Revisiting Reagan's Evil Empire Speech
February 22, 2012
RUSH: Okay, Ronald Reagan March 8, 2013, Orlando, this was at the National Association of Evangelicals' annual convention. By the way, just so there's no confusion, the reason I'm playing these bites for you is so that you understand -- especially those of you who were too young or not interested back in 1983 -- that this is nothing new, that a president who won election in two landslides spoke the same way as Santorum. I'm not saying that Santorum is Reagan. I'm saying that what is happening with Santorum, the fact that he believes what he believes, is not unique. Many presidents have believed, in fact, far more than not have believed what Santorum believes and have said so. And the media reaction so Santorum is also not unique. It's identical.
Many of us who were alive and kicking in 1983 and understand all the great, wonderful things that took place then with the Reagan years, the economic rebound and so forth, we are sometimes frustrated, "What happened?" Why do people who lived through that prosperity, which continued into the nineties, how do they so easily forget it? How were they so easily co-opted into thinking -- and we know the media with the constant history revisionism that goes on daily and has been since Reagan was in office, and the co-opting of the public school system, not teaching about Reagan, or if they do, lying about Reagan. I'm not saying, "Please, can we have another Reagan." That's not the point of this. The point of this is to show you it's not new. It's not weird. It's not unique that people think this way, as Rick Santorum does. Here's Reagan. We have four or five bites of his speech in 1983. In this bite he interestingly refers to Alexis de Tocqueville.
REAGAN: That shrewdest of all observers of American democracy, Alexis de Tocqueville, put it eloquently after he had gone on a search for the secret of America's greatness and genius, and he said, "Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the greatness and the genius of America. America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great." I want you to know that this administration is motivated by a political philosophy that sees the greatness of America in you, her people, and in your families, churches, neighborhoods, communities, the institutions that foster and nourish values like concern for others and respect for the rule of law under God.
RUSH: Now, he was president when he made this speech. He was not a candidate. He'd been in office into his second year. He was inaugurated in 1981. This was basically two years later. And we don't have the reaction, but the media went nuts, particularly when they heard him call the Soviet Union the Evil Empire. Now, listen to him describe opposition then and think about it today.
REAGAN: I don't have to tell you that this puts us in opposition to or at least out of step with a prevailing attitude of many who have turned to a modern day secularism, discarding the tried and time tested values upon which our very civilization is based. No matter how well-intentioned, their value system is radically different from that of most Americans. And while they proclaim that they're freeing us from superstitions of the past, they've taken upon themselves the job of superintending us by government rule and regulation. Sometimes their voices are louder than ours, but they are not yet a majority.
RUSH: Now, we edited the applause, but it went on and on and on. In this speech Reagan used the word evil nine times. He used the word good eight times, God 18 times. He never mentioned Satan in the speech, but it's what he meant by evil. So that little sound bite there, we have the secularists today. We have people who want to superintend us by government rule and regulation. And their voices are louder and we think we're in the minority, but we're not. Remember, he had won in a landslide just two years earlier. Things haven't changed, in terms of who the opposition is. What's changed is how the Republican Party is seemingly forgotten how to defeat them, as Reagan did. In the next bite, Reagan acknowledges there is sin in the world and that we must oppose it with everything we have.
REAGAN: More than a decade ago, a Supreme Court decision literally wiped off the books of 50 states statutes protecting the rights of unborn children. Abortion on demand now takes the lives of up to one and a half million unborn children a year. Human life legislation ending this tragedy will someday pass the Congress, and you and I must never rest until it does. (applause) Unless and until it can be proven that the unborn child is not a living entity, then its right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness must be protected. There is sin and evil in the world, and we're enjoined by Scripture and the Lord Jesus to oppose it with all our might.
RUSH: The president of the United States saying this in 1983, sin and evil. You know what I learned yesterday? Speaking of abortion, Roe v. Wade, the law says that only doctors can perform the procedure in the first trimester. I'm pretty sure I read that correctly, which of course now makes Roe v. Wade so outdated because you can go to a pharmacist and buy RU-486. You can do your own abortion without a doctor. You don't need a doctor. So technically you're in violation of Roe v. Wade when you don't go to a doctor, if I read it right. Anyway, just an illustration of how outdated and what rotten law the Roe v. Wade bill is. These two feature the lines we all remember.
REAGAN: 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 of 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.
RUSH: He was urging people, don't give up on this, don't think both parties are the same. The Evil Empire is evil, and here is his identification of it.
REAGAN: 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.
RUSH: That was Ronald Reagan. That's March 8th, 1983, talking about the Soviet Union. They are the focus of evil. And with that line, the media, Sam Donaldson went literally insane. "Okay, the Russians are gonna launch now. We've really made 'em mad." Just like we shouldn't make the independents of today mad. So there you have it, and just to show you how similar things are from 1983 to today.
RUSH: Now, Reagan did not mention Satan in his 1983 speech, but you heard that he did mention Screwtape. Screwtape is not quite Satan, but nevertheless a demon holds an administrative post in the bureaucracy of hell.