Sunday, August 02, 2015

Agnewisms: The Most Famous Lines Uttered by Vice President Spiro “Ted” Agnew


Vice President Spiro “Ted” Agnew, circa 1969

Corrected and re-posted by Nicholas Stix

Although Ted Agnew (1918-1996) was reportedly pretty good at speaking impromptu, like all modern politicians, he had speechwriters (among them William Safire) who wrote most or all of the following lines for him.

Best Spiro Agnew Quotes

In the United States today, we have more than our share of the nattering nabobs of negativism. They have formed their own 4H Club: The hopeless, hysterical, hypochondriacs of history.

A spirit of national masochism prevails, encouraged by an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals.

Some newspapers are fit only to line the bottom of bird cages.

Freedom of speech is useless without freedom of thought. And I fear that the politics of protest is shutting out the process of thought, so necessary to rational discussion. We are faced with the Ten Commandments of Protest:

Thou Shalt Not Allow Thy Opponent to Speak.

Thou Shalt Not Set Forth a Program of Thine Own.

Thou Shalt Not Trust Anybody Over Thirty.

Thou Shalt Not Honor Thy Father or Thy Mother.

Thou Shalt Not Heed the Lessons of History.

Thou Shalt Not Write Anything Longer than a Slogan.

Thou Shalt Not Present a Negotiable Demand.

Thou Shalt Not Accept Any Establishment Idea.

Thou Shalt Not Revere Any but Totalitarian Heroes.

Thou Shalt Not Ask Forgiveness for Thy Transgressions, Rather Thou Shalt Demand Amnesty for Them.

[N.S. emphasis added.]

Yippies, Hippies, Yahoos, Black Panthers, lions and tigers alike – I would swap the whole damn zoo for the kind of young Americans I saw in Vietnam.

There are people in our society who should be separated and discarded. I think it’s one of the tendencies of the liberal community to feel that every person in a nation of over 200 million people can be made into a productive citizen. I’m realist enough to believe this can’t be. We’re always going to have our prisons, we’re always going to have our places of preventive detention for psychopaths, and we’re always going to have a certain number of people in our community who have no desire to achieve, or who have no desire to even fit in an amicable way with the rest of society. And these people should be separated from the community, not in a callous way, but they should be separated as far as any idea that their opinions shall have any effect on the course we follow.

Ultraliberalism today translates into a whimpering isolationism in foreign policy, a mulish obstructionism in domestic policy, and a pusillanimous pussyfooting on the critical issue of law and order.

Some of the politicians in this country, in their feverish search for group acceptance, are ready to endorse tumultuous confrontation as a substitute for debate, and the most illogical and unfitting extensions of the Bill of Rights as protections for psychotic and criminal elements in our society. We have seen all too clearly that there are men now in power in this country who do not represent authority, who cannot cope with tradition, and who believe that the people of America are ready to support revolution, as long as it is done with a cultured voice and a handsome profile.

This is the criminal left that belongs not in a dormitory, but in a penitentiary. The criminal left is not a problem to be solved by the Department of Philosophy or the Department of English, it is a problem for the Department of Justice. Black or white, the criminal left is interested in power. It is not interested in promoting the renewal and reforms that make democracy work; it is interested in promoting those collisions and conflict that tear democracy apart.

[1.] The era of appeasement must come to an end. The political and social demands that dissidents are making of the universities do not flow from sound basic educational criteria, but from strategic considerations on how to radicalize the student body, polarize the campus and extend the privileged enclaves of student power.

[2.] A concise and clear set of rules for campus conduct should be established, transmitted to incoming freshmen, and enforced with immediate expulsion the penalty for serious violations.

[3.] It is folly for universities confronted with their current crisis in our turbulent times to open their doors to thousands of patently unqualified students.

[4.] No negotiations under threat or coercion.

[5.] No amnesty for lawlessness or violence.

[6.] Any organization which publicly declares its intention to violate the rules of an academic community and which carries out that declaration should be barred from campus.

[7.] We must look to how we are raising our children.

[8.] We must look to the university that receives those children. Is it prepared to deal with the challenge of the nondemocratic Left?

[9.] Let us support those courageous administrators, professors and students on our college campuses who are standing up for the traditional rights of the academic community.

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