Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ten years after 9/11: A horrible day followed by a horrible decade

Never Forget.

2,977 victims of September 11, 2001 terror attacks

2,977 men, women and children were murdered on September 11, 2001 over the course of a few hours on a sunny Tuesday morning. The victims were distributed as follows: 246 on the four planes converted into flying missiles. Two of the planes flew into the Twin Towers which collapsed and led to the deaths of 2,606 human beings in New York City in the towers and on the ground, and a third struck the Pentagon taking 125 lives. The fourth plane, heading to Washington D.C., never arrived and crashed into an open field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania as the passengers of the flight fought the terrorists over control of the flight.

Hours after the attacks on September 11, 2001 Thomas Fleming posted a prescient essay on what had happened and what would follow over the next decade. Essays by Pat Buchanan and George Will reflecting on the response to the attacks are chastened by failures of American policy makers. Will writes of self-inflicted wounds and Buchanan offered his judgement on the past decade:
Looking back on the decade since 9/11, one appreciates Edmund Burke’s summary judgment of that generation of British leaders who lost the North American colonies. “A great empire and little minds go ill together.”
It is not only the pundits and talking heads questioning the response over the past decade but one of the first two warriors to take to the air on September 11 to defend Washington DC. Her name is Major Heather Penney, of the first District of Columbia Air National Guard, in an interview on C-Span reflecting on September 11 a decade later said beginning at 54 minutes and 31 seconds:
"I often wonder if we have forsaken some of what it means to be Americans - some of what it means to be America in our response to try to assure our citizens of security. There is no such thing as perfect security." [..] Have we been overzealous? Has the pendulum swung too far? Such that we are abdicating our value set in terms of what it means to be an American in our desire to be totally safe?
Later on in the same interview she seemed to be echoing a sentiment echoed by Benjamin Franklin over two centuries earlier: "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." The erosion of civil liberties, and the passage of the so-called "Patriot Act" are just two of the many shadows to emerge from that horrible day ten years ago that has had terrible consequences over the past decade. Terror and war are the tools that revolutionaries have always used to subvert and destroy established orders and do away with long cherished freedoms.

Today is a day to pray, remember the victims, honor those who risked their lives to save others and also remember and process what happened and the response. We owe it not only to those who died on September 11, 2001 but to the long departed and those yet to be born what kind of country will be passed on to the next generation.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Reflections on the troubles in the United Kingdom

"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle." - Edmund Burke

I have a profound affection for London and the United Kingdom and have been horrified by the riots there over the past few days and am praying that all of this can be resolved as peacefully as possible. May justice and ordered liberty prevail over anarchy and destruction.

Barbarism is inside the gates of the United Kingdom and they are talking about insurrection and revolution to cover up their base motives but they do have a point. They are revolutionaries in the truest most Burkean sense. They are destroying everything around them and leaving a waste land behind. Some of the voices are driven by hatred of the rich and a desire to embrace lawlessness and legitimize it with nihilistic Marxist drivel. Others embrace Nazi ideology wanting their own brand of revolution in a race war. Either way the existing order that has endured for centuries and provided many with a decent standard of living and fundamental liberties these barbarians would destroy.

Listening and watching the news accounts reproduced below the writings of Edmund Burke and the principles of conservatism are more relevant than ever in defending civilization and understanding this moment in the UK. I invite you to read a 2003 essay by Roger Scruton originally published in the New Criterion about the riots in France in 1968 and why he became a conservative:
I was brought up at a time when half the English people voted Conservative at national elections and almost all English intellectuals regarded the term “conservative” as a term of abuse. To be a conservative, I was told, was to be on the side of age against youth, the past against the future, authority against innovation, the “structures” against spontaneity and life. It was enough to understand this, to recognize that one had no choice, as a free-thinking intellectual, save to reject conservatism. The choice remaining was between reform and revolution. Do we improve society bit by bit, or do we rub it out and start again? On the whole my contemporaries favored the second option, and it was when witnessing what this meant, in May 1968 in Paris, that I discovered my vocation.

In the narrow street below my window the students were shouting and smashing. The plate-glass windows of the shops appeared to step back, shudder for a second, and then give up the ghost, as the reflections suddenly left them and they slid in jagged fragments to the ground. Cars rose into the air and landed on their sides, their juices flowing from unseen wounds. The air was filled with triumphant shouts, as one by one lamp-posts and bollards were uprooted and piled on the tarmac, to form a barricade against the next van-load of policemen.

