Way back in the days of the ancients, in the late 1960s/early 1970s, there was a radio program called Life Line that was broadcast daily on many stations in the U.S. The commentator was someone named Melvin Munn. Printed copies of these short Life Line "Freedom Talks" were also available. The fine print at the end of each "Freedom Talk" stated: LIFE LINE MATERIAL MAY BE REPRODUCED WITH OR WITHOUT CREDIT. The price was noted as 3 for 25¢, or a one-year subscription (a weekly mailing of 7 commentaries) for only $5.00. The staff of 101Bananas.com recently discovered a stash of old "Freedom Talks" in the back of a closet beneath a stack of very old Playboy magazines and decided to transcribe several of them for the web. Reading them today you can't help but be amazed they have only become more relevant over the past 50 years than they were when first broadcast.

Life Line Freedom Talk

A Daily Radio Commentary By
Life Line
Dallas, Texas 75206
June 25, 1971



       Sometimes truth can be a problem—especially personal truth. Sooner or later just about everybody plays foolish little games, and then it becomes increasingly harder to recognize and admit the truth about ourselves.
       When William Shakespeare had Polonius, the father, give counsel to Laertes, his son, he wrote well and thoughtfully. Polonius concludes one famed speech with the very sound suggestion to Laertes:

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

       In academic circles such a statement today is considered altogether too simple and naive. Such advice today must be encompassed by all sorts of qualifications, buts, ifs, ands, and with a perhaps here and there.
       That’s what you get into when you get all tangled up with the idea that there are no absolutes. Even areas of what are called exact sciences are frequently challenged by loose thinkers who are determined to get a different answer than man has been obtaining for centuries.
       Even so, it still follows that it is a whale of a lot easier to be fair, honest, just, and interested in the other person if you start by being totally honest with yourself. The opposite is also true. If we tend to cheat on ourselves, lie to ourselves, pretend things that are not so, and conceal truth from ourselves, it will become all but impossible to deal honestly with other people.
       In today’s confused climate the first thing all adult Americans should recognize is that the world about them, their nation, state, and city, and their private life styles all undergo steady patterns of change. Just about every time you pick up a daily paper, if you read it carefully enough, you will find that something new and surprising happened, somewhere in the world, yesterday. Many times that means a slight adjustment in your own behavior or in your knowledge about that subject.
       If you will objectively examine the latest ten years of your life, you will find that you have grown a great deal emotionally, intellectually, and psychologically, whether or not you have grown physically. Growth is not always meaningful or effective, even in the thought life of a man, but you certainly are not exactly the same person you were last year, ten years ago, or even yesterday. Thus, your fear of being labeled a reactionary, a mossback, or an obstructionist is rarely well-founded.
       The same kind of logic will refute the radical few who accuse our entire adult population of being guilty in the assassination of prominent Americans; of deliberately slaughtering innocent people in the time of war; of indifference to real poverty and want; and of doggedly perpetuating a racist society.
       You are part of a nation of individuals. No matter how hard some forces strive to develop a mass psychology and no matter how desperately they seek to mold us into a passive mob, something always goes haywire with their plans. Some character really sets out to be an individual and throws the whole thing into confusion.
       The truth about Americans is not all that complex. In the main, an American is this:

1. Basically self-centered in matters of survival, prosperity, his job, home, and family.
2. Inherently devoted to freedom even though he might never be able to fully explain what that word means to him.
3. Somewhat aware that a human being is a superior creature to other forms of life on earth.
4. Conscious of the fact that his personal welfare is intertwined with the welfare of many other people, whether he likes it or not.
5. A creature of growing ambition.
6. A human being who knows the value of life to him and slowly begins to learn its equal value to others.
7. When the chips are really down, he is a person who knows that man is not supreme but is rather subservient to a far greater power that somehow moves mysteriously even in his own life.

