Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Calvin Coolidge didn't say much, but everything he said was brilliant
After Ronald Reagan, Calvin Coolidge is my favorite U.S. President. I once wrote a paper about Coolidge for a graduate history class. When I got my paper back, it had this brief, snarky note scrawled across the title page (right under my "A" grade):
"A lot of people have problems with Coolidge."
The prof who scrawled that note didn't dispute any of the facts and or figures I presented in my paper. She just wanted me to know that "a lot of people," meaning a lot of left-wing college instructors, don't like Coolidge because he was a conservative champion of individual liberty.
If you wanna know why I admire Calvin Coolidge so much, check out this video from 1924, which is reportedly the first presidential film with sound recording. A sample from ol' Cal:
"Taxes take from everyone a part of his earnings and force everyone to work for a certain part of his time for the government. ...
"I want the people of America to be able to work less for the government and more for themselves.
I want them to have the rewards of their own energy -- this is the chief meaning of freedom.
"Until we can reestablish a condition under which the earnings of the people can be kept by the people, we are bound to suffer a very severe and distinct curtailment of our liberty."
UPDATE: If you want to learn more about Calvin Coolidge, my second-favorite president of all time, check out Robert Sobel's Coolidge: An American Enigma, which you should be able to find in your local library.