The Reagan Speech Preservation Society

American Enthusiasm

Modified: Friday, 30 July 2021 07:51 by admin - Categorized as: Podcasts
The following is a collection of the materials used in creating the thirty-eighth episode of the Citizen Reagan podcast about the Reagan's Radio Commentaries.





This is the Citizen Reagan podcast and I need to get in the habit of doing a few things with every episode, like asking you to rate and review the podcast with whatever services you use. Like asking you to share us with your friends, family, complete strangers and your worst enemies, I don't care really, just as long as you share it. Like telling you that you can find past episodes, transcripts, research and more on a wiki on my webspace. The address for the wiki is but if you just visit, I have a variety of other projects there. I sell digitally restored books, magazines and pamphlets. I have constructed an archive of old pulp short stories. I accept donations through Ko-fi, if you're willing help out. It’s all there on the website. Now, with that out of the way, let's get to Reagan.

It should come as no surprise that I have a flash drive plugged into my car with these Reagan Commentaries on constant loop. It's a slow loop, since I have over 300 of them, but it's a loop nonetheless. Not that long ago, I was driving and heard one that I've heard many times before, but something about it struck me. I'm going to play it for you now and we'll talk about it after it's completed.
Sometimes I think we need to remind ourselves of what it is we're trying to preserve in this country. I'll be right back.

Every once in a while all of us native-born Americans should make it a point to have a conversation with one who is an American by choice. It can do a lot to strengthen our resolve to be free for another 200 years.

In a dinner at Mount Vernon back in revolutionary times, Lafayette turned to his host and said, "General Washington, you Americans, even in war and desperate times, have a superb spirit. You're happy and you're confident. Why is it?" Washington answered, "There's freedom, there is space for a man to be alone and think, and there are friends who owe each other nothing but affection." so simple and answer and so true.

Now 200 years later our self-respect as a nation has undergone a strain. At times it is seemed as if the symbol of American power has become our departing ambassador, flag under his arm boarding a rescue helicopter.

But there's an awful lot of that other America still around. Like beauty, it may be in the eye of the beholder. A few years back, a woman who had fled from Poland wrote a letter and said, "Among some of our American-born friends it is not fashionable to be enthusiastic about America. There's Vietnam, drugs, urban and racial conflict, poverty, and pollution. Undoubtedly this country faces urgent and serious problems, but we newcomers see not only the problems but also solutions being sought and applied.

She goes on to say, "I love America because people accept me for what I am. They don't question my ancestry, my faith, my political beliefs. When I want to move from one place to another I don't have to ask permission. When I need a needle, I go into the nearest store and get one. I don't have to stand in line for hours to buy a piece of tough, fat meat. Even with inflation, I don't have to pay a day's earnings for a small chicken.

I love America because America trusts me. I don't have to show an identity card to buy a pair of shoes. My mail isn't censored and my conversations with friends aren't reported to the secret police.

While on July 5th the "London Daily Mail" filled its editorial page with an article by Ferdinand Mount in which he sharply criticized his fellow Britons and other Europeans who delight in lambasting the United States. He said: "What the world needs now is more Americans. The United States is the first nation on earth deliberately dedicated to letting people choose what they want and giving them a chance to get it. For all it's terrible faults, in one sense America still is the last, best hope of mankind because it spells out so vividly the kind of happiness which most people actually want, regardless of what they're told they ought to want.” He concluded by saying, "We criticize, copy, patronize, idolize, insult, but we never doubt that the United States has a unique position in the history of human hopes. For it is the only nation founded solely on a moral dream. A part of our own future is tied up in it and the greatest of all the gifts the Americans have given us is hope."

Thank You Mr. Mount we needed that.

This is Ronald Reagan.

Thanks for listening.

So, what struck me? It was a line from the Polish woman's letter. That woman, by the way, is Janina Atkins. She and her husband had come to the United States in 1964 with practically nothing. In late 1970, after her first time being able to vote as a new citizen, she wrote her letter to the New York Times and it was published as a Letter to the Editor. Four days after it appeared, Senator Proxmire of Wisconsin had it entered into the Congressional Record. That's where I found the complete letter and I’ve got it now on my Wiki. I found it reprinted in newspapers several times in the subsequent years. Reagan is reading it here, 6 years after its original publication.

What she had written was "Among some of our American-born friends it is not fashionable to be enthusiastic about America. There's Vietnam, drugs, urban and racial conflict, poverty, and pollution."

