On the one hand is our belief that the people can and will decide what is best for themselves, and on the other side is the belief that a "few" can best decide what is good for all the rest. (January 1951)While pundits denounced the "evil empire" speech, political prisoners in Russia spread the word in their dark, damp cells. They tapped on walls and quietly talked through toilets to share what Reagan had said. Natan Scharansky remembers feeling energized and emboldened; Reagan had given them hope.
We are called materialistic. Maybe so … but our materialism has made our children the biggest, tallest, most handsome, and intelligent generation of Americans yet. They will live longer with fewer illnesses, learn more, see more of the world, and have more successes in realizing their personal dreams and ambitions than any other people in any other period of our history — because of our materialism. (Summer 1968)
In all of history, one can find few, if any, instances where people have started a war. War is the province of government, and therefore the more autocratic government is, the more centralized, the more totalitarian, the more government can direct and control the will of the people — the greater the chance of war. (1967)
…a little less détente with the Politburo and more encouragement to the dissenters might be worth a lot of armored divisions [in the Cold War] (1979)
We in the West have a responsibility not only to preserve our own freedom but to nurture it where it does not exist. (Official US statement after Poland's imposition of martial law, January 1982)