Saturday, July 10, 2010

Great Speeches - The Evil Empire

I'm kind of partial to speeches by President Ronald Reagan because I like plain talk and someone who calls a spade a spade. Nobody did that better than Ronaldus Maximus (as Rush Limbaugh calls him). Some people incorrectly refer to a June 1982 speech to the British House of Commons as the "Evil Empire" speech, but while Reagan twice mentioned totalitarianism in that speech, the words "evil empire" were not actually used in a speech until later in his Presidency. On March 8, 1983 in a speech to the National Association of Evangelicals in Orlando, Florida, Reagan said:

In your discussions of the nuclear freeze proposals, I urge you to beware the temptation of pride, the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil.

In this speech, Reagan made the case for deploying NATO nuclear armed missiles in Western Europe to counter the Soviets installing new nuclear armed missiles in Eastern Europe. Eventually, the NATO missiles were set up and used as bargaining chips in arms talks with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who took office in 1985. The phrase also proved useful to Western anti-Communists in justifying a significantly more forceful defense and foreign policy stand against the Soviets. In addition to using the phrase "evil empire," Reagan described the Soviet Union as a "totalitarian" regime. His message resonates still today in an age when so-called leaders of our great country are very willing to resort to moral relativism in assigning equal blame to the good guys (us) in the current struggle between good and evil. Here is Reagan's message to us: Make no mistake about it, we are the good guys and the Islamofascists are the bad guys. If we stick to our guns, we will prevail because we are on the side of the good. If that is too simplified for you, you probably should try another blog.

Here is a link to the written speech and audio and video clips:

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