Wednesday, December 30, 2009



On the 150th anniversary of the Communist Manifesto, Merrill Matthews Jr. and Morgan O. Reynolds of the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis have drafted a similarly patterned Capitalist Manifesto -- defining the ramifications of private property rights and the right to contract.

Here are the highlights of their program to end the welfare state and restore individual liberties:

•Reaffirmation of the right of individuals to rent, sell or use their property however they peaceably choose, so long as they do not impinge on the rights of others.

•A flat income tax set at the lowest rate compatible with fiscal restraint, and abolition of all inheritance taxes and restrictions.

•A guarantee of the property rights of all immigrants and dissidents.

•Withdrawal from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank -- and abolition of all credit monopolies.

Their manifesto also calls for restoration of market prerogatives by divestiture and decentralization of a number of current government functions.

•Elimination of funding for the Federal Communications Commission and the Transportation Department.

•Divestiture of state-owned factories or other means of production, such as the Tennessee Valley Authority, Amtrak, the U.S. Postal Service and the Federal Aviation Administration -- as well as the Department of Agriculture.

•Invigoration of labor through the repeal of unemployment subsidies and minimum wage laws.

•Repeal of laws that restrict the mobility of capital and labor.

Finally, they would abolish direct funding of public school systems and replace it with tax-supported education vouchers -- to establish competition and restore parents' rights to choose how their children are schooled.

The authors point out that capitalists make their aims explicit, rather than using the stealth techniques common to anti-capitalists.

A Capitalist Manifesto

Note: In February 1848, exactly 150 years ago, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels laid the foundation for modern socialism and communism by publishing the "Communist Manifesto." Their call for overthrowing the capitalists and redistributing their wealth to the working classes eventually became the guiding principle behind most public policy and economic theory. How successful was the Manifesto? Reversing Marx's 10 stated principles, as we do here, will sound radical to many people. Even today, as former communist countries rush to embrace capitalism in the hope of ending generations of tyranny and poverty, many U.S. politicians still cling to the Manifesto's goals. In order to rally those who refuse to stand in the shadow of Marx's legacy of war, murder, class envy and poverty, we offer:


A specter is haunting Washington - the specter of Capitalism. All the powers of the Welfare State have entered into a holy alliance to exercise this specter: President and Cabinet, Daschle and Gephardt, bureaucrats and lobbyists, intellectuals and media.

Where is the champion of free markets who has not been decried as a right-wing extremist or worse by his opponents in power? Where are the defenders of the Welfare State who have not hurled the branding reproaches of being greedy, insensitive and uncompassionate against those of us who oppose ever-increasing taxes, transfers and government programs?

Two things result from this fact.

I. Capitalism is already acknowledged by all socialist powers to be itself a power
II. It is high time that Capitalists should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish our views, our aims, our tendencies, and meet this nursery tale about the specter of Capitalism with a Manifesto announcing its goals.

The theory of the Capitalist may be summed in a single sentence: Protection of private property.

Hard-won, self-acquired, self-earned property! The restoration of bourgeois individuality, bourgeois independence, and bourgeois freedom is undoubtedly aimed at. By freedom is meant free trade, free selling and buying.

You reproach us with intending to reassert property rights. Precisely so; that is just what we intend.

On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On capital, on private gain. The bourgeois family will flourish as a matter of course when its complement flourishes.

And what of your education! Capitalists have not invented the intervention of government in education; but we do seek to alter the character of that intervention, and to rescue education from the influence of the bureaucratic ruling class.

To these ends, Capitalists of various persuasions have acted in concert to sketch the following Manifesto.

1. Reaffirmation of the right of private property and contract, including the right to rent, sell or use the property however the owner peaceably chooses as long as such use does not impinge on the equal rights of others.

2. A flat income tax set at the lowest rate compatible with fiscal restraint.

3. Abolition of all inheritance taxes and restrictions.

4. Guarantee of the property rights of all emigrants and dissidents.

5.  Decentralization of credit in the hands of the State by withdrawing from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and abolition of all credit monopoly.

6. Decentralization of the means of communication and transportation by eliminating funding for the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Transportation.

7. Divestiture of State-owned factories or other instruments of production such as the Tennessee Valley Authority, Amtrak, U.S. Postal Service, and the Federal Aviation Administration; Abolition of the U.S. Department of Agriculture so that the soil may be improved in accord with decentralized, individual plans.

8. Invigoration of all labor through repeal of subsidies rewarding unemployment, and abolition of obstacles to freely made labor contracts such as the minimum wage, that attempt to establish an egalitarian labor force.

9. Freedom for the population to relocate throughout the country by repeal of all laws that restrict the mobility of capital and labor.

10. Abolition of direct funding for school systems, and permitting competition between government schools and private schools for parents' education dollars, which may be in the form of tax-supported vouchers.

A Capitalist revolution that follows these principles would create the most radical rupture in government control; no wonder that its development involves a slap in the face to modern liberalism.

In short, the Capitalists everywhere support every revolutionary movement against the existing collectivist order of things.

In all these movements we bring to the fore, as the leading question in each, the property question, no matter what its degree of development at the time.

Finally, we labor everywhere for the cooperation and agreement of the democratic parties of all countries.

The Capitalists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the peaceable overthrow of all existing principles of the Welfare State. Let the ruling elites tremble at a Capitalist revolution. The people who love free markets have nothing to lose but their chains. We have a world to win.

Capitalists and Workers of all Countries, Compete!

Prepared by Morgan O. Reynolds, Ph.D., and Merrill Matthews Jr., Ph.D., of the National Center for Policy Analysis, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute based in Dallas, TX.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

On The Frontier of Freedom(again)

February 11, 1988

Thank you very much. It's great to be here tonight, and I'm delighted to see so many old friends. And now let's get right to it. First, there's the INF treaty. How do you think I felt when Gorbachev called a week and a half ago and asked me if our first group of on-site inspectors could be the Denver Broncos' pass defense? (Laughter.) And then along came the House vote on Contra aid -- I felt so terrible, I nearly called Dan Reeves and John Elway to tell them what a rough week I'd had.

But seriously, while the Denver Broncos are all terrific athletes and people, each one of us has to congratulate the Washington Redskins. Believe me, the House action on the Contra vote was a missed chance at a victory for peace in Central America. It's great to know there are some people in Washington who play to win. And believe me, I'll be getting back to that topic in a few minutes.

By the way, something odd happened just before I got here tonight that I think you should know about. I got a message from Dave Keene reminding me that this was the eve of Lincoln's birthday -- and suggesting I go upstairs and check on the ghost in Lincoln's bedroom. I did. And what do you know, there was Stan Evans dressed as Abe Lincoln. And he kept saying, "Listen to Jesse Helms."

Actually, I do want to thank you for that warm welcome, but I hope tonight isn't going to be like what happened to that fellow I knew back in Hollywood in those movie days -- and, oh, how I hope I haven't told you this one before.

We had an actor that was in Hollywood, and he was only there long enough to get enough money to go to Italy, because he aspired to an operatic career. And then after some time there, in Milan, Italy, where he was studying, he was invited to sing at La Scala, the very spiritual fountainhead of opera. They were doing Pagliacci, and he sang the beautiful aria, Vesti La Giuba. And he received such thunderous and sustained applause from the balconies and the orchestra seats that he had to repeat the aria as an encore. And again the same sustained, thunderous applause. And again he sang Vesti La Giuba. And this went on until finally he motioned for quiet, and he tried to tell them how full his heart was at that reception -- his first time out. But he said, "I have sung Vesti La Giuba nine times now. My voice is gone. I cannot do it again." And a voice from the balcony said, "You'll do it till you get it right." Well, let's get it right tonight. And let's start where we should start.

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about the state of our Union, and tonight I'd like to talk about something that I think in many ways is synonymous: the state of our movement. During the past year, plenty of questions have been asked about the conservative movement by some people who were surprised to find out back in 1980 that there was such a thing. I mean a powerful new political movement capable of running a victorious national campaign based on an unabashed appeal to the American people for conservative ideas and principles.

