The Defense of Freedom and the Metaphysics of Fun
Ronald Reagan, 1985 speech quoted by National Review Online
EDITOR'S NOTE: This speech was delivered by President Ronald Reagan at National Review's 30th anniversary dinner on December 5, 1985.
Ladies and gentlemen, I mean it literally when I say it is a delight to be here tonight. The editors, associates, and friends of National Review are celebrated not just for skillful argument and sound polemics, but for the wit, warmth — even merriment — of their gatherings.
I will admit that like most of his friends, I wonder if Bill Buckley's well-known regard for fun doesn't get a little out of hand. A couple of years ago, I made a congratulatory phone call to an anniversary party for Bill Buckley's telephone show. Now, as you know, Firing Line attracts many important guests, some of whom, however, are also very, very controversial. No sooner had I picked up the phone and said, "Hello," than Bill's voice came ringing through: "Mr. President, I'm standing here with Gordon Liddy on my right and Howard Hunt on my left, and we await your orders, sir."
And once when Bill was asked what job he wanted in the Administration of his friend the President, he replied in his typically retiring and deferential way: "Ventriloquist."