Jay Reding.com

Reagan And Freedom

Mitch Berg notes the birthday of America’s greatest modern President, Ronald Wilson Reagan.

One of Reagan’s many brilliant speeches, A Time for Choosing contains a passage that has become, perhaps, even more relevant with age:

As for the peace that we would preserve, I wonder who among us would like to approach the wife or mother whose husband or son has died in South Vietnam and ask them if they think this is a peace that should be maintained indefinitely. Do they mean peace, or do they mean we just want to be left in peace? There can be no real peace while one American is dying some place in the world for the rest of us. We are at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars, and it has been said if we lose that war, and in doing so lose this way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening. Well, I think it’s time we ask ourselves if we still know the freedoms that were intended for us by the Founding Fathers.

Their conflict was Vietnam, ours is Iraq, and the enemy we face today is far less constrained by morality or self-interest than the Soviets were. Right now they don’t have the same arsenal of deadly weapons, but each day moves us closer to the point where fanatics like Osama bin Laden gain control of some of the most deadly weapons on the planet.

If we fail in our war, history will still record that those with the most to lose did the least to prevent it from happening, just as if we had lost in the Cold War. Yet, we seem to be unable as a society to defend our own interests and values from those who would subject us all to domination under the banner of radical Islam.

We should be constantly asking ourselves whether we still know the freedoms that were intended for us by the Founding Fathers — because we keep selling out the values of the Republic they created each and every day. We choose to “tax the rich” forgetting that envy is not the sine qua non of public policy. We choose more regulations designed to “protect” us from smoking, fatty foods, etc., and each day our freedoms are diminished. We have people making claims that this government is the equivalent of the Nazis while a group of foreign despots are emboldened more and more by our weakness and vacillation.

If ever there was a time we needed a leader with the stature of Ronald Wilson Reagan, it’s now.

13 responses to “Reagan And Freedom”

  1. Erica says:

    “We have people making claims that this government is the equivalent of the Nazis while a group of foreign despots are emboldened more and more by our weakness and vacillation.”

    You’d think that somebody who fetishizes the military and cartoonish machismo as much as Jay does would actually BE in the military.

  2. Jay Reding says:

    You’d think that somebody who fetishizes the military and cartoonish machismo as much as Jay does would actually BE in the military.

    Because this is a democracy, not a military dictatorship, and the civilian population has as much right to speak out on military matters as anyone else. If you have a problem with that, you’re in the wrong country.

  3. Janek says:

    Quite off topic, I know, but Erica’s comment made me wonder. Did you at any point consider joining the armed forces? Just asking out of pure personal interest.

    As you know, in Germany there is compulsory military service for young males. What with Germany’s war record and background, the option for alternative service has always existed. As soon as I learned of this option, I knew I would *not* join the army, but do alternative service instead. I have never regretted that decision…

    Well, anyways, did you ever consider a military career?
    J.

  4. Jay Reding says:

    Well, anyways, did you ever consider a military career?

    Actually, I’m considering one now. Three of the four branches of the US military have Judge Advocate General Corps — basically military lawyers. They’re responsible for enforcing the Uniform Code of Military Justice, prosecuting/defending offenses under the UCMJ, advising units on the rules of engagement, etc.

    Since I’m interested in trial advocacy, the JAG is probably the best opportunity to gain trial experience quickly. The UCMJ provides for very speedy process — there’s a limited window of time between someone being charged with a UCMJ crime and the time they have to be tried, so it’s much easier to get trial experience in the JAG Corps than in the civilian system.

  5. Mark says:

    “We choose to “tax the rich” forgetting that envy is not the sine qua non of public policy.”

    In the last half century, the top tax rate has fallen by nearly 70%, with more than a trillion dollars worth of tax cuts mortgaged to the rich in just the last six years during the same time period in which this demographic has monopolized every red cent worth of income gain generated by national economic growth. Will there ever be a tax rate low enough or income gains high enough for you guys to quit decrying the persecution of the rich? Or is whining about their persecution so wired into your being that you are truly incapable of giving it up?

  6. Jay Reding says:

    In the last half century, the top tax rate has fallen by nearly 70%, with more than a trillion dollars worth of tax cuts mortgaged to the rich in just the last six years during the same time period in which this demographic has monopolized every red cent worth of income gain generated by national economic growth.

    Which is completely and utterly false. You honestly believe that the only people who have had income growth over the last 50 years are the rich?

    For one, it’s a stupid argument. It’s manifestly not true, unless you really believe that people’s standards of living haven’t changed over the last 50 years. That’s a blatantly false argument.

    Seriously, do you honestly believe this crap, or are you just making it up for effect? The idea that the only beneficiaries of the last 50 years of economic growth are the rich is completely baseless, utterly irrational, and a sign of how disconnected the left is from reality.