Well, we conservatives have been in Washington now for a while and we occasionally need to remind ourselves what brought us here in the first place: our unshakable, root-deep, all-encompassing skepticism about the capital city's answer to the UFO, that bizarre, ever-tottering but ever-flickering saucer in the sky called "The Prevailing Washington Wisdom."

And, right now, some of the Potomac seers are saying we conservatives are tired; or they're saying we don't have a candidate, some of those candidates in the other party saying how easy it's going to be to win the presidency for their liberal agenda because they can run on, of all things, this administration's economic record. Boy, have I got news for them. They're seeing flying saucers again. I've even got a quote for them. It's from Napoleon -- the morning of Waterloo -- at breakfast with his generals. This is true. He said, "I tell you what -- Wellington is a bad general. The English are bad troops. We'll settle the matter by lunchtime."

Well, my fellow conservatives, I think that's exactly what this year is about -- settling the matter by lunchtime. Letting the liberals in Washington discover once again the lesson they refuse to learn. Letting them know just how big our election year will be because of booming economic growth and individual opportunity; and how big an election year ball and chain they've given themselves with a seven-year record of opposition to the real record. But, most of all, letting them know that the real friends of the conservative movement aren't those entrenched in the capital city for 50 years; the real friends of the conservative movement are an entity that gets heard from in a big way every four years and who, I promise you, are going to be heard from this year. I'm talking about those who, if the case is aggressively put before them, will vote for limited government, family values, and a tough, strong foreign policy every single time. I'm talking about those believers in common sense and sound values, your friends and mine, the American people.

You see, those who underestimate the conservative movement are the same people who always underestimate the American people. Take the latest instance. As I mentioned, in recent months some people -- and I'm not mentioning any names because I don't want to build up any candidacies before New Hampshire, but you know who they are -- have actually taken it upon themselves to prove to the American people that they've been worse off under this administration than they were back in the Carter years of the '70s.

Now I agree with you, this takes some doing. How do they manage it? Well, you see, any statistical comparison of the two recent administrations would start with 1977 to 1981 as the budget years of the last administration, and 1981 to 1987 as the pertinent years for this one. Now, that sounds reasonable enough. But our opponents have a new approach, one that would have embarrassed even the emperor's tailors. They take the years 1977, to up to 1983 -- and then they stop. So you see, not only do 1984 and 1985 not get counted in their data base, but they include in this administration's economic record four years of the last Democratic administration. As columnist Warren Brookes pointed out in an article published in the Washington Times, "all of the foreshortened Reagan gains are nullified by the Carter losses, so they look like no gains at all, or, worse, losses." Our successes, in short, are buried under the last administration's failures.

But the truth is otherwise. Because under the last administration real per capita disposable income rose at only one percent annual rate, only half the two percent rate of increase under this administration's gain that has totaled 12.4 percent in six years. Under the last administration, median family income declined 6.8 percent, while under this administration it went up 9.1 percent. Or take the real after-tax labor income per hour: If you use the approach adopted by our liberal critics, you see a 4.5 percent decline. But the truth is that that figure fell 8.5 percent under the last administration and we turned this around and accounted for an 8.9 percent increase.

Under the last administration, the average weekly wage went down an incredible 10 percent in real terms, which accounted for the worst drop in postwar history. Here again, we've stopped the decline. And that's not to mention what all this has meant in terms of opportunity for women, for blacks, and minorities, the very groups our opponents say they most want to help.

Well, since the recovery began, 70 percent of the new jobs have been translated into opportunities for women; and black and other minority employment has risen twice as fast as all other groups. Minority family income has also increased at a rate over 40 percent faster than other groups. In addition, since 1983, 2.9 million people have climbed out of poverty, and the poverty rate has declined at the fastest rate in more than 10 years.

So, think for a moment on what these statistics mean and the kind of political nerve and desperation it takes to try to sell the American people on the idea that in the 1980s they never had it so bad. The truth is, we're in the 63rd month of this non-stop expansion. Real Gross National Product growth for 1987 was 3.8 percent, defying the pessimists and even exceeding our own forecast -- which was criticized as being too rosy at the time -- by more than one half percent. Inflation is down from 13.5 per cent in 1980 to only around 4 percent or less this year. And there's over 15 million new jobs.

So, believe me, I welcome this approach by the opposition. And I promise you, every time they use it, I'll just tell the story of a friend of mine who was asked to a costume ball a short time ago -- he slapped some egg on his face and went as a liberal economist. Now the reason I spell out these statistics and stress this economic issue should be very clear. You know that some cynics like to say that the people vote their pocketbook. But that's not quite the point. Economic issues are important to the people not simply for reasons of self-interest. They know the whole body politic depends on economic stability; the great crises have come for democracies when taxes and inflation ran out of control and undermined social relations and basic institutions. The American people know what limited government, tax cuts, deregulation, and the move towards privatization have meant. It's meant the largest peacetime expansion in our history, and I can guarantee you they won't want to throw that away for a return to budgets beholden to the liberal special interests.

No, I think the economic record of conservatives in power is going to speak for itself. But now let's turn to another area. For two decades we've been talking about getting justices on the Supreme Court who cared less about criminals and more about the victims of crime, justices who knew that the words "original intent" referred to something more than New Year's resolutions and fad diets. And then, seven months ago a seat opened on the Supreme Court. And even before our first nominee was announced, a campaign was planned unlike any that has ever been waged for or against a judicial nominee in the history of our country. And let me acknowledge once again my admiration for one of the courageous defenders, not only in our time but in all time, of the principles of our Constitution, yes, of its original intent -- Judge Robert Bork.

One of America's most cherished principles -- the independence and integrity of our judiciary -- was under siege. And the American people, who have always been with the ultimate guarantors of the Constitution, began to say with clarity and finality, it must never happen again. So when I nominated a judge who could as easily have been my first nominee, there was hardly a peep of protest. And Judge Kennedy is now going to be Justice Kennedy. And since our opponents won't, I'll let you in on a secret -- Judge Kennedy will be just the kind of justice that you and I've been determined to put on the Court, Anyway, any man who teaches law school in a tri-corner hat and a powdered wig is okay by me on original intent.

Let's look at how far and how successfully we've carried the battle into the lower courts. Just look at the statistics on criminal sentencing. In few places can you see more clearly the collapse of the liberal stranglehold on our courts. The most recent statistics show federal judges imposed prison sentences that averaged 32 percent longer than those handed down during 1979. Robbery sentences were 10 percent longer; drug offenses, 38 percent longer; and weapons offenses, 41 percent longer.

The great legal debates of the past two decades over criminal justice have, at their root, been debates over a strict versus expansive construction of the Constitution. The Constitution, as originally intended by the framers, is itself tough on crime, and protective of the victims of crime. For so long the liberal message to our national culture was tune in, turn on, let it all hang out. And now they see conservatives taking the lead as our nation says "no" to drugs, and "yes" to family, and "absolutely" to schools that teach basic skills, basic values, and basic discipline. And it's no wonder that our nation admires a man who believes in teaching values in education, and talks turkey to teachers, parents, and educators, such as our Secretary of Education, Bill Bennett.

And so I say to you tonight that the vision and record that we will take aggressively to the American people this November is a vision that all Americans, except a few on the left, share. A vision of a nation that believes in the heroism of ordinary people living ordinary lives; of tough courts and safe streets, of a drug-free America where schools teach honesty, respect, love of learning and, yes, love of country; a vision of a land where families can grow in love and safety and where dreams are made with opportunity. This is the vision; this is the record; this is the agenda for victory this year. Well, that's the record then on the economy and the social issues. Now, let's turn to foreign policy.

I want to be clear tonight about the vote on Contra aid. It was a setback to the national security interests of the United States, and a sad moment for the cause of peace and freedom in Central America. Until now the carrot-and-stick approach has worked in forcing a Communist regime to relax some of its repression. But now, the action by the House of Representatives removes one part of that formula and goes only with the carrot. The effect of this vote then was to trust the promises of democracy of the Sandinista Communists -- the kind of promises that no Communist regime in history has ever carried out, and that this regime was likely to carry out only under continued pressure. The effect of this vote was to rest the hopes for peace and democracy in Central America purely and simply on the word of the Communist regime in Managua. This course is, and I repeat, a risk to America's national security.

