October 16, 2004

The last President to write his own speeches...

Calvin Coolidge on Progress:

The law of progress and civilization is not the law of the jungle. It is not an earthly law, it is a divine law. It does not mean survival of the fittest, it means sacrifice of the fittest. Any mother will give her life for her child. Men put women and children in lifeboats before they themselves will leave the sinking ship. John Hampden and Nathan Hale did not survive, nor did Lincoln, but Benedict Arnold did.
And from his Inaugural Address:
...The time is arriving when we can have further tax reduction, when, unless we wish to hamper the people in their right to earn a living, we must have tax reform. The method of raising revenue ought not to impede the transaction of business; it ought to encourage it. I am opposed to extremely high rates, because they produce little or no revenue, because they are bad for the country, and, finally, because they are wrong. We can not finance the country, we can not improve social conditions, through any system of injustice, even if we attempt to inflict it upon the rich. Those who suffer the most harm will be the poor. This country believes in prosperity. It is absurd to suppose that it is envious of those who are already prosperous. The wise and correct course to follow in taxation and all other economic legislation is not to destroy those who have already secured success but to create conditions under which every one will have a better chance to be successful...

... These questions involve moral issues. We need not concern ourselves much about the rights of property if we will faithfully observe the rights of persons. Under our institutions their rights are supreme. It is not property but the right to hold property, both great and small, which our Constitution guarantees. All owners of property are charged with a service...

I don't, by the way, mean to imply that there's anything wrong with having speechwriters. Crafting good speeches can be a full-time job. But Silent Cal could write great ones on his own. He never flew in an airplane, or learned to drive a car, but he was the first President to give radio addresses. His voice was unpleasing in live speeches, but somehow sounded just right over the radio

Posted by John Weidner at October 16, 2004 8:31 PM
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