September 25, 2010

A Time for Choosing

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—is still the newest, most unique idea in all the long history of man’s relation to man. This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.

You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man’s age-old dream—the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order—or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. Regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would sacrifice freedom for security have embarked on this downward path. Plutarch warned, “The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits.”

The Founding Fathers knew a government can’t control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing.

~ Ronald Reagan  

Ronald Reagan delivered this speech in support of Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign. Besides being one of the best examples of Reagan’s rhetorical powers, and his first major national political address, this speech launched his career as both a politician and a leader of the conservative movement. Almost needless to say, these words are as relevant to the U.S. current situation as they were when he delivered them. To the extent that this speech has become a sort of “Bible” for the Tea party movement, as this new (and excellent) video shows …


  1. The truth of this passes into the very soul of our Republic, yet there are enough Americans that reject this message of free minds and liberty, that our country is in grave danger of submitting to tyranny.
    Back in the day when we had cassette players, I had a tape of his speeches, and never got tired of listening to them.
    Now we have YouTube, and his voice and ideas still shed the light of truth.

  2. Because of his past, which although he never hit the greatest Hollywood heights, was nevertheless still a considerable personal accomplishment, no one was over inclined to take Ronald Reagan very seriously when he was first elected President. Perhaps it was just as well for him, because it may have incited him to prove himself even more. And indeed he proved to be one of the best US Presidents in US history, whatever political tendency one wants to believe in or defend. But he didn't do this out of any desire to play the leading role in the big movie, he did it naturally, because he had the rare, natural qualities, including integrity and courage, that it takes to be a great President.