But you know, I read something the other day and it's worth a note here. One of those opposing aid to the freedom fighters said it was important to get a 20-vote margin. Well, as you know, it was nothing like that -- if we could have turned around four or five votes, we would have won. Last week's vote was not the final word, only a pause. Last week, the bad news was the lost vote in the House. But the good news was our support in the Senate and the overwhelming number of House Republicans who voted with us and those 47 Democrats who braved the threats of reprisals to vote for Contra aid.

So, let me make this pledge to you tonight: we're not giving up on those who are fighting for their freedom -- and they aren't giving up either. I'll have more to say on this in a few weeks. For now, I'll leave it at this: get ready -- the curtain hasn't fallen, the drama continues.

While we're on foreign policy, let me turn for just a moment to what I said in that December interview while Mr. Gorbachev was here. You know, Ben Wattenberg was one of the journalists there, and he brought up a speech I made back in 1982 to the British Parliament. And he asked me if what I really was saying was what I said in England: that if the West remained resolute, the Soviets would have to, at some point, deal with their own internal problems and crises, that the tides of history are shifting in favor of the cause of freedom. Well, I believed then, and I believe now, that we must consider what we're seeing -- or the steps in that direction. This hardly means accepting the Soviets at face value. Few of us can forget what that has led to in the past. FDR was quoted as saying during his dealings with Stalin -- with the Soviets in '44: "Stalin doesn't want anything but security for his country and I think that if I give him everything I possibly can and ask nothing from him in return, noblesse oblige, he won't try to annex anything and will work with me for a world democracy and peace."

Well, no, there is no room for illusion. Our guard is up, our watch is careful. We shall not be led by -- or misled by -- atmospherics. We came to Washington with a common-sense message that the world is a dangerous place where the only sure route to peace and the protection of freedom is through American strength. In no place has this thesis of peace through strength been tested more than on the matter of intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF). In deploying over 400 SS-20s, with over 1,200 warheads, against our friends and allies in Europe and Asia over the past decade, the Soviets were playing a high-stakes game of geopolitical blackjack. The prize was Europe -- the strategy, discredit America's deterrence and undermine the NATO alliance. But we and our allies turned over a winning hand, deploying in Europe Pershing II and ground-launched cruise missiles that provided an effective counter to the new Soviet missiles, and Moscow finally stopped upping the stakes.

What I would like to see is for some of those who've been praising our INF treaty to show they've learned its true lesson and vote to maintain an adequate defense budget, our work on a strategic defense against ballistic missiles, and, yes, aid to the freedom fighters in Nicaragua.

And while we're on the subject of our nation's defense -- you know, there's a man I want to talk about tonight who said once that "the definition of happiness was service to a noble cause." No one has done that better, and tonight I salute Cap Weinberger for all he's done for America.

But at the same time we must not look at any single step alone -- we must see not just the INF treaty but also the advance of SDI and, most important, the growing democratic revolution around the globe against totalitarian regimes. We should engage the Soviets in negotiations to deter war and keep the peace. But at the same time, we must make clear our own position, as I have throughout these negotiations. In sitting down to these negotiations, we accept no moral equivalency between the cause of freedom and the rule of totalitarianism.

And we understand that the most important change of all is this: that containment is no longer enough, that we no longer can be satisfied with an endless stalemate between liberty and repression. That arms reduction negotiations, development and testing of SDI, and our help for freedom fighters around the globe must express the clear goal of American foreign policy. To deter war, yes. To further world peace, yes. But, most of all, to advance and protect the cause of world freedom so that some day every man, woman, and child on this Earth has as a birthright the full blessings of liberty.

We've seen dramatic change in these seven years. Who would have guessed seven years ago that we would see tax rates drop from 70 percent to 28 percent, the longest peacetime economic boom in our history, or a massive shift in world opinion toward the ideas of free enterprise and political freedom?

I know some of you are impatient with the pace of this change. But if I might repeat a story I told when I addressed you for the first time as President -- I had the pleasure in appearing before a Senate committee once while I was still Governor. And I was challenged there because there was a Republican president in the White House at the time, who'd been there for some time and why hadn't we corrected everything that had gone wrong. And the only way I could think to answer him is, I told him about a ranch many years ago that Nancy and I acquired. It had a barn with eight stalls in it, in which they kept cattle-cows. We wanted to keep horses. Well, the accumulation within the stalls had built up the floor to the place that it wasn't even tall enough for horses in there. And so there I was, day after day, with a pick and shovel, lowering the level of those stalls, which had accumulated over the years. And I told this Senator who'd asked that question that I discovered that you didn't undo in a relatively short time what it had taken some 15 years to accumulate.

We have not only been undoing the damage of the past; we've put this nation on the upward road again. And, in the process, the differences between the liberals and conservatives have become clear to the American people. We want to keep taxes low, they want to raise them; we send in budgets with spending cuts and they want to ignore them; we want the balanced budget amendment and the line-item veto and they oppose them; we want tough judges and tough anti-crime legislation, they hold them both up in the Congress.

You'd be surprised how many judges are waiting out there before they -- so that they have to pass on them before they can take their office, and they've been waiting for months. We want a prayer amendment, they won't let it come to a vote in the House; we stress firmness with the Soviets, they try to pass legislation that would tie our hands in arms negotiations and endanger our defenses. But I say, we have a program and a plan for the American people -- a program to protect American jobs by fighting the menace of protectionism, to move forward at flank speed with SDI, to call America to conscience on the issue of abortion on demand, to mention, as I did in my State of the Union Address, the overwhelming importance of family life and family values.

That's a case to take to the American people. That's a fighting agenda. I intend to campaign vigorously for whoever our nominee is, and tonight I ask each of you to join me in this important crusade. Let's ask the American people to replenish our mandate. Let's tell them if they want four more years of economic progress and the march of world freedom, they must help us this year. Help us settle the matter before lunchtime. Help make 1988 the year of the Waterloo liberal.

I just have to add here, when you look at the figures overall -- that they have the nerve even to still be out there and campaigning. (Laughter)

We mustn't just think that electing the president is enough. We've been doing that for more than half-a-century. We have -- in the 50 years between 1931 and 1980, only four years in that period was there a Republican majority in both houses of the Congress -- two years in Eisenhower's regime, two years in Truman's. But for 46 of those 50 years, they controlled the Congress. Every Democratic president, except for those two years, had a Democratic Congress. Every Republican president had a Democratic Congress, except for those two years in Eisenhower's regime. And now, in the last seven years added to that -- yes, for six of those years we had one House. But except for the four years, for 58 years it will be our opponents holding the House of Representatives, where so much legislation and authorization for spending and so forth comes in. And in all those 58 years, there have only been eight single years in which there was a balanced budget. So, who's at fault for the deficit today?

Back when the great society -- when the war on poverty began, which poverty won -- from 1965 to 1980 -- in those 15 years, the federal budget increased to five times what it had been in '65. And the deficit increased to 38 times what it had been just 15 years before. It's built-in, it's structural. And you and I need to get representatives not only in the Executive Branch, but out there in the legislature, so that we can change that structure that is so built-in, and that threatens us with so much harm.

Well, I've gone on too long for all of you here, but I just wanted to -- I couldn't resist, because you're the troops. You're out there on the frontier of freedom. One young soldier over there in Korea -- one of our men -- saluted me when I visited there, and very proudly said, "Mr. President, we're on the frontier of freedom." Well, so are you.

Thank you. God bless you all.

Monday, December 28, 2009

President Reagan's Second Inaugural Address

Monday, January 21st, 1985

Senator Mathias, Chief Justice Burger, Vice President Bush, Speaker O'Neill, Senator Dole, Reverend Clergy, members of my family and friends, and my fellow citizens:

This day has been made brighter with the presence here of one who, for a time, has been absent--Senator John Stennis.

God bless you and welcome back.

There is, however, one who is not with us today: Representative Gillis Long of Louisiana left us last night. I wonder if we could all join in a moment of silent prayer. (Moment of silent prayer.) Amen.

