A City Upon a Hill


Available through the National Archives (Audio includes introductory speeches)


Thank you.

Thank you very much. you please.

Thank you. Thank you very much. Please.

Thank you. Well, thank you all very much for a very heartwarming welcome and Buzz, I thank you for your very generous words. Reverend, clergy, Governor Thompson, Congressman Treen, our toastmaster Bill Rusher, the other distinguished guests here at the table. Any speaker, in these first few seconds on his feet is always questioning what should be the first thing of the opening remark, the audience catcher so to speak, but Bill Rusher and Buzz Lukens have set the pace for me, I might as well get back in the act and introduce someone myself. As a matter of fact, there are two men here tonight I'm very proud to introduce. It was a year ago this coming February when this country had its spirits lifted as they have never been lifted in many, many years when planes began landing on American soil and in the Philippines bringing back men who had lived with honor for miserable years in the prison camps of Vietnam and two of those men are here tonight, John McCain and Bill Lawrence.


Wait a minute! Wait a minute! Wait a minute! I can add another one! Ed Martin, right here to join that wonderful crew.

Thank you.

Ed, I'm sorry!

Well, I might as well sit down I can't do any better than that in the remainder of the evening. Well you know to be here, this is a spot to know that I am midway in the seminars that you've been holding. the idea of what subject, knowing the audience, I would be addressing and not knowing which of those subjects you have explored thoroughly already in your seminars or which are on the schedule for your... the rest of your meetings leaves me hard put to find a subject and it isn't helped any but the fact that every once in a while I have when I needed material, cribbed from M. Stanton Evans and he's sitting here tonight, so I can't even do that.

I think the only story that would describe my situation is one that I've told as some of you, I know, before, but then you have to remember that if life begins at 40 so does lumbago, arthritis and the tendency to tell stories three or four times. It was a fellow in the picture business who aspired to an operatic career, saved his money so he could go to Italy and study for opera, and after a few years of study there he was invited to sing at La Scala, the very spiritual fountainhead of opera. They were doing Pagliacci and he sang the beautiful aria Vesti la Giubba and the applause was so thunderous and so sustained that they couldn't continue the opera until he repeated Vesti la Giubba as an encore and again the same sustained thunderous applause and again he stepped center stage and sang the aria. This went on till finally he motioned for quiet and he tried to tell them how full his heart was and what this welcome in his first appearance in opera, in that almost sacred place meant to him. but he said, "I have sung Vesti la Giubba now nine times. My voice is gone I cannot do it again." And a voice from the balcony says, "You'll do it till you get it right."

You know, Reverend, I think I ought to tell you that when we were coming east here we ran into some weather. We were circling up there on the fog and being vectored into a landing pattern and things were getting a little hairy and a little bumpy and there was a clergyman on board and Nancy turned to him across the aisle and said, "Can't you do something about this?" and he said, "I'm with sales not management."

just a couple of nights ago, Nancy and I had the great pleasure of being up in New Hampshire in Governor Mel Thompson's state and I heard a wonderful story there about full of political philosophy and all. A quite elderly little lady left her doctor's office one day and hurried directly down the street to the registrar of voters, went in, and said, "I want to re-register democrat." This man in that little town had known her all his life said, "How can you do that? You've been a Republican all your life. Your parents were Republicans. Your Grandparents were Republicans." She said, "I know, I've just left the doctor's office and he told me my days were numbered. and if I've got to go I'd rather it was one of them than one of us."

Well it is an honor to be here tonight I'm proud that you asked me and I feel more than a little humble in the presence of this distinguished company. Not too long ago Nancy and I also on the way to the governor's conference found ourselves as honored guests at the football game between Ole Miss and Tennessee. Ole Miss hadn't had that good a season, Tennessee was supposed to clobber them. Midway in the third quarter, it was pretty apparent that Ole Miss was pulling the upset of the season and was going to win and we heard a voice in the stands behind to say, "Man, if they'll play that way for him what would they have done if John Wayne was here."

