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A VOICE FROM THE PAST

[As usual, there are many visual and audio elements in the video that I can’t reproduce on the page. The editorial is free, and does not require subscription or registration (although we always appreciate either). You can watch it here.] 

For the video impaired… here’s the transcript:

 

 

As if we’re not already overextended enough financially, the issue of National Health Care is now on the table once more vote. Here’s some perspective you might find interesting.

norman-thomas

Now back in 1927 an American socialist, Norman Thomas, six times candidate for president on the Socialist Party ticket, said the American people would never vote for socialism. But he said under the name of liberalism the American people will adopt every fragment of the socialist program.

One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project. Most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who possibly can’t afford it.

Now, the American people, if you put it to them about socialized medicine and gave them a chance to choose, would unhesitatingly vote against it. We had an example of this. Under the Truman administration it was proposed that we have a compulsory health insurance program for all people in the United States, and, of course, the American people unhesitatingly rejected this.

Let’s take a look at social security itself. Again, very few of us disagree with the original premise that there should be some form of savings that would keep destitution from following unemployment by reason of death, disability or old age. And to this end, social security was adopted, but it was never intended to supplant private savings, private insurance, pension programs of unions and industries.

Now in our country under our free enterprise system we have seen medicine reach the greatest heights that it has in any country in the world. Today, the relationship between patient and doctor in this country is something to be envied any place. The privacy, the care that is given to a person, the right to chose a doctor, the right to go from one doctor to the other.

But let’s also look from the other side, at the freedom the doctor loses. A doctor would be reluctant to say this. Well, like you, I am only a patient, so I can say it in his behalf. The doctor begins to lose freedoms; it’s like telling a lie, and one leads to another. First you decide that the doctor can have so many patients. They are equally divided among the various doctors by the government. But then the doctors aren’t equally divided geographically, so a doctor decides he wants to practice in one town and the government has to say to him you can’t live in that town, they already have enough doctors. You have to go some place else. And from here it is only a short step to dictating where he will go.

This is a freedom that I wonder whether any of us have the right to take from any human being.  All of us can see what happens once you establish the precedent that the government can determine a man’s working place and his working methods, determine his employment. From here it is a short step to all the rest of socialism, to determining his pay and pretty soon your children won’t decide when they’re in school where they will go or what they will do for a living. They will wait for the government to tell them where they will go to work and what they will do.

What can we do about this? Well, you and I can do a great deal. We can write to our congressmen and our senators. We can say right now that we want no further encroachment on these individual liberties and freedoms. And at the moment, the key issue is, we do not want socialized medicine.

Former Representative Halleck of Indiana has said, “When the American people want something from Congress, regardless of its political complexion, if they make their wants known, Congress does what the people want.”

So write, and if your representative writes back to you and tells you that he or she too is for free enterprise, that we have these great services and so forth, that must be performed by government, don’t let them get away with it. Show that you have not been convinced. Write a letter right back and tell them that you believe ingovernment economy and fiscal responsibility; that you know governments don’t tax to get the money the need; governments will always find a need for the money they get and that you demand the continuation of our free enterprise system. You and I can do this. The only way we can do it is by writing to our congressmen even we believe that he is on our side to begin with. Write to strengthen his hand. Give him the ability to stand before his colleagues in Congress and say “I have heard from my constituents and this is what they want.”

Write those letters now; call your friends and them to write them. If you don’t, this program I promise you, will pass just as surely as the sun will come up tomorrow, and behind it will come other federal programs that will invade every area of freedom as we have known it in this country.

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With the exception of the first two sentences, nothing you just heard was written by me. I was simply repeating, verbatim, the words of another American thinker and philosopher – although slightly edited to remove the references to the time in which these words were first spoken.

That time was 1961, and the philosopher who had such an astute grasp of the dangers of that impending socialism was a B-list Hollywood actor named Ronald Reagan.  

young-ronald-reagan

Of course, most liberals would just as soon forget Reagan and all that he represented. The disturbing thing is that many high-level Republicans are calling for exactly the same thing. But those of us who continue to revere Ronald Reagan do so not out of a sense of nostalgia, or from an Obama-like Cult of personality, but rather because he clearly and unashamedly sets forth not policy positions but rather fundamental moral and ethical standards.

 I will never “get over” Ronald Reagan because Ronald Reagan expressed with perfect clarity the values of discipline, optimism and individuality that my country and my moral code is based upon. That’s non-negotiable for me. Like Reagan, I was not born into this philosophy. Like Reagan, I came to these conservative core principles only after much study and deep reflection.

And I know that many of you feel the same way: that calls to abandon these principles from people ostensibly sharing our same conservative position is not a “hopeful, forward-looking re-branding,” but rather a retreat and surrender to the forces and philosophies we should be fighting tooth and nail, not emulating and accommodating.

You know, a Gallup poll taken just a few days ago revealed that 40% of the electorate identified themselves as “conservative,” compared to 35% who call themselves “moderate” and only 21% who identify as “liberal.”

 gallup-june15-20091

Here’s Reagan’s electoral map from 1984:

 1984-electoral-map

Maybe if we started running again as actual conservatives, we might win some elections. That’s just a crazy little thought that I had.   

I spoke Reagan’s words for him simply to get you to hear them fresh again. Go listen to the original; it’s a far, far better speech than I will ever be able to give. But not for an instant would I presume to be able to close it they way he did. So here it is… and we turn our back on this voice and this wisdom at our mortal peril:

ronald-reagan-socialized-medicine-lp2

Write those letters now; call your friends and them to write them. If you don’t, this program I promise you, will pass just as surely as the sun will come up tomorrow, and behind it will come other federal programs that will invade every area of freedom as we have known it in this country. Until, one day, as Normal Thomas said we will awake to find that we have socialism. And if you don’t do this and if I don’t do it, one of these days we are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children, what it once was like in America when men were free.