[...] Of course I was naïve—as naïve as my friend. But the ensuing argument is one to which I have often returned in my thoughts. What, I asked, do you propose to put in the place of this “bourgeoisie” whom you so despise, and to whom you owe the freedom and prosperity that enable you to play on your toy barricades? What vision of France and its culture compels you? And are you prepared to die for your beliefs, or merely to put others at risk in order to display them? I was obnoxiously pompous: but for the first time in my life I had felt a surge of political anger, finding myself on the other side of the barricades from all the people I knew.

She replied with a book: Foucault’s Les mots et les choses, the bible of the soixante-huitards, the text which seemed to justify every form of transgression, by showing that obedience is merely defeat. It is an artful book, composed with a satanic mendacity, selectively appropriating facts in order to show that culture and knowledge are nothing but the “discourses” of power. The book is not a work of philosophy but an exercise in rhetoric. Its goal is subversion, not truth, and it is careful to argue—by the old nominalist sleight of hand that was surely invented by the Father of Lies—that “truth” requires inverted commas, that it changes from epoch to epoch, and is tied to the form of consciousness, the “episteme,” imposed by the class which profits from its propagation. The revolutionary spirit, which searches the world for things to hate, has found in Foucault a new literary formula. Look everywhere for power, he tells his readers, and you will find it. Where there is power there is oppression. And where there is oppression there is the right to destroy. In the street below my window was the translation of that message into deeds.

My friend is now a good bourgeoise like the rest of them. Armand Gatti is forgotten; and the works of Antonin Artaud have a quaint and dépassé air. The French intellectuals have turned their backs on ’68, and the late Louis Pauwels, the greatest of their post-war novelists, has, in Les Orphelins, written the damning obituary of their adolescent rage. And Foucault? He is dead from AIDS, the result of sprees in the bath-houses of San Francisco, visited during well-funded tours as an intellectual celebrity. But his books are on university reading lists all over Europe and America. His vision of European culture as the institutionalized form of oppressive power is taught everywhere as gospel, to students who have neither the culture nor the religion to resist it. Only in France is he widely regarded as a fraud.

The offspring of Focault are speaking out:

BBC interviewed two girls who took part in Monday night's riots in Croydon have boasted that they were showing police and "the rich" that "we can do what we want".

Manners are of more importance than laws. The law can touch us here and there, now and then. Manners are what vex or soothe, corrupt or purify, exalt or debase, barbarize or refine us, by a constant, steady, uniform, insensible operation like that of the air we breathe in. - Edmund Burke No. 1, p. 172 in The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke: A New Edition, v. VIII. London: F. C. and J. Rivington, 1815.

Darcus Howe, a West Indian Writer and Broadcaster with a voice about the riots on the BBC. Calls it an insurrection not a riot.

"Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites, — in proportion as their love to justice is above their rapacity, — in proportion as their soundness and sobriety of understanding is above their vanity and presumption, — in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves. - Edmund Burke, Letter to a Member of the National Assembly (1791)

Man laying in the street after being assaulted then falsely helped up and robbed.

Whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither, in my opinion, is safe. - Edmund Burke

Sky Reporter Mark Stone Films Dramatic Footage of looting, As London Riots Spread To Clapham Junction

Andrew Gilligan, from the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph was caught-up in the middle of the riots speaks of his experience.

Looters in Orpington, UK Looting Game Video game store

Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters."- Edmund Burke, Letter to a Member of the National Assembly (1791)

In 1780 following the Gordon Riots Edmund Burke made the following observation that applies today in the United Kingdom in the midst of an international economic downturn that have brought tough times to many that a few would like to take advantage of for great mischief:

"If I understand the temper of the publick at this moment a very great part of the lower, and some of the middling people of this city, are in a very critical disposition, and such as ought to be managed with firmness and delicacy."

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Funeral Service for His Imperial and Royal Highness Otto von Habsburg

Requiescat in pace and Sainthood Now!

Mourning the passing of a great and good defender of Christendom and civilization HIRH Archduke Otto von Habsburg whose funeral was today and portions have been saved to youtube and are available for viewing in the above playlist thanks to

Two days ago was Bastille Day and it seems appropriate to recall Archduke Otto von Habsburg reflection on the significance of the French Revolution:

"When the Goddess of Reason was placed on the altar two hundred years ago during the French Revolution and when it was announced that God was dead or had never lived, there began the greatest crisis humanity had suffered up to then. This led in the twentieth century to the erection of the concentration camps of National Socialism and the Communist gulags. - HIRH Otto von Habsburg, Return to the Center

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

HIRH Otto von Habsburg: Freedom's Holy Roman Emperor 20 November 1912 – 4 July 2011 Requiescat in pace

"When the Goddess of Reason was placed on the altar two hundred years ago during the French Revolution and when it was announced that God was dead or had never lived, there began the greatest crisis humanity had suffered up to then. This led in the twentieth century to the erection of the concentration camps of National Socialism and the Communist gulags. - HIRH Otto von Habsburg, Return to the Center pg. 217

Archduke Otto von Habsburg passed away on July 4, 2011 at the age of 98. The Archduke was a Christian statesman who fought the worse revolutionaries of the 20th century in defense of Christendom. He helped thousands of Austrians, among them many Jews escape from the Nazis. He fought against Nazism and Soviet Communism and for an integrated multinational Europe.

