As I was browsing the blogosphere, the Texas Rainmaker reminded me that today would be the late Ronald Reagan's 97th birthday. Despite his passing in 2004, Reagan remains the most important President of the latter half of the Twentieth Century. Not only did he propose and push a vision of a strong, forceful America, he was willing to truly speak truth to power. Journalists like to claim they speak truth to power, but advocating gay rights, or assisting bureaucrats expose secrets is not exactly courageous when most of the political elites agree with them.
On the other hand, Reagan truly did speak truth to power. As Captain Ed Morrissey reminds us, he was willing to tell the Soviet Union to 'Tear down this wall" and he was willing to spend the Soviets into the dustbin of history, believing as he did that the United States' way of life was in all respects superior. A YouTube video of Reagan's famous Berlin speech is embedded below.
In addition to his courageous stand against the Soviet empire, Reagan also produced some excellent quotes regarding freedom and the necessity to protect it. A few of these quotes are as follows (thanks to Texas Rainmaker for collating these):
“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.”
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children what it was once like in the United States when men were free.”
“If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth. And this idea that government is beholden to the people, that it has no other source of power except to sovereign people, is still the newest and 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.”
These quotes reveal that Reagan really did believe in the United States and he believed that personal responsibility and the individual pursuit and defense of freedom were very important. Reagan did not believe in socialism or any of its pernicious relatives such as National Socialism (Nazism) or Communism. And he, unlike so many of his contemporaries, was willing to fight for freedom- an impulse that I doubt Bill or Hillary Clinton would understand.
On this 97th anniversary of Reagan's birth, i hope that all conservatives remember that we must remain eternally vigilant if we are to defeat our enemies both abroad and hidden among us. President Reagan showed that they could be beaten, and his enthusiasm for his country should be an example for us all. God rest you, Ronald Reagan, and thank you for everything.
Hat tips to Captain's Quarters and Michelle Malkin