There are no words adequate to express my thanks for the great honor that you have bestowed on me. I will do my utmost to be deserving of your trust.

This is, as Senator Mathias told us, the 50th time that we, the people, have celebrated this historic occasion. When the first President, George Washington, placed his hand upon the Bible, he stood less than a single day's journey by horseback from raw, untamed wilderness. There were 4 million Americans in a union of 13 states. Today we are 60 times as many in a union of 50 states. We have lighted the world with our inventions, gone to the aid of mankind wherever in the world there was a cry for help, journeyed to the moon and safely returned. So much has changed. And yet we stand together as we did two centuries ago.

When I took this oath four years ago, I did so in a time of economic stress. Voices were raised saying we had to look to our past for the greatness and glory. But we, the present-day Americans, are not given to looking backward. In this blessed land, there is always a better tomorrow.

Four years ago, I spoke to you of a new beginning and we have accomplished that. But in another sense, our new beginning is a continuation of that beginning created two centuries ago when, for the first time in history, government, the people said, was not our master, it is our servant; its only power that which we, the people, allow it to have.

That system has never failed us, but, for a time, we failed the system. We asked things of government that government was not equipped to give. We yielded authority to the national government that properly belonged to states or to local governments or to the people themselves. We allowed taxes and inflation to rob us of our earnings and savings and watched the great industrial machine that had made us the most productive people on Earth slow down and the number of unemployed increase.

By 1980, we knew it was time to renew our faith, to strive with all our strength toward the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with an orderly society.

We believed then and now there are no limits to growth and human progress when men and women are free to follow their dreams.

And we were right to believe that. Tax rates have been reduced, inflation cut dramatically, and more people are employed than ever before in our history.

We are creating a nation once again vibrant, robust, and alive. But there are many mountains yet to climb. We will not rest until every American enjoys the fullness of freedom, dignity, and opportunity as our birthright. It is our birthright as citizens of this great Republic, and we'll meet this challenge.

These will be years when Americans have restored their confidence and tradition of progress; when our values of faith, family, work, and neighborhood were restated for a modern age; when our economy was finally freed from government's grip; when we made sincere efforts at meaningful arms reduction, rebuilding our defenses, our economy, and developing new technologies, and helped preserve peace in a troubled world; when Americans courageously supported the struggle for liberty, self-government, and free enterprise throughout the world, and turned the tide of history away from totalitarian darkness and into the warm sunlight of human freedom.

My fellow citizens, our nation is poised for greatness. We must do what we know is right and do it with all our might. Let history say of us, "These were golden years--when the American Revolution was reborn, when freedom gained new life, when America reached for her best."

Our two-party system has served us well over the years, but never better than in those times of great challenge when we came together not as Democrats or Republicans, but as Americans united in a common cause.

Two of our Founding Fathers, a Boston lawyer named Adams and a Virginia planter named Jefferson, members of that remarkable group who met in Independence Hall and dared to think they could start the world over again, left us an important lesson. They had become political rivals in the Presidential election of 1800. Then, years later, when both were retired, and age had softened their anger, they began to speak to each other again through letters. A bond was reestablished between those two who had helped create this government of ours.

In 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, they both died. They died on the same day, within a few hours of each other, and that day was the Fourth of July.

In one of those letters exchanged in the sunset of their lives, Jefferson wrote: "It carries me back to the times when, beset with difficulties and dangers, we were fellow laborers in the same cause, struggling for what is most valuable to man, his right to self-government. Laboring always at the same oar, with some wave ever ahead threatening to overwhelm us, and yet passing harmless ... we rode through the storm with heart and hand."

Well, with heart and hand, let us stand as one today: One people under God determined that our future shall be worthy of our past. As we do, we must not repeat the well-intentioned errors of our past. We must never again abuse the trust of working men and women, by sending their earnings on a futile chase after the spiraling demands of a bloated federal establishment. You elected us in 1980 to end this prescription for disaster, and I don't believe you reelected us in 1984 to reverse course.

At the heart of our efforts is one idea vindicated by 25 straight months of economic growth: Freedom and incentives unleash the drive and entrepreneurial genius that are the core of human progress. We have begun to increase the rewards for work, savings, and investment; reduce the increase in the cost and size of government and its interference in people's lives.

We must simplify our tax system, make it more fair, and bring the rates down for all who work and earn. We must think anew and move with a new boldness, so every American who seeks work can find work; so the least among us shall have an equal chance to achieve the greatest things--to be heroes who heal our sick, feed the hungry, protect peace among nations, and leave this world a better place.

The time has come for a new American emancipation--a great national drive to tear down economic barriers and liberate the spirit of enterprise in the most distressed areas of our country. My friends, together we can do this, and do it we must, so help me God.

From new freedom will spring new opportunities for growth, a more productive, fulfilled and united people, and a stronger America--an America that will lead the technological revolution, and also open its mind and heart and soul to the treasures of literature, music, and poetry, and the values of faith, courage, and love.

A dynamic economy, with more citizens working and paying taxes, will be our strongest tool to bring down budget deficits. But an almost unbroken 50 years of deficit spending has finally brought us to a time of reckoning. We have come to a turning point, a moment for hard decisions. I have asked the Cabinet and my staff a question, and now I put the same question to all of you: If not us, who? And if not now, when? It must be done by all of us going forward with a program aimed at reaching a balanced budget. We can then begin reducing the national debt.

I will shortly submit a budget to the Congress aimed at freezing government program spending for the next year. Beyond that, we must take further steps to permanently control government's power to tax and spend. We must act now to protect future generations from government's desire to spend its citizens' money and tax them into servitude when the bills come due. Let us make it unconstitutional for the federal government to spend more than the federal government takes in.

We have already started returning to the people and to state and local governments responsibilities better handled by them. Now, there is a place for the federal government in matters of social compassion. But our fundamental goals must be to reduce dependency and upgrade the dignity of those who are infirm or disadvantaged. And here a growing economy and support from family and community offer our best chance for a society where compassion is a way of life, where the old and infirm are cared for, the young and, yes, the unborn protected, and the unfortunate looked after and made self-sufficient.

And there is another area where the federal government can play a part. As an older American, I remember a time when people of different race, creed, or ethnic origin in our land found hatred and prejudice installed in social custom and, yes, in law. There is no story more heartening in our history than the progress that we have made toward the "brotherhood of man" that God intended for us. Let us resolve there will be no turning back or hesitation on the road to an America rich in dignity and abundant with opportunity for all our citizens.

Let us resolve that we, the people, will build an American opportunity society in which all of us--white and black, rich and poor, young and old--will go forward together arm in arm. Again, let us remember that though our heritage is one of blood lines from every corner of the Earth, we are all Americans pledged to carry on this last, best hope of man on Earth.

I have spoken of our domestic goals and the limitations which we should put on our national government. Now let me turn to a task which is the primary responsibility of national government -- the safety and security of our people.

Today, we utter no prayer more fervently than the ancient prayer for peace on Earth. Yet history has shown that peace will not come, nor will our freedom be preserved, by good will alone. There are those in the world who scorn our vision of human dignity and freedom. One nation, the Soviet Union, has conducted the greatest military buildup in the history of man, building arsenals of awesome offensive weapons.

We have made progress in restoring our defense capability. But much remains to be done. There must be no wavering by us, nor any doubts by others, that America will meet her responsibilities to remain free, secure, and at peace.

There is only one way safely and legitimately to reduce the cost of national security, and that is to reduce the need for it. And this we are trying to do in negotiations with the Soviet Union. We are not just discussing limits on a further increase of nuclear weapons. We seek, instead, to reduce their number. We seek the total elimination one day of nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth.

Now, for decades, we and the Soviets have lived under the threat of mutual assured destruction; if either resorted to the use of nuclear weapons, the other could retaliate and destroy the one who had started it. Is there either logic or morality in believing that if one side threatens to kill tens of millions of our people, our only recourse is to threaten killing tens of millions of theirs?

I have approved a research program to find, if we can, a security shield that would destroy nuclear missiles before they reach their target. It wouldn't kill people, it would destroy weapons. It wouldn't militarize space, it would help demilitarize the arsenals of Earth. It would render nuclear weapons obsolete. We will meet with the Soviets, hoping that we can agree on a way to rid the world of the threat of nuclear destruction.

