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A Time For Choosing [aka 'The Speech', a Reagan Classic] ^ | 1964 | Ronald Reagan

Posted on 02/06/2004 9:27:19 AM PST by NittanyLion

I am going to talk of controversial things. I make no apology for this.

It's time we asked ourselves if we still know the freedoms intended for us by the Founding Fathers. James Madison said, "We base all our experiments on the capacity of mankind for self government."

This idea? that government was beholden to the people, that it had no other source of power is still the newest, most unique idea in all the long history of man's relation to man. This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.

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

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

Public servants say, always with the best of intentions, "What greater service we could render if only we had a little more money and a little more power." But the truth is that outside of its legitimate function, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector.

Yet any time you and I question the schemes of the do-gooders, we're denounced as being opposed to their humanitarian goals. It seems impossible to legitimately debate their solutions with the assumption that all of us share the desire to help the less fortunate. They tell us we're always "against," never "for" anything.

We are for a provision that destitution should not follow unemployment by reason of old age, and to that end we have accepted Social Security as a step toward meeting the problem. However, we are against those entrusted with this program when they practice deception regarding its fiscal shortcomings, when they charge that any criticism of the program means that we want to end payments....

We are for aiding our allies by sharing our material blessings with nations which share our fundamental beliefs, but we are against doling out money government to government, creating bureaucracy, if not socialism, all over the world.

We need true tax reform that will at least make a start toward I restoring for our children the American Dream that wealth is denied to no one, that each individual has the right to fly as high as his strength and ability will take him.... But we can not have such reform while our tax policy is engineered by people who view the tax as a means of achieving changes in our social structure....

Have we the courage and the will to face up to the immorality and discrimination of the progressive tax, and demand a return to traditional proportionate taxation? . . . Today in our country the tax collector's share is 37 cents of -very dollar earned. Freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp.

Are you willing to spend time studying the issues, making yourself aware, and then conveying that information to family and friends? Will you resist the temptation to get a government handout for your community? Realize that the doctor's fight against socialized medicine is your fight. We can't socialize the doctors without socializing the patients. Recognize that government invasion of public power is eventually an assault upon your own business. If some among you fear taking a stand because you are afraid of reprisals from customers, clients, or even government, recognize that you are just feeding the crocodile hoping he'll eat you last.

If all of this seems like a great deal of trouble, think what's at stake. We are faced with the most evil enemy mankind has known in his long climb from the swamp to the stars. There can be no security anywhere in the free world if there is no fiscal and economic stability within the United States. Those who ask us to trade our freedom for the soup kitchen of the welfare state are architects of a policy of accommodation.

They say the world has become too complex for simple answers. They are wrong. There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right. Winston Churchill said that "the destiny of man is not measured by material computation. When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we are spirits-not animals." And he said, "There is something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty."

You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children's children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.

TOPICS: Extended News; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy; US: California
KEYWORDS: 1964; choosing; reagan; ronaldreagan; thespeech; transcript
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I thought today was an appropriate time to post one of the great contemporary political speeches. Happy Birthday President Reagan...
1 posted on 02/06/2004 9:27:21 AM PST by NittanyLion
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To: NittanyLion
Happy Birthday Mr. President!
Nancy, May God bless and keep you both, please
know that there will always be a special place
in our hearts for you.
2 posted on 02/06/2004 9:30:05 AM PST by tet68
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To: NittanyLion
Not a Reagan classic--THE Reagan classic. There were other good speeches, but this is the quintessential. I sent it out to family to mark his birthday. None of them is a fan. Probably none has read the speech before. I hope they read it now.
3 posted on 02/06/2004 9:31:41 AM PST by Huck (Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.)
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To: Huck
If someone asked me to explain conservatism in 10 minutes or less, I think I'd just give them a copy of this speech. I agree that it's THE Reagan speech.

Most politicians would be happy to deliver one speech half this good in their lifetime. Reagan delivered no less than four: this one, the 1980 Inaugural, the Address to the Nation following the Challenger Disaster, and his Speech at the Berlin Wall.

It's an amazing thing to consider.

4 posted on 02/06/2004 9:36:06 AM PST by NittanyLion
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To: tet68
God Bless President Ronald (The Gipper) Reagan.

This speech should be played on all the news channels for the next year and taught in our schools.

