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36 Year Anniversary of Reagan's "Evil Empire" Speech

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by InTheLight, Mar 8, 2019.

  1. InTheLight

    InTheLight Well-Known Member
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    On March 8, 1983 Ronald Reagan gave a speech before the National Association of Evangelicals where he first referred to the Soviet Union as an "evil empire".

    At the time I thought Reagan was simply telling the truth, maybe being a bit politically incorrect before it became a thing. Of course, liberals and leftists were screaming (the already worn out) canard that Reagan was a war monger. With the hindsight of history we see that his administration did more to lower the threat of nuclear war than any administration in history.

    It was a different era. The Henry Hyde amendment regarding to federal funding to be allowed for abortions had just been introduced, and since the audience was the NAE, Reagan talked about ending abortion. He talked about sin and evil in the world and how Lenin repudiated all religion, the only religion Lenin advocated being whatever advanced the class warfare. He then segued into the nuclear freeze movement and negotiations with the USSR. He said that the Soviets were the "force of evil in the world" and that we should pray for their salvation (can you imagine a President saying that today?!) He even quoted C.S. Lewis and alluded to the Screwtape Letters (one of my favorites).

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    See it here:



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    Read the excerpt of the speech here:

    Yes, let us pray for the salvation of all of those who live in that totalitarian darkness–pray they will discover the joy of knowing God. But until they do, let us be aware that while they preach the supremacy of the State, declare its omnipotence over individual man, and predict its eventual domination of all peoples on the earth, they are the focus of evil in the modern world.

    It was C.S. Lewis who, in his unforgettable “Screwtape Letters,” wrote: “The greatest evil is not done now…in those sordid ‘dens of crime’ that Dickens loved to paint. It is…not even done in concentration camps and labor camps. In those we see its final result, but it is conceived and ordered; moved, seconded, carried and minuted in clear, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice.”

    Well, because these “quiet men” do not “raise their voices,” because they sometimes speak in soothing tones of brotherhood and peace, because, like other dictators before them, they’re always making “their final territorial demand,” some would have us accept them at their word and accommodate ourselves to their aggressive impulses. But if history teaches anything, it teaches that simpleminded appeasement or wishful thinking about our adversaries is folly. It means the betrayal of our past, the squandering of our freedom.

    So, I urge you to speak out against those who would place the United States in a position of military and moral inferiority. You know, I’ve always believed that old Screwtape reserved his best efforts for those of you in the Church. So, 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.

    I ask you to resist the attempts of those who would have you withhold your support for our efforts, this administration’s efforts, to keep America strong and free, while we negotiate–real and verifiable reductions in the world’s nuclear arsenals and one day, with God’s help, their total elimination.

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    Read the whole speech here:

    Reagan, "Evil Empire," Speech Text - Voices of Democracy
     
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