"Now let's set the record straight. There's no argument over the choice between peace and war, but there's only one guaranteed way you can have peace—and you can have it in the next second—surrender.
Admittedly, there's a risk in any course we follow other than this, but every lesson of history tells us that the greater risk lies in appeasement, and this is the specter our well-meaning liberal friends refuse to face—that their policy of accommodation is appeasement, and it gives no choice between peace and war, only between fight or surrender. If we continue to accommodate, continue to back and retreat, eventually we have to face the final demand—the ultimatum. And what then—when Nikita Khrushchev has told his people he knows what our answer will be? He has told them that we're retreating under the pressure of the Cold War, and someday when the time comes to deliver the final ultimatum, our surrender will be voluntary, because by that time we will have been weakened from within spiritually, morally, and economically. He believes this because from our side he's heard voices pleading for "peace at any price" or "better Red than dead," or as one commentator put it, he'd rather "live on his knees than die on his feet." And therein lies the road to war, because those voices don't speak for the rest of us.
You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. If nothing in life is worth dying for, when did this begin—just in the face of this enemy? Or should Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery under the pharaohs? Should Christ have refused the cross? Should the patriots at Concord Bridge have thrown down their guns and refused to fire the shot heard 'round the world? The martyrs of history were not fools, and our honored dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis didn't die in vain. Where, then, is the road to peace? Well it's a simple answer after all.
You and I have the courage to say to our enemies, "There is a price we will not pay." "There is a point beyond which they must not advance." Winston Churchill said, "The destiny of man is not measured by material computations. When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we're spirits—not animals." And he said, "There's something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty."
You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.
We'll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we'll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness. - Ronald Reagan, 1964
Maybe it is because I'm a young 'un, but I had never before heard this speech by Ronald Reagan. I came across it with a random link from a forum. It is powerful. I'll admit it got a bit dusty in the room at 1:25 and the sequence at starting at 1:40 and culminating in the bold text teared me up. I don't agree with all of Reagan's policies and as a millenial, his policies did not directly affect me but now I see why he was called "The Great Communicator." I had the honor of attending his funeral procession in DC and I am now starting to understand why so many people were so affected by him.
The context of this speech was a campaign fundraiser by a young Ronald Reagan for Barry Goldwater's presidential campaign. This excerpt is actually part of a larger speech, "A Time for Choosing," which I think personally resonates very strongly with today's challenges. It is worth reading the whole speech.
I don't agree with all of Barry Goldwater's foreign policy. His idea to give tactical control of nukes to forward commandrs, to employ nukes in Vietnam, and so on seem dangerous in retrospect. Then again, Lyndon B. Johnson didn't exactly pursue a policy of pacifism and de-escalation, and who knows, maybe massive bombing and overwhelming force in Vietnam would have resolved that quagmire sooner rather than the "rolling thunder" hell Johnson got us mired in. Who knows.
Philosophically, I struggle between Ron Paul's extreme isolationism and Barry Goldwater's extremely muscular foreign policy. I think we can pursue a more measured set of policies and still attain US strategic objectives more efficiently, so I suppose I am a moderate -- with regard to execution. In philosophy, however, I very much agree with Ronald Reagan.
THE PRICE WE WILL NOT PAY
This speech highlights a very fundamental truth for me: "There is a price we will not pay, there is a point beyond which they cannot advance." From a personal self defense point of view, people who choose concealed carry have established that boundary. I will not be kidnapped, I will not be murdered, I will not stand by while an innocent is violated. I'm sure you have lines in the sand too.
I suspect that some people have no lines in the sand. They will be victimized and rationalize it while they bargain with their rapist or murderer. They will allow others to invade their boundaries and personal space. For them there are no boundaries. These people cannot understand why we dig in when they suggest a little reasonable common sense "compromise;" it isn't rape after all, its just the tip!
I am increasingly of the mind that those Americans who believe in constitutional government must establish a price that will not be paid, a line that will not be crossed. We must strengthen ourselves spiritually, morally, and materially. We must drown out those fuddish voices calling for appeasement, for they only encourage the extremists who want to hasten the day when an ultimatum is delivered.
"There is a price we will not pay, there is a point beyond which they must not advance."