By: Ed Miranda, Young America's Foundation Intern
Ronald Reagan once delivered a
speech at Westminster Hall, telling them that the world had arrived
"at a turning point." The irreversible march of freedom proved that
it -not tyranny- created the path to a prosperous society. Four
years later, the Soviet Union collapsed.
But how did Reagan know this, when
most seemed blind to this realization?
He explains this phenomenon in that
same speech as well. Paying deference to Sir Winston Churchill,
Reagan explained that it was Churchill's unique "gift of vision,
the willingness to see the future based on the experience of the
past" that permitted him to be a great statesman.
Churchill never doubted that
America's destiny was to fight along the British against the forces
of tyranny, believing it was a matter of when,
not if, America entered the war. During the Battle of
Britain, he called on the British people to remain steadfast,
"until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and
might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the
Why was Sir Winston Churchill so
confident in the United States' involvement? Because
America is, has been, and always will be vested
in the preservation of freedom. He understood freedom as the
foundation of our system, and that freedom cannot coexist with
tyranny, in any world, because it
This gift of
vision explains precisely the role of Conservatism in
American discourse. Even further, it explains the need for students
to develop an intimate understanding of our past experiences, to
know exactly what it is that we are trying to conserve, and why we
are trying to conserve it.
A couple of days ago, I had a
conversation with a friend over the merits of an anarchic system of
cooperation. He made the case that if society could just agree to
cooperate fully and respect another's property rights, then there
would be no need for government. His conclusion then hinges
on if, meaning it is purely theoretical at this
point. His theory falters because it doesn't take into account
whether man is capable of these changes. An anarchic model on which
to cement this theory never existed in history.
Here's what we do know-an effective
rule of law (limited government) allows us to prosper. And we know
this because we belong to a country unique to the scope of history,
a country with freedom and the rule of law as its foundation.
Approaching ideas based on what is
known (freedom prospers with the rule of law), rather than what can
be (anarchism works if), provides conservatives with
a distinctive ability to analyze ideas.
Reagan understood this in relation
to the Cold War.
Churchill understood this with
regards to fascism.
In that same manner, students can
use conservatism as a lens to view the world, in all of its
complexities, giving you greater understanding of the path to