Skip to comments.Why Reagan Deserves Study
Posted on 03/26/2014 12:35:22 PM PDT by Academiadotorg
Although it may be considered quaint to recall the Reagan years during the Obama era, particularly in academic circles, a case could be made for doing so. And though Barack Obama won two terms, he was the first president in history to be reelected with fewer popular and Electoral College votes than he received in 2008, Paul Kengor points out in his book, 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative. Obama won a bare majority of states in 2012only twenty-six of them.
Kengor is an historian at Grove City College. One thing that Reagan did as president, Kengor reminds us, was to tell the United Nations that the free market works, a task apparently so arduous that none of the four presidents who succeeded him, Republican or Democrat, attempted it.
Also, in speeches as president, Reagan quoted the Founding Fathers a record 850 times. President George H. W. Bush cited the Founders roughly sixty times, and no president cited them as infrequently as Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, with Carter in the range of thirty-some citations and Ford with merely a handful, Kengor notes. The sparseness of the Carter and Ford citations is especially odd given that their times in office occurred around Americas bicentennial.
Yet, arguably, the above are matters of style. Even Reagans detractors gave him some credit on that score. Nevertheless, on comparisons of day-to-day life with his successors, and even his predecessors, President Reagan also comes out looking good.
Contrary to liberal demonology, women and blacks and other minorities did extremely well during the Reagan years, Kengor writes. Real income for a median black family had dropped 11 percent from 1977 through 1982; from 1982 through 1989, coming out of the recession, it rose by 17 percent.
In the 1980s, there was a 40 percent jump in the number of black households earning $50,000 or more. Black unemployment (which has increased significantly under President Barack Obama) actually fell faster than white unemployment in the 1980s. The number of black-owned businesses increased by almost 40 percent, while the number of blacks who enrolled in college increased by almost 30 percent (white college enrollment increased by only 6 percent).
There were likewise impressive numbers for Hispanics, who saw similar (if not higher) increases in family income, employment, and college enrollment. Among these, the number of Hispanic-owned businesses in the 1980s grew by an astounding 81 percent, and the number of Hispanics enrolled in college jumped 45 percent.
All one has to do is listen to ANY of Reagan’s speeches and one would instantly understand why he should be studied.
My daughter (who is a mere 26 year old) watched Reagan’s speech in 1964 (GOP Convention) “A Time For Choosing” when it is played over the weekend on CSPAN. She had read some of his words and heard about him but had never heard or seen speak. Thanks to film, she has now had that chance. When he finished, she looked at me and with tears in her eyes just said “Wow”. After about a minute of silence between us, she then asked “Why isn’t there anyone like that in office any more?”
Reagan could articulate their ideas in the last half of the 20th Century because he had read and incorporated those ideas and principles into his own thinking prior to campaigning for and becoming President of the United States.
"To preserve [the] independence [of the people,] we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debts as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our callings and our creeds, as the people of England are, our people, like them, must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, give the earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses, and the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live, as they now do, on oatmeal and potatoes, have no time to think, no means of calling the mismanagers to account, but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers." --Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, 1816. ME 15:39Or, in light of today's case before the Supreme Court, let's let the "Father of the Constitution" speak:
"I deem [this one of] the essential principles of our government and consequently [one] which ought to shape its administration:... The honest payment of our debts and sacred preservation of the public faith." --Thomas Jefferson: 1st Inaugural, 1801. ME 3:322
"I sincerely believe... that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity under the name of funding is but swindling futurity on a large scale." --Thomas Jefferson to John Taylor, 1816. ME 15:23
"[With the decline of society] begins, indeed, the bellum omnium in omnia [war of all against all], which some philosophers observing to be so general in this world, have mistaken it for the natural, instead of the abusive state of man. And the fore horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression." --Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, 1816. ME 15:40
"The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate. This right is in its nature an unalienable right. It is unalienable; because the opinions of men, depending only on the evidence contemplated by their own minds, cannot follow the dictates of other men: It is unalienable also; because what is here a right towards men, is a duty towards the Creator. It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage, and such only, as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent both in order of time and degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society. Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe: And if a member of Civil Society, who enters into any subordinate Association, must always do it with a reservation of his duty to the general authority; much more must every man who becomes a member of any particular Civil Society, do it with a saving of his allegiance to the Universal Sovereign. We maintain therefore that in matters of Religion, no mans right is abridged by the institution of Civil Society, and that Religion is wholly exempt from its cognizance." - James Madison, "Memorial and Remonstrance. . . ."
but the reason he was our oldest president was because he only got the nomination on the third try. Once he did, he gave the GOP the biggest wins it ever had. Yet he tried for the nod in 1968 when he was 57 and 1976 when he was 65. The GOP chose Nixon and Ford instead. Remember how that worked out? ‘76 was a particular heartbreaker because Ford was a particular nonentity, to put it charitably.
