“We are at a turning point in our history. There are two paths to choose. One is a path I’ve warned about tonight, the path that leads to fragmentation and self-interest. Down that road lies a mistaken idea of freedom, the right to grasp for ourselves some advantage over others. That path would be one of constant conflict between narrow interests ending in chaos and immobility. It is a certain route to failure. All the traditions of our past, all the lessons of our heritage, all the promises of our future point to another path, the path of common purpose and the restoration of American values. That path leads to true freedom for our nation and ourselves. We can take the first steps down that path as we begin to solve our energy problem.”
Jimmy Carter delivered this televised speech on July 15, 1979.
Phi Beta Iota: Carter’s mistake was in not being clearer about the corruption of the Republic. Malaise was a symptom–corruption–and public recognition of the corruption that was destroying the Republic from within–is the root cause. Until we can speak the truth about what ails us as a Republic, it will not be addressed.