Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Some Thoughts

For some time I have been a great devotee of the words of Ronald Reagan. His detractors often criticised him, mocked him and his views, however as history often shows words spoken by enlightened men often resonate in later years. Especially now, with the imminent ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, consider the following:

From a speech in 1957, given to the Eureka College:

"And now today we find ourselves involved in another struggle, this time called a cold war. This cold war between great sovereign nations isn't really a new struggle at all. It is the oldest struggle of human kind, as old as man himself. This is a simple struggle between those of us who believe that man has the dignity and sacred right and the ability to choose and shape his own destiny and those who do not so believe. This irreconcilable conflict is between those who believe in the sanctity of individual freedom and those who believe in the supremacy of the state........Don't be deceived because you are not hearing the sound of gunfire, because even so you are fighting for your lives. And you're fighting against the best organized and the most capable enemy of freedom and of right and decency that has ever been abroad in the world...........This democracy of ours which sometimes we've treated so lightly, is more than ever a comfortable cloak, so let us not tear it asunder, for no man knows once it is destroyed where or when he will find its protective warmth again."

From a speech on the campaign during the 1964 Presidential election:

"This democracy of ours which sometimes we've treated so lightly, is more than ever a comfortable cloak, so let us not tear it asunder, for no man knows once it is destroyed where or when he will find its protective warmth again........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."

From a speech to 2nd Annual CPAC Convention, 1st March 1975; relevant today in respect of the position of the Conservative Party in the polls:

"But let’s not be so naive as to think we are witnessing a mass conversion to the principles of conservatism. Once sworn into office, the victors revert[ed] to type. In their view, apparently, the ends justified the means." Relevant to our agreement to join what was then the Common Market: "In 1972 the people of this country had a clear-cut choice, based on the issues -- to a greater extent than any election in half a century. In overwhelming numbers they ignored party labels, not so much to vote for a man or even a policy as to repudiate a philosophy. In doing so they repudiated that final step into the welfare state -- that call for the confiscation and redistribution of their earnings on a scale far greater than what we now have. They repudiated the abandonment of national honor and a weakening of this nation's ability to protect itself."

From the closing remark of a speech at The Conservative Political Action Conference Dinner, 20th March 1981:

"Our moment has arrived. We stand together shoulder to shoulder in the thickest of the fight. If we carry the day and turn the tide, we can hope that as long as men speak of freedom and those who have protected it, they will remember us, and they will say, "Here were the brave and here their place of honor."

Digressing, but relevant to the present expenses scandal, is this story from a speech to the Annual Convention of Evangicals in Orlando, Florida:

"An evangelical minister and a politician arrived at Heaven's gate one day together. And St. Peter, after doing all the necessary formalities, took them in hand to show them where their quarters would be. And he took them to a small, single room with a bed, a chair, and a table and said this was for the clergyman. And the politician was a little worried about what might be in store for him. And he couldn't believe it then when St. Peter stopped in front of a beautiful mansion with lovely grounds, many servants, and told him that these would be his quarters. And he couldn't help but ask, he said, "But wait, how -- there's something wrong -- how do I get this mansion while that good and holy man only gets a single room?" And St. Peter said, "You have to understand how things are up here. We've got thousands and thousands of clergy. You're the first politician who ever made it."

From a speech to the House of Commons, 8th June 1982:

"The British people know that, given strong leadership, time, and a little bit of hope, the forces of good ultimately rally and triumph over evil. Here among you is the cradle of self-government, the Mother of Parliaments. Here is the enduring greatness of the British contribution to mankind, the great civilized ideas: individual liberty, representative government, and the rule of law under God..........During the dark days of the Second World War, when this island was incandescent with courage, Winston Churchill exclaimed about Britain's adversaries, "What kind of people do they think we are?" Well, Britain's adversaries found out what extraordinary people the British are. But all the democracies paid a terrible price for allowing the dictators to underestimate us. We dare not make that mistake again. So, let us ask ourselves, "What kind of people do we think we are?" And let us answer, "Free people, worthy of freedom and determined not only to remain so but to help others gain their freedom as well..............For the sake of peace and justice, let us move toward a world in which all people are at last free to determine their own destiny."

It is worth repeating words from Ronald Reagan's First Inaugaral Address, 20th January 1981:
 
"From time to time, we have been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. But if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?"

In the extracts above, I have tried to remind you of the words of one who was a great statesman - and would that we, in this country, had one today. Do go read more of the words of Ronald Reagan, which can be found here.



1 comments:

Fausty said...

Reagan was a terrific speaker. I believe some of those quotes are in these speeches (well worth watching).