       The truth about the majority of Americans, at any time, is that they increasingly walk in fear. Some are afraid they will be found out in their ignorance. Some are afraid they will be caught up in the lies they live. Others fear taking any kind of chance. Still others are afraid of authority, power, and death. Maybe all of us, at one time or another, fear that we shall be found out in some secret matter we have long concealed. Fear does not explain the paranoia of indecision and uncertainty with which so many Americans are afflicted today. It is something much deeper than that.
       If we would admit the bare truth to ourselves, we would have to acknowledge that most of our frustrations and confusions come from a diminishing degree of faith in our institutions, our families, our homes, and even ourselves. Each day we seem to believe less and less in the inherent dignity of the normal American life. We seem to find greater and greater fault with others so that we will not have to confront our own shortcomings. And there is a rapidly growing devotion of too many of us to the practice of ridiculing, belittling, defaming, and besmirching others in a desperate attempt to cover up our own individual smallness.
       The truth about so many Americans is that we do not have a silent majority but we do have an inactive majority. Everywhere you go you will find people complaining about high taxes, inflation, radicalism, militancy, riots, and revolutionary warfare right in our own country. Such things are standard fare in conversation at parties, dinners, and bull sessions.
       Almost everybody has some idea about what is wrong with the country and how it ought to be set right. Almost nobody ever admits that he could be some small part of what is wrong with the country. So middle America is not really very silent.
       Take government. Roughly half of all adult Americans never bother even so much as to register for their right to vote. In all but a very few types of elections much less than half of those who do register bother to go to the polls. That means that only one out of every four adults—or even less than that—cast their ballots and make decisions for the other three. A great many propositions become official and legal with only a small minority of those who will be affected by the action bothering to express a choice.
       Countless school bond issues are either passed or defeated with less than 15 per cent of the affected taxpayers going to the polls. A great many municipal bonds are authorized by a similar small number of voters. City governments, county governments, and even a number of state governments are turned over to political leaders with far less than half the adult population expressing any preference.
       The truth about Americans is that you could probably start an insurrection by only suggesting that our people be denied the right to vote; yet millions of qualified citizens can’t be troubled to exercise that right, no matter what the issue may be.
       Then comes another truth about ourselves. Millions of Americans become exercised about the drug problem, about riots in the streets and on campuses, about militancy, sabotage, and treason. But just let some advocate of violence, be he student or professor, entertainer or bum, start prattling about the extremism, the idiocy of conservatives, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and the good American citizen clams up. Often he never realizes that he is simply admitting the shallowness in his own convictions and in his faith in high standards and great values.
       Institutions are vital, but they are not sanctified or holy. Not even a church is saintly just because it bears the label of a church. It only becomes a working unit of God’s great message when people who believe in Him carry Him into the sanctuary in their hearts and souls, there to sing, praise, pray, and listen to His holy word.
       Human institutions—yes, even the P.T.A., the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, the Campfire Girls, Future Homemakers, and Future Farmers—are subject to human error. Not everything they do is morally and educationally perfect. Yet a great many Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions, and Optimist Clubs conceal any mistakes they make and fiercely protect their membership from the slightest criticism, if any is ever appropriate.
       The point here is that it is not safe for free people to merely assume that those in responsible positions of leadership are pursuing the high standards and goals to which the general body is dedicated. There are ordained Christian preachers in some pulpits today identifying themselves as Christian atheists. There are a growing number of publicly identified atheists being accepted in seminaries across the nation and allowed to prepare themselves for the ordained ministry.
       The truth about so many of us is that we think rocking the boat or going against tradition is more sinful than are the actions of those who literally seek to destroy many of our most vital and essential institutions. Too many Americans would rather be known as broad-minded and liberal than to be honest in their opposition to the antics of some liberal elements gone wild. Just look how long we have tolerated the senseless destruction, the juvenile behavior, the wild rhetoric, and the insipid demands of a frantic fringe among us who see nothing worthwhile in anything thus far built by a far worthier group of people.
       Some say we don’t want our children scoffed at in school, so let their skirts be brief, male hair styles extreme, clothing bizarre, and language loose and bold just so the kids will be popular. How about a word now and then about decent language, the neater habits of the majority, and the rights of people to dislike long hair on boys to match their right to be that different?
       The truth about ourselves is that too many Americans are more concerned about status, position, and popularity than they are about the safety of the nation. Too many would rather tolerate alcoholic carnage on the highways, ridiculous behavior by drunks, erratic actions by drug users, X-rated films, and the cheapening of human life, physical form, and male-female relations than to appear to be prim, puritanical, or a prig.
       What price are we willing to pay to avoid being criticized or singled out? The truth is that unless the inactive majority calmly, logically, persistently, and regularly proclaims their own devotion to high standards, great principles, and faith in God, country, and man, our whole way of life can be stolen from us in one short generation.
       Even so, the most important truth about ourselves is that, in the pursuit of effective living, most Americans instinctively choose the right course to avoid chaos. That is why, today, there are new directions that are taking us away from hatred, filth, brutality, and fear toward confidence, faith, and strong purpose.

       When the average American quits depending upon some vague brain trust to preserve our rights and freedoms, we can get back on the road to reasonable happiness.