…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.
That was Ronald Reagan, 21 years ago in a speech to the National Association of Evangelicals in Orlando, FL. The year was 1983, just over 2 years into his first term. What few people know is that Reagan had been trying to deliver that strong condemnation for some time before, at least since his 1982 speech to Great Britain’s House of Commons.
It’s too bad that he didn’t deliver those words in that speech, for it would have been far more apropos. Alas, I’m sure it’s always been difficult for a President to find advisors who are not hand-wringing political whores. Still, when I read that speech now, through the lens of hindsight and history, I cannot help but marvel at Reagan’s vision and conviction. It’s plain to see that he had no doubt whatsoever about this matter, and he was convinced that the course of action on which he had set America would bring the Evil Empire to its knees. What he didn’t know was just how soon this would happen — that his policies would bankrupt the USSR and result in the collapse of the entire Eastern Block.
For those who do not understand the significance of the fall of communism as a “credible” ideology amongst the world’s “elite,” then refresh your memory here, and think of the 100 million people trampled under the boot of the world’s largest “organized labor movement.”
Ronald Reagan was certainly not without his faults, but because he held uncompromisingly to certain principles, correct principles, the world is a far safer and freer place. For that alone, Reagan’s faults will be forgotten, and his legacy and memory will be honored. That’s the path of the hero.
From Stettin on the Baltic to Varna on the Black Sea, the regimes planted by totalitarianism have had more than thirty years to establish their legitimacy. But none — not one regime — has yet been able to risk free elections. Regimes planted by bayonets do not take root.
May you rest in peace.