I’ve been keeping an eye out for the American Enterprise to post a transcript of Bernard Lewis’s speech from last week’s annual dinner. It’s not there yet, but in looking for it, I began browsing through some of the previous speeches, and came across a marvelous, unabashed and bracing address that President Ronald Reagan gave in 1988. It richly deserves re-reading today. It includes the short, straightforward lines quoted above, and here is a longer excerpt:
We came to Washington together in 1981, both as anti-Communists and as unapologetic defenders and promoters of a strong and vibrant America. I am proud to say I am still an anti-Communist. And I continue to be dedicated to the idea that we must trumpet our beliefs and advance our American ideals to all the peoples of the world until the towers of the tyrants crumble to dust.
Yes, it seems to me that we have been as one these past eight years in an effort to establish a foreign policy that stood in firm opposition to the previous decade’s misguided attempt to place this country on what they used to call in the 1970s the “right side of history”–by which those who used that unpleasant Marxist phrase meant we should accept the dominion of our adversaries over large parts of the world.
We said no. We said we must propound and advance our national ideals abroad and once again hold high the banner for what I will, until the breath is gone from my body, continue to call “the free world.”
You can read the entire transcript here.