Teddy Roosevelt arguing that the people are smart enough to make their own decisions in life and have self-control and can self-govern themselves. Which is what individual freedom is about. The right to self-rule and be able to make our own personal decisions short of hurting innocent people with what we’re doing. Not arguing for anarchy, just the right for responsible people to govern their own affairs and not be subjects to big government over their own personal lives. This is a classic liberal democratic (meaning liberal democracy) speech that any true Liberal such as myself or any other true Liberal should and would be proud of.
Remember, Teddy Roosevelt was a true Progressive. But that doesn’t mean he was someone who didn’t believe in individual freedom and individualism. He just wanted those things to be for everybody and not just the rich, or the well-connected, and the powerful. And he also wanted a government referee not to run business and other private organizations, or to run individuals, but to protect innocent people like workers and consumers, from predators. Businesses that would force their workers to work in unsafe working conditions and produce unsafe products. Or to protect individuals from criminals who would physically hurt or worse innocent people.
I’ve argued before that Progressives are different from both Socialists and even Liberals. This is a speech by TR which separates Progressives from Socialists. Both Democratic and Communists, because when you have you heard any Socialist talk about the right for the people to rule themselves. And not be subjected to big government, because they believe big government is not qualified to make the most personal decisions for individuals. Things like education, health care, health insurance, retirement, just to use as examples. But also how we communicate with people or what we eat and drink and how much we eat and drink. Socialists don’t tend to believe in individualism, but true Progressives like Theodore Roosevelt do.