Skip to comments.Erasing Reagan? The Illiberal War on Truth
Posted on 02/12/2013 3:12:20 PM PST by Kaslin
The prospect of four more years of Barack Obama in the White House has caused several conservative voices (among them, The Wall Street Journals Daniel Henninger, Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer, and noted Ronald Reagan scholar Paul Kengor) to opine that President Obamas second term portends the passing of the Reagan era, the reversal of his pro-growth policies and the attempted burial of Reagans credo, government is the problem.
None of this is news. It is a given that Obama and his fellow progressives reject Reagans values and philosophy. They will continue to try to expand government.
There is, however, a more sinister dimension to the progressive agenda: Rush Limbaugh asserted that Team Obama wants to erase every trace of Reagan from Americanot just to repeal and reverse Reagans policies, but to engage in wholesale historical revisionism by obfuscating Reagans record and reshaping public opinion about him. It serves the progressives interests if they can obscure the fact that Reagans policies of lower tax rates, a sound dollar, and reductions in governmental regulatory micromanagement enhanced prosperity and raised standards of living. Those of us who lived through the Reagan years remember the resulting economic growth, but nobody under the age of 30 has first-hand knowledge of those years.
Is it really possible that the left could rewrite the history of the Reagan presidency? Absolutely. Theyve already perverted the record of earlier Republican presidents. Take, as Exhibit A, Warren G. Hardingthe president who always appears at the bottom of presidential rankings.
Yes, I know there were a couple of crooks in Hardings cabinet. Those odious men betrayed the trust of both a president and a nation. But while they gained a few hundred thousand dollars, Hardings policies enriched the American people by billions. Harding entered office in the midst of the Depression of 1920-21a downturn as rapid and severe as any in American history, with GNP contracting 24 percent and unemployment more than doubling to 11.7 percent.
Hardings policy response was to get government out of the way and let free markets make the necessary adjustments. He induced Congress to slash federal spending by 40 percent in two years and lower the top marginal tax rate from 73 percent to 56 percent (on its way down to 25 percent under his successor, Calvin Coolidge). Demonstrating the fallacy of the Keynesian dogma that government should increase spending and deficits to cure recessions, the Harding spending cuts yielded large surpluses (used to pay down World War I indebtedness), and yet, by 1922, GDP was rising and unemployment falling, plummeting to a minuscule 2.4 percent by 1923. Maybe Harding wasnt the best judge of character, but his economic program was arguably the most successful of any president in the 20th century. A terrible president? Absurd.
Another example of historical revisionism, progressive-style, involves Herbert Hoover. Todays students are routinely taught that Hoover was the last of the laissez faire presidents. Last year, progressives produced a take back the American dream special edition of The Big Picture, during which the host denigrated the alleged laissez faire trio of Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover, contrasting them with the great economic savior, Franklin Roosevelt. Part of the error is simple partisan biasi.e., Republicans are bad and Democrats are goodbut party aside, Hoover should have been lumped with FDR, not with his two predecessors. Harding and Coolidge truly were sympathetic to free markets. Hoover was not. He disdained and distrusted the laissez faire philosophy, and was almost as much of an interventionist as Roosevelt. Indeed, FDRs own advisers recorded in their memoirs that the true originator of the New Deal was Hoover. It is political propaganda, not historical verisimilitude, which paints Hoover as a clone of his predecessors rather than of his successor.
The lesson is clear: If those who understood and approved of Reagans policies fail to reiterate Reagans beliefs and policies, Reagans progressive opponents will distort his history, and he eventually will be as misunderstood as Harding and Hoover are today.
The progressive war against historical accuracy should concern all American citizens. When those in power mutilate truth, the welfare of the people is at risk. Think of what all the illiberal movementswhether fascist, socialist, communist, environmentalist, or progressivehave in common. All exalt state power at the expense of the individual rights of liberty, property, and ultimately life itself. In the effort to attain that power, they also commit depredations on truth, as George Orwell warned in 1984. Watch to see how often Team Obama employs the Big Lie technique in attempting to revise Reagans record.
Whether we agree or disagree with what Ronald Reagan did, we shouldnt let anyone lie about it. Falsehood is the enemy of human progress.
"Our enemies may be irrational, even outright insane,
driven by nationalism, religion, ethnicity or ideology.
They do not fear the United States
for its diplomatic skills or the number of automobiles
and software programs it produces.
They respect only the firepower of our tanks,
planes and helicopter gunships."
President Ronald Reagan
"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.
We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream.
It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same,
or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children
and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."
President Ronald Reagan
"A political party cannot be all things to all people.
It must represent certain fundamental beliefs
which must not be compromised to political expediency
or simply to swell its numbers."
-- President Ronald Reagan
I didn't blame him for it, he simply was repeating what he had learned in school and elsewhere.
Finally, I asked (loudly enough for everyone to hear): "How old were you in 1981?" He answered, "five."
I gave him a look I cannot describe, but can only illustrate:
Everyone shut up and started talking sports again.
The process of reversing the gains Reagan made began with George H.W. Bush in 1989.
I see this happening right here on a site that is supposed to be for conservatives. RINOs show up saying things like Reagan was pro-abortion, courtesy of lying Mitt Romney and his sycophants and that Reagan "wanted" amnesty. They conveniently forget the fact that he wanted the borders secure and believed that the deal with the dems for a secure border would work.
I'm glad Rush has given them such a perfectly descriptive name -- Team Obama. Every time I run into one of these revisionists, I'll remind them of the name Rush gave them.
Oh, for another Ronald Reagan!
He also warned about lying uses of language in Animal Farm and in his recollections of the Spanish Civil War, in which he was a sympathizer of the Left, and a volunteer. He wound up having to flee Communist show-trials and firing squads in 1938 -- literally having to flee across rooftops -- after having watched the Communists, on Stalin's orders, savage and kill their labor-syndicalist allies. That horror was Orwell's education, which he spent the rest of his life transmitting to the future.
it may be too late already
currently, 10% of voters think the American Civil War happened when the brave, noble Democrats fought to free the slaves from the evil, racist Republicans.
I’m sure that percentage is rising.
at some point in the near future it will be a crime to speak of the real history, when everyone else is parroting the new, improved history.