Address of Ronald Reagan at Testimonial Dinner for Rep. John Ashbrook

While attempting to research some of the quotes included in Reagan's Great Myth of the Great Society speech, I stumbled across an entry in the Congressional Record from August 18, 1965, where the text of a speech had been included. This speech bears many striking resemblances to the Myths speech from the next year.


Full Text

August 18, 1965

Mr. DEVINE. Mr. Speaker, Ronald Reagan is one of the most popular speakers in America today. He is an articulate exponent of conservative principles and his speeches are not only a pleasure to hear but they are also very interesting to read. Mr. Reagan recently spoke at a testimonial for my colleague, Representative John M. Ashbrook, and delivered a fine address. I commend this address to all of those who are interested in a forceful exposition of constitutional, free enterprise principles.

The speech follows:

Address of Ronald Reagan at Testimonial Dinner for Representative John M. Ashbrook, June 8, 1965, Granville. Ohio

Mr. Henderson, Congressman Ashbrook, ladles and gentlemen, you filled my heart to overflowing with that kind of a welcome. I don’t deserve the nice things that were said about me but I don't mind confessing that I enjoy hearing them. There are some things, you know, when you are being introduced that get you a little uncomfortable. I’m always concerned, for example, lest they start going Into the motion pictures that I’ve been in. Now I don't mean that I’m ashamed of all of them but anyone who’s been around Hollywood for any length of time has made some movies that the studio didn't want them good. it wanted them Thursday. And I’ve had my share like everyone else. Of course in the old days we could always count on the passing years taking those pictures out of your memory. Now we just stay up late enough at night in front of the TV set and they all come back to haunt us. Sometimes it's like looking at a son you never knew you had. I've got a friend in the business who stays up late to look at his old movies Just to watch his hairline recede. You know now this world of politics is a very wonderful thing. My friend George Murphy tells some tales of his campaigning. Murphy says that he finished a speech one night and a sweet elderly little lady came up to him and she said, "Oh, I remember you when you were George Murphy." And then she said. “I think your speech was simply superfluous.” Murphy tried to stop her; he smiled Just as sweetly and said "Thank you, ma'am. I'm thinking of having it published posthumously." She topped him—she smiled right back and said, "I can hardly wait." But it is a wonderful world.

I was in Washington not too long ago. it was just evening and I was going down Pennsylvania Avenue. it's so wonderful to see the White House all lighted up now that the election is over. He has to leave the lights on. How else is he going to read those Goldwater speeches and find out what to do next in Vietnam? Seriously, I think it's wonderful that they're going to have a voting bill. If tombstones and empty warehouses and empty lots can vote, why not people? You know, here we are, and Its been true ever since November, we don't know whether to turn in our suits or get ready for the next half. Actually nothing has changed. What was true before the election is still true, and what was false cannot be changed even If the vote were unanimous.

Now it would be presumptuous of me to come here and try to tell you anything about your Congressman, John Ashbrook—you who know him so well and who have lived with him. I have shared the platform with him in the heat and the dust of the political arena and have been very proud to do so. in a day when political expedients and vote-getting devices are offered to us like a lollipop to children it is wonderful to know that here is a man who dares to speak the truth and I can tell you that many of us in California are very happy about your Congressman from here in the State of Ohio and we sleep easier in our beds because he is there in Washington. And we trust that all of you will use the good judgement to see that we can continue to sleep easy at night in the years to come.

Rather than try to add to all the things that have been said I will discuss with you tonight some of the things that I know he is concerned with and some of the things that he has dared to stand up and be counted on. A hundred years ago Lord Macaulay of England wrote to an American friend and said in the fifth century, A.D., ancient Rome, was fearfully plundered by the vandals and Huns. And then he predicted to the Americans that .in the mld-20th century—which is approximately this period we are in—our Republic would be fearfully plundered by the vandals and Huns but he said, with this difference Rome's barbarians came from without—your barbarians will be engendered by your own democratic institutions. Perhaps what he had in mind was what Prof. Alexander Frazer Tytler has written, that a democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largesse out of the public treasury. From that moment on the majority, he said, always vote for the candidate promising the most benefits from the treasury with the result that democracy always collapses over a loose fiscal policy, always to be followed by a dictatorship. Unfortunately, we can't argue with the professor because when he wrote that we were still colonials of Great Britain and he was explaining what has destroyed the Athenian Republic more than 2,000 years before.