We strive for peace and security, heartened by the changes all around us. Since the turn of the century, the number of democracies in the world has grown fourfold. Human freedom is on the march, and nowhere more so than our own hemisphere. Freedom is one of the deepest and noblest aspirations of the human spirit. People, worldwide, hunger for the right of self-determination, for those inalienable rights that make for human dignity and progress.

America must remain freedom's staunchest friend, for freedom is our best ally.

And it is the world's only hope, to conquer poverty and preserve peace. Every blow we inflict against poverty will be a blow against its dark allies of oppression and war. Every victory for human freedom will be a victory for world peace.

So we go forward today, a nation still mighty in its youth and powerful in its purpose. With our alliances strengthened, with our economy leading the world to a new age of economic expansion, we look forward to a world rich in possibilities. And all this because we have worked and acted together, not as members of political parties, but as Americans.

My friends, we live in a world that is lit by lightning. So much is changing and will change, but so much endures, and transcends time.

History is a ribbon, always unfurling; history is a journey. And as we continue our journey, we think of those who traveled before us. We stand together again at the steps of this symbol of our democracy--or we would have been standing at the steps if it hadn't gotten so cold. Now we are standing inside this symbol of our democracy. Now we hear again the echoes of our past: a general falls to his knees in the hard snow of Valley Forge; a lonely President paces the darkened halls, and ponders his struggle to preserve the Union; the men of the Alamo call out encouragement to each other; a settler pushes west and sings a song, and the song echoes out forever and fills the unknowing air.

It is the American sound. It is hopeful, big-hearted, idealistic, daring, decent, and fair. That's our heritage; that is our song. We sing it still. For all our problems, our differences, we are together as of old, as we raise our voices to the God who is the Author of this most tender music. And may He continue to hold us close as we fill the world with our sound--sound in unity, affection, and love--one people under God, dedicated to the dream of freedom that He has placed in the human heart, called upon now to pass that dream on to a waiting and hopeful world.

God bless you and may God bless America.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ronald Reagan: A great example!

This was a real American who understood the responsibility of his office and the real role of government.  Things wer not perfect under him but it was 180 degrees from where we are now!  We need another Ronald Reagan!  This may be long, but it is worth watching again or for the first time if you never have seen it before.

Ronald Reagan for President!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

President Reagan's First Inaugural Address

January 20, 1981

Senator Hatfield, Mr. Chief Justice, Mr. President, Vice President Bush, Vice President Mondale, Senator Baker, Speaker O'Neill, Reverend Moomaw, and my fellow citizens: To a few of us here today, this is a solemn and most momentous occasion; and yet, in the history of our nation, it is a commonplace occurrence. The orderly transfer of authority as called for in the Constitution routinely takes place as it has for almost two centuries and few of us stop to think how unique we really are. In the eyes of many in the world, this every-4-year ceremony we accept as normal is nothing less than a miracle.

Mr. President, I want our fellow citizens to know how much you did to carry on this tradition. By your gracious cooperation in the transition process, you have shown a watching world that we are a united people pledged to maintaining a political system which guarantees individual liberty to a greater degree than any other, and I thank you and your people for all your help in maintaining the continuity which is the bulwark of our Republic.

The business of our nation goes forward. These United States are confronted with an economic affliction of great proportions. We suffer from the longest and one of the worst sustained inflations in our national history. It distorts our economic decisions, penalizes thrift, and crushes the struggling young and the fixed-income elderly alike. It threatens to shatter the lives of millions of our people.

Idle industries have cast workers into unemployment, causing human misery and personal indignity. Those who do work are denied a fair return for their labor by a tax system which penalizes successful achievement and keeps us from maintaining full productivity.

But great as our tax burden is, it has not kept pace with public spending. For decades, we have piled deficit upon deficit, mortgaging our future and our children's future for the temporary convenience of the present. To continue this long trend is to guarantee tremendous social, cultural, political, and economic upheavals.

You and I, as individuals, can, by borrowing, live beyond our means, but for only a limited period of time. Why, then, should we think that collectively, as a nation, we are not bound by that same limitation?

We must act today in order to preserve tomorrow. And let there be no misunderstanding--we are going to begin to act, beginning today.

The economic ills we suffer have come upon us over several decades. They will not go away in days, weeks, or months, but they will go away. They will go away because we, as Americans, have the capacity now, as we have had in the past, to do whatever needs to be done to preserve this last and greatest bastion of freedom.

In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem.

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? All of us together, in and out of government, must bear the burden. The solutions we seek must be equitable, with no one group singled out to pay a higher price.

We hear much of special interest groups. Our concern must be for a special interest group that has been too long neglected. It knows no sectional boundaries or ethnic and racial divisions, and it crosses political party lines. It is made up of men and women who raise our food, patrol our streets, man our mines and our factories, teach our children, keep our homes, and heal us when we are sick--professionals, industrialists, shopkeepers, clerks, cabbies, and truck drivers. They are, in short, "We the people," this breed called Americans.

Well, this administration's objective will be a healthy, vigorous, growing economy that provides equal opportunity for all Americans, with no barriers born of bigotry or discrimination. Putting America back to work means putting all Americans back to work. Ending inflation means freeing all Americans from the terror of runaway living costs. All must share in the productive work of this "new beginning" and all must share in the bounty of a revived economy. With the idealism and fair play which are the core of our system and our strength, we can have a strong and prosperous America at peace with itself and the world.

So, as we begin, let us take inventory. We are a nation that has a government--not the other way around. And this makes us special among the nations of the Earth. Our government has no power except that granted it by the people. It is time to check and reverse the growth of government which shows signs of having grown beyond the consent of the governed.

It is my intention to curb the size and influence of the Federal establishment and to demand recognition of the distinction between the powers granted to the Federal Government and those reserved to the States or to the people. All of us need to be reminded that the Federal Government did not create the States; the States created the Federal Government.

Now, so there will be no misunderstanding, it is not my intention to do away with government. It is, rather, to make it work--work with us, not over us; to stand by our side, not ride on our back. Government can and must provide opportunity, not smother it; foster productivity, not stifle it.

If we look to the answer as to why, for so many years, we achieved so much, prospered as no other people on Earth, it was because here, in this land, we unleashed the energy and individual genius of man to a greater extent than has ever been done before. Freedom and the dignity of the individual have been more available and assured here than in any other place on Earth. The price for this freedom at times has been high, but we have never been unwilling to pay that price.

It is no coincidence that our present troubles parallel and are proportionate to the intervention and intrusion in our lives that result from unnecessary and excessive growth of government. It is time for us to realize that we are too great a nation to limit ourselves to small dreams. We are not, as some would have us believe, doomed to an inevitable decline. I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing. So, with all the creative energy at our command, let us begin an era of national renewal. Let us renew our determination, our courage, and our strength. And let us renew our faith and our hope.

We have every right to dream heroic dreams. Those who say that we are in a time when there are no heroes just don't know where to look. You can see heroes every day going in and out of factory gates. Others, a handful in number, produce enough food to feed all of us and then the world beyond. You meet heroes across a counter--and they are on both sides of that counter. There are entrepreneurs with faith in themselves and faith in an idea who create new jobs, new wealth and opportunity. They are individuals and families whose taxes support the government and whose voluntary gifts support church, charity, culture, art, and education. Their patriotism is quiet but deep. Their values sustain our national life.

I have used the words "they" and "their" in speaking of these heroes. I could say "you" and "your" because I am addressing the heroes of whom I speak--you, the citizens of this blessed land. Your dreams, your hopes, your goals are going to be the dreams, the hopes, and the goals of this administration, so help me God.

We shall reflect the compassion that is so much a part of your makeup. How can we love our country and not love our countrymen, and loving them, reach out a hand when they fall, heal them when they are sick, and provide opportunities to make them self-sufficient so they will be equal in fact and not just in theory?

Can we solve the problems confronting us? Well, the answer is an unequivocal and emphatic "yes." To paraphrase Winston Churchill, I did not take the oath I have just taken with the intention of presiding over the dissolution of the world's strongest economy.