But seriously, there are men here tonight who through their wisdom, their foresight, and their courage have earned the right to be regarded as prophets of our philosophy. Indeed they are prophets of our time. Years past when others were silent or too blind to the facts they spoke up forcefully and fearlessly for what they believed to be right. A decade has passed since Barry Goldwater walked a lonely path across this land reminding us that even a land as rich as ours can't go on forever borrowing against the future, leaving a legacy of debt for another generation and causing a runaway inflation to erode the savings and reduce the standard of living for this generation. Voices have been raised trying to rekindle in our country all the great ideals and principles which set this nation apart from all the others that preceded us. But louder and more strident voices utter easily sold cliches and, oh, Congressman Dave Treen, what words of wisdom you gave us here in what our attitude must be it is so easy to fall into the trap of standing on the edge of the cliff, ready to jump off, with the flag flying and go down arguing. How much better it is if we turn persuasive and leave the strident voices to the others on the other side. We are the ones who can do the persuasive job that has to be done. Cartoonists with acid tip pen portray some of the reminders of our heritage, I know, and our destiny is old-fashioned. They say that we're trying to retreat into a past that actually never existed. Looking to the past in an effort to keep our country from repeating the errors of history is termed, by them, as taking the country back to McKinley. Which I've never found that was so bad under McKinley— under McKinley, we freed Cuba.

But on the span of history we're still thought of as a young upstart country celebrating soon only our second century as a nation, and yet we're the oldest continuing republic in the world. And so I thought that perhaps tonight, rather than talking on the subjects we're trying to find something new to say about the very things that you're discussing, it might be appropriate to reflect a bit on our heritage. Now you can call it mysticism if you want to but I've always believed that there was some divine plan that placed this great continent between two oceans to be sought out by those who were possessed of an abiding love of freedom and a special kind of courage. Now this was true of those who pioneered the great wilderness in the beginning of this country, but it was also true and is true of those later immigrants who were willing to leave the land of their birth and come to a land where even the language was unknown to them. Call it chauvinistic but our heritage does set us apart. Some years ago a writer, he happened to be an avid student of history, told me a story and it happened to be a story about that little day, or, that day in the little hall in Philadelphia where honorable men hard-pressed by a king who was flouting the very law they were willing to obey debated whether they should take the fateful step of declaring their independence from that king. I was told by this man that the story could be found in the writings of Jefferson. I confess I've never researched or made an effort to verify it, perhaps it's only legend, but story or legend, he described the atmosphere the strain the debate and that— that grew heated as men for the first time faced the consequences of such an irretrievable act. The walls resounded with the dread word of treason and its price, the gallows and the headsman's axe, and as the day wore on the issue hung in the balance, and then according to the story, a man rose in the small gallery he was not a young man he was obviously calling on all the energy he could muster. Citing the grievances that had brought them to this moment he said,

"Sign that parchment. They may turn every tree into a gallows, every home into a grave and yet the words of that parchment can never die. For the mechanic in his workshop, they will be words of hope, to the slave in the mines — freedom." And he added, "If my hands were freezing in death, I would sign that parchment with my last ounce of strength. Sign, sign if the next moment the noose is around your neck, sign even if the hall is ringing with the sound of headman’s axe, for that parchment will be the textbook of freedom, the bible of the rights of man forever."

And then it is said he fell back exhausted. But 56 delegates, swept by his eloquence, signed the Declaration of Independence, a document destined to be as immortal as any work of man can be. And according to the story, when they turned to thank him for his timely oratory, he could not be found nor were there any who knew who he was or how he had come in or gone out through the locked and guarded doors.

Well as I say whether story or legend the signing of the document that day in Independence Hall was in itself miracle enough. 56 men, a little band so unique we've never seen their likes since, pledged their lives their fortunes and their sacred honor. 16 gave their lives most gave their fortunes, all of them preserved their sacred honor. And what manner of men were they? Certainly they were not an unwashed revolutionary rabble, nor were they adventurers of— in the heroic mold. 24 were lawyers and jurists. 11 were merchants and tradesmen. 9 were farmers. They were men who had achieved security but who valued freedom more. And what price did they pay? John Hart was driven from the side of his desperately ill wife. After more than a year of living almost as an animal in the forest and in caves, he returned to find his wife had died and his children had vanished. He never saw them again, his property was destroyed and he died of a broken heart — but with no regret, only pride in the part he had played that day in Independence Hall. Carter Braxton of Virginia lost all his ships — they were sold to pay his debts. He died in rags. So it was with Ellery, Clymer, Hall, Walton, Gwinnett, Rutledge, Morris, Livingston, and Middleton. Nelson, learning that Cornwallis was using his home for a headquarters, personally begged Washington to fire on him and destroy his home — he died bankrupt. It has never been reported that any of these men ever expressed bitterness or renounced their action as not worth the price. Fifty-six rank-and-file, ordinary citizens had founded a nation that grew from sea to shining sea, five million farms, quiet villages, cities that never sleep — all done without an area re-development plan or urban renewal or a rural legal assistance program.