A hundred years ago the great French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville said much the same thing. He said the end of freedom comes when the party in power learns it can perpetuate Itself through taxation. But what does happen when the executive branch of government can use the money taken from the people in order to coerce the people? Already we are seeing the shape of things to come. Four and one-half years ago we were told “let us begin.” Now we are urged to get moving. Where? For 4½ years we’ve had the New Frontier that has now become the Great Society. Well, let us, as Al Smith once admonished, “look at the record." The dollar has dropped another several cents in purchasing power in these 4½ years. We’ve added more than 430 billion to the national debt. The gold supply is so diminished there is fear for the solvency of our currency. Crime is up 30 percent and the farmers' Income is down 8 percent. The consumers are paying the highest price for food they have ever paid in the history of the Nation. And 4½ years ago there were no dally casualty lists. No wives and mothers were receiving telegrams that said "we regret to inform you.”

In the last campaign those in power presented themselves actually as conservatives, conservatives in the sense that they would bring about no drastic change, that here we had a peaceful and a prosperous America and things would go along in this easy way. In short, they promised to maintain the status quo—that's Latin for the mess we're in. We, on the other hand, were presented as radicals who'd bring about some drastic upheaval, some great change in the normal American way. Well now. however, the wraps are off the Great Society and a multitude of messages have made it plain that we're to have the welfare state with an unprecedented federalization of American life. Subsidies proliferate and security becomes so all Important as to override self-reliance, self-respect, and even simple morality. Serious discussion by supposedly learned men is granted to the idea of not only helping those in need but actually divorcing income from work with the central authority satisfying not only the peoples' needs but the peoples’ wants. Well, that same Alexis de Tocqueville warned us that such a government would cover the face of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform. And he said thus the will of man is not shattered but softened and guided until the Nation is reduced to a flock of timid and Industrious animals of which government is the shepherd.

Well, now at first hearing, perhaps we are all inclined to doubt that we are even within distant gunshot of such an alteration of our free and independent way but I wonder if our complacency is justified. Freedom is very fragile: it has flowered only a few moments in all of man’s history and most of those moments have been ours. But now our limited Government with Its decentralized powers has given away to planners and these planners have laid an Increasingly heavy hand on every facet of our lives. Sometimes as I look at their efforts I think that If they were all laid end to end they wouldn’t reach a conclusion. Once we had a system in this country of checks and balances. Well, we’re seeing plenty of checks and we know where they come from but some place along the line we’ve lost our balance.

The Declaration of Independence has 300 words—that’s all it took for that immortal document. The Federal Government recently issued a ruling related to cabbage and it took 29,011 words. If we ever decided we needed a new Declaration I hope we will keep one line from the old, a line that goes "He has sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.” Federal employees outnumber State employees in 30 of the 50 States Including your own. Today it only takes 12 doctors for every 10,000 people in America to keep us well and healthy. it only takes 40 mechanics and oil station attendants to keep our cars running. it takes 130 Federal employees for every 10,000 of us. There are hundreds of Government corporations operating thousands of businesses in direct competition with the private businessmen and in so doing these Government-owned corporations have lost to date 481 billion, more than a fourth of the national debt. Hardly a recommendation for those who say that Government should take an even greater hand in regulating the Nation’s economy.

