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A Time for Choosing

Posted by Richard on October 29, 2009

Yesterday was the 45th anniversary of the TV broadcast "Rendezvous with Destiny," a 30-minute campaign commercial for Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, delivered by Ronald Reagan. It was a variation of a speech called "A Time for Choosing," padded with some "vote for Goldwater because…" stuff.

Reagan delivered this speech many times in 1964, including when he nominated Sen. Goldwater at the Republican National Convention. Reagan fans of a sufficient age have always just called it "The Speech." It is as meaningful today as it was in 1964. These excerpts are (despite what the intro at this site says) from his nominating speech at the convention:

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.

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. …

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.

Hat tip to Rush Limbaugh for reminding me (albeit a day late) and for these quotes

"In holding up Reagan, we're not holding up a man, a cult of personality figure. We're holding up principles. We're reminding people of how the country was founded." — Rush

 "If you think that the era of Reagan is over simply because the external threat of the Soviet Union was beaten down, you have missed the whole point. Reagan was talking about tyranny, liberty, and freedom, and freedom is always threatened, always has to be fought for." — Rush
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