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Ronald Reagan’s Christmas Messages

“In this day, when our freedom to worship is most precious, let us redouble our efforts to bring this and other greatest freedoms to all the peoples of the Earth.” (1988)

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by Scott L. Vanatter

Ronald Reagan believed in Americans. He believed in the promise of America, that Americans possessed the inherent and acquired power to rise to the occasion. This, because of the overt and unique design of the Founders to foster freedom and responsibility. Reagan was optimistic about America’s future. He believed that when freedom flourishes, responsibility and accomplishment would naturally follow. (Sometimes to the astonishment and even delight of our greatest skeptics.) Others assume the opposite; they believe that force or coercion is necessary to accomplish their ends. [Read more...]

Ronald Reagan’s Thanksgiving Day Messages

“We have seen the splendor of our natural resource spread across the tables of the world, and we have seen the splendor of freedom coursing with new vigor through the channels of history.” 

by Scott L. Vanatter

Ronald Reagan believed in America. He believed in America’s promise. He saw the best in his fellow Americans. We, too, believe in America, its promise, and see the best in our fellows.

At the beginning of our republic, President George Washington declared a Day of Thanksgiving his first year in office. In the midst of the sore trials of a massive Civil War, President Lincoln established a regular Day of Thanksgiving.

In the spirit of his predecessors, and while he tackled serious economic and foreign policy challenges, President Reagan delivered a series of eight Thanksgiving Day messages from 1981 through 1988. He repeated previous presidential calls to “set aside” this special day as one of thanksgiving and prayer to God. Further, he challenged the nation to recall and fulfill their responsibility to “give” to those who are less fortunate. There are those who lacked of the “abundance” which America enjoyed — they do not enjoy the abundance which comes as a result of our industry. Many around the world do not enjoy an “abundance of freedom.” America’s example of freedom is one of the lasting legacies we leave for a world — we are the last best hope of mankind. Reagan reminded us to live up to that legacy. [Read more...]

Ronald Reagan, “You’re out there on the frontier of freedom.”

Ronald Reagan said to conservatives, “You’re the troops. You’re out there on the frontier of freedom.” 

Reagan Korea

A young soldier stands guard in the cold, looking out over no-man’s-land through to the other side of the demilitarized zone and into North Korea. President Reagan is visiting the troops there that day. During the visit the young soldier turns to the president, salutes and says, “Mr. President, when you get home, tell them we’re on the frontier of freedom.”

Reagan concludes his final speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference with this brief story. He compares the gathered conservative movers and shakers to the “troops” who — like the soldier in the story — are on the forefront of defeating “totalitarianism.”

He tells the story to them, “because,” he said, “you’re the troops.” He illustrates the comparison, telling them, “You’re out there on the frontier of freedom.” He then repeats what the soldier said to him (“Mr. President, we’re on the frontier of freedom.”) And immediately afterwards adds the pithy coda to the very end of the speech, “Well, so are you.”

And so we are. Or should be. [Read more...]

Ronald Reagan on the 50th Anniversary of D-Day, Omaha Beach

“We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we may always be free.”

by Scott L. Vanatter

In one of his last public speeches, Ronald Reagan returned on June 6, 1994 to Omaha Beach to speak a ceremony commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Invasion of Europe, D-Day. Later that year we learned of the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease, and he retired from public view.

He repeated much of what he said ten years previous to this occasion. Again he spoke of the veterans of that Invasion who could share with us the “fear of being on the boat waiting to land.” How their loved ones could later “see the ocean and feel the sea sickness.” With them we “can see the looks on his fellow soldiers’ faces — the fear, the anguish, the uncertainty of what lay ahead.” Reagan then challenged us to “feel the strength and courage of the men who took those first steps through the tide to what must have surely looked like instant death.” [Read more...]

Ronald Reagan on the 40th Anniversary of D-Day, Pointe du Hoc

“These are the Boys of Pointe du Hoc”

by Scott L. Vanatter

Forty years after the Allied forces landed at Normandy, President Reagan spoke commemorating those who stormed the beaches.

On June 6, 1984 he spoke at the U.S. Ranger Monument at Pointe du Hoc, France. He opened his remarks by recalling that “Europe had been under a terrible shadow. Free nations had fallen, Jews cried out in the camps, millions cried out for liberation. Europe was enslaved, and the world prayed for its rescue.”

Poignantly he described, “the boys of Pointe du Hoc” who “took the cliffs” as “champions who helped free a continent.” He cited a poem by Stephen Spender, that the men “left the vivid air signed with your honor.’ [Read more...]

Ronald Reagan on the 40th Anniversary of D-Day, Omaha Beach

“They came not as Conquerors, but as Liberators”

by Scott L. Vanatter

After speaking at Pointe du Hoc earlier in the day (June 6, 1984), President Reagan also spoke at Omaha Beach, France.