His Imperial and Royal Highness Otto von Habsburg played a prominent role in unifying a divided continent. He organized a picnic on August 19, 1989 that led to one of the first openings in the Berlin Wall where 700 East Germans managed to pass through to freedom. This was accomplished through the Pan-Europa movement along with much more following the fall of the Berlin Wall which included the reunification of Europe.

Walburga von Habsburg describes the August 1989 picnic in the video above that generated one of the first openings in the Iron Curtain. In the video below at 1 minute and 40 seconds there is actual footage of the Pan Europa picnic and scenes of people crossing the Iron Curtain.

When a great and good man such as Archduke Otto von Habsburg passes on, the world left behind seems diminished. Praying for him and his family I also find myself praying that he will be praying for those of us left behind in this gloomier place now that he has departed. Sincerest condolences to his family and friends.

You can offer your condolences here.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Requiescat in pace William Rusher: One of the Founders of Modern American Conservatism

"For want of me the world's course will not fail: When all its work is done, the lie shall rot; The truth is great, and shall prevail,When none cares whether it prevail or not." - Coventry Patmore

Conservative activist and writer William A. Rusher died on Saturday, April 15, 2011 at the age of 87. His last column was published two years earlier on March 3, 2009 and titled it the Final Column and began it with the following unsentimental statement:
I began writing these columns 36 years ago and have come to the conclusion that it's time to bring them to a close. It's certainly not a problem of lacking subject matter. It's simply that I am 85 now, and the energy and creative juices are just not what they used to be. Anyone in that age bracket will know what I mean.

Prior columns laid out the conservative case for developing wind and solar power as alternatives to oil and made the case that Obama had "stiffed" the Left. All in all when looking at what passes for commentary today still full of both energy and creativity.

Upon learning of the passing of Rusher, Richard A. Viguerie one of the creators of the modern conservative movement issued a statement outlining his historical importance:
"In fact, Bill was the last of a relatively small group of conservatives whose intellect, energy, work, sacrifices, and passion for freedom came together in the 1940s and 1950s to launch, build, and nurture a cause that, in the 1940s, did not even have a name...

"Most conservatives today would not know of even a third of these men. But without them, there would have been no conservative movement in the 1960s, certainly no Goldwater presidential campaign, and probably no Governor or President Ronald Reagan...

"A short but incomplete list of his achievements would include helping build National Review to be the leading conservative voice in America, Young Americans for Freedom, the New York Conservative Party, the American Conservative Union, the Draft Goldwater Campaign, Reagan for President, and many others."

The complete statement is online at

At the top of the blog entry is an interview from April 25, 1990 and below from Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr. on September 10, 1981.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

In honor of Thomas Jefferson on the 268th anniversary of his birth

Thomas Jefferson was born on July 13, 1743 and today is the anniversary of his birth and to honor him the following letter is reproduced that he addressed to Dr. Benjamin Rush in which he wrote a sentence now inscribed on the Jefferson Monument in the District of Colombia: "I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

Yesterday, April 12 marked the start 15o years ago of the War Between the States. Somehow it seems a sad irony that the two dates are so close together on the calendar.

To Dr. Benjamin Rush
Monticello, Sep. 23, 1800

DEAR SIR, -- I have to acknolege the receipt of your favor of Aug. 22, and to congratulate you on the healthiness of your city. Still Baltimore, Norfolk & Providence admonish us that we are not clear of our new scourge. When great evils happen, I am in the habit of looking out for what good may arise from them as consolations to us, and Providence has in fact so established the order of things, as that most evils are the means of producing some good. The yellow fever will discourage the growth of great cities in our nation, & I view great cities as pestilential to the morals, the health and the liberties of man. True, they nourish some of the elegant arts, but the useful ones can thrive elsewhere, and less perfection in the others, with more health, virtue
& freedom, would be my choice.