Paperwork, Government forms forced off on the American businessman cost the American Industry 420 billion a year. it is estimated it takes 35 percent of the small businessman's time Just to fill out Government regulations and questionnaires. And the threat of even more regulation and outright takeover looms even larger. Robert Weaver, Federal Housing Administrator, stated publicly that while the Government once gave control and ownership of the land to the private citizen in order to speed Its development, today the goal of the Government is to regain complete control of the use of that land. Lewis Levine, the U.S. Director of Employment, backed by a 4200 million budget, said the ultimate goal is to make the U.S. Employment Service the manpower agency for the entire Nation; that there will no longer be a need for private employment agencies. And thus we see the Federal Government taking part in determining where an employee will work and whom employers will employ. Every businessman could tell his own story of harassment. The natural gas producers have a beaut. They were handed a questionnaire not too long ago that was 428 pages long. it weighed 10 pounds and each page was 24 inches long and it had room for hundreds of entries. They had to fill it out in quadruplicate. One firm has estimated it will take 17,000 accountant man-hours to complete this questionnaire. The Power Commission says it has to have it to determine whether they are charging the right price for gas. Are we safe in our books and our records? We discovered that for the last 3 years the Postmaster has been turning over private mall letters to the Internal Revenue Service letters addressed to people who are back or delinquent in the payment of their income tax. Planes equipped with surveying Instruments fly over American farms to check on those farms to see If there is a violation of the planting allotment and If any farmer is found guilty of such a thing, he is guilty as charged. He is fined: he has no day in court and If he doesn’t pay his fine they can seize and sell at auction his property to enforce the payment.

Government’s involvement in the foreign economy gives us a window on what happens when the Government invades areas not its proper province. All the world finds man still faced with the age-old problem of trying to provide food for himself and his family let alone some other Individual engaged in something besides the direct production of food and fiber. But here in America the farmer has developed his craft to the point of genius. Here in this one spot in the world the farmer can produce enough to feed not only himself and his family but feed literally hundreds of his fellow human beings. And yet. triggered by the depression, the Federal Government set out to help the needy farmer with a subsidy and now they end up giving 80 percent of their subsidy to the one-fourth of the farms with the highest Income.

A little more than a year ago the wheat farmer voted against a program of wheat control but they discovered you don't say no to Santa Claus. So the Government dumped surplus wheat on the market to break the price and then they passed the wheat program anyway and they achieved a new high in bureaucratic Ingenuity; they lowered the price of wheat to the farmer, they raised the price of flour and bread to the consumer, they reduced exports and they handed the taxpayer a bill for $100 million for doing all this. You know who the taxpayer is—that’s someone who works for the Government and doesn't have to take a civil service exam.

For every dollar that the country was paying for price stabilization in 1948 they are today spending $25 and with what results? Two million farmers have been driven to the city in search of Jobs, the farmers get the lowest return from the market basket dollar they’ve ever gotten in history, 37 cents, and the farmers’ income today is matched by a debt that is higher than at any time in his history—even higher than on the eve of the 1929 depression. He owes $2.86 for every dollar of net Income. it’s a funny thing, with our Government spending billions of dollars to take fruitful farm land out of production. with our Government telling us that another 2 1/2 million farmers must be removed from the soil, they adopt an Appalachian program and they appropriate tens of millions of dollars to develop marginal land and to make farmers in that area on that marginal land.

And then there are our traditional laws of eminent domain that we've had so long in this Nation. Most of us understand them. We realize that every once in a while the Government must find it necessary to take some property from the citizen for a clear and definite and present public need but the citizen has always had his day in court and a fair price is established by the court and the citizen can make the Government prove that there is a clear and present need for his property and his alone. Now a variety of programs have diluted private right by making public Interest anything that a few Government planners decide it should be. We now have adopted an urban renewal program. The original Intent was to provide quickly decent homes for every American, to eliminate slums. Well now, no one disagrees with that humanitarian purpose. But since 1949 the program has been overly costly, destructive of personal liberty, and has miserably failed to fulfill its original intent. In the last 10-year period urban renewal has destroyed 126,000 low-rent homes. They’ve replaced them with only 28,000 homes in a higher rent bracket. Almost a million people displaced by the bulldozer have wound up in new slums paying higher rent.

