The 1960s was a decade in that will be remembered mostly for the Vietnam War. It is however what many historians have labeled as a liberal age in the United States, marked by mass protests against the war as well as civil and women’s rights. Women and minority groups were beginning to take the stages and rallying supporters in the streets. It was indeed a liberal age of many. Nevertheless, this era also saw the birth of young conservative minds, key among them being Ronald Reagan, a former Hollywood actor and later California Governor. As a TV personality, Reagan used his show to give pro-business talks, which he utilized to his advantage in speaking against the government. He criticized the government for overspending. These arguments laid a path for him towards his political career.
Reagan’s career as an influential politician came to the limelight in 1964. It was during that time of his young political career that he gave one of his most famous speeches dubbed “A Time for Choosing,” while campaigning for a conservative presidential candidate, Barry Goldwater. This speech made him gain national attention. He insisted on his confidence in the value of a smaller government. Even though the speech did not work at making Goldwater’s campaign a success, it played a huge part in establishing his political career on a national level. It is considered one of the most powerful speeches to date, thanks to Reagan’s excellent communication skills, and the validity of its contents.
In the speech, Reagan made known his stern belief in limited government, private enterprise, tax reform and also an end to bureaucratic social engineering. Reagan is considered an advocate of neo-liberalism due to his confidence in small government spending, which he implemented when he later became president. Reagan believed in decreased government spending on some public services as well as on welfare. He argued that there should be Methods of developing and supporting the private sector and boost public-private partnerships, which would decrease over-reliance on government. He further pointed out that tax reforms had to be implemented, arguing that taxing too much reduced the urge to work. He made the point that overtaxing was a way of discouraging work and productivity. Reagan also used his speech to paint the importance of Freedom and liberty, by comparing the United States to Cuba, which was in a terrible state at the time.
Reagan was asking the people to choose between ideologies, which was primarily between the liberals and conservatives. The choice he was talking about was between more personal freedom and self-reliance or a bigger government. “The Founding Fathers knew a government couldn’t control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that; it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing” (Reagan, 1964). He further addressed the issue of choice when he said that the choice that people needed to make was not between left or right (the liberals or conservatives), but between up or down (the ideologies they championed for). “You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man’s age-old dream-the maximum of individual freedom consistent with law and order – or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism.”
Reagan’s speech was great in its days, but some of the issues it addressed are still relevant today. One of those ideas is Reagan’s notable claim that if Americans were to give up their freedom, then they would have nowhere else to run. This warning can be echoed today in times when the White House depends so much on executive orders, and the government is resolving more problems instead of the congressional legislation