I agree with you entirely, in condemning the mania of giving names to objects of any kind after persons still living. Death alone can seal the title of any man to this honor, by putting it out of his power to forfeit it. There is one other mode of recording merit, which I have often thought might be introduced, so as to gratify the living by praising the dead. In giving, for instance, a commission of chief justice to Bushrod Washington, it should be in consideration of his integrity, and science in the laws, and of the services rendered to our country by his illustrious relation, &c. A commission to a descendant of Dr. Franklin, besides being in consideration of the proper qualifications of the person, should add that of the great services rendered by his illustrious ancestor, Bn Fr, by the advancement of science, by inventions useful to man, &c. I am not sure that we ought to change all our names. And during the regal government, sometimes, indeed, they were given through adulation; but often also as the reward of the merit of the times, sometimes for services rendered the colony. Perhaps, too, a name when given, should be deemed a sacred property.

I promised you a letter on Christianity, which I have not forgotten. On the contrary, it is because I have reflected on it, that I find much more time necessary for it than I can at present dispose of. I have a view of the subject which ought to displease neither the rational Christian nor Deists, and would reconcile many to a character they have too hastily rejected. do not know that it would reconcile the genus irritabile vatum who are all in arms against me. Their hostility is on too interesting ground to be softened. The delusion into which the X. Y. Z. plot shewed it possible to push the people; the successful experiment made under the prevalence of that delusion on the clause of the constitution, which, while it secured the freedom of the press, covered also the freedom of religion, had given to the clergy a very favorite hope of obtaining an establishment of a particular form of Christianity thro' the U. S.; and as every sect believes its own form the true one, every one perhaps hoped for his own, but especially the Episcopalians & Congregationalists.

The returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes, & they believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. But this is all they have to fear from me: & enough too in their opinion, & this is the cause of their printing lying pamphlets against me, forging conversations for me with Mazzei, Bishop Madison, &c., which are absolute falsehoods without a circumstance of truth to rest on; falsehoods, too, of which I acquit Mazzei & Bishop Madison, for they are men of truth.

But enough of this: it is more than I have before committed to paper on the subject of all the lies that has been preached and printed against me. I have not seen the work of Sonnoni which you mention, but I have seen another work on Africa, (Parke's,) which I fear will throw cold water on the hopes of the friends of freedom. You will hear an account of an attempt at insurrection in this state. I am looking with anxiety to see what will be it's effect on our state. We are truly to be pitied. I fear we have little chance to see you at the Federal city or in Virginia, and as little at Philadelphia. It would be a great treat to receive you here. But nothing but sickness could effect that; so I do not wish it. For I wish you health and happiness, and think of you with affection. Adieu.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ronald Reagan signed Convention Against Torture and Inhuman Treatment or Punishment that George W. Bush may have violated

On the eve of the 100th anniversary of President Ronald Wilson Reagan's birth former President George W. Bush canceled his visit to Geneva, Switzerland apparently in part out of fear of being prosecuted for criminal responsibility in acts of torture he is believed to have authorized. This contrasts with Ronald Reagan who signed conventions against torture into law on his watch. Below is statement he sent along with the text of The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (the “Torture Convention”) to the United States Senate for ratification.

Message to the Senate Transmitting the Convention Against Torture and Inhuman Treatment or Punishment

May 20, 1988

To the Senate of the United States:

With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, subject to certain reservations, understandings, and declarations, I transmit herewith the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The Convention was adopted by unanimous agreement of the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1984, and entered into force on June 26, 1987. The United States signed it on April 18, 1988. I also transmit, for the information of the Senate, the report of the Department of State on the Convention.

The United States participated actively and effectively in the negotiation of the Convention. It marks a significant step in the development during this century of international measures against torture and other inhuman treatment or punishment. Ratification of the Convention by the United States will clearly express United States opposition to torture, an abhorrent practice unfortunately still prevalent in the world today.

The core provisions of the Convention establish a regime for international cooperation in the criminal prosecution of torturers relying on so-called "universal jurisdiction." Each State Party is required either to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution.

In view of the large number of States concerned, it was not possible to negotiate a treaty that was acceptable to the United States in all respects. Accordingly, certain reservations, understandings, and declarations have been drafted, which are discussed in the report of the Department of State. With the inclusion of these reservations, understandings, and declarations, I believe there are no constitutional or other legal obstacles to United States ratification. The recommended legislation necessary to implement the Convention will be submitted to the Congress separately.

Should the Senate give its advice and consent to ratification of the Convention, I intend at the time of deposit of United States ratification to make a declaration pursuant to Article 28 that the United States does not recognize the competence of the Committee against Torture under Article 20 to make confidential investigations of charges that torture is being systematically practiced in the United States. In addition, I intend not to make declarations, pursuant to Articles 21 and 22 of the Convention, recognizing the competence of the Committee against Torture to receive and consider communications from States and individuals alleging that the United States is violating the Convention. I believe that a final United States decision as to whether to accept such competence of the Committee should be withheld until we have had an opportunity to assess the Committee's work. It would be possible for the United States in the future to accept the competence of the Committee pursuant to Articles 20, 21, and 22, should experience with the Committee prove satisfactory and should the United States consider this step desirable.

