MASTERSON ONLINE: “Rendezvous with fate”


Here is an abridged version of President Ronald Reagan’s 1964 televised speech, “A Time for Choose”. I felt that today’s readers and their offspring might find some relevance in what our future President said to the nation during GOP Senator Barry Goldwater’s unsuccessful presidential campaign. (Google the full 4,509 word version).

“I have spent most of my life as a Democrat. I recently saw fit to go down another path. I believe the issues we face transcend party lines. Now a side of this campaign told us that the problems of this election are the maintenance of peace and prosperity. …

“But I have the unpleasant feeling that this prosperity is not something on which we can base our hopes for the future. No nation in history has ever survived a tax burden that has reached a third of its national income. Today, 37 cents of every dollar earned in this country is the tax collector’s share, yet our government continues to spend $ 17 million more per day than the government collects. … We have $ 15 billion of gold in our treasury, we don’t own an ounce. Foreign dollar claims are $ 27.3 billion. …

“[I]We wonder if we still know the freedoms that were intended for us by the Founding Fathers. …

“[T]his idea that government is beholden to the people … is still the most recent and unique idea in the long history of man-to-man relationship. This is the question of this election: if we believe in our capacity for self-reliance or if we abandon the American Revolution and admit that a small intellectual elite in a distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can them we themselves.

“You and I are told more and more that we have to choose between a left or a right.… [T]here there is no left or right. There is only the top or the bottom: [up], the old dream of man, the pinnacle of individual freedom in accordance with law and order, or even the anthill of totalitarianism. …

“[A]as the president told us a few days ago, we must accept more government activity in the affairs of the people. But they have been a little more explicit in the past and among themselves; and all the things I’m going to quote now have been printed. These are not Republican accusations. For example, they have voices that say, “The Cold War will end with our acceptance of non-undemocratic socialism. Another said, “The profit motive has become old-fashioned. It must be replaced by incentives from the welfare state. Or: “Our traditional system of individual freedom is incapable of solving the complex problems of the 20th century.

“[Arkansas Democrat] Senator [J. William] Fulbright said … the Constitution is outdated. [He referred to the president, saying] he is “hampered in his task by the restrictions of power imposed on him by this archaic document”. He must “be released” so that he “can do for us” what he knows “to be best”. Senator [Joseph] Clark of Pennsylvania (…) defines liberalism as “meeting the material needs of the masses through the full power of centralized government.”

“Well, for my part, I don’t like a representative of the people to refer to you and me, the free men and women of this country, as ‘the masses’. … But beyond that, “the full power of centralized government” was what the Founding Fathers sought to downplay. … A government cannot control the economy without controlling people. And they know when a government establishes to do this, it must use force and coercion … They also knew … that outside of its legitimate functions, the government does nothing as well or as economically as the industry. deprived of the economy. …

“Private property rights [are] so diluted that the public interest is almost whatever a few government planners decide it should be. …

“We have so many people who can’t see a fat man standing next to a thin one without coming to the conclusion that the fat man got it that way taking advantage of the thin. So they are going to solve all the problems of misery. human rights by government and government planning. …

“But the reverse is true. Every year the needs increase; the program increases.… We spend $ 45 billion on social assistance.… [I]If we split $ 45 billion equally among those 9 million poor families, we would be able to give each family $ 4,600 a year. And this added to their current income should eliminate poverty. …

“Yet whenever you and I question the benefactors’ ploys, we are denounced as being against their humanitarian goals. They say we are always’ against ‘things – we are never’ for ‘the problem. with our Liberal friends, it’s not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that they’re not. …

“[W]We are for an international organization, where the nations of the world can seek peace. But I think we are against the subordination of American interests to an organization that has become so structurally unstable that today you can muster a two-thirds vote in the General Assembly among nations that make up less than 10 percent of world population. …

“No government ever voluntarily shrinks in size. So government programs, once started, never go away. …

“[F]ederal, state and local, one in six of the nation’s workforce employed by the government. These proliferating offices with their thousands of regulations have cost us many of our constitutional guarantees. … In Chicot County, Arkansas, James Wier over-seeded his rice plot. The government got a judgment of $ 17,000. And a US Marshal sold his 960-acre farm at auction … as a warning to others for the system to work. …

“[B]In 1936, Mr. Democrat himself, Al Smith … accused his party leadership of taking the party of Jefferson, Jackson and Cleveland on the road under the banners of Marx, Lenin and Stalin. And he has moved away from his party … to this day, the leadership of that party has moved this party forward, this honorable party, like the Socialist Labor Party of England.

“Now, it is not necessary to expropriate or confiscate private property or a business in order to impose socialism on a people. What does it mean that you hold the deed of property? [or] Title to your business or property if the government has the right of life or death to that business or property? … The government can find charges against any business it chooses to prosecute. … [F]reedom has never been so fragile, so close to escaping us ….

“Our Democratic opponents don’t seem willing to debate these issues. They want you to do and I believe it’s a contest [where] we have to choose between two personalities. …

“Those who would trade our freedom for the welfare state’s soup kitchen told us that they had a utopian solution of winless peace. They call their policy “accommodation”. And they say that if only we avoid any direct confrontation with the enemy, he will forget his bad manners and learn to love us. All those who oppose them are accused of warmongers. … well, maybe there is a simple answer – not an easy answer but simple: if you and I have the courage to tell our elected officials that we want our national policy to be based on what we know in our hearts is morally right. …

Alexander Hamilton said: ‘A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master and deserves one.’ … There is no argument about choosing between peace and war, but there is only one guaranteed way to have peace – and you can have it in the next second – surrender.

“Certainly there is a risk in any path we take other than this, but every history lesson tells us that the greatest risk lies in appeasement, and that is the specter that our liberal friends do well. Intended refuse to confront, that their accommodation policy is appeasement, and he leaves no choice between peace and war, only between combat or surrender. … Nikita Khrushchev told his people that ‘he knows what our response will be. … [S]n day, when the time comes to deliver the final ultimatum, our surrender will be voluntary, because by then we will have been weakened from within spiritually, morally and economically. …

“[F]On our side, he heard voices pleading for “peace at all costs” or “better red than dead”, or as one commentator put it, he prefers “to live on his knees than to die standing”. And that’s where the path to war lies, because those voices don’t speak for the rest of us.

“You and I know and don’t believe that life is so expensive and peace so sweet that it must be bought at the cost of chains and slavery. If nothing in life is worth dying for, when is it? started; right in the face of that enemy? Or should Moses have told the Children of Israel to live in slavery under the Pharaohs? … Should the Patriots of the Pont de la Concorde have lowered their weapons? and refuse to fire the shot heard the world over? The martyrs of history were not fools and our honored dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis did not die in vain. the way to peace? … Winston Churchill said: “… When great forces are moving in the world, we learn that we are spirits, not animals. And he said, ‘There’s something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, that …

“You and I have a date with fate. We will preserve for our children this, man’s last best hope on Earth, or we will condemn them to take the last step in a thousand years of darkness.”

Mike Masterson is a longtime Arkansas reporter, was editor of three Arkansas dailies, and led the Masters of Journalism program at Ohio State University. Email him at [email protected]


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