I have “Reagan In His Own Hand,” which is a collection of transcripts from his radio shows.
Reagan was clearly more intelligent than nearly all living politicians.
I have that too. Few realized that when Reagan read off teleprompters, he was, more often than not, reading words he’d written.
Back in 1927 an American socialist, Norman Thomas, six times candidate for president on the Socialist Party ticket, said the American people would never vote for socialism. But he said under the name of liberalism the American people will adopt every fragment of the socialist program.
There are many ways in which our government has invaded the precincts of private citizens, method of earning a living; our government is in business to the extent of owning more than 19,000 businesses covering 47 different lines of activity. This amounts to a fifth of the total industrial capacity of the United States.
But at the moment I would like to talk about another way because this threat is with us, and at the moment, is more imminent.
One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine.
Its very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project, most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who possibly cant afford it.
Now, the American people, if you put it to them about socialized medicine and gave them a chance to choose, would unhesitatingly vote against it. We had an example of this. Under the Truman administration it was proposed that we have a compulsory health insurance program for all people in the United States, and, of course, the American people unhesitatingly rejected this.
So with the American people on record as not wanting socialized medicine, Congressman Ferrand introduced the Ferrand bill. This was the idea that all people of Social Security age, should be brought under a program of compulsory health insurance. Now this would not only be our senior citizens, this would be the dependents and those that are disabled, this would be young people if they are dependents of someone eligible for social security.
Now , Congressman Ferrand, brought the program out on that idea out , on just for that particular group of people. But Congressman Ferrand was subscribing to this foot-in-the door philosophy, because he said, If we can only break through and get our foot inside the door, then we can expand the program after that.
Walter Ruther said, Its no secret that the United Automobile Workers is officially on record of backing a program of national health insurance. And by national health insurance, he meant socialized medicine for every American.
Well, let us see what the socialists themselves have to say about it. They say once the Ferrand bill is passed this nation will be provided with a mechanism for socialized medicine capable of indefinite expansion in every direction until it includes the entire population. Now we cant say we havent been warned.
Now Congressman Ferrand is no longer a Congressman of the United States government. He has been replaced, not in his particular assignment, but in his backing of such a bill by Congressman King of California. It is presented in the idea of a great emergency that millions of our senior citizens are unable to provide needed medical care. But this ignores that fact that in the last decade, 127 million of our citizens, in just 10 years, have come under the protection of some form of privately owned medical or hospital insurance.
Now the advocates of this bill when you try to oppose it challenge you on an emotional basis. They say, "What would you do? Throw these poor people out to die with no medical attention?
Thats ridiculous and of course no one is advocating it. As a matter of fact, in the last session of Congress a bill was adopted known as the Kerr/Mills bill. Now without even allowing this bill to be tried to see if it works, they have introduced this King bill, which is really the Ferrand bill.
What is the Kerr/Mills bill? It is a frank recognition of the medical need or problem of the senior citizens I have mentioned and it has provided from the federal government, money to the states and the local communities that can be used at the discretion of the state to help those people who need it.
Now what reason could the other people have for backing a bill which says we insist on compulsory health insurance for senior citizens on a basis of age alone regardless of whether they are worth millions of dollars, whether they have an income, whether they are protected by their own insurance, whether they have savings.
I think we can be excused for believing that as ex-congressman Ferrand said, this was simply an excuse to bring about what they wanted all the time -- socialized medicine.
James Madison in 1788 speaking to the Virginia convention said, Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.
They want to attach this bill to Social Security and they say here is a great insurance program; now instituted, now working.
Lets take a look at Social Security itself. Again, very few of us disagree with the original premise that there should be some form of savings that would keep destitution from following unemployment by reason of death, disability or old age. And to this end, Social Security was adopted, but it was never intended to supplant private savings, private insurance, pension programs of unions and industries.