By giving its advice and consent to ratification of this Convention, the Senate of the United States will demonstrate unequivocally our desire to bring an end to the abhorrent practice of torture.

Ronald Reagan

The White House,

May 20, 1988.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Ronald Reagan at 100: Great American

Still a teenager, had the opportunity to listen and meet Ronald Reagan when he visited Miami, FL in the last year of his Presidency to support the Senate candidacy of Connie Mack. He actually came across better in person than he did on camera. A treasured memory shared here on the eve of the 100th anniversary of his birth in Tampico, Illinois.

Sadly, since Ronald Reagan left the presidency the quality of political leadership in the White House has been in decline, but now is a time to celebrate the life of a great American and be grateful that the United States had such a Chief Executive for eight years.

Americans need to be grateful because prior to 1980 Ronald Reagan was viewed by many as too extreme to ever be President of the United States because he refused to embrace "constructive engagment" and "detente" with a system that he viewed as fundamentally evil. A large part of this nervousness by the Left came from Ronald Reagan's first national political speech that introduced him to the country in 1964.

A Time for Choosing: "The Speech" (1964)

An excerpt from Ronald Reagan's October 27, 1964 A Time for Choosing Speech:
Those who would trade our freedom for the soup kitchen of the welfare state have told us they have a utopian solution of peace without victory. They call their policy "accommodation." And they say if we'll only avoid any direct confrontation with the enemy, he'll forget his evil ways and learn to love us. All who oppose them are indicted as warmongers. They say we offer simple answers to complex problems. Well, perhaps there is a simple answer -- not an easy answer -- but simple: If you and I have the courage to tell our elected officials that we want our national policy based on what we know in our hearts is morally right.

We cannot buy our security, our freedom from the threat of the bomb by committing an immorality so great as saying to a billion human beings now enslaved behind the Iron Curtain, "Give up your dreams of freedom because to save our own skins, we're willing to make a deal with your slave masters." Alexander Hamilton said, "A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one." Now let's set the record straight. There's no argument over the choice between peace and war, but there's only one guaranteed way you can have peace -- and you can have it in the next second -- surrender.

Admittedly, there's a risk in any course we follow other than this, but every lesson of history tells us that the greater risk lies in appeasement, and this is the specter our well-meaning liberal friends refuse to face -- that their policy of accommodation is appeasement, and it gives no choice between peace and war, only between fight or surrender.
1981 Inaugural Address

On January 20, 1981 Ronald Wilson Reagan was sworn in as the 40th President of the United States and what follows is an excerpt from the Inaugural Address:
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 or 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.
"Evil Empire" Speech (1983)

On March 8, 1983 Ronald Reagan addressed the National Association of Evangelicals in Orlando, Florida and ended his speech as follows:
During my first press conference as President, in answer to a direct question, I pointed out that, as good Marxist-Leninists, the Soviet leaders have openly and publicly declared that the only morality they recognize is that which will further their cause, which is world revolution. I think I should point out I was only quoting Lenin, their guiding spirit, who said in 1920 that they repudiate all morality that proceeds from supernatural ideas -- that's their name for religion -- or ideas that are outside class conceptions. Morality is entirely subordinate to the interests of class war. And everything is moral that is necessary for the annihilation of the old, exploiting social order and for uniting the proletariat.

Well, I think the refusal of many influential people to accept this elementary fact of Soviet doctrine illustrates an historical reluctance to see totalitarian powers for what they are. We saw this phenomenon in the 1930's. We see it too often today.This doesn't mean we should isolate ourselves and refuse to seek an understanding with them. I intend to do everything I can to persuade them of our peaceful intent, to remind them that it was the West that refused to use its nuclear monopoly in the forties and fifties for territorial gain and which now proposes 50-percent cut in strategic ballistic missiles and the elimination of an entire class of land-based, intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

At the same time, however, they must be made to understand we will never compromise our principles and standards. We will never give away our freedom. We will never abandon our belief in God. And we will never stop searching for a genuine peace. But we can assure none of these things America stands for through the so-called nuclear freeze solutions proposed by some.

The truth is that a freeze now would be a very dangerous fraud, for that is merely the illusion of peace. The reality is that we must find peace through strength.

I would agree to a freeze if only we could freeze the Soviets' global desires. A freeze at current levels of weapons would remove any incentive for the Soviets to negotiate seriously in Geneva and virtually end our chances to achieve the major arms reductions which we have proposed. Instead, they would achieve their objectives through the freeze.