Now we're a nation of 211 million people with a pedigree that includes the bloodlines from every corner of the world and we have shed that American melting pot blood in every corner of the world usually in the defense of someone's freedom. But those who remained of that remarkable band we call our founding fathers tied up some of the loose ends about a dozen years after the Revolution. It had been the first revolution in all man's history that didn't just exchange one set of rulers for another. This had been a philosophical revolution, the culmination of men's dreams for six thousand years and they formalized those dreams with the Constitution and that too was something of a miracle. Probably the most unique document ever drawn in the long history of man's relation to man. Oh, I know there have been other constitutions, new ones are being drawn today by newly emerging nations. Most of them, even the one of the Soviet Union, contains many of the same guarantees as our own constitution and still there is a difference. The difference is so subtle that we often overlook it, but it is so great that it tells the whole story. Those other constitutions say government grants you these rights and our says you are born with these rights. They are yours by grace of god and no government on earth can take them from you.

Lord Acton of England, that same Lord Acton who said, "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" would say of that document— its authors, "They had solved with astonishing ease and unexampled success two problems which had heretofore baffled the capacity of the most enlightened nations. They had contrived a system of federal government which prodigiously increased national power and yet respected local liberties and authorities and they had founded it on a principle of equality without surrendering the securities of property or freedom." Never as any society had the preeminence of the individual been so firmly established and given such a priority. In less than twenty years we would go to war because of the God-given rights of American sailors as defined in the Constitution that were being violated by a foreign power. We serve notice then in the world that all of us together would act collectively to safeguard the rights of even the least among us. but still in an older cynical world they were not convinced. The great powers of Europe still had the idea that one day this great continent would be open again to colonizing and they would come over and divide us up. But in the meantime, men who yearned to breathe free were making their way to our shores. Among them was a young refugee from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He'd been a leader in an attempt to free Hungary from Austrian rule. The attempt had failed and he had fled to escape execution. In America, this young Hungarian, Koszta by name, became an importer by trade and took out his first citizenship papers. One day business took him to a Mediterranean port, there was a large Austrian warship under the command of an admiral in the harbor. He had a manservant with him. He had described to this manservant what the flag of his new country looked like. Word was passed to the Austrian warship that this revolutionary was there and in the night he was kidnapped and taken aboard that large ship. His man servant, desperate, walking up and down the harbor suddenly spied a flag that resembled the description he'd heard. It was on a small American war sloop. He went aboard, he told Captain Ingraham of that American war sloop his story. Ingraham went to the American consul. When the American consul learned that Koszta had only taken out his first papers, he washed his hands of the incident. Captain Ingraham said, "I am the senior officer in this port. I believe under my oath of office, I owe this man the protection of our flag." He went aboard the Austrian warship he demanded to see our pris— their prisoner, our citizen. The admiral was amused, but they brought the man on deck, he was in chains, he'd been badly beaten. Captain Ingraham said, "I can hear him better without those chains." And the chains were struck. He walked over and he said to Koszta, "I will ask you one question. Consider your answer carefully. Do you ask the protection of the American flag?" and Koszta nodded dumbly, yes. And he said, "You shall have it." He went back and told the frightened consul what he had done. Later in the day, three more Austrian ships sailed into the harbor. It looked as if the four were getting ready to leave. Captain Ingraham sent a junior officer over to the Austrian flagship to tell the admiral that any attempt to leave that harbor with our citizen aboard would be resisted with appropriate force, and he said, "I will expect a satisfactory answer by four o'clock this afternoon." As the hour, neared they were looking at each other through the glasses. As it struck four, he had them roll the cannons into the ports, he had them light the tapers with which they would set off the cannons. One little sloop, and suddenly the lookout called down and said, "They're lowering a boat," and they rowed Koszta over to the little American ship and Captain Ingraham went below and wrote his letter of resignation to the United States Navy. He said, "I did what I thought my oath of office required, but if I have embarrassed my country, I resign." His resignation was refused in the United States Senate with these words, "This battle that was never fought may turn out to be the most important battle in our nation's history." Now I haven't told that story—incidentally there is to this day and I hope there always will be a USS Ingraham in the United States Navy.