Now in our country under our free-enterprise system we have seen medicine reach the greatest heights that it has in any country in the world. Today, the relationship between patient and doctor in this country is something to be envied any place. The privacy, the care that is given to a person, the right to chose a doctor, the right to go from one doctor to the other.
But lets also look from the other side. The freedom the doctor uses. A doctor would be reluctant to say this. Well, like you, I am only a patient, so I can say it in his behalf. The doctor begins to lose freedoms, its like telling a lie. One leads to another. First you decide the doctor can have so many patients. They are equally divided among the various doctors by the government, but then the doctors are equally divided geographically, so a doctor decides he wants to practice in one town and the government has to say to him he cant live in that town, they already have enough doctors. You have to go some place else. And from here it is only a short step to dictating where he will go.
This is a freedom that I wonder if any of us has a right to take from any human being. I know how Id feel if you my fellow citizens, decided that to be an actor I had to be a government employee and work in a national theater. Take it into your own occupation or that of your husband. All of us can see what happens once you establish the precedent that the government can determine a mans working place and his working methods, determine his employment. From here it's a short step to all the rest of socialism, to determining his pay and pretty soon your son wont decide when hes in school where he will go or what he will do for a living. He will wait for the government to tell him where he will go to work and what he will do.
In this country of ours, took place the greatest revolution that has ever taken place in the worlds history; the only true revolution. Every other revolution simply exchanged one set of rulers for another. But here, for the first time in all the thousands of years of mans relations to man, a little group of men, the founding fathers, for the first time, established the idea that you and I had within ourselves the God given right and ability to determine our own destiny. This freedom was built into our government with safeguards. We talk democracy today, and strangely, we let democracy begin to assume the aspect of majority rule is all that is needed. The majority rule is a fine aspect of democracy provided there are guarantees written in to our government concerning the rights of the individual and of the minorities.
What can we do about this? Well, you and I can do a great deal. We can write to our congressmen and to our senators. We can say right now that we want no further encroachment on these individual liberties and freedoms. And at the moment, the key issue is, we do not want socialized medicine.
In Washington today, 40 thousand letters, less than 100 per congressman are evidence of a trend in public thinking.
Representative Hallock of Indiana has said, When the American people wants something from Congress, regardless of its political complexion, if they make their wants known, Congress does what the people want."
So write, and if this man writes back to you and tells you that he too is for free enterprise, that we have these great services and so forth, that must be performed by government, dont let him get away with it.
Show that you have not been convinced. Write a letter right back and tell him that you believe government economy and fiscal responsibility, that you know governments dont tax to get the money they need; governments will always find a need for the money they get and that you demand the continuation of our free enterprise system.
You and I can do this. The only way we can do it is by writing to our congressmen even we believe that he's on our side to begin with. Write to strengthen his hand. Give him the ability to stand before his colleagues in Congress and say that he has heard from my constituents and this is what they want. Write those letters now call your friends and them to write.
If you dont, this program I promise you, will pass just as surely as the sun will come up tomorrow and behind it will come other federal programs that will invade every area of freedom as we have known it in this country until one day as Normal Thomas said we will wake to find that we have socialism, and if you dont do this and I dont do this, one of these days we are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our childrens children, what it once was like in America when men were free.
Reagan's four pillars were:
1) limited role of government in the economy
2) reduce taxes
3) cut domestic spending
4) lessen regulations.
Any free market laissez faire economist knows that these are the best way to stimulate the economy, which increases economic progress, which increases general prosperity for all, and raises the standard of living of the average worker.
I picked up some bound Saturday Evening Posts this weekend from 1967. In one was a candidate Reagan with a lengthy interior article/profile. Those were among his issues then.
And the article also addressed how he faced “challenge” from the Rockefeller wing after his vocal support of the “failed” campaign of Goldwater.
Obama is trying to undo Reagan completely, including the victory in the Cold War.
Most of Reagan’s speeches were given from 3 x 5 cards. So few of them were televised, I don’t remember seeing him with a teleprompter.
Reagan deserves every accolade we can give him and his memory.
He is Mt. Rushmore material, although he would never want that honor.
The longer the view oin the rear view mirror of time, the more I relized what a truly great man and humanitarian he was.
And how disgusting were the Dems who opposed him unmercifully. A pox on their houses, some of whom still infect Washington, DC to this day.
I don’t understand your post....what does that have to do with anything I posted???