Today would have been Ronald Reagan's 102 birthday. To commemorate this great president, here's an excerpt from Margaret Thatcher's memorable 2002 tribute to Ronald Reagan:
As Ron once put it: the nine most dangerous words in the English language are “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help”. As usual, he was right.
Ronald Reagan helped America – and so America could help the world – because he rejected that approach. He believed, and he never stopped proclaiming, that the talents of a nation, not the wisdom of bureaucracy, forge a country’s greatness. Let our children grow tall – he urged – then they can reach out to raise others higher too.
For our opponents, there are always a hundred reasons why the government must intervene to plan its children’s lives. For us, there’s one overwhelming reason why it shouldn’t – because men and women are born to be free.
The world isn’t much used to hearing that kind of message now. We live in an era of sound bites and spin doctors, of false sentiment and real cynicism. That’s why just reading – or hearing as we shall – the words of Ronald Reagan is so refreshing. They remind us that men and women were born for high ideals and noble purposes.
They remind us, too, that the world which so many now take for granted was won by struggle. And Ron had to struggle. The fact that he kept his composure and lifted us all with his humour testified to his inner strength, not to a life without hardship. And it also testified, as he never failed to add, to the boundless, enfolding love of Nancy.
Ronald Reagan’s achievements can be summed up like this: he made America great again, and he used that greatness to set the nations free. Either of these achievements would qualify a President for the political pantheon: but to have succeeded in both marks out President Reagan as one of America’s very greatest leaders.
All his policies were of a piece, and all reflected his own distinctive philosophy. He believed in America, and he believed in people.
When the academics foretold American decline, he replied that there was nothing this nation couldn’t do, once given the chance.
When the economists denounced his policies of tax cuts as simplistic, he didn’t mind if his answers were simple because they were true.
When liberals doubted if Americans were willing to master events and make sacrifices, he replied (and I quote):
“No weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women”.
… President Reagan didn’t just abhor communism, mistrust socialism and dislike bureaucracy, he truly loved liberty – he loved it with a passion which went far beyond anything else in his political life. It was what brought moral grandeur to his vision of America and to his dreams for a better world. It was directed not mainly at earthly powers and principalities but rather at the infinitely precious, utterly unique human being, wherever he or she was yearning to breathe free.