Ronald Reagan, who was then a movie actor, delivered one of the greatest and most prophetic speeches of the 20th century, when he appeared before the Orange County Press Club on July 28, 1961.
Vital Speeches of the Day later published the full text under the headline, “Encroaching Control: Keep Government Poor and Remain Free.”
Reagan made an alarming argument: Americans were slowly surrendering to socialism just as some socialists had predicted they would.
“Not too long ago,” Reagan said, “Norman Thomas, six times a candidate for president on the Socialist Party ticket, commented that ‘the American people would never knowingly vote for socialism but that under the name of liberalism, they would adopt every fragment of the socialist program.'”
Reagan pointed to several examples, starting with health care.
“Traditionally, one of the easiest first steps in imposing socialism on a people has been government-paid medicine,” said Reagan. “It is the easiest to present as a humanitarian project. No one wants to oppose care for the sick.”