I was reading one of Reagan's speeches when I realized how amazingly pertinent his view was. With very few changes in context, it could be given today. Unfortunately, after forty years of growing conservatism, we have not yet addressed the fundamental problem addressed in the following excerpt. Why? What is wrong with our system that we can not get our elected representatives to reduce government? Where have we gone wrong that socialism is even on the table? Here is the amazing text from the speech in support of the Goldwater campaign called Rendezvous with Destiny:
No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this Earth. Federal employees number 2.5 million, and federal, state, and local, one out of six of the nation's work force is employed by the government. These proliferating bureaus with their thousands of regulations have cost us many of our constitutional safeguards. How many of us realize that today federal agents can invade a man's property without a warrant? They can impose a fine without a formal hearing, let alone a trial by jury, and they can seize and sell his property in auction to enforce the payment of that fine. In Chico County, Arkansas, James Wier overplanted his rice allotment. The government obtained a $17,000 judgment, and a U.S. marshal sold his 950-acre farm at auction. The government said it was necessary as a warning to others to make the system work. Last February 19 at the University of Minnesota, Norman Thomas, six-time candidate for President on the Socialist Party ticket, said, "If Barry Goldwater became President, he would stop the advance of socialism in the United States." I think that's exactly what he will do.
In retrospect for the final statement, he wasn't elected, and the advance of socialism got a nice boost from Lyndon B. Johnson. We haven't yet reversed the effects of that administration, let alone achieve Reagan's vision from this speech. Now it is interesting that the ratios of government employees has remained pretty close to one in six. So there is hope on that front, but the current rate of expansion is probably going to set us back many years. We have added more bureaucracy every year, never reducing, or even holding steady. We have Homeland Security and the TSA. We have the new FEMA. We have who knows how many new employees in the War on Terror. One place that hasn't seen huge expansion, and would be the obvious choice, is the Border Patrol. But that doesn't fit the socialist agenda. And I am perfectly willing to accuse the current administration of advancing the socialist agenda in this regard, ---if the shoe fits.
But its not just the White House is it? Apparently the Supreme Court of today got its inspiration from the past. The ruling in favor of local government condemnation of private property in the Kelo vs. New London case sounds like the same underlying principle as the one at work in Reagan's speech. Forty years and we have not eradicated this socialist cancer. Its a malignant tumor and we have to actively fight it.
Interestingly, Reagan counters with a quote from Norman Thomas who clearly wants the advance of socialism. This is one of the founders of the ACLU. Strangely, if Thomas were active today, his very own ACLU might take offense at one of his inspiring motivators, the Christian Socialists. Or maybe he would have seen the light and aproved of social progress included the removal of all references to God. Reagan certainly was aware of that vision. Where are our own conservative leaders who can see the same? Stand up!