The Reagan Speech Preservation Society


Modified: Tuesday, 20 July 2021 22:00 by admin - Categorized as: Podcasts
The following is a collection of the materials used in creating the sixth episode of the Citizen Reagan podcast about the Reagan's Radio Commentaries.





The current slogan of the Washington Post is "Democracy Dies in Darkness." Perhaps we should be asking, who's turned out the lights? I'll be right back.

In late 1891, a German liberal named Eugene Richter wrote the book "Sozialdemokratische Zukunftsbilder" and it became a big seller, requiring multiple printings totalling 250,000 copies and it would be translated into multiple languages. The English speaking world would know it as "Pictures of the Socialistic Future." It tells the story of Germany becoming 100% socialist, using the ideals of Richter’s contemporary August Bebel, and all the changes to society that come from it. The only English translation was released in 1893 in England, until I took a stab at it. In 2017, I finished a 21st century update. It is a book worth reading because Richter does a fine job working out the ramifications of the changeover. My updated translation, along with the original German, is available in one offering through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and in print, which, I should add, has the unique feature of being set side-by-side, so you can see the English and the German on the same page. You can find this book along with all my other restoration work at my website,

See what I did there? I can't promise it will be the last time, but I thought I had to start at least one of these podcasts episodes just like Reagan did.

Before I began this podcast, offering my own thoughts, I would place the raw audio of the commentaries on Youtube and share them on my Facebook and Twitter accounts, usually in response to a relevant conversation. I would have preferred to not do podcasts on Reagan broadcasts I have already made available, but broadcasts like this one I honestly want to make sure I make available in as many places as I can.

In a 1975 broadcast, Reagan shares portions of an essay written by James Burnham for National Review magazine. Burnham's writings would appear in the radio commentaries numerous times. In this particular essay, entitled "The Resonance Differential" Burnham tells the story of a fictional country, one which he calls Ruritania and, well, I suppose I can just play the Reagan audio, and let him cover that.
James Burnham has authored a column which should alert us to the fact that a great many opinion makers on the watch for any threat from the right, have a blind spot to danger from the left. I'll be right back.

Columnist James Burnham writes an interesting what-if story about an imaginary country he calls Ruritania. A group of military officers stage a coup and take over the government. They explain their action as necessary to free the people from oppression by a left-wing regime that was headed toward a soviet-style totalitarian dictatorship. A year later the military junta announces it will continue to rule for at least three to five more years, regardless of the outcome of any elections that people might hold. Naturally, they've outlawed the communist and socialist parties in all left-wing organizations. Leftist and liberal newspapers and publications have been outlawed, as have gatherings by liberals. Any attempts to hold such meetings are broken up by right-wing militants. Thousands of people have been jailed without any legal process such as serving warrants and none have been brought to trial. Many thousands of others have fled the country. Inflation has reached the highest level in the world and unemployment is tripled. Strikes, of course, have been banned as counter-revolutionary.

At this point in his story, Mr. Burnham asks, what the response would be in other nations, and here he doesn't have to deal in fancy. There are enough real examples for us to know that countless meetings would be held, speeches made, organizations formed, and demonstrators would march. Student sit-ins would follow, editorials, petitions, and TV specials denouncing the fascist military dictators. Of course, the UN would get in the act with eloquent speeches thundering through the halls, protesting the violation of human, civil, and political rights of the Ruritanian workers and peasants. The intellectual community and, yes, some segments of the clergy, would appeal to the conscience of mankind. Burnham describes the ad-hoc committees that would spring up in a dozen countries demanding sanctions and severance of diplomatic relations. Ruritanian escapees would be offered professorial chairs on the campuses and their lectures fees would triple. Then, quoting Mr. Burnham, "Murray Kempton, Anthony Lewis, Garry Wills, Harriet Van Horne, and Tom Wicker would have a collective fit. A special issue of Time would give in-depth coverage of terror in Ruritania. Jack Anderson would reveal that CIA had financed the Ruritanian generals." end quote.

He's drawn a very accurate picture substantiated by actual incidents but then he explains the reason behind his mythical kingdom story. All that he said about the military takeover, the jailing of innocent citizens, the denial of human rights, the economic tragedy of inflation and unemployment, is happening right now. All we have to do is reverse left and right. He's telling the story of Portugal today. The military dictators are left-wing, the outlawed parties are moderate or right, as are the banned publications. The fiction begins with the description of world reaction. Except for an almost unheard-of fringe, the usual protest apparatus isn't the least upset about what is happening in Portugal. As Mr. Burnham says the media together with the other reverberators of public opinion are so organically and totally biased that they are not aware of their bias.

