Carol Platt Liebau: Remembering the Gipper

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Remembering the Gipper

January 20, 1981:

Morning in America!



The Wall Street Journal praises Reaganomics in a piece for its January 20 edition -- precisely twenty-five years to the day of President Reagan's first inauguration.

I remember it well. What an exciting day for a 13 year old! A wonderful new president welcoming home the hostages -- and turning the heat back up in The White House.

From the day Ronald Reagan took over at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, it was clear that better times were ahead for the country he loved so dearly. And as the linked piece notes, his legacy is with us still -- and, hopefully, always.

Here is one of my favorite parts of President Reagan's inaugural address:

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.

The entire text is here. God bless President Reagan.

7 Comments:

Blogger Gary Gross said...

"What an exciting day for a 13 year old! A wonderful new president welcoming home the hostages -- and turning the heat back up in The White House."

I would've never guessed you to be 38. More like 30.

As for Reagan, I remember the fear that Ayatollah Khomeini displayed when he knew he'd have to deal with Reagan as opposed to the joy he felt in dealing with Jimmy Carter. Things changed in a hurry, didn't they? Thank God for that.

1:25 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

"...As for Reagan, I remember the fear that Ayatollah Khomeini displayed when he knew he'd have to deal with Reagan as opposed to the joy he felt in dealing with Jimmy Carter. ..."

And wouldn't the Islamic Terrorists today much rather deal with Democrats than with Republicans. But what can they do? You know they want to attack and show they are still a threat. But I think they also realize we are not Spain. Times have changed. The more they do the stronger the American resolve.

And Americans know it. How many Americans have said privately or publicly, "Thank God Al Gore is not the President!"?

10:14 AM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

"Regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would sacrifice freedom for security have embarked on this downward path."--Ronald Wilson Reagan

"Does a society that recoils at virtually all measures designed to deter attacks really expect to remain secure? For that matter, would it even deserve to?"--Carol Platt Liebau on the importance of sacrificing freedom for security.

It's too bad that there are so few Ronald Reagan Republicans left in the Republican party.

5:35 PM  
Blogger Bachbone said...

I agree with the previous comment, but would add that it's also too bad there are so few Harry Trumans left in the Democrat party.

9:41 PM  
Blogger Carol Platt Liebau said...

Those who attempt to quote Ronald Reagan should be honest enough to do so in context. Here is the full quote to which the comment above refers:

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.


When Ronald Reagan spoke about "security" in this context, he was referring to economic security, not national security.

Read the whole speech ("A Time for Choosing") here.

11:12 PM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

Carol, I feel your claim that I am not treating the Reagan quote honestly is unfair. In fact, looking at the evidencne it is fairly clear that any dishonesty that should exist in this matter lies more to your side of the scale.

Two points:

First, the version you linked to is not the canonical version of A Time for Choosing. A verbatim transcript of the speech can be found on a number of sites on the web. (The vast majority of sites that have this speech have the version matching the one from ReaganFoundation.org that I linked to above.) Your claimed "context" is not present in the canonical version of the speech.

Second, in the version of the speech Reagan actually delivered, the passage I quoted is preceded by a discussion of the Viet Nam war which flows into a general discussion of liberty and concludes with the passage I mentioned. It is pushing the limits of credulity to conclude from this context that "security" in this sense is limited in any meaningful way to "economic security".

Just to clarify, here is the "context" for the original post I made. (I am sorry for the length of this quotation, but Carol wanted honest context.)

As for the peace that we would preserve, I wonder who among us would like to approach the wife or mother whose husband or son has died in South Vietnam and ask them if they think this is a peace that should be maintained indefinitely. Do they mean peace, or do they mean we just want to be left in peace? There can be no real peace while one American is dying some place in the world for the rest of us. We are at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars, and it has been said if we lose that war, and in doing so lose this way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening. Well, I think it's time we ask ourselves if we still know the freedoms that were intended for us by the Founding Fathers.

Not too long ago two friends of mine were talking to a Cuban refugee, a businessman who had escaped from Castro, and in the midst of his story one of my friends turned to the other and said, 'We don't know how lucky we are.' And the Cuban stopped and said, 'How lucky you are! I had someplace to escape to.' In that sentence he told us the entire story. If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth. And this idea that government is beholden to the people, that it has no other source of power except to sovereign people, is still the newest and most unique idea in all the long history of man's relation to man. This is the issue of this election. Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.

You and I are told increasingly that we have to choose between a left or right, but I would like to suggest that there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down--up to a man's age-old dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order--or down to the ant heap totalitarianism, and regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course."

11:30 PM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

Quoting Bachbone in the entirety, "I agree with the previous comment, but would add that it's also too bad there are so few Harry Trumans left in the Democrat party."

With the exception of pointing out that it is the Democratic party, I agree with your comment also.

11:35 PM  

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