He began by harking to Lincoln’s challenge that “we can only honor” those who stormed the beaches and cliffs “by rededicating ourselves to the cause for which they gave a last full measure of devotion.”

Again that day he reminded a world facing another kind of aggression, a still existent Soviet Union, that the Allies “came not as conquerors, but as liberators. When these troops swept across the French countryside and into the forests of Belgium and Luxembourg they came not to take, but to return what had been wrongly seized.” [Read more...]

[Flashback Interview] The Iron Lady on Individual Self-Reliance (“There is no such thing as society.”)

“All too often the ills of this country are passed off as those of society. Similarly, when action is required, society is called upon to act. But society as such does not exist except as a concept. Society is made up of people. It is people who have duties and beliefs and resolve. It is people who get things done. She prefers to think in terms of the acts of individuals and families as the real sinews of society rather than of society as an abstract concept. Her approach to society reflects her fundamental belief in personal responsibility and choice. To leave things to ‘society’ is to run away from the real decisions, practical responsibility and effective action.”

Margaret_Thatcherby Scott L. Vanatter

Four score and seven years ago Margaret Thatcher was born in Grantham, Lincolnshire County. Today she belongs to the ages.

Of course, she always has belonged to the ages — at least since her principled leadership helped bring Britain back from the brink of a crippling socialist ruin. For good reason a Soviet journalist labeled her the Iron Lady. With Ronald Reagan she led the free world in the face of a once fearful Soviet Union.

Below are excerpts of an interview she gave as Prime Minister at No. 10 Downing Street, on September, 23, 1987. It was immediately controversial because she made the case that there was “no such thing as Society.” [Read more...]

More by and about Lady Thatcher

by Scott L. Vanatter

Please see below for few items from our website by and about Margaret Thatcher.

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[Read more...]

Reagan at the first CPAC, “We Will Be A City Upon A Hill”

“You can call it mysticism if you want to, but I have always believed that there was some divine plan that placed this great continent between two oceans to be sought out by those who were possessed of an abiding love of freedom and a special kind of courage. . . . Call it chauvinistic, but our heritage does set us apart.”

by Scott L. Vanatter

Later this week the Conservative Political Action Conference will again convene. Thirty nine years ago, in 1974, Ronald Reagan spoke at the very first conference. At the time conservatism was thought by many to be on the ropes, discredited, and out-of-date. Ronald Reagan thought otherwise.

He labeled certain of his conservative contemporaries, even men at the dinner that night, as “prophets of our philosophy.” In this he might as well have been reading aloud his own bio. Not only a prophet for telling the truth, he also led conservative followers in bringing to pass what later became known as, the Reagan Revolution. In Europe there are old bridges still being used to this day which are many times older than the American republic. We are still young. [Read more...]

George Washington: The Indispensable Man, General, Founder, and President

“‘Before there was a nation, before there was a symbol of this young nation — a flag, a constitution, a national seal — there was Washington. . . . But Washington was there, steadying the symbols, lending strength to them instead of drawing from them.’”

by Scott L. Vanatter

When schoolchildren discover why George Washington is the indispensable Founding Father, American becomes stronger.

As adults gain a deeper appreciation for his character, accomplishments and place in American history, our Liberty is better valued and more secure.

Accurately placing Washington in world history rightly reveals the miracle and import of America’s founding. This lays the foundation for the concept of American Exceptionalism as a matter of our purposeful design, not as a description of whether or not we are doing better than other countries. [Read more...]

Not a spending problem, but a “paying-for” problem?

Worse, a veiled liberal threat to correct what they deem a “misallocation of wealth.”

by Scott L. Vanatter

Over the past week liberal House and Senate leaders have spoken openly about how they see America’s spending problem. They don’t see it. They claim that we don’t have a spending problem.

First, Rep. Pelosi (D-CA) relabeled it as a “priorities problem.” Then, Rep. Hoyer (D-MD) redefined it as a “paying-for problem.” Finally, Senator Harkin (D-IA) revealed the usually hidden liberal designs on capital. He turned the equation upside down by describing problem of a lack of funds to pay for what we have spent, not because we do not have a budget, but because we have “misallocation of wealth problem.” [Read more...]

Reagan’s State of the Union — beginning his second term

“Every dollar the federal government does not take from us, every decision it does not make for us will make our economy stronger, our lives more abundant, our future more free.”

by Scott L. Vanatter

Granted the privilege of being elected to a second term, it was his first term accomplishments which enabled Reagan to describe the continued path to an even greater future. These concrete accomplishments – in the face of a terrible economy and a palpable lack of hope — gave the country confidence that we could become the shining city on a hill he so often pointed to. His February 6, 1985 State of the Union address cemented these hopes in the minds and hearts of Americans of all walks of life. Reagan’s generous, positive vision of the future was contagious. This contagion was assisted by the results of the politics and policies he pursued. [Read more...]

