh…………..

David Axelfraud

October 28th, 2009
4:07 pm

lmno, do you have a magic 8 ball? Must be nice being able to see into the future.

Just like a lib to declare defeat before a war is over. You would have served France well.