I didn't tell that story out of any desire to be narrowly chauvinistic or to glorify aggressive militarism, but it is an example of government meeting its highest responsibility. In recent years we've been treated to a rash of noble sounding phrases, some of them sound good but they don't hold up under close analysis. Take for instance the slogan so frequently uttered by the young senator from Massachusetts. "The greatest good for the greatest number." Henry Taylor described that as having three things in common with an oil well: "It keeps— it keeps on producing something, it stinks unbelievably, and nobody knows that source's potential."

Certainly under that slogan, no modern day Captain Ingraham would risk even the smallest craft and crew for a single citizen. Every dictator who ever lived has justified the enslavement of his people on the theory of what was good for the majority. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes reminded us that, "catchwords can obscure truth for countless years." We're not a warlike people nor is our history filled with tales of aggressive adventures and imperialism, which might come as a shock to some of the placard painters in our modern demonstrations. We fought wars with citizen soldiers and volunteer dollar a year men. We haven't casually declared that men are expendable to improve some fancied political position. but in the last decade or two, the greatest good philosophy has prevailed far more than it should. The USS Ingraham has been riding rather low in the water. These same strident voices would have us believe that the uniform itself is the cause, not the result of war. The lesson of Vietnam, I think, should be that never again will young Americans be asked to fight and possibly die for a cause unless that cause is so meaningful that we as a nation pledge our full resources to achieve victory as quickly as possible.

I realized that such a pronouncement of course would possibly belay one open to the charge of warmongering but that would be ridiculous. My generation has paid a higher price for freedom and fought harder for freedom than any generation that ever lived. We have known four wars in a single lifetime. All were horrible and all could have been avoided if at a particular moment in time, we had made it plain that we subscribed to the words of John Stuart Mill, when he said that, "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse. ... A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

But widespread disaffection with things military is only a part of the philosophical division in our land today. I must say to you who have only recently or are presently still receiving an education, I am awed by your powers of resistance. I have some knowledge of the attempts that have been made in many classrooms and lecture halls to persuade you that there is little to admire in America. For the second time in this century capitalism and the free enterprise system on under assault. Privately owned business is blamed for despoiling the environment, exploiting the worker and seducing if not outright raping the customer. Those who make the charge have the solution of course, government regulation and control. They never get around to explaining how citizens who are so gullible that they can be suckered into buying breakfast cereal or soap that they don't need and it wouldn't be good for them can at the very same time be astute enough to choose representatives in government in which they would entrust the running of their lives.

Not too long ago a poll was taken on some 2500 college campuses in this country. Thousands and thousands of responses were obtained. Overwhelmingly the students in percentages of 65 and 70 and 75 percent found business responsible, as I said before, for the things that are wrong in this country. And that same number said that government was the solution, to take over the management and the control of private business and then 80 percent of the respondents said they wanted government to keep his paws out of their private lives.

We're told every day that the assembly line worker is becoming a dull-witted robot and that mass production results in standardization. well there isn't a socialist country in the world that wouldn't give its copy of Karl Marx for our standardization. Standardization means production for the masses and the assembly line means more leisure for the worker and freedom from back-breaking and mind-dulling drudgery that man had known for centuries past. Karl Marx didn't abolish child labor or free the women from working in the mines, the coal mines in England, the steam engine and modern machinery did that. Unfortunately the disciples of the new order have had a hand in determining too much policy in recent decades. And government has grown in size and power and cost through the New Deal, the Fair Deal, the New Frontier and the Great Society. It costs more for government today than the family pays for food, shelter and clothing combined. As an rabbi said, if all the seas were ink and all the reeds were pens and all the skies were parchment and all men could write, this would not suffice to write down all the red tape of this government. Not even...


Not even the Office of Management and Budget knows how many boards, commissions, bureaus and agencies there are in the federal government. But the Federal Registry listing their regulations is just a few pages short of being as big as the Encyclopedia Britannica. one of those regulations caught up with a businessman in California. He was told that he had to have separate employees men— washrooms— men's and women's washrooms. He only has one employee and she's his wife and at home they sleep in the same bed and use the same bathroom. During the Great Society we saw the greatest growth of this government. There were eight cabinet departments and twelve independent agencies to administer the federal health programs. There were thirty-five housing programs and twenty transportation projects. Public utilities had to cope with twenty-seven different agencies on just routine business. There were 192 installations in nine departments with a thousand projects having to do in the field of pollution. One congressman found the federal government was spending four billion dollars on research in its own laboratories but didn't know where they were, how many people were working in them, or what they were doing. One of the research projects was the Demography of Happiness and for two hundred and forty-nine thousand dollars we learned that people who make more money are happier than people who make less, young people are happier than old people, and people who are healthier are happier than people who are sick. Now for 15 cents they could have bought an almanac and read the old bromide, It's better to be rich, young and healthy than poor, old and sick.