The law says the displaced must be offered standard housing at rents they can afford in convenient locations. But If standard housing at rents they can afford in convenient locations had been available they’d have moved there without waiting for the urban renewal bulldozer. Note the contrast between Government in this area and private Industry. While the Government was building those 28,000 units, private enterprise in the same period built 27 million dwelling units.

Now, let me make it plain. I don't challenge the sincerity of those planners. I believe they are sincerely motivated by humanitarian purpose. They want to alleviate distress and poverty and misery. They want to help us solve these age-old problems. They remind me though of a young fellow who was riding a motorcycle on a cold winter day and the wind was coming through the buttonholes on his leather Jacket and bothering him. So he finally figured something out. He turned the Jacket around and put it on backwards. That solved the cold front but it kind of restricted his arm motions and he hit a patch of Ice and skidded Into a tree. When the ambulance got there, the attendants elbowed their way through the crowd and one of them asked what happened. A bystander said "We don’t know. When we get here he seemed to be all right but by the time we got his head turned around straight he was dead.”

Now the Government urges upon us a new Cabinet post, a Cabinet post of urban affairs and they tell us they want a program to subsidize rent so that a man can live, even a man of average income, in a home and a neighborhood beyond his means with his thrifty new neighbors taxed to pay the difference in rent. Urban renewal plans, they say, will “be used in a new way so that all our tools from poverty programs to education and construction can be used together to create meaningful and livable communities within our cities.” Of course, Washington will decide what is meaningful and what is livable. We have a poverty program and they base this program as you all well know in this State on the classic case of West Virginia. Over and over again we heard that here was the very depth of degradation and poverty in our land. Here was the center of unemployment and if for no other reason, we must have a poverty program. So we have it. West Virginia gets $400,000. Texas gets $9 million. I think they believe that the poverty program, like charity, begins at home and home is their own bureaucratic den because in one place, Gum Spring, Va., they just allotted them $74,000 for the poverty program there; $54,000 for administrators' salaries and $20,000 for the poor. Check a little deeper around that particular one and you’ll find out there are 16 families in Gum Springs. Va. Now If you Just took the $74,000 and divided it up with the 16 families, you don’t need any administrator—they all get $5,000 apiece.

The mayor of Paterson, N.J., is upset. He’s discovered that the poverty administrator in his town gets $1,000 a year more than he does. in the youth phase of that program we're going to salvage young people who have failed to meet the responsibilities of preparing themselves for adult life. And. again, no one quarrels with this goal. But during this salvage operation of these young people who to date have been failures we are going to pay them a salary higher than we give the man who puts on a uniform and stands in the defense of his country and this is pretty ridiculous.

We find the same pattern in the dropout program. Now most of us are aware that this is serious and most of us want to do something about it. You have a community right here in your own State in which the individuals, the educators and the industrialists in the town have banded together in a voluntary program and they salvage more than half of the dropouts long before the Government thought of doing anything about it. But now we find out that in the Government program, in one area where it is established, the rate of pay for the dropout is higher than the legitimate rate of pay for students who have part-time jobs and so they have created Incentive for the student to drop out so that he can continue with his education and get a raise at tire same time. Have we come to a point where we no longer think it’s necessary to teach the simple virtues of reward for labor or to repay what we borrow? in my State of California there's a small college town and the Rotary Club there has raised a fund of thousands of dollars and they lend this money to needy college students. No Interest and they don’t have to pay it back until after graduation until they’re established in a career or Job out of school. The other day the dean of the college called them and said if you're not willing to make the loan fund an outright gift we won't need it anymore because the Government is putting up the money and the students don’t have to pay it back.

Samuel Gompers, founder of the American Federation of Labor and a great humanitarian, said doing for people what they can and ought to do for themselves is a dangerous experiment. In the last analysis the welfare of the worker depends on their own initiative. Let social busybodies and professional morals experts and their fads reflect upon the perils they rashly Invite under the pretense of social welfare.

Over in Illinois, the news reported the other day, there was a woman who is mother of six children and earning about $50 a week in a laundry. She had given her husband $164.50 for their joint income tax return and he skipped. He deserted the family and took the tax money. The Internal Revenue Service couldn't find him: they could find her working in the laundry so they levied against her wages and took her $50 a week to insure the payment of the $164—the sole support she had for her six children. This woman who had never asked for any handout of any kind in her life was finally persuaded to go to the Aid for Dependent Children program and they gleefully discovered that they could arrange for her to get $450 a month for doing nothing. Now what really made this a newsworthy story though is to date she's still holding out. She just wants her $50 a week at the laundry and they’re investigating her because this they don’t understand.

The network of rules grows more minute. Down on the border between the North and the South there's an oil station operator. He’s a pretty enterprising fellow. He gets a lot of tourist trade from the North so in that little triangle of ground between the driveway and the sidewalk, usually covered with gravel, he planted a few cotton bushes. Then when his northern customers came in he gave them a cotton boll off the bush as a souvenir of their trip to the South. The Government has just fined him for planting cotton without an allotment.

Now we're going to subsidize art and literature and we’re told that we’ll have two czars at the Federal level and power to grant millions of dollars a year on the basis of their opinion of what constitutes meaningful art and literature. Now, perhaps I’m unduly perturbed about this but If they follow the pattern of the Government-sponsored research and science there is reason for concern. I don't set myself up as a qualified scientist or qualified to really Judge what is legitimate research but sometimes I wonder If we aren't subsidizing Just Intellectual curiosity when I see the Government spending thousands of dollars on "Research in Filology and Faunal Affinities of Fossil Bryozoa in the Middle Ordovician Through Silurian." Now the only thing about that I understand is that part “in the middle.” There I know whom they are talking about.

Now the Nation’s Capital concerns Itself with recreational facilities and our ability to enjoy ourselves in the great outdoors. They publish a booklet by the Special Engineering Services Branch of Environmental Engineering and Food Protection of the U.S. Public Health Service. That Isn’t the book I read, that’s the agency that puts it out. The book is called “Environmental Health Practices in Recreational Areas." it's 134 pages of profundities and I don’t know how we got along without them up until now. For example, did you know. If you lay out a campsite you should provide drinking fountains at such a height that the drinking level is convenient to the persons using the fountain? But wait until you get to those exciting chapters on wildlife. “Insects crawling into the ears of outdoorsmen sometimes creates painful conditions.” Well I’ve got news for them—it’s no fun when it happens Indoors. But this Isn’t all they have to say about wildlife. “If your recreational area has a bathhouse Intended for the use of both men and women, it should be divided Into two parts by a tight partition.” Now, you know we would never have thought of that by ourselves. Maybe I should change careers. If exciting reading like that catches on television’s going right out the window.

But Professor Tytler’s loose fiscal policy may well be at hand. Our Government is spending $260 million a day and that’s 10 million more than we were spending a year ago. Our Government is responsible for a deliberate and planned Inflation that has reduced the purchasing power of the dollar in the last three decades to 44 Vi cents. In the last 20 years, we have eroded the value of our savings and Insurance by 190 billion. My father, when I was a boy, and I can hear him now, said the country needed a good 5 cent cigar. What this country needs is a good 5-cent nickel. The Government practices bookkeeping tricks that would Jail a private citizen. We’re told that the budget is still under a $100 billion. Last year, with great talk of economy, we were told it was only $98 billion. But $10 billion in obligational authority was hidden and not shown by these bookkeeping tricks, and again this year it’s $99.7 billion and again the obligational authority is $106.4 billion. Now the Congress has been asked between now and the end of this month to raise the debt limit for the fifth time in 4 years and the Interest on that debt is $22,000 a minute, every minute of every hour of the 24, day in and day out. These bookkeeping tricks have reached a new high in sophistication. The medicare bill—and we’ll probably have it—is presented as only costing each citizen a few cents a month and that will be true until after the 1968 elections. And then we’ll be in for a bigger surprise than we were last April 15 when we discovered the truth about the so-called tax cut.

With our gold supply down from 70 percent of the world’s supply to one-third since foreign aid started in 1948 we continue a program in which the Ink that spatters on American Embassy walls in hate America demonstrations is bought by American taxpayers. We go along with the hypocrisy of our State Department pretending that there could possibly be a spontaneous riot in a police state. We furiously send them a note and demand that next time they send more police. it would make more sense If next time they send a smaller mob. We have 325,000 dependents of civilian employees, not military, living abroad and adding to our deficit in the exchange, adding to the outflow of gold. But businessmen are asking to do a 180-degree turn and forsake their traditional role of trading in the world’s marketplace. I say they’re asked, but they understand it’s ‘do or else,' and the 'or else’ is government force or coercion.

The President is fond of quoting from the Scriptures. His favorite seems to be from the 1st chapter of Isaiah the 18th verse: “Come let us reason together.” Now that has a cozy and inviting sound, doesn’t it? Well, don’t let your eyes drop a line or two to the next verse where it says that If you refuse you shall be devoured with the sword.

We are taxed in our food, our drink, and our shelter with the Government taking the highest percentage from the productive free economy that any society has ever done without ruin. Now we are told we have a $5 billion cut in the excise tax, but we'll have a $5 billion deficit, also. And we won’t really be taxed less. They're just going to rearrange it. Apply it somewhere else. They keep fooling us with the idea that we can rob Peter to pay Paul. Well, it’s time we found out that Peter isn’t loaded and no one else is. We're robbing Paul to pay Paul. People pay taxes. To pretend that you can cut taxes without cutting the burden that causes them is to perpetrate a fraud upon the people. Government is like a baby. it’s an alimentary canal with an appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.

Now we're surprised to learn there’s a great emergency at the local level and the Federal Government proposes to help us with our public schools. They claim that they'll exercise no Federal control but when competent educators went to Washington and proved conclusively that there were no problems of school construction or teachers’ salaries that could not be met at the local and State level, and when they proposed various plans such as leaving some of the tax money at the local level before you run it through those buildings on the Potomac, the Freudian slip occurred. Francis Keppel, the Commissioner of Education, said, "You don’t understand, with your plan we couldn’t achieve our social objectives.” And this is what’s at the base of Federal aid to education—social objectives, not outlined and not told to us—with a Government planning to build the schools, buy the books, grant scholarships, make Judgments, and exert pressure. What if one day that pressure is of a political nature not to our liking? Education is the bulwark of freedom. If you remove it too far from the community and the parents’ control it becomes the tool of tyranny.

Freedom comes but once in the history of a nation or a people, and once lost, it’s hardly ever regained. The day is long gone when you and I, as Individuals, can choose the man regardless of party, for now our two parties are widely divided in their political philosophy. The Democratic leadership is committed to the planned economy, ruled by an Intellectual elite. I believe that the best vehicle for either Republican or Democrat who believes in constitutional limits in the power of government can be found in the Republican Party, which is polarized around a belief in Individual freedom and man’s right to control his own destiny. I hope I speak to Democrats. I spent most of my life as a Democrat, and I know that the leadership of that party has long ago abandoned the principles of Jefferson and Jackson and Cleveland. And I know how Democrats today may be bothered by a feeling of disloyalty when they consider change, because I discovered how deeply Ingrained is the political loyalty. I discovered it’s almost like religion when it came time to change. But have no feeling of disloyalty, because I’ll tell you now. the leadership of the Democratic Party, if you’re a Democrat, has long since deserted you.

A hundred years ago we faced the problem of a nation half slave and half free and whether that Nation could survive. Today, we face a world that's half slave and half free and whether mankind itself can survive. And this is where the Republican responsibility comes in. We can’t meet the problems of a divided world of a divided nation with a splinter party. For too long you and I have been Republicans complete with descriptive adjectives and hyphens. We've been moderate Republicans, liberal Republicans, conservative Republicans, Main Street Republicans, whatever that means. The truth of the matter is we’ve been sucker Republicans. Our opponents gave us those adjectives and those labels, and it’s high time we bundled them up and gave them back. We have a challenge today to be Just Republicans, the party of opposition to the misguided Democratic leadership at home and opposition to all those people abroad who threaten the dignity and freedom of man in every nation. We can cringe in the shadow of a philosophy we detest but fear to challenge, or we can rise from our defeat and begin the second round of our struggle to restore the Republic. The opportunity has never been greater. I cant believe that the broad rank and file of people in the Democratic Party would knowingly support the philosophy leading to the loss of freedom. with the Government planning and dictating every facet of our lives. Our opponents charge that we are only a party of opposition. Well, I think we are ready to make plain what we’re for. I wish they’d do the same; I wish they'd spell out the Great Society and tell us Just exactly how far they Intend to go and then, at the same time, tell us what the price tag will be.

It is true that in our Republican Party we have people who out of power have hungrily looked at the opposition and said perhaps we can imitate them; perhaps we can try to outpromise them. There has been cynical talk of voter blocs and appealing to these voter blocs with these promises. But If we do this then we might as well abandon the two-party system now. I’d like to answer them that there is a voter bloc; it’s a voter bloc that crosses party lines, racial and religious and ethnic and economic lines. it's a bloc that can be ours, ours for the taking. it's made up of truly forgotten Americans—unsung heroes who get up in the morning and send their kids to school and pay their bills; contribute to their church and their charity and their community. They believe in God as the Creator of all our rights and freedoms and they’re disturbed because their children can’t ask His blessing on a lunch in the school cafeteria. There haven’t been very many voices raised in their behalf in the higher echelons of government. Once voice unafraid, loud, and clear you have provided in Washington with your Congressman. That bloc is ours for the taking If we're ready to tell them that we believe the problems of age, the problems of health, and the problems of poverty and housing can be solved without compulsion and without fiscal Irresponsibility. If we really tell them that we believe no one should live in degradation, but that everyone in this land should be able to fly as high and as far as his own strength will take him without being punished for his Initiative and his efforts. That we’ll never buy our freedom from the threat of the bomb by trading away the freedoms of people in other lands not ours to give, and tell that same bloc of voters that If they or their sons are to be asked to die for their country some place in the world they ought to at least die knowing they were given a chance to try for victory.

Thomas Wolfe said:
"To every man his chance;
To every man, regardless of his birth, his shining golden opportunity;
To every man the right to live, to work, to be himself;
To become whatever his manhood and decision combine to make him;
That is the promise of America.”

An earlier generation of Americans pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to give us that promise and Americans since have paid with their lives and their fortunes—all of them have preserved their honor. We pray devoutly, as I am sure they did, that we'll never be asked to make such a supreme sacrifice. But one thing is certain : unless we are willing to make the same pledge they made and make it within the hearing of the enemy that freedom will disappear from this earth in our lifetime and our failure will be recorded in a book yet to be written called the Rise and Pall of the United States of America.

The pathway of history is littered with the bones of dead empires. If we’re to follow we’ll have no decades or centuries for leisurely decay. The enemy at our gates is combat lean and hard and hungry for everything that we produce here. Everytime, history tells us, that a cultured, advanced society has met the less cultured, the barbarians triumph. The words of the poet Bellocq:

"We sit by and watch the barbarians. in the long stretches of peace we laugh. But as we laugh we are watched by large and awful faces from beyond and on those faces there is no smile.”

You and I have reached our moment of truth, our rendezvous with destiny. We and we alone must make the decision as to whether freedom will perish from the earth. A hundred years ago in that other time of trial that first Republican, Abraham Lincoln, spoke words appropriate then but so much more appropriate today that they ring with a note of prophecy. “The fire and trial through which we pass will light us to the latest generations. We here hold the power and responsibility. We shall nobly save or meanly lose the last best hope of man on earth.” This is the time for every Republican to look very deep in his own heart and say "is there possibly any difference I have with another Republican more important than the responsibility of the challenge that faces us in this day.” Thank you.