Remarks to the International Democratic Union Leaders Dinner
The State Dining Room
The White House
June 10, 2002
7:03 P.M. EDT
PRESIDENT BUSH: If I may have your attention for a minute, please. It is a great
pleasure for me to welcome the International Democratic Union's members, and
its new chairman, Prime Minister of Australia John Howard. And it's my pleasure
to thank the outgoing chairman, William Hague, for his outstanding leadership.
With us this evening are IDU members from 40 nations, including five current
heads of state or government, and nine former heads of state or government.
The presence of so many distinguished world leaders is a remarkable testament
to the power and attractiveness of our ideas.
More than a century ago, the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir William
Harcourt, declared, we're all socialists now. (Laughter.) Today it's fair to
say we're all democratic capitalists now. (Applause.) The democratic capitalist's
vision of a free and just and compassionate society has captured the imagination
of the world. Free markets, free governments, and free societies are not American
idea, they're not European or Western ideas, they're universal ideas. And they
inspire all the member parties of the International Democratic Union.
The historical record is clear: economic systems that put freedom first have
achieved greater levels of equality and well-being than systems that seek to
strengthen the power of a state and stifle economic liberty. That's the record.
But while the ideas of the IDU -- but while the ideas the IDU stands for have
made unprecedented gains, the free societies we love face unprecedented threats.
We face cold-blooded killers that hate the freedoms we cherish. And with the
spread of chemical and biological and nuclear weapons, along with ballistic
missile technology, freedom's enemies could attain catastrophic power. And there's
no doubt that they would use that power to attack us and to attack the values
It is our commitment to freedom and human dignity and the strong belief that
each individual matters that sets our enemies against us and draws our friends
together in a great coalition of liberty. We will oppose the new totalitarians
with all our power. We will hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice.
And we must never hate -- hesitate to speak for what we believe. We believe
we fight an enemy that is barbaric and that is evil. We believe targeting innocent
civilians for murder is always and everywhere wrong; and political, social and
economic freedoms are always and everywhere right.
The war on terror will be long and it will be dangerous. It will require us
to be patient, and steadfast, and clear about what we're fighting for. We fight
for the non-negotiable demands of human dignity: the rule of law, limits on
the power of the state, respect for women, respect for private property, and
free speech, and equal justice, and religious tolerance.
And so I'd like you to join me in a toast for the ideas which we all share,
and for the great hope to replace poverty and repression and resentment with
the promise of a better day for everyone who inhabits this Earth.