Now, I haven't told you all of this to make you unhappy or discouraged. As a matter of fact, I feel quite the reverse. You know government extravagance is probably the only bright spot we have. Can you imagine how miserable we'd all be if we were getting all the government we're paying for?

Those who've lost faith in free enterprise frequently cite the joys of living in countries where government has assumed the ultimate control. Countries where everything that isn't prohibited is compulsory. A look at the efficiency with which one iron curtain satellite solved a holiday problem just a couple of years ago. It issued the following edict: they said because Christmas Eve falls on a Thursday, Thursday has been designated a Saturday for work purposes. Factories will close all day with stores open a half a day only. Friday, December 25th has been designated a Sunday with both factories and stores closed all day. Monday will be a Wednesday for work purposes. Wednesday will be a business Friday, Saturday will be a Sunday, and Sunday will be Monday.

But do not falter in the course that you've chosen for you are far more in tune with the hopes and aspirations of our people and are those who would sacrifice freedom for some fancied security.

Standing on the tiny deck of the Arabella in 1630 off the Massachusetts coast, John Winthrop said, "We will be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us, so that if we deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world." Well, we have not dealt falsely with our God, even if He is temporarily suspended from the classroom.

When I was born my life expectancy was ten years less than I've already lived. that's a cause of regret to some people in California, I know. Ninety percent of Americans at that time lived beneath what is considered the poverty line today. Three-quarters lived in what is considered substandard housing. Today each of those figures is less than ten percent. We have increased our life expectancy by wiping out, almost totally, diseases that still ravage mankind in other parts of the world. For the young people who are here tonight I doubt if they know some of the names of diseases that were commonplace when we were growing up. We have more doctors per thousand people than any nation in the world. We have more hospitals than any nation in the world.

When I was your age, believe it or not, some of us didn't even know, in fact none of us knew, that we even had a racial problem. When I graduated from college and became a radio sports announcer, broadcasting major league baseball, I didn't have a Hank Aarons or a Willie Mays to talk about. The Spalding Guide said baseball was a game for Caucasian gentlemen. Some of us then began editorializing and campaigning against this. Gradually we campaigned and against all those other areas where the constitutional rights of a large segment of our citizenry were being denied. We haven't finished the job, we still have a ways to go, but we've made more progress in a few years than we've had in more than a century.

One-third of all the students in the world who are pursuing higher education are getting that higher education in the United States, and our young negro community is going to college in a percentage that is greater than the percentage of whites, in any other country in the world. One half of all the economic activity in the entire history of man has taken place in this republic, and we have distributed our wealth more widely among our people than any society ever known to man. Americans work less hours for a higher standard of living than any other people. 95 percent of all our families have an adequate daily intake of nutrients, and a part of the five percent that don't are trying to lose weight. 99 precent have gas or electric refrigeration. 92 percent have TV, an equal number have telephones, there are 120 million cars on our streets and highways and all of them are on the street at once when you try to get home at night. Ah, but isn't this just proof of our materialism, the very thing that we're charged with? Well we also have more churches, more libraries, we support voluntarily more symphony orchestras and opera companies and non-profit theaters and publish more books than all the other nations of the world put together. And somehow America has bred a kindliness into our people unmatched anywhere, as has been pointed out in that best-selling record by a Canadian journalist.

We are not a sick society. A sick society could not produce the men that set foot on the moon or who now circle the earth above us in Skylab. A sick society bereft of morality and courage did not produce the men who went through that year, those years of torture in captivity in Vietnam. Where did we find such men? They are typical of this land, as the founding fathers were typical. We found them on the streets, in the offices and the shops and the working places of our country and on the farms.

We cannot escape our destiny, nor should we try to. The leadership of the free world was thrust upon us two centuries ago in that little hall in Philadelphia. In the days following World War II, when economic strength and power of America was all that stood between the world and a return to the Dark Ages, Pope Pius XII said, "The American people have a great genius for splendid and unselfish action. Into the hands of America god has placed the destinies of an afflicted mankind." We are indeed and we are today the last best hope of man on earth.

Thank you.