In the days ahead I will propose removing the roadblocks that have slowed our economy and reduced productivity. Steps will be taken aimed at restoring the balance between the various levels of government. Progress may be slow--measured in inches and feet, not miles--but we will progress. It is time to reawaken this industrial giant, to get government back within its means, and to lighten our punitive tax burden. And these will be our first priorities, and on these principles, there will be no compromise.

On the eve of our struggle for independence a man who might have been one of the greatest among the Founding Fathers, Dr. Joseph Warren, President of the Massachusetts Congress, said to his fellow Americans, "Our country is in danger, but not to be despaired of.... On you depend the fortunes of America. You are to decide the important questions upon which rests the happiness and the liberty of millions yet unborn. Act worthy of yourselves."

Well, I believe we, the Americans of today, are ready to act worthy of ourselves, ready to do what must be done to ensure happiness and liberty for ourselves, our children and our children's children.

And as we renew ourselves here in our own land, we will be seen as having greater strength throughout the world. We will again be the exemplar of freedom and a beacon of hope for those who do not now have freedom.

To those neighbors and allies who share our freedom, we will strengthen our historic ties and assure them of our support and firm commitment. We will match loyalty with loyalty. We will strive for mutually beneficial relations. We will not use our friendship to impose on their sovereignty, for our own sovereignty is not for sale.

As for the enemies of freedom, those who are potential adversaries, they will be reminded that peace is the highest aspiration of the American people. We will negotiate for it, sacrifice for it; we will not surrender for it--now or ever.

Our forbearance should never be misunderstood. Our reluctance for conflict should not be misjudged as a failure of will. When action is required to preserve our national security, we will act. We will maintain sufficient strength to prevail if need be, knowing that if we do so we have the best chance of never having to use that strength.

Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today's world do not have. It is a weapon that we as Americans do have. Let that be understood by those who practice terrorism and prey upon their neighbors.

I am told that tens of thousands of prayer meetings are being held on this day, and for that I am deeply grateful. We are a nation under God, and I believe God intended for us to be free. It would be fitting and good, I think, if on each Inauguration Day in future years it should be declared a day of prayer.

This is the first time in history that this ceremony has been held, as you have been told, on this West Front of the Capitol. Standing here, one faces a magnificent vista, opening up on this city's special beauty and history. At the end of this open mall are those shrines to the giants on whose shoulders we stand.

Directly in front of me, the monument to a monumental man: George Washington, father of our country. A man of humility who came to greatness reluctantly. He led America out of revolutionary victory into infant nationhood. Off to one side, the stately memorial to Thomas Jefferson. The Declaration of Independence flames with his eloquence.

And then beyond the Reflecting Pool the dignified columns of the Lincoln Memorial. Whoever would understand in his heart the meaning of America will find it in the life of Abraham Lincoln.

Beyond those monuments to heroism is the Potomac River, and on the far shore the sloping hills of Arlington National Cemetery with its row on row of simple white markers bearing crosses or Stars of David. They add up to only a tiny fraction of the price that has been paid for our freedom.

Each one of those markers is a monument to the kinds of hero I spoke of earlier. Their lives ended in places called Belleau Wood, The Argonne, Omaha Beach, Salerno and halfway around the world on Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Pork Chop Hill, the Chosin Reservoir, and in a hundred rice paddies and jungles of a place called Vietnam.

Under one such marker lies a young man--Martin Treptow--who left his job in a small town barbershop in 1917 to go to France with the famed Rainbow Division. There, on the western front, he was killed trying to carry a message between battalions under heavy artillery fire.

We are told that on his body was found a diary. On the flyleaf under the heading, "My Pledge," he had written these words: "America must win this war. Therefore, I will work, I will save, I will sacrifice, I will endure, I will fight cheerfully and do my utmost, as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on me alone."

The crisis we are facing today does not require of us the kind of sacrifice that Martin Treptow and so many thousands of others were called upon to make. It does require, however, our best effort, and our willingness to believe in ourselves and to believe in our capacity to perform great deeds; to believe that together, with God's help, we can and will resolve the problems which now confront us.

And, after all, why shouldn't we believe that? We are Americans. God bless you, and thank you.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Christmas Message: America, the last best hope!-from the Gipper

We Will Be A City Upon A Hill

January 25, 1974

First Conservative Political Action Conference

There are three men here tonight I am very proud to introduce. It was a year ago this coming February when this country had its spirits lifted as they have never been lifted in many years. This happened when planes began landing on American soil and in the Philippines, bringing back men who had lived with honor for many miserable years in North Vietnam prisons. Three of those men are here tonight, John McCain, Bill Lawrence and Ed Martin. It is an honor to be here tonight. I am proud that you asked me and I feel more than a little humble in the presence of this distinguished company.

There are men here tonight who, through their wisdom, their foresight and their courage, have earned the right to be regarded as prophets of our philosophy. Indeed they are prophets of our times. In years past when others were silent or too blind to the facts, they spoke up forcefully and fearlessly for what they believed to be right. A decade has passed since Barry Goldwater walked a lonely path across this land reminding us that even a land as rich as ours can't go on forever borrowing against the future, leaving a legacy of debt for another generation and causing a runaway inflation to erode the savings and reduce the standard of living. Voices have been raised trying to rekindle in our country all of the great ideas and principles which set this nation apart from all the others that preceded it, but louder and more strident voices utter easily sold cliches.

Cartoonists with acid-tipped pens portray some of the reminders of our heritage and our destiny as old-fashioned. They say that we are trying to retreat into a past that actually never existed. Looking to the past in an effort to keep our country from repeating the errors of history is termed by them as "taking the country back to McKinley." Of course, I never found that was so bad -- under McKinley we freed Cuba. On the span of history, we are still thought of as a young upstart country celebrating soon only our second century as a nation, and yet we are the oldest continuing republic in the world.

I thought that tonight, rather than talking on the subjects you are discussing, or trying to find something new to say, it might be appropriate to reflect a bit on our heritage.

You can call it mysticism if you want to, but I have always believed that there was some divine plan that placed this great continent between two oceans to be sought out by those who were possessed of an abiding love of freedom and a special kind of courage.

This was true of those who pioneered the great wilderness in the beginning of this country, as it is also true of those later immigrants who were willing to leave the land of their birth and come to a land where even the language was unknown to them. Call it chauvinistic, but our heritage does set us apart. Some years ago a writer, who happened to be an avid student of history, told me a story about that day in the little hall in Philadelphia where honorable men, hard-pressed by a King who was flouting the very law they were willing to obey, debated whether they should take the fateful step of declaring their independence from that king. I was told by this man that the story could be found in the writings of Jefferson. I confess, I never researched or made an effort to verify it. Perhaps it is only legend. But story, or legend, he described the atmosphere, the strain, the debate, and that as men for the first time faced the consequences of such an irretrievable act, the walls resounded with the dread word of treason and its price -- the gallows and the headman's axe. As the day wore on the issue hung in the balance, and then, according to the story, a man rose in the small gallery. He was not a young man and was obviously calling on all the energy he could muster. Citing the grievances that had brought them to this moment, he said, "Sign that parchment. They may turn every tree into a gallows, every home into a grave and yet the words of that parchment can never die. For the mechanic in his workshop, they will be words of hope, to the slave in the mines -- freedom." And he added, "If my hands were freezing in death, I would sign that parchment with my last ounce of strength. Sign, sign if the next moment the noose is around your neck, sign even if the hall is ringing with the sound of headman’s axe, for that parchment will be the textbook of freedom, the bible of the rights of man forever." And then it is said he fell back exhausted. But 56 delegates, swept by his eloquence, signed the Declaration of Independence, a document destined to be as immortal as any work of man can be. And according to the story, when they turned to thank him for his timely oratory, he could not be found nor were there any who knew who he was or how he had come in or gone out through the locked and guarded doors.

Well, as I say, whether story or legend, the signing of the document that day in Independence Hall was miracle enough. Fifty-six men, a little band so unique -- we have never seen their like since -- pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. Sixteen gave their lives, most gave their fortunes and all of them preserved their sacred honor. What manner of men were they? Certainly they were not an unwashed, revolutionary rabble, nor were they adventurers in a heroic mood. Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists, 11 were merchants and tradesmen, nine were farmers. They were men who would achieve security but valued freedom more.

