It was fifty years ago today that Ronald Reagan gave one of the most important speeches in American history, and perhaps the most important speech in the history of American conservatism: A Time For Choosing.
And it’s more vital now than it was, even then.
You and I are told increasingly we have to choose between a left or right. Well, I’d like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There’s only an up or down: man’s old, old-aged dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism
Here it is, in its entirety.
It’s impossible to overstate this speech’s importance. It was the opening salvo in the rebirth of conservatism. It took a decade for its aftereffects to be known; George Will wrote in 1984 that it won the Presidency for Goldwater – it just took 16 years to count the votes.
And it’s a hot, blazing rebuke for the mental midgets to claim the GOP has “become more extreme” lately. Listen to the whole thing. There is nothing the Tea Party stands behind that wasn’t stated in this speech.
It also destroys the even dimmer claim that “Reagan was too moderate for today’s GOP”. If only today’s GOP – outside the Tea Party, anyway – had the balls to live up to the standards in this speech.
In retrospect, Reagan’s presidency – and it may be fairly said that this speech was the beginning of Reagan’s political career – bought this nation a few decades before the extended populist spending orgy that took off in the sixties finally brings this nation to its heels.
Is there still time to change things?
Perhaps. But this is the real time for choosing.