A freeze would reward the Soviet Union for its enormous and unparalleled military buildup. It would prevent the essential and long overdue modernization of United States and allied defenses and would leave our aging forces increasingly vulnerable. And an honest freeze would require extensive prior negotiations on the systems and numbers to be limited and on the measures to ensure effective verification and compliance. And the kind of a freeze that has been suggested would be virtually impossible to verify. Such a major effort would divert us completely from our current negotiations on achieving substantial reductions.

A number of years ago, I heard a young father, a very prominent young man in the entertainment world, addressing a tremendous gathering in California. It was during the time of the Cold War, and communism and our own way of life were very much on people's minds. And he was speaking to that subject. And suddenly, though, I heard him saying, "I love my little girls more than anything -- -- "And I said to myself, "Oh, no, don't. You can't -- don't say that."

But I had underestimated him. He went on: "I would rather see my little girls die now, still believing in God, than have them grow up under communism and one day die no longer believing in God."

There were thousands of young people in that audience. They came to their feet with shouts of joy. They had instantly recognized the profound truth in what he had said, with regard to the physical and the soul and what was truly important.

Yes, let us pray for the salvation of all of those who live in that totalitarian darkness -- pray they will discover the joy of knowing God. But until they do, let us be aware that while they preach the supremacy of the state, declare its omnipotence over individual man, and predict its eventual domination of all peoples on the Earth, they are the focus of evil in the modern world.

It was C.S. Lewis who, in his unforgettable "Screwtape Letters," wrote: "The greatest evil is not done now in those sordid 'dens of crime' that Dickens loved to paint. It is not even done in concentration camps and labor camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried and minuted) in clear, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice."

Well, because these "quiet men" do not "raise their voices"; because they sometimes speak in soothing tones of brotherhood and peace; because, like other dictators before them, they're always making "their final territorial demand," some would have us accept them at their word and accommodate ourselves to their aggressive impulses. But if history teaches anything, it teaches that simple-minded appeasement or wishful thinking about our adversaries is folly. It means the betrayal of our past, the squandering of our freedom.

So, I urge you to speak out against those who would place the United States in a position of military and moral inferiority. You know, I've always believed that old Screwtape reserved his best efforts for those of you in the church. So, in your discussions of the nuclear freeze proposals, I urge you to beware the temptation of pride -- the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil.

I ask you to resist the attempts of those who would have you withhold your support for our efforts, this administration's efforts, to keep America strong and free, while we negotiate real and verifiable reductions in the world's nuclear arsenals and one day, with God's help, their total elimination.

While America's military strength is important, let me add here that I've always maintained that the struggle now going on for the world will never be decided by bombs or rockets, by armies or military might. The real crisis we face today is a spiritual one; at root, it is a test of moral will and faith.

Whittaker Chambers, the man whose own religious conversion made him a witness to one of the terrible traumas of our time, the Hiss-Chambers case, wrote that the crisis of the Western World exists to the degree in which the West is indifferent to God, the degree to which it collaborates in communism's attempt to make man stand alone without God. And then he said, for Marxism-Leninism is actually the second oldest faith, first proclaimed in the Garden of Eden with the words of temptation, "Ye shall be as gods."

The Western world can answer this challenge, he wrote, "but only provided that its faith in God and the freedom He enjoins is as great as communism's faith in Man."

I believe we shall rise to the challenge. I believe that communism is another sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages even now are being written. I believe this because the source of our strength in the quest for human freedom is not material, but spiritual. And because it knows no limitation, it must terrify and ultimately triumph over those who would enslave their fellow man. For in the words of Isaiah: "He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increased strength But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary."

"Enlightened" opinion blasted the speech and warned of Reagan the warmonger, but his strong, principled and moral stand backed up with moral toughness and prudent conservative policies in solidarity with dissident movements opposing international communism helped to turn the tide. By 1987 the Russians were willing to negotiate for peace in real terms and Reagan held them to it. The speech at the Berlin Wall indicates how he went about it.

Reagan at the Berlin Wall (1987)

In this excerpt from his June 12, 1987 address at the Berlin Wall Ronald Reagan provided both the history and economic realities that offered the context that explained his optimism on behalf of freedom and challenging the Russians to back up their rhetoric with action:
In the 1950s, Khrushchev predicted: "We will bury you." But in the West today, we see a free world that has achieved a level of prosperity and well-being unprecedented in all human history. In the Communist world, we see failure, technological backwardness, declining standards of health, even want of the most basic kind--too little food. Even today, the Soviet Union still cannot feed itself. After these four decades, then, there stands before the entire world one great and inescapable conclusion: Freedom leads to prosperity. Freedom replaces the ancient hatreds among the nations with comity and peace. Freedom is the victor.

