Teddy’s Nobel Speech

by John J. Miller on March 29, 2012

in Blog Posts

  • Sumo

My podcast with Jay Nordlinger brought to mind Theodore Roosevelt’s remarkable Nobel lecture. He won the peace prize in 1906, but didn’t give the talk until 1910, after his presidency was finished. It’s a remarkable address, vintage TR and worth reading in its entirety. But here’s an especially good part (which Jay quotes in his fine book):

Peace is generally good in itself, but it is never the highest good unless it comes as the handmaid of righteousness; and it becomes a very evil thing if it serves merely as a mask for cowardice and sloth, or as an instrument to further the ends of despotism or anarchy. We despise and abhor the bully, the brawler, the oppressor, whether in private or public life, but we despise no less the coward and the voluptuary. No man is worth calling a man who will not fight rather than submit to infamy or see those that are dear to him suffer wrong. No nation deserves to exist if it permits itself to lose the stern and virile virtues; and this without regard to whether the loss is due to the growth of a heartless and all-absorbing commercialism, to prolonged indulgence in luxury and soft, effortless ease, or to the deification of a warped and twisted sentimentality.

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