Some times are better than others, obviously, but it certainly feels like this is true again. We aren't in Vietnam, obviously, and we're trying to get out of Afghanistan and Iraq, but foreign tensions with North Korea, Iran, China and Russia are still present. Couple years ago, the big thing seemed to be the opioid epidemic, so we haven't won the war on drugs. Racial conflict is at high levels for the first time in decades, poverty is still present and more visible in many ways, and pollution is being elevated to the level of destroying the Earth in less than a decade.

Once again, like Ms. Atkins said, it is not fashionable to be enthusiastic about America. There's the 1619 Project seeks to reframe the entire country's history around the slave trade. Marxist-based Critical Race Theory which seeks to paint everyone that isn't a minority (and even some that are) as racist. Politicians, media personalities, academics, pop culture are all trying to drum it into the heads of the rest of us that we, somehow, are bad if we don't think or act a certain way. It feels like it is everywhere, even if it isn't. That's just the media, inundating us. I'd like to get into Critical Theory in more depth at some point, but I need a related Reagan broadcast and I feel I want a better understanding of it myself before I try talking about it in any great length. I have a take on this infographic that the Smithsonian put out that I'd love to discuss.

Moreover, we hear people questioning whether the free market can compete with a government-directed economy. President Biden just brought it up at the G7, saying, "We're in a contest, not with China per se, ... with autocrats, autocratic governments around the world, as to whether or not democracies can compete with them in a rapidly changing 21st century," but this is not a new conversation. Annalise Anderson, one of the co-writers of these Reagan books, speaks to it in the Reagan In His Own Voice audiobook. [Disk 2, Track 11, with episode 76-04-B7, "The Communes"]

From our perspective today with the United States as the world's only superpower, it's easy to forget how different the world was 30 years ago, when Reagan was writing these commentaries. The late 1970s were years of high inflation, low economic growth, relatively high unemployment and gasoline shortages. There were many questions being raised about the influence of the United States on the world scene and how effectively we could compete with the Soviet system. Could a free market economy coupled with a political system based on individual freedom hold its own against a centrally controlled economy that could override and repress political descent? Some doubted that it could. But Reagan had no such doubts. Over and over again in these commentaries, he expresses his belief in the strength of our system that freed what he called the individual genius of man.

The free market absolutely can compete, but we need to allow it to do so.

What about the rest of what Ms. Atkins wrote? We still have the freedoms she talks about, going to the store to buy just about anything we might need and being able to afford the purchase. Mail may not be censored that we know about it, but what you say online most definitely could be. It may not be done BY the government, but they seem to have some kind of input into what should or should not be allowed, whether that be direct means or not. Look at all the airquote "new" information coming out about the use of hydroxychloroquine or the origin of COVID virus. It’s actually not new but the ideas were roundly denied a year or more ago. People advocating the ideas ended up being dumped off their social media accounts or silenced in some other way.

What does Mr. Mount have to say? Beyond what Reagan shared, I have been having some difficulty. The Daily Mail's own online archives seem to only consist of what appeared online. Other archives exist, but tend to be locked to average users. One must be a member of some academic institution to gain access. I have found parts of it reprinted in other newspapers, but I can’t be sure if they are complete or not. I also found places where Reagan's broadcast was quoted. Should I get my hands on the full editorial by Mr. Mount, I will update you on it.

As for what we do know, Mr. Mount is quite right. Does the world need more Americans? Sure. He seems to define, in his next sentence, that Americans are those people left free to make their own choices by their government. In theory that could happen anywhere. He acknowledges that we have our flaws, but in spite of them, we are still the last best hope for mankind because we pursue our own happiness, regardless of what that happiness is and what the government tells us happiness should be. In the end that is what makes us so successful, which is why the United States of America is the best place to live on Earth. If we weren't, people would stop coming here from every other country of the world. Maybe we'd even see people leaving. You know, according to the 2020 census, California lost population for the first time in its history, to the point of losing a congressional seat. You don't suppose people were unhappy about being told what to do, do you?

Among the free restored texts I have on my website is an essay written in 1939 entitled Communism, in which Bishop Fulton Sheen helps to illustrate one of the many reasons why people stay, even those that do not seem to like our country. He writes,

If one wants some concrete proofs that there is no liberty under Communism, a) try to send to Russia a year's subscription to any American daily newspaper or Life, or Time, or Fortune to one hundred peasants or workers there who are not members of the Communist Party, b) Offer to pay any one of the leaders of the Communist Party in the United States fare back to Russia on condition that they abandon their American citizenship and live under a regime the like to which they would establish in the United States. Not one of them will go. They would rather live in America, which they are seeking to undermine, than in the "Paradise" which their philosophy of class struggle has created. The truth is: They are Communists until they have to live under Communism; then they want to be Americans.

The concept was true then, it remains true now.

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