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Reagan's powerful words remind us what will always be at stake

Conservative Review

RONALD REAGAN: Now let’s set the record straight. There’s no argument over the choice between peace and war. But there’s only one guaranteed way that you can have peace, and you can have it in the next second: surrender.

Admittedly there’s a risk in any course we follow other than this. But every lesson of history tells us that the greater risk lies in appeasement, and this is the specter our well-meaning liberals refuse to face — that their policy of accommodation is appeasement. And it gives no choice between peace and war, only between fight or surrender.

If we continue to accommodate, continue to back and retreat, eventually we have to face the final demand, the ultimatum. And what then? When Nikita Khrushchev has told his people he knows what our answer will be, he has told them that we’re retreating under the pressure of the Cold War.

And some day, when the time comes to deliver the final ultimatum, our surrender will be voluntary because, by that time, we will have been weakened from within spiritually, morally, and economically.

He believes this because from our side, he’s heard voices pleading for peace at any price, or better red than dead. Or as one commentator put it, he’d rather live on his knees than die on his feet. And therein lies the road to war, because those voices don’t speak for the rest of us.

You and I know it and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. If nothing in life is worth dying for, when did this begin? Just in the face of this enemy? Or should Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery under the pharaohs?

Should Christ have refused the cross? Should the patriots at Concord Bridge have thrown down their guns and refused to fire the "shot heard ‘round the world"?

The martyrs of history were not fools, and our honored dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis didn’t die in vain. Where then is the road to peace? Well, it’s a simple answer after all.

You and I have the courage to say to our enemies: There is a price we will not pay. There is a point beyond which they must not advance. You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.

We’ll preserve for our children this — the last best hope of man on Earth. Or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.

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