  7. Mark says:

    “You honestly believe that the only people who have had income growth over the last 50 years are the rich?”

    Re-read the quote. I said the rich were the only people who’ve had income growth “over the same time period” in which more than a trillion dollars worth of tax cuts were lavished over them in the past six years. Since 2000, income growth has been confined to the rich…..even though the rich have never been more persecuted as they are today judging from your rhetoric above.

  8. Erica says:

    Do the military lawyers get the same sweet benefits as the military medical corps? If so, it’s not a bad choice.

  9. Jay Reding says:

    I said the rich were the only people who’ve had income growth “over the same time period” in which more than a trillion dollars worth of tax cuts were lavished over them in the past six years.

    Which is still wrong. Real wages for non-supervisory employees rose 2.8% above the rate of inflation between last year. Real median income rose 1.1% above the rate of inflation, and that doesn’t count retirement benefits, health care benefits, or tax-free saver programs.

    All the left wants to do is punish the productive. Without the tax relief passed in 2003, we wouldn’t have added 7.1 million jobs over 40 months of positive job growth. The economy wouldn’t have grown at the rates it has. There would be fewer people working, making less money.

    The simple fact of the matter is that leftist economics isn’t motivated by rational considerations, it’s motivated by pure jealousy — and such petty emotionalism is no basis for sound public policy.

    Do the military lawyers get the same sweet benefits as the military medical corps? If so, it’s not a bad choice.

    I’m not really sure, although I suspect they probably do…

  10. Mark says:

    “Which is still wrong. Real wages for non-supervisory employees rose 2.8% above the rate of inflation between last year. Real median income rose 1.1% above the rate of inflation, and that doesn’t count retirement benefits, health care benefits, or tax-free saver programs.”

    Partially right. Last year posted the first real wage gain for Americans since 2000 following four successive years of decline which you conveniently omitted. And retirement and health care benefits. Nine percent fewer Americans even have a health care plan at their workplace than did in 2000, while most retirement assets are now employee-funded and directly contradicted by a record-low -1% savings rate.

    Only a Republican could look at this data and conclude that the biggest problem with the American economy is the oppressively high tax burden on the rich.

    And for all your partisan posturing, you failed to answer my question. How low does the tax burden on the wealthy have to fall (it’s already down 70% in the last half century) before you retreat in your rhetoric regarding their persecution.

  11. Erica says:

    “And for all your partisan posturing, you failed to answer my question. How low does the tax burden on the wealthy have to fall (it’s already down 70% in the last half century) before you retreat in your rhetoric regarding their persecution.”

    Mark, people are rich because god loves them more than he loves other people. It’s shocking that you suggest for God’s Chosen to pay any taxes at all on their hard earned money. If you’re poor it’s because you’re lazy and stupid and spend all your money on big screen TVs. There aren’t even actually any poor people in this country because they have things like cars. Besides, the people in Ethiopia are literally starving to death, so the poor people in this country should probably just be thankful for their minimum wage job with no benefits and shut up.

  12. Jay Reding says:

    And for all your partisan posturing, you failed to answer my question. How low does the tax burden on the wealthy have to fall (it’s already down 70% in the last half century) before you retreat in your rhetoric regarding their persecution.

    You’re not asking the right question. For one, who is “wealthy?” The top quintile? That starts at roughly $190,000/year. For a family of four with two kids in college in a major metropolitan area, that’s not a hell of a lot of money. It’s not poverty, but it’s hardly filthy rich.

    The point of the federal tax system is not punitive. Contrary to the liberal theory of petty jealously, taxes don’t exist to make the successful pay. They exist to raise revenue, and to raise revenue you need economic growth. You maintain economic growth by keeping tax rates competitive. You’re turning an economic question into a moral one.

    How high must taxes be before your jealousy is satiated? Until all the “rich” make no more than you? Until you can have your petty little revenge on the successful for daring to do what you can’t?

    The fundamental difference between Republicans and Democrats is that Republicans look at the successful and want to be like them, and Democrats look at the successful and want to take them down for their success. That’s why successful people tend more often than not to be Republicans.

  13. Erica says:

    I guess you’ve never really been poor poor. If you’ve never gotten angry at somebody in a nice car because you’re hungry (and when I get hungry I get dizzy, which makes it worse) and can’t afford to buy food, you don’t have a fucking clue. Yeah, I’m jealous of his ability to buy food. According to Jay, this makes me a terrible human being.

    The difference between Republicans and Democrats is that Democrats give a damn about people other than themselves. It’s not a punishment to help out those in need, or to contribute your fair share to government maintenance and programs.