The Difference It Makes

“‘What difference does it make?’ This question is the timeless unspoken question in all political discussion and debate. Or should be.” 

by Scott L. Vanatter 

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s now infamous response at a Senate hearing on Benghazi:

“With all respect, the fact is we have four dead Americans, was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans. What difference at this point does it make?”

It matters because she only posits two alternatives as to what happened in Benghazi: [Read more...]

On Obama’s Definition of “Rights”

“In the U.S., when we think of rights, we think mainly of negative rights: rights against the government. The Bill of Rights is largely a list of things the government may not do to you.” 

by Scott L. Vanatter

Even Michael Kinsley cannot deny Obama’s over reach and redefinition of the Founders intended rights as outlined in the Declaration and as guaranteed by the Constitution. “President Barack Obama’s [inaugural] speech today made — or tried to make — two different points, both concerning the definition of ‘rights.’ [Read more...]

Ronald Reagan’s Second Inaugural Address: Human freedom is on the march, and nowhere more so than our own hemisphere

“The American sound . . . is hopeful, big-hearted, idealistic, daring, decent, and fair.”

by Scott L. Vanatter

One-term presidents rarely are considered our most successful presidents. Getting re-elected is not in and of itself an indicator of a successful second term. Of course, the more successful the first term, the more likely the success of a second.

During his second term Reagan built on the real economic accomplishment of his first. This success enabled him to ensure our freedoms and secure our defense. This freedom, then, spread around the world. Indeed, America became again the last best hope of earth. [Read more...]

Dissecting Kennedy’s “Ask not…” from his first inaugural address

Milton Friedman on Kennedy’s antimetabole

by Scott L. Vanatter

One of the most well-known lines from presidential addresses was written for John F. Kennedy by Ted Sorenson. Kennedy was not the first president to use a speech writer. Presidents have been using speech writers since the beginning. Alexander Hamilton wrote the first draft of George Washington’s Farewell Address. Washington worked with Hamilton till it said just want he wanted. This is the standard and accepted procedure. Not all Presidents have written as elegantly or effectively as Lincoln. [Read more...]

Ronald Reagan’s First Inaugural Address: “We are a nation that has a government–not the other way around.”

“We are a nation that has a government–not the other way around. And this makes us special among the nations of the Earth.”

by Scott L. Vanatter

The claim is made that the most important political event in history was neither the writing of the Declaration nor the crafting or ratification of the Constitution which secures our rights. It was neither of these two monumental accomplishments; it was the peaceful transition of the control of the executive office of the United States of America from George Washington to John Adams. [Read more...]

Ronald Reagan’s Farewell Address to the ’88 Republican National Convention

“Our party speaks for human freedom, for the sweep of liberties that are at the core of our existence. . . . Together we’ve fought for causes we love. But we can never let the fire go out or quit the fight, because the battle is never over. Our freedom must be defended over and over again — and then again.”

by Scott L. Vanatter

At the end of a Super Bowl the winning head coach can rightly point to the day’s game plan, key plays, and stats. All these and more contributed to what was accomplished by the team – led by the coach.

At the end of his time in office, a successful two-term president can rightly point to the administration’s fundamental principles and key policies. All these and more produced the real-world accomplishments – led by the president. After eight years of concrete success and indisputable accomplishment President Reagan reported to the 1988 Republican National Convention. Prior to being elected Reagan had carefully and overtly taught — yes, taught — the country the key principles on which the Founders based the U.S. Constitution and preserved American culture. [Read more...]

Ronald Reagan, “Our Noble Vision: An Opportunity For All”

“You cannot create a desert, hand a person a cup of water, and call that compassion. . . . And you cannot build up years of dependence on government and dare call that hope.” 

by Scott L. Vanatter

Before his first term was complete President Reagan restored the American economy and revived the American spirit. The power and focus of his words and his policies returned America to its true identity and destiny.

Soaring rhetoric must be supported by real accomplishment. Otherwise the words are empty, the sentiment is trite. Too often national leaders only give lip service to the lofty principles which Reagan carefully and continually taught. Worse, when some leaders overtly deprecate the Founding principles, America fails to preserve and advance our precious freedoms. Tyranny is never more than a generation away from falling on us. Americans need to continually self-inoculate against a creeping tyranny. [Read more...]

Why the Founders Matter: Securing the Blessing of Liberty to Ourselves and Our Posterity

A Vision of the Spirit and Promise of Our Founding Fathers

by Scott L. Vanatter

The things of politics and public policy are of deep import. It takes time, experience, and careful and ponderous and even solemn thoughts to inform whether and how we act. Politicians, by their words or policies, either expand or contract the frontiers of our freedoms. We, The People, need to encourage and benefit from its progress, or mourn and suffer its decline.

The more we as citizens stand informed and aware, then the better able we will be to advocate for those principles which will tend to the greater public good. Then we can act with confidence in this great undertaking. As Lincoln called it, the last best hope of mankind.

As George Washington laid out in his first inaugural address,

“The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered, perhaps, as deeply, as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.” (George Washington, First Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789) [Read more...]