February 6, 2011, is the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Ronald Reagan, one of the greatest American leaders of all time. Most people know about his Presidential years, but too few are aware of our 40th President’s conservative philosophical roots. William F. Buckley, Jr., mentored and encouraged Ronald Reagan over four decades beginning in 1961, a journey which is chronicled here through letters and anecdotes in Buckley’s last book, The Reagan I Knew.
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Below is Part I of Peter Robinson’s recent interview of economist Thomas Sowell.
If it is not painfully obvious, Barack Obama has probably never read Thomas Sowell’s classic book Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy. This is all the more reason, then, that anyone aspiring to American leadership should familiarize himself or herself with Sowell’s great work, now in it’s 4th edition.
On January 5, 2011, Heritage China expert Dean Cheng mused that something must be up. He wrote, “As the world rang in 2011, one of the lesser noticed events is the absence of a Chinese defense white paper for 2010. The biennial public explanation of Chinese military capabilities and intentions was due out by the end of December. Yet as of Tuesday morning, no report has been released. This is a striking omission, as the Chinese government and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have been assiduous in producing these reports in a timely manner.” Continue here…
Happy New Year. I hope you will forgive my lack of enthusiasm in rendering this traditional greeting (the omission of the exclamation point was deliberate). The times are serious, and false hope must give way to genuine reflection about our present condition. Only then will we regain the clarity of thought and resolution required to achieve our destiny.
What is our destiny? Well, if we take our cue from the political class and its echo chamber, we might be inclined to believe that our destiny has something to do with group rights, universal equality of condition, tyranny posing as empathy, one world order, the elimination of suffocating moral standards, or vengeance disguised as social justice. We might even suppose that our destiny is to become insular, resigning our defenses in the naïve hope that the enemies of freedom will leave us – and their own – alone.
But our destiny is something nobler than a laundry list of rights and interests to be conferred by the federal government (would that it was even possible). Ronald Reagan believed that America’s destiny was to be as a shining city on a hill, an example for all mankind to see. A beacon of freedom. The last, best hope on earth, where the uproar of liberty is preferred to the silence of the soul so often accompanying the Utopian’s cowardly dream. And Ronald Reagan avoided the temptation to decorate these phrases with trite exclamation points. He gave his ideas context.
In a speech before the annual Conservative Political Action Committee on March 17, 1978, at the mid-way point of Jimmy Carter’s term in office, Ronald Reagan re-established the framework for America’s purpose in the world. This week, as we enter the second-half of a Presidential term arguably more destructive to American leadership and principle than any in our history, I thought it appropriate to revisit Reagan’s admonition:
Leadership is a great burden. We grow weary of it at times. But if we are not to shoulder the burdens of leadership in the free world, then who will? The alternatives are neither pleasant nor acceptable. Great nations which fail to meet their responsibilities are consigned to the dust-bin of history. We grew from that small, weak Republic, which had as its assets: spirit, optimism, faith in God, and the unshakeable belief that free men and women could govern themselves wisely. We became the leader of the free world, an example for all those who cherish freedom. If we are to continue to be that example, if we are to preserve our own freedom, we must understand those who would dominate us, and deal with them with determination. We must shoulder our burden with our eyes fixed on the future, but recognizing the realities of today, not counting on mere hope and wishes. We must be willing to carry out our responsibility as the custodian of individual freedom. Then we will achieve our destiny, to be as a shining city on a hill, for all mankind to see.
Now that is worth an exclamation point!
While Americans have been focused on the Repeal of Obamacare, record unemployment, tax increases, and a ruling class with no regard for the constraints of the Constitution, a Treaty dangerous to the security of all Americans has made its way out of Committee and on to the floor of the United States Senate. Will our Senators uphold their constitutional responsibility and act as a check upon our Chief Executive’s utopian dream? Read more here.
The State of Tennessee has recently fallen for the latest bait-and-switch out of Washington, D.C., otherwise known as “Race to the Top,” part of the $4.35 billion federal boondoggle designed to fill the pockets of teachers unions with taxpayer money and the minds of our children with something more insidious. Would that we could be more like Texas…
Much of what ails America today can be traced to the loss of a connection to the past and a dismissal of tradition. This disassociation from our heritage stems in large part from a neglect of books. In order to reclaim our traditions, we must restore the primacy of good books – books which reflect truth and beauty, and which encourage the virtue that strengthens the roots of our American order. As Russell Kirk once wrote, sound books about the human condition and about civil social order can arouse a healthy intellectual reaction to preserve order, justice, and freedom.
Linchpins of Liberty is an American leadership development enterprise established to challenge the imagination of the rising generation. The mission of Linchpins of Liberty is to restore and preserve ordered liberty in local communities by training and equipping local leaders about the inter-relation between individual liberty and morality, free-markets, limited government, strong national defense, and the traditional principles of America’s moral and constitutional order.
KEY AIMS OF LINCHPINS OF LIBERTY
• Linchpins of Liberty will focus on how the restoration and preservation of liberty begins with reading the right books.
• By infusing current policy research with works of conservative history and conservative political philosophy, Linchpins of Liberty will move to restore a greater understanding and love for America’s moral and constitutional order and its relevance to contemporary issues in local communities.
• Linchpins of Liberty will train and develop community leaders – particularly from among the rising generation – by introducing and leading discussions on foundational works of conservative thought and by hosting events featuring well-known and influential conservative thinkers and leaders.