Saw this on today’s Patriot Post, and thought it interesting in light of the President’s proposed healthcare ‘reform’. Emphasis mine.
We warned of things to come, of the danger inherent in unwarranted government involvement in things not its proper province. What we warned against has come to pass. And today more than two-thirds of our citizens are telling us, and each other, that social engineering by the federal government has failed. The Great Society is great only in power, in size and in cost. And so are the problems it set out to solve. Freedom has been diminished and we stand on the brink of economic ruin. Our task now is not to sell a philosophy, but to make the majority of Americans, who already share that philosophy, see that modern conservatism offers them a political home. We are not a cult, we are members of a majority. Let’s act and talk like it. The job is ours and the job must be done. If not by us, who? If not now, when? Our party must be the party of the individual. It must not sell out the individual to cater to the group. No greater challenge faces our society today than ensuring that each one of us can maintain his dignity and his identity in an increasingly complex, centralized society. Extreme taxation, excessive controls, oppressive government competition with business, galloping inflation, frustrated minorities and forgotten Americans are not the products of free enterprise. They are the residue of centralized bureaucracy, of government by a self-anointed elite. Our party must be based on the kind of leadership that grows and takes its strength from the people.
The speech from which that quote was taken was given on February 6, 1977, but you’d think that he was looking through time to today. I guess what it really means is that the initiatives being promoted by Barack Obama and his sidekicks in Congress are nothing new; it’s all been tried before. One side note: Reagan referred “our party” two times in this quote, referencing of course the Republican Party. These days it seems as though the Republicans are trying harder to be the me-too, “Democrat-lite” party than anything resembling what Reagan envisioned. In trying to build the fabled “big tent” the party has abandoned anything resembling principled positions, running around with one finger in the wind and another somewhere else trying to woo one demographic or another. Reagan was a conservative in principle and in practice, something we haven’t seen in the leadership of the Republican Party for a good decade. Who will be this generation’s Ronald Reagan?
Why is it so difficult to understand that conservatism works every time it’s tried?