5 posted on 02/06/2004 9:39:24 AM PST by trebb (Ain't God good . . .)
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To: NittanyLion
Don't forget his farewell address.
6 posted on 02/06/2004 9:42:17 AM PST by Huck (Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.)
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To: Huck
Yep - another great one.
7 posted on 02/06/2004 9:55:38 AM PST by NittanyLion
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To: NittanyLion
read later
8 posted on 02/06/2004 10:10:17 AM PST by LiteKeeper
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To: NittanyLion
Happy Birthday, indeed.

9 posted on 02/06/2004 10:19:58 AM PST by reagandemocrat
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10 posted on 02/06/2004 10:21:44 AM PST by Professional Engineer (Spirit/Opportunity~0.002acres of sovereign US territory~All Your Mars Are Belong To USA)
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To: NittanyLion
I was leafletting for the Goldwater campaign in high school back in New Jersey when Reagan made that speech. It was the one moment I thought that Goldwater would win. It's frightening to think that was 40 years ago.

Dammit, man, you're making me cry.

11 posted on 02/06/2004 10:43:52 AM PST by Publius (Bibimus et indescrete vivimus.)
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To: NittanyLion
Where is there another like him?

I've found myself arguing for the gov't to take my money for marriage initiatives so that the gov't will take less of my money to fix the problems associated with broken families. The sad thing is, that's about the only way I can see we have a chance at turning the ship around. People need to begin again with the basics, remembering that freedom means they must take care of themselves.

When did the American people stop believing in personal responsiblity. When did freedom start excluding the freedom to fail?

12 posted on 02/06/2004 10:48:49 AM PST by King Black Robe (With freedom of religion and speech now abridged, it is time to go after the press.)
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To: Publius
Well, I was just a kid during the Reagan Administration, and everytime I read this speech it gives me chills. They say a great speech transcends time; the ideas expressed here are every bit as relevant today as they were 40 years ago.
13 posted on 02/06/2004 12:21:06 PM PST by NittanyLion
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To: NittanyLion
I wrote this little tribute to a Great Man who influenced me all my life. I was too busy to post it around. Sorry it's late. Hope you like it.

Happy Birthday

I liked you in the movies,
All made so long ago.
On TV in my youthful years,
You'd host that western show.
Later on I'd catch your talks,
On late night radio.
Your great talks on the U S A,
Helped keep me in the know.
Then when you ran for President,
I was the first in line.
I cast my vote and felt so good,
My vote I knew was fine.
You led us through some tough times,
With such class through it all.
You stood and faced the Soviets,
That caused the wall to fall.
So Happy Birthday to you Ron,
You're still high on my chart.
I pray for you and Nancy too,
You both have won my heart.

Conspiracy Guy 2/6/04

14 posted on 02/09/2004 4:46:54 AM PST by Conspiracy Guy (Spelling is for the neurotic. Who needs it?)
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To: Conspiracy Guy


15 posted on 06/05/2004 2:29:32 PM PDT by untenured
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To: NittanyLion; bang_list; Long Cut; Squantos; harpseal; Travis McGee; Shooter 2.5; Centurion2000; ...
You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. --Reagan's pro-Goldwater "You and I have a rendezvous with destiny." speech of 1964.

Read it here!

16 posted on 06/05/2004 4:58:59 PM PDT by risk
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To: risk
I recently found an old Goldwater lapel pin in my grandmother's stuff:

I plan on wearing it to the MNGOP convention, next weekend.

17 posted on 06/05/2004 5:36:35 PM PDT by jdege
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To: NittanyLion
Don't allow the media to spin Reagans death as they did his life. Go to the FR Reagan Vigils post and pledge to organize or attend a vigil in your area.

18 posted on 06/05/2004 5:37:17 PM PDT by Bob J ( them out!)
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To: NittanyLion

This speech was just cited by Newt Gingrich as pivotal in his young life.

19 posted on 06/05/2004 5:39:10 PM PDT by Petronski (Some leftists find Bush's very existence to be a "constant oppressive force in their daily psyche.")
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To: risk
Thanks for the ping. CSPAN just got finished playing his speech. Undoubtedly one of the greatest in American History.
20 posted on 06/05/2004 7:05:22 PM PDT by Mulder (Those who would give up liberty for temporary security, deserve neither -- Ben Franklin)
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