Conservative Victory tour debuts at Reagan Library as Obama damage mounts.
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Over time this rabid, frenzied hatred has become a telltale trademark of the American left. (For that matter the left anywhere. Take a good look at the “hurtling irrationality” displayed on the faces of those in the crowd outside the venue protesting Ann Coulter’s recent dip into the exotic Canadian waters of something called “free speech” in this clip from The O’Reilly Factor. A reaction invited by no less than a letter from a University of Ottawa vice president helped incite this graphic demonstration of what hate looks like.)
Why is this? Because socialism/social justice/liberalism/progressivism is received by these people, even those theoretically benign Canadians, as what F.A. Hayek once noted as a secular religion, a status symbol that marks the “good” person. And if this secular religion is the mark of the “good person” — those that oppose this so-called goodness must necessarily be “bad.” Or, as that actor who literally spit in Ronald Reagan’s face believed of a man who would go on to bring freedom to millions, a “fascist.”
As we watch the vitriol that has flowed from the American left over health care or Sean Hannity or Rush or Levin or Beck or Fox or Newt Gingrich or Sarah Palin or the long list of other issues and people, one always comes back to the stunning realization of just how much Ronald Reagan achieved in the face of this kind of intense opposition. Along with his friends Barry Goldwater and Bill Buckley and another long list of people, he fearlessly took on the task of formulating and articulating a cohesive conservative philosophy that would both stand the test of time — and call to account the false gods of the leftist faith. Head held high, he gracefully and courageously withstood a virtual acid bath of criticism — along with that very real threat of an actual acid bath.
Around the time of the incident with Edward Arnold, Reagan decided he needed a vacation. He chose to go to Lake Arrowhead in California’s San Bernardino mountains. “There,” he said, “I could laze around and take time to figure things out.” What did he do while he was figuring things out? In a bit of eerie foreshadowing, he spent two months carefully and patiently assembling the model of a real-life ocean liner piece by piece. The name of the ship he was building? The America.
Said the future president of the decision he reached while building the America one painstaking step at a time:
The results of my weeks of freedom crystallized a determination in my mind. I would work with the tools I had: my thoughts, my speaking abilities, my reputation as an actor. I would try to bring about the regeneration of the world.
And while Reagan hadn’t yet thought of it in these terms in the late 1940s, he was in fact planting the seeds for what today Sean Hannity terms a “conservative victory.” Because bringing about the “regeneration of the world” using conservative principles is exactly what Reagan did — and in spectacular fashion.
Yet Ronald Reagan would be the very first to say — he himself understood intuitively — that the fight to regenerate both America the country and the larger world is never over. Regeneration is in fact an eternal requirement of life itself. And there is, history shows, always a genuine call for another conservative victory.
In real life the ocean liner SS America that Reagan so admired had in fact seen many battles of its own. Originally completed in 1940 as a luxury passenger ocean liner with a route between New York, France, Germany and Ireland, the arrival of World War II had the ship transformed by the U.S. Navy into a troop transport. Renamed the USS West Point, in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor it was hastily sent to the Pacific, spending endless time fighting stormy and dangerous seas as it carried U.S. and allied troops while simultaneously dodging Japanese submarines, minefields, and bombers. Instead of sailing back and forth across the Atlantic into placid peace time ports, the ship was now steaming in and out of wartime ports from Singapore to Cape Town to Bombay, Ceylon, Guadalcanal, Adelaide, Melbourne, and Auckland, scoring a victory each time it safely landed allied troops. By war’s end, the ship had carried over 350,000 troops, a record for a ship on Navy duty.
Back in civilian service with the war over and victory won, once again renamed America, by the time Reagan began building his model the ship was finally sailing on those smooth peacetime waters, taking delighted passengers as originally intended on voyages between the United States and Europe. In 1994, now 54 years old and under tow in the Atlantic during a violent thunderstorm, its towlines snapped. Adrift, its crew unable to save her amidst the relentless pounding of the sea, the America ran aground off of the Canary Islands. On July 6, 1994, the America, at the end bearing the name American Star, was declared a total loss. In another eerie coincidence, four months after the America began to face its final battle with the elements, Ronald Reagan wrote his own final letter to the American people announcing his last battle with Alzheimer’s. Its famous last line reading:
I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead.
Pounded relentlessly for another decