04 May 2009

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Last night I needed some space and air. I took a brisk walk through the neighborhood. Before leaving the house, though, I loaded up a podcast of Mark Levin’s radio show from a while back (March 31st) in which he played a speech given by Ronald Reagan in 1964. Good walking stuff, that.

I had heard this edition of Levin’s radio show – or parts of it – when it was aired. I had, as it were, happened on it by accident while running errands. On that day, I ended up sitting in a parking lot for most of an hour listening to Mr. Reagan’s speech. As I listened then, and as I listened during my walk, I realized that the things that I believe today are the same that Mr. Reagan was advocating in 1964. And while some of the big players were different, some were not. There was then, as there is now, “liberals” who sought peace through “understanding” the adversary, that if we showed enough empathy for them, they would just leave us alone. Mr. Reagan vigorously opposed this idea because it was, and is, weak and na├»ve.

But Mr. Reagan also covered, in an in depth manner with many statistics, anecdotes, and vision, why small government is better than big government, why individual freedom is more important than collectivism, and why we must work towards those ends now. Free markets, low taxes, and limited government are still what conservatives should be working towards. Now is still the time – even more so than in 1964, perhaps.

This morning, I read an article from the Financial Times about Margaret Thatcher. Not to my surprise, many of the same positions taken by Mr. Reagan are echoed in the article about Mrs. Thatcher. In the article, Lord Saatchi writes that if Mrs. Thatcher could see where Britain (and presumably the US) is headed at the moment, “She would block it with every ounce of her body. Because she knows where it is headed.”

Indeed, many people do know where this is headed, and not all of them are against it. Those who push statism know the end toward which they advocate. Those who fight against it fear the power of the state, and rightly so. The counter-punch against statism lies in the application of a few simple principles: limiting government reach and power, increased personal liberty (and through it, individual responsibility and freedom), and protecting and defending the highest law of the land – for the US, its Constitution. All other considerations are offshoots of these principles, and all three must be employed to slow down, stop, and roll back statist advances.

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