And what price did they pay? John Hart was driven from the side of his desperately ill wife. After more than a year of living almost as an animal in the forest and in caves, he returned to find his wife had died and his children had vanished. He never saw them again, his property was destroyed and he died of a broken heart -- but with no regret, only pride in the part he had played that day in Independence Hall. Carter Braxton of Virginia lost all his ships -- they were sold to pay his debts. He died in rags. So it was with Ellery, Clymer, Hall, Walton, Gwinnett, Rutledge, Morris, Livingston, and Middleton. Nelson, learning that Cornwallis was using his home for a headquarters, personally begged Washington to fire on him and destroy his home--he died bankrupt. It has never been reported that any of these men ever expressed bitterness or renounced their action as not worth the price. Fifty-six rank-and-file, ordinary citizens had founded a nation that grew from sea to shining sea, five million farms, quiet villages, cities that never sleep -- all done without an area re-development plan, urban renewal or a rural legal assistance program.

Now we are a nation of 211 million people with a pedigree that includes blood lines from every corner of the world. We have shed that American-melting-pot blood in every corner of the world, usually in defense of someone's freedom. Those who remained of that remarkable band we call our Founding Fathers tied up some of the loose ends about a dozen years after the Revolution. It had been the first revolution in all man’s history that did not just exchange one set of rulers for another. This had been a philosophical revolution. The culmination of men's dreams for 6,000 years were formalized with the Constitution, probably the most unique document ever drawn in the long history of man's relation to man. I know there have been other constitutions, new ones are being drawn today by newly emerging nations. Most of them, even the one of the Soviet Union, contain many of the same guarantees as our own Constitution, and still there is a difference. The difference is so subtle that we often overlook it, but it is so great that it tells the whole story. Those other constitutions say, "Government grants you these rights," and ours says, "You are born with these rights, they are yours by the grace of God, and no government on earth can take them from you."

Lord Acton of England, who once said, "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely," would say of that document, "They had solved with astonishing ease and unduplicated success two problems which had heretofore baffled the capacity of the most enlightened nations. They had contrived a system of federal government which prodigiously increased national power and yet respected local liberties and authorities, and they had founded it on a principle of equality without surrendering the securities of property or freedom." Never in any society has the preeminence of the individual been so firmly established and given such a priority.

In less than twenty years we would go to war because the God-given rights of the American sailors, as defined in the Constitution, were being violated by a foreign power. We served notice then on the world that all of us together would act collectively to safeguard the rights of even the least among us. But still, in an older, cynical world, they were not convinced. The great powers of Europe still had the idea that one day this great continent would be open again to colonizing and they would come over and divide us up.

In the meantime, men who yearned to breathe free were making their way to our shores. Among them was a young refugee from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He had been a leader in an attempt to free Hungary from Austrian rule. The attempt had failed and he fled to escape execution. In America, this young Hungarian, Koscha by name, became an importer by trade and took out his first citizenship papers. One day, business took him to a Mediterranean port. There was a large Austrian warship under the command of an admiral in the harbor. He had a manservant with him. He had described to this manservant what the flag of his new country looked like. Word was passed to the Austrian warship that this revolutionary was there and in the night he was kidnapped and taken aboard that large ship. This man's servant, desperate, walking up and down the harbor, suddenly spied a flag that resembled the description he had heard. It was a small American war sloop. He went aboard and told Captain Ingraham, of that war sloop, his story. Captain Ingraham went to the American Consul. When the American Consul learned that Koscha had only taken out his first citizenship papers, the consul washed his hands of the incident. Captain Ingraham said, "I am the senior officer in this port and I believe, under my oath of my office, that I owe this man the protection of our flag."

He went aboard the Austrian warship and demanded to see their prisoner, our citizen. The Admiral was amused, but they brought the man on deck. He was in chains and had been badly beaten. Captain Ingraham said, "I can hear him better without those chains," and the chains were removed. He walked over and said to Koscha, "I will ask you one question; consider your answer carefully. Do you ask the protection of the American flag?" Koscha nodded dumbly, "Yes," and the Captain said, "You shall have it." He went back and told the frightened consul what he had done. Later in the day three more Austrian ships sailed into harbor. It looked as though the four were getting ready to leave. Captain Ingraham sent a junior officer over to the Austrian flag ship to tell the Admiral that any attempt to leave that harbor with our citizen aboard would be resisted with appropriate force. He said that he would expect a satisfactory answer by four o'clock that afternoon. As the hour neared they looked at each other through the glasses. As it struck four he had them roll the cannons into the ports and had them light the tapers with which they would set off the cannons -- one little sloop. Suddenly the lookout tower called out and said, "They are lowering a boat," and they rowed Koscha over to the little American ship.

Captain Ingraham then went below and wrote his letter of resignation to the United States Navy. In it he said, "I did what I thought my oath of office required, but if I have embarrassed my country in any way, I resign." His resignation was refused in the United States Senate with these words: "This battle that was never fought may turn out to be the most important battle in our Nation's history." Incidentally, there is to this day, and I hope there always will be, a USS Ingraham in the United States Navy.

I did not tell that story out of any desire to be narrowly chauvinistic or to glorify aggressive militarism, but it is an example of government meeting its highest responsibility.

In recent years we have been treated to a rash of noble-sounding phrases. Some of them sound good, but they don't hold up under close analysis. Take for instance the slogan so frequently uttered by the young senator from Massachusetts, "The greatest good for the greatest number." Certainly under that slogan, no modern day Captain Ingraham would risk even the smallest craft and crew for a single citizen. Every dictator who ever lived has justified the enslavement of his people on the theory of what was good for the majority.

We are not a warlike people. Nor is our history filled with tales of aggressive adventures and imperialism, which might come as a shock to some of the placard painters in our modern demonstrations. The lesson of Vietnam, I think, should be that never again will young Americans be asked to fight and possibly die for a cause unless that cause is so meaningful that we, as a nation, pledge our full resources to achieve victory as quickly as possible.

I realize that such a pronouncement, of course, would possibly be laying one open to the charge of warmongering -- but that would also be ridiculous. My generation has paid a higher price and has fought harder for freedom than any generation that had ever lived. We have known four wars in a single lifetime. All were horrible, all could have been avoided if at a particular moment in time we had made it plain that we subscribed to the words of John Stuart Mill when he said that "war is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things."

The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing is worth a war is worse. The man who has nothing which he cares about more than his personal safety is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

The widespread disaffection with things military is only a part of the philosophical division in our land today. I must say to you who have recently, or presently are still receiving an education, I am awed by your powers of resistance. I have some knowledge of the attempts that have been made in many classrooms and lecture halls to persuade you that there is little to admire in America. For the second time in this century, capitalism and the free enterprise are under assault. Privately owned business is blamed for spoiling the environment, exploiting the worker and seducing, if not outright raping, the customer. Those who make the charge have the solution, of course -- government regulation and control. We may never get around to explaining how citizens who are so gullible that they can be suckered into buying cereal or soap that they don't need and would not be good for them, can at the same time be astute enough to choose representatives in government to which they would entrust the running of their lives.

Not too long ago, a poll was taken on 2,500 college campuses in this country. Thousands and thousands of responses were obtained. Overwhelmingly, 65, 70, and 75 percent of the students found business responsible, as I have said before, for the things that were wrong in this country. That same number said that government was the solution and should take over the management and the control of private business. Eighty percent of the respondents said they wanted government to keep its paws out of their private lives.

We are told every day that the assembly-line worker is becoming a dull-witted robot and that mass production results in standardization. Well, there isn't a socialist country in the world that would not give its copy of Karl Marx for our standardization.

Standardization means production for the masses and the assembly line means more leisure for the worker -- freedom from backbreaking and mind-dulling drudgery that man had known for centuries past. Karl Marx did not abolish child labor or free the women from working in the coal mines in England – the steam engine and modern machinery did that.

