I am a Reaganite.
But why? And what, exactly, does that mean? As we get into this campaign in earnest on both sides, a debate is rising on the Republican side over whether the Reagan coalition even survives, let alone is it the winning philosophy of the conservative movement or even America itself.
I say yes. It not only survives — it thrives. Here’s why.
First, what does it mean to be a conservative? Specifically a Reaganite conservative?
It helps to know in understanding this that Ronald Reagan himself was not born a fully-formed conservative. As he once acknowledged, he was at one-time your basic bleeding heart liberal. But he grew. He evolved. He did so by extensive reading, thinking, and paying attention to his life experiences. The Reagan home in the 1950s, as was noted by Thomas W. Evans in his book The Education of Ronald Reagan had an extensive political philosophy collection on Reagan’s library shelves. By the time Reagan appeared on national television in a serious political capacity for the first time — to give a speech for GOP nominee Senator Barry Goldwater in October of 1964 — he had spent almost two decades talking, reading, writing, and speaking about politics, also serving as a union leader and traveling spokesman for General Electric. While his detractors saw nothing more than the gloss of a Hollywood actor, they were in fact, as history now records, dealing with a very smart man who knew exactly what he was talking about because he had done some very extensive homework that effectively took years to complete. He was nothing if not organized and thorough in his approach.
What are ten core beliefs of a Reaganite conservative?
1. The idea that an individual was and should always be the master of his or her own destiny.
2. The belief in the unique character and powers of every human being and their personal opinions.
3. A belief in freedom under law, as opposed to the concept of modern liberalism that power is everything.
4. A belief that collectivism and the centralizing of power in Washington threatened Americans with a loss of freedom in their own communities and daily lives.
5. A belief in the individual over bureaucracy.
6. That modern liberalism has, in the words of Whittaker Chambers, a “vindictiveness…of temper.”
7. That, as Reagan wrote, “we cannot diminish the value of an entire category of human life — the unborn — without diminishing the value of all human life.”
8. That we will all die, but what makes the difference, as Reagan once said, is what we die for. That there are things worth dying for, and peace, alas, can never be purchased at any price but strength.
9. That freedom belongs to every individual by divine right.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?