There's one way of responding to acts of the left, another way to the same acts sprung from the right. One simple factor is decisive. Does the regime suppress the Communist Party? If it does, it belongs with the bad guys. End quote.

This is Ronald Reagan. Thanks for listening.

I was able to track down the full essay online and was given permission to post its full text on my wiki. It comes from the June 6, 1975 issue of National Review, which I found online through the EBSCOhost database through my local public library. Reagan recorded the broadcast in August 1975. Quick reminder: That wiki is available at Search for "The Resonance Differential" or the name of this broadcast, "Ruritania".

Before I get into the media bias issue, what about the history? The situation being discussed is called the Carnation Revolution. It was a bloodless military coup taking place on April 25, 1974. The military pushed out an authoritarian government which has been in place since a similar coup in 1926. Contrary to the contents of the original essay, the military junta did not remain in power for "at least three to five more years, regardless of the outcome of any elections." In April of 1975, a year after the coup, elections were held to create a constitutional assembly, which was assembled over the remainder of 1975 and eventually finalized in 1976. This new constitution would contain communist and socialist language, fitting with Burnham's hypothetical country. That constitution, with significant revisions in 1982 and 1989, is still in place.

Interestingly, both the article and the commentary were published after Portugal had begun the process of creating a new constitution, making the scenario false before it was released. I suppose that’s what makes it a "What If" situation.

Let me also share some quick words about those journalists mentioned by Burnham. 4 of the 6 were Pulitzer Prize winners. 3 made their way to Richard Nixon's Master list of political opponents. The quip about Jack Anderson and the CIA is likely due to his expose revealing that the CIA had attempted assassinations on Fidel Castro. Interestingly, Jack Anderson would be involved in the breaking of the story of Iran Contra.

The line I find most striking, one which I have turned into a tweetable meme and is available on my wiki, is the line about bias. Reagan shortens it slightly, likely for time:

"the media together with the other reverberators of public opinion are so organically and totally biased that they are not aware of their bias, any more than a healthy man is aware of his breathing and heart beat."

I don't think anyone sitting on the political right in the United States feels this statement is inaccurate. How many times has someone asked, "If a Republican had done what Hillary did, the media would be in an uproar." Perhaps 10 or 15 years ago, there'd be some question in their minds about the bias, but not today.

Recently, what is called the Main Stream Media has grown more and more brazen with their seemingly outright contempt for the political right in the United States. To the benefit of many, these sources no longer have the same amount of control over the narrative. The growth of the Internet has given everyone a voice. What those people say may not always be right, but at least they have the freedom to do it.

Or do they? What is a "reverberator of public opinion?" Would that include social media? What is more reverberating than something "going viral?" Is social media biased? In and of itself, no, probably not, but people who make decisions can be.

Up until recently, I would have next discussed the idea of "digital ghetto-ization". This is the idea that social media can silence a person, not by preventing them from speaking, but by making sure no one hears them. I can tweet something to the people that follow me, but if my opinions have been deemed "fake news," "the algorithm" will prevent my tweet from being read by those followers. If a tree falls in the forest... However, there's not much need for me to talk about that...because it’s gotten worse.

Social media can make a story, but it can also break it (or try to). At the time I am writing and recording this podcast, the New York Post, one of the oldest newspapers in the United States, is recovering from a spat with social media giant Twitter. It began with a report about a laptop owned by the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, Hunter. A laptop which may contain the evidence of significant corruption with the Biden family. Twitter quickly began blocking the New York Post's account because they broke the story. Then, Twitter would block the sharing of the article by anyone, claiming it does not allow the dissemination of hacked materials. Likewise, a significant majority of the Main Stream Media has chosen to ignore, not only the story of the laptop, but also the story of Twitter blocking the laptop story. In fact, what we have seen is a phenomena called The Streisand Effect where the act of blocking a story causes the story to go viral.

Twitter's action of locking the New York Post out is decidedly a step beyond digital ghetto-ization to actual suppression of speech. Likewise, the effort to disallow sharing of the story is a suppression. In the weeks since, little improvement has been made, especially in light of the conflicting information coming from the recent election.

Is there an answer to what's going on right now? I think it's safe to say Reagan would have been in favor of free speech and free expression. The Main Stream Media and platforms like Facebook and Twitter have power because we gave them power. Government could try to fix things, but when does government ever make things better by getting involved? If we choose to step away and find alternatives, they will lose their power. That's how the free market works.

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