Sunday, February 6, 2011


Today is the 100th birthday of Ronald Wilson Reagan. He was a man who loved his country deeply and unabashedly. He was optimistic, witty, and sharp as a tack. He was a consummate diplomat who was able to negotiate the treacherous waters of the Cold War with skill and aplomb. He believed that the country, when it's free markets are left unfettered, could overcome just about anything.

His dislike of big government was legendary. My favorite saying of his was what he described as the nine scariest words in the english language - "I'm from the government and I'm here to help". Here are some more words of wisdom from the Gipper.

On government:

Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it

Concentrated power has always been the enemy of liberty.

Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them.

Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.

Man is not free unless government is limited.

How do you tell a communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin.

No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!

The problem is not that people are taxed too little, the problem is that government spends too much.

On politics:

Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July, but the democrats believe every day is April 15.

I've never been able to understand why a Republican contributor is a 'fat cat' and a Democratic contributor of the same amount of money is a 'public-spirited philanthropist'.

It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.

On his age:

Thomas Jefferson once said, 'We should never judge a president by his age, only by his works.' And ever since he told me that, I stopped worrying.

"I will not make age an issue in this campaign. I'm not going to exploit for political purposes my opponents youth and inexperience."

On social issues:

We must reject the idea that every time a law's broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.

We should measure welfare's success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added.

On freedom:

We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we will always be free.

There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect.

Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today's world do not have.

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.

On politics and religion:

If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under.

I have wondered at times what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the US Congress.

If the federal government had been around when the Creator was putting His hand to this state, Indiana wouldn't be here. It'd still be waiting for an environmental impact statement.

Ronald Reagan ushered in a twenty year period of prosperity.  His increased militarization during the Cold War helped bring down the Soviet Union, whose command economy simply could not keep up.  His unapologetic love of country inspired an entire generation - even ultra-liberal Bruce Springsteen wasn't ashamed to say he was born in the USA. 

The media's incessant attempts since the midterm election rout to make President Obama into the reincarnation of the Gipper are laughable, at best.  No doubt Reagan himself would have a few choice words of his own for the comparison.  It's impossible to say what he would think of the current administration, but here are two speeches that might shed some light on the subject:

On the economy, from Feb. 5, 1981

On the dangers of socialized medicine, from a radio address in 1961:

Like many great leaders, his words still inspire.  Celebrating his centennial has reminded the country of his wisdom and leadership at a time when both seem to be in scarce supply.  Happy birthday, Gipper.  Hope you're enjoying your mansion in heaven!

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