Unfortunately, the disciples of the new order have had a hand in determining too much policy in recent decades. Government has grown in size and power and cost through the New Deal, the Fair Deal, the New Frontier and the Great Society. It costs more for government today than a family pays for food, shelter and clothing combined. Not even the Office of Management and Budget knows how many boards, commissions, bureaus and agencies there are in the federal government, but the federal registry, listing their regulations, is just a few pages short of being as big as the Encyclopedia Britannica.

During the Great Society we saw the greatest growth of this government. There were eight cabinet departments and 12 independent agencies to administer the federal health program. There were 35 housing programs and 20 transportation projects. Public utilities had to cope with 27 different agencies on just routine business. There were 192 installations and nine departments with 1,000 projects having to do with the field of pollution.

One Congressman found the federal government was spending 4 billion dollars on research in its own laboratories but did not know where they were, how many people were working in them, or what they were doing. One of the research projects was "The Demography of Happiness," and for 249,000 dollars we found that "people who make more money are happier than people who make less, young people are happier than old people, and people who are healthier are happier than people who are sick." For 15 cents they could have bought an Almanac and read the old bromide, "It's better to be rich, young and healthy, than poor, old and sick."

The course that you have chosen is far more in tune with the hopes and aspirations of our people than are those who would sacrifice freedom for some fancied security.

Standing on the tiny deck of the Arabella in 1630 off the Massachusetts coast, John Winthrop said, "We will be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us, so that if we deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world." Well, we have not dealt falsely with our God, even if He is temporarily suspended from the classroom.

When I was born my life expectancy was 10 years less than I have already lived – that’s a cause of regret for some people in California, I know. Ninety percent of Americans at that time lived beneath what is considered the poverty line today, three-quarters lived in what is considered substandard housing. Today each of those figures is less than 10 percent. We have increased our life expectancy by wiping out, almost totally, diseases that still ravage mankind in other parts of the world. I doubt if the young people here tonight know the names of some of the diseases that were commonplace when we were growing up. We have more doctors per thousand people than any nation in the world. We have more hospitals than any nation in the world.

When I was your age, believe it or not, none of us knew that we even had a racial problem. When I graduated from college and became a radio sport announcer, broadcasting major league baseball, I didn’t have a Hank Aaron or a Willie Mays to talk about. The Spaulding Guide said baseball was a game for Caucasian gentlemen. Some of us then began editorializing and campaigning against this. Gradually we campaigned against all those other areas where the constitutional rights of a large segment of our citizenry were being denied. We have not finished the job. We still have a long way to go, but we have made more progress in a few years than we have made in more than a century.

One-third of all the students in the world who are pursuing higher education are doing so in the United States. The percentage of our young Negro community that is going to college is greater than the percentage of whites in any other country in the world.

One-half of all the economic activity in the entire history of man has taken place in this republic. We have distributed our wealth more widely among our people than any society known to man. Americans work less hours for a higher standard of living than any other people. Ninety-five percent of all our families have an adequate daily intake of nutrients -- and a part of the five percent that don't are trying to lose weight! Ninety-nine percent have gas or electric refrigeration, 92 percent have televisions, and an equal number have telephones. There are 120 million cars on our streets and highways -- and all of them are on the street at once when you are trying to get home at night. But isn't this just proof of our materialism -- the very thing that we are charged with? Well, we also have more churches, more libraries, we support voluntarily more symphony orchestras, and opera companies, non-profit theaters, and publish more books than all the other nations of the world put together.

Somehow America has bred a kindliness into our people unmatched anywhere, as has been pointed out in that best-selling record by a Canadian journalist. We are not a sick society. A sick society could not produce the men that set foot on the moon, or who are now circling the earth above us in the Skylab. A sick society bereft of morality and courage did not produce the men who went through those years of torture and captivity in Vietnam. Where did we find such men? They are typical of this land as the Founding Fathers were typical. We found them in our streets, in the offices, the shops and the working places of our country and on the farms.

We cannot escape our destiny, nor should we try to do so. The leadership of the free world was thrust upon us two centuries ago in that little hall of Philadelphia. In the days following World War II, when the economic strength and power of America was all that stood between the world and the return to the dark ages, Pope Pius XII said, "The American people have a great genius for splendid and unselfish actions. Into the hands of America God has placed the destinies of an afflicted mankind."

We are indeed, and we are today, the last best hope of man on earth.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Whats in a bill?

From Michael Connelly - Retired attorney, Constitutional Law

 Instructor, Carrollton , Texas

 Well, I have done it! I have read the entire text of proposed House Bill
3200: The Affordable Health Care Choices Act of 2009. I studied it with
particular emphasis from my area of expertise, constitutional law. I was
 frankly concerned that parts of the proposed law that were being
discussed might be unconstitutional. What I found was far worse than
what I had heard or expected.

To begin with, much of what has been said about the law and its
implications is in fact true, despite what the Democrats and the media
 are saying. The law does provide for rationing of health care,
 particularly where senior citizens and other classes of citizens are
 involved, free health care for illegal immigrants, free abortion
 services, and probably forced participation in abortions by members of
 the medical profession.

 The Bill will also eventually force private insurance companies out of
 business and put everyone into a government run system. All decisions
 about personal health care will ultimately be made by federal
 bureaucrats and most of them will not be health care professionals.
 Hospital admissions, payments to physicians, and allocations of
 necessary medical devices will be strictly controlled.

 However, as scary as all of that it, it just scratches the surface. In
 fact, I have concluded that this legislation really has no intention of
 providing affordable health care choices. Instead it is a convenient
 cover for the most massive transfer of power to the Executive Branch of
 government that has ever occurred, or even been contemplated. If this
 law or a similar one is adopted, major portions of the Constitution of
 the United States will effectively have been destroyed.

 The first thing to go will be the masterfully crafted balance of power
 between the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of the U.S.

 Government. The Congress will be transferring to the Obama
 Administration authority in a number of different areas over the lives
 of the American people and the businesses they own. The irony is that
 the Congress doesn't have any authority to legislate in most of those
 areas to begin with. I defy anyone to read the text of the U.S.
 Constitution and find any authority granted to the members of Congress
 to regulate health care.

 This legislation also provides for access by the appointees of the Obama
 administration of all of your personal health care information, your
 personal financial information, and the information of your employer,
 physician, and hospital. All of this is a direct violation of the
 specific provisions of the 4th Amendment to the Constitution protecting
 against unreasonable searches and seizures. You can also forget about
 the right to privacy. That will have been legislated into oblivion
 regardless of what the

 3rd and 4th Amendments may provide.
 If you decide not to have health care insurance or if you have private
 insurance that is not deemed "acceptable" to the "Health Choices
 Administrator" appointed by Obama there will be a tax imposed on you. It
 is called a "tax" instead of a fine because of the intent to avoid
 application of the due process clause of the 5th Amendment. However,
 that doesn't work because since there is nothing in the law that allows
 you to contest or appeal the imposition of the tax, it is definitely
 depriving someone of property without the "due process of law.

So, there are three of those pesky amendments that the far left hate so
 much out the original ten in the Bill of Rights that are effectively
 nullified by this law. It doesn't stop there though. The 9th Amendment
 that provides: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights,
 shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the
 people;" The 10th Amendment states: "The powers not delegated to the

 United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States,
 are preserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Under the
 provisions of this piece of Congressional handiwork neither the people
 nor the states are going to have any rights or powers at all in many
 areas that once were theirs to control.

 I could write many more pages about this legislation, but I think you
 get the idea. This is not about health care; it is about seizing power
 and limiting rights. Article 6 of the Constitution requires the members
 of both houses of Congress to "be bound by oath or affirmation" to
 support the Constitution. If I was a member of Congress I would not be
 able to vote for this legislation or anything like it without feeling I
 was violating that sacred oath or affirmation. If I voted for it anyway
 I would hope the American people would hold me accountable.

 For those who might doubt the nature of this threat I suggest they
 consult the source. Here is a link to the Constitution:

 And another to the Bill of Rights:

 There you can see exactly what we are about to have taken from us.

 Michael Connelly
 Retired attorney, Constitutional Law Instructor
 Carrollton , Texas

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