And now the Soviets themselves may, in a limited way, be coming to understand the importance of freedom. We hear much from Moscow about a new policy of reform and openness. Some political prisoners have been released. Certain foreign news broadcasts are no longer being jammed. Some economic enterprises have been permitted to operate with greater freedom from state control.

Are these the beginnings of profound changes in the Soviet state? Or are they token gestures, intended to raise false hopes in the West, or to strengthen the Soviet system without changing it? We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace.

General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

During Ronald Reagan's tenure the United States did not participate in any major conflicts. The US military invaded and occupied Grenada in 1983 to drive out Cuban troops building a military runway there, but on Reagan's watch America was it peace and the Cold War was on its way to being resolved peacefully.

Farewell Address (1989)

On January 11, 1989, just nine days before the end of his Presidency, Ronald Reagan addressed the nation and offered a look back.
Well, back in 1980, when I was running for President, it was all so different. Some pundits said our programs would result in catastrophe. Our views on foreign affairs would cause war. Our plans for the economy would cause inflation to soar and bring about economic collapse. I even remember one highly respected economist saying, back in 1982, that "The engines of economic growth have shut down here, and they're likely to stay that way for years to come." Well, he and the other opinion leaders were wrong. The fact is what they call "radical" was really "right." What they called "dangerous" was just "desperately needed."

And in all of that time I won a nickname, "The Great Communicator." But I never thought it was my style or the words I used that made a difference: it was the content. I wasn't a great communicator, but I communicated great things, and they didn't spring full bloom from my brow, they came from the heart of a great nation--from our experience, our wisdom, and our belief in the principles that have guided us for two centuries. They called it the Reagan revolution. Well, I'll accept that, but for me it always seemed more like the great rediscovery, a rediscovery of our values and our common sense.

Common sense told us that when you put a big tax on something, the people will produce less of it. So, we cut the people's tax rates, and the people produced more than ever before. The economy bloomed like a plant that had been cut back and could now grow quicker and stronger. Our economic program brought about the longest peacetime expansion in our history: real family income up, the poverty rate down, entrepreneurship booming, and an explosion in research and new technology. We're exporting more than ever because American industry became more competitive, and at the same time, we summoned the national will to knock down protectionist walls abroad instead of erecting them at home.

Common sense also told us that to preserve the peace, we'd have to become strong again after years of weakness and confusion. So, we rebuilt our defenses, and this New Year we toasted the new peacefulness around the globe. Not only have the superpowers actually begun to reduce their stockpiles of nuclear weapons--and hope for even more progress is bright--but the regional conflicts that rack the globe are also beginning to cease. The Persian Gulf is no longer a war zone. The Soviets are leaving Afghanistan. The Vietnamese are preparing to pull out of Cambodia, and an American-mediated accord will soon send 50,000 Cuban troops home from Angola.

The lesson of all this was, of course, that because we're a great nation, our challenges seem complex. It will always be this way. But as long as we remember our first principles and believe in ourselves, the future will always be ours. And something else we learned: Once you begin a great movement, there's no telling where it will end. We meant to change a nation, and instead, we changed a world.

Countries across the globe are turning to free markets and free speech and turning away from the ideologies of the past. For them, the great rediscovery of the 1980's has been that, lo and behold, the moral way of government is the practical way of government: Democracy, the profoundly good, is also the profoundly productive.

When you've got to the point when you can celebrate the anniversaries of your 39th birthday, you can sit back sometimes, review your life, and see it flowing before you. For me there was a fork in the river, and it was right in the middle of my life. I never meant to go into politics. It wasn't my intention when I was young. But I was raised to believe you had to pay your way for the blessings bestowed on you. I was happy with my career in the entertainment world, but I ultimately went into politics because I wanted to protect something precious.

Reagan also looked at the present situation with the Soviets under Gorbachev and spoke plainly as always:
Nothing is less free than pure communism--and yet we have, the past few years, forged a satisfying new closeness with the Soviet Union. I've been asked if this isn't a gamble, and my answer is no, because we're basing our actions not on words but deeds. The detente of the 1970's was based not on actions but promises. They'd promise to treat their own people and the people of the world better. But the gulag was still the gulag, and the state was still expansionist, and they still waged proxy wars in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Well, this time, so far, it's different. President Gorbachev has brought about some internal democratic reforms and begun the withdrawal from Afghanistan. He has also freed prisoners whose names I've given him every time we've met.

