One has to wonder if these words of the crisis year of 1961 any longer ring true in the crisis year of 2009. For the sake of our great Nation and our posterity, I do hope so.

  • “And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe—the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.
  • “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
  • “To those peoples in the huts and villages across the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required…
  • “We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.
  • “Now the trumpet summons us again—not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are—but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out…”

Posted by UltimaRatioReg in Foreign Policy, History

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  • Robbo

    “but from the hand of God.”
    I’m with you, except for the god thing that I don’t get. BTW my view is not appreciated at CDR Salamander either.
    Believe it or not, there are atheists in foxholes.
    For the sake of our great Nation and our posterity, I hope that my minority, atheists, is deemed worthy.
    Semper Fi, Signal Mountain, etc,

  • Cap’n Bill

    Go To It Fellow! And at what cost I ask.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Well, Robbo, I seem to remember something in the First Amendment about forbidding both the establishment of religion, and prohibiting the free exercise thereof….

    So, you don’t have to get it. But you aren’t legally required to, either. Neat sentence, that First Amendment.

  • Chuck Hill


    I’m with you. The rights of man are not granted or given, they have to be won–repeatedly.

  • Byron

    Robbo, having known Sala since his blog started, you’re being an atheist is NOT what wore your welcome out.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “I’m with you. The rights of man are not granted or given, they have to be won–repeatedly.”

    Not sure the two are incompatible.

  • Derrick

    I thought US foreign policy has always been that way since 1945? I also cannot imagine US foreign policy changing now due to the US economy’s dependence on international trade. Was there a change recently?

    A little off topic, but as part of supporting freedom worldwide, I thought that US strategic policy requires the US military to be able to fight 2 major theatre conflicts simultaneously. Is that still the case? Are Afghanistan and Iraq considered 2 major theatre conflicts?

    Just want to fill in some of my knowledge gaps, that’s all…

  • Robbo

    I don’t disagree with you re: 1st Amendment. It’s just that I have to roll my eyes when a leader starts to say something like, “God is on our side.” Even the 9/11 murderers thought that.
    Imagine Kennedy or any other Pres saying: “the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of Zeus.” Or Odin or Vishnu.

  • UltimaRatioReg


    IMHO the point is being missed. Whether one calls his God Vishnu, or Zeus or Yaweh, or Fred, or simply Creator, the idea is that the rights of man are natural, and do not come from the generosity of the state.

    And I don’t think President Kennedy’s words in his assertions about the rights of man was in any way a statement of “Gott Mit Uns”.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Rather than turn this into a theology post, any opinions on whether the rest of the words of JFK’s speech still apply?

    Just askin’

  • wtdoor

    The rights of man are not natural; if they were, there would be no need to fight for them! They originate when a group of people makes a conscious decision to live by something other than the physical domination that’s good enough for the rest of the primates.

    So, the rights of man come from other men who choose to create a society whose rules protect those rights. And what do we call the organization men invest with the power and authority to enforce the rules of a society?

    The state, isn’t it?

  • Robbo

    Wilco. I agree that as a rhetorical flourish, the God bit is kinda harmless, like Einstein’s god. Re: Gott Mit Uns, see LTG Boykin, but that stuff is more common in the Army/USAF. Sorry for the distraction.

    To answer your question: honestly … I think we’re in a different time, and people in our country now don’t like to be told things are hard, or tough, or will take a long time. We’re all spoiled children who don’t like to be told ‘no.’

    I wish JFK’s speech still applied, but I don’t see it happening again. Look at last night’s speech: you hit it on the head with your comments. “We’ll stick it out — for the next 18 months. Do what it takes — as long as it’s not too hard.”

    And W doesn’t get more credit. How many vetoes did he use?
    “We’re at war — go shopping!” A far cry from JFK’s words.

    I don’t have an answer on how to change things.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Well, wt, some have made the very reasonable distinction between society and government.

    Paine called society in all forms a blessing, but government at its best a necessary evil.