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In a democracy dissent is an act of faith. Like medicine, the test of its value is not in its taste, but its effects.
In the long course of history, having people who understand your thought is much greater security than another submarine.
It is amazing how soon one becomes accustomed to the sound of ones voice, when forced to repeat a speech five or six times a day. As election day approaches, the size of the crowds grows; they are more responsive and more interested; and one derives a certain exhilaration from that which, only a few weeks before, was intensely painful. This is one possible explanation of unlimited debate in the Senate.
It is not our affluence, or our plumbing, or our clogged freeways that grip the imagination of others. Rather, it is the values upon which our system is built. These values imply our adherence not only to liberty and individual freedom, but also to international peace, law and order, and constructive social purpose. When we depart from these values, we do so at our peril.
It seems to me that it is these extremists who are advocating a soft approach. Their oversimplifications and their baseless generalizations reflect the softness of those who cannot bear to face the burdens of a continuing struggle against a powerful and resourceful enemy. A truly tough approach, in my judgment, is one which accepts the challenge of communism with the courage and determination to meet it with every instrumentality of foreign policypolitical and economic as well as military, and with the willingness to see the struggle through as far into the future as may be necessary. Those who seek to meet the challengeor, in reality, to evade itby bold adventures abroad and witch hunts at home are the real devotees of softnessthe softness of seeking escape from painful realities by resort to illusory panaceas.
Naturepitiless in a pitiless universeis certainly not concerned with the survival of Americans or, for that matter, of any of the two billion people now inhabiting this earth. Hence, our destiny, with the aid of God, remains in our own hands.
To me, the irony of this involvement with size, as I observed earlier, is the unwillingness or inability of so many Americans to identify themselves with something as vast as the United States. Bigger cars, bigger parking lots, bigger corporate structures, bigger farms, bigger drug stores, bigger supermarkets, bigger motion-picture screens. The tangible and the functional expand, while the intangible and the beautiful shrink. Left to wither is the national purpose, national educational needs, literature and theater, and our critical faculties. The national dialogue is gradually being lost in a froth of misleading self-congratulation and cliche. National needs and interests are slowly being submerged by the national preoccupation with the irrelevant.
We have the power to do any damn fool thing we want to do, and we seem to do it about every ten minutes.
When public men indulge themselves in abuse, when they deny others a fair trial, when they resort to innuendo and insinuation, to libel, scandal, and suspicion, then our democratic society is outraged, and democracy is baffled. It has no apparatus to deal with the boor, the liar, the lout, and the antidemocrat in general.
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