But life has a way of reminding you of big things through small incidents. Once, during the heady days of the Moscow summit, Nancy and I decided to break off from the entourage one afternoon to visit the shops on Arbat Street--that's a little street just off Moscow's main shopping area. Even though our visit was a surprise, every Russian there immediately recognized us and called out our names and reached for our hands. We were just about swept away by the warmth. You could almost feel the possibilities in all that joy. But within seconds, a KGB detail pushed their way toward us and began pushing and shoving the people in the crowd. It was an interesting moment. It reminded me that while the man on the street in the Soviet Union yearns for peace, the government is Communist. And those who run it are Communists, and that means we and they view such issues as freedom and human rights very differently.

We must keep up our guard, but we must also continue to work together to lessen and eliminate tension and mistrust. My view is that President Gorbachev is different from previous Soviet leaders. I think he knows some of the things wrong with his society and is trying to fix them. We wish him well. And we'll continue to work to make sure that the Soviet Union that eventually emerges from this process is a less threatening one. What it all boils down to is this: I want the new closeness to continue. And it will, as long as we make it clear that we will continue to act in a certain way as long as they continue to act in a helpful manner. If and when they don't, at first pull your punches. If they persist, pull the plug. It's still trust but verify. It's still play, but cut the cards. It's still watch closely. And don't be afraid to see what you see.
Reagan ended his farewell address looking towards the next generations and the challenges they face and again spoke plainly. Sadly, policy makers didn't listen.
Finally, there is a great tradition of warnings in Presidential farewells, and I've got one that's been on my mind for some time. But oddly enough, it starts with one of the things I'm proudest of in the past 8 years: the resurgence of national pride that I called the new patriotism. This national feeling is good, but it won't count for much, and it won't last unless it's grounded in thoughtfulness and knowledge.

An informed patriotism is what we want. And are we doing a good enough job teaching our children what America is and what she represents in the long history of the world? Those of us who are over 35 or so years of age grew up in a different America. We were taught, very directly, what it means to be an American. And we absorbed, almost in the air, a love of country and an appreciation of its institutions. If you didn't get these things from your family, you got them from the neighborhood, from the father down the street who fought in Korea or the family who lost someone at Anzio. Or you could get a sense of patriotism from school. And if all else failed, you could get a sense of patriotism from the popular culture. The movies celebrated democratic values and implicitly reinforced the idea that America was special. TV was like that, too, through the mid-sixties.

But now, we're about to enter the nineties, and some things have changed. Younger parents aren't sure that an unambivalent appreciation of America is the right thing to teach modern children. And as for those who create the popular culture, well-grounded patriotism is no longer the style. Our spirit is back, but we haven't reinstitutionalized it. We've got to do a better job of getting across that America is freedom--freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise. And freedom is special and rare. It's fragile; it needs [protection].

So, we've got to teach history based not on what's in fashion but what's important--why the Pilgrims came here, who Jimmy Doolittle was, and what those 30 seconds over Tokyo meant. You know, 4 years ago on the 40th anniversary of D-Day, I read a letter from a young woman writing to her late father, who'd fought on Omaha Beach. Her name was Lisa Zanatta Henn, and she said, "We will always remember, we will never forget what the boys of Normandy did." Well, let's help her keep her word. If we forget what we did, we won't know who we are. I'm warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit. Let's start with some basics: more attention to American history and a greater emphasis on civic ritual.

And let me offer lesson number one about America: All great change in America begins at the dinner table. So, tomorrow night in the kitchen, I hope the talking begins. And children, if your parents haven't been teaching you what it means to be an American, let 'em know and nail 'em on it. That would be a very American thing to do.

And that's about all I have to say tonight, except for one thing. The past few days when I've been at that window upstairs, I've thought a bit of the "shining city upon a hill." The phrase comes from John Winthrop, who wrote it to describe the America he imagined. What he imagined was important because he was an early Pilgrim, an early freedom man. He journeyed here on what today we'd call a little wooden boat; and like the other Pilgrims, he was looking for a home that would be free. I've spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don't know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it, and see it still.

And how stands the city on this winter night? More prosperous, more secure, and happier than it was 8 years ago. But more than that: After 200 years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter what storm. And she's still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home.

We've done our part. And as I walk off into the city streets, a final word to the men and women of the Reagan revolution, the men and women across America who for 8 years did the work that brought America back. My friends: We did it. We weren't just marking time. We made a difference. We made the city stronger, we made the city freer, and we left her in good hands. All in all, not bad, not bad at all.

And so, goodbye, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

Patrick Buchanan in an essay remembering Reagan on his 100th birthday wrote: "'Hopeful, big-hearted, idealistic — daring, decent and brave,' Ronald Reagan described America in his second inaugural. The words exactly fit the man." I can only second this great conservative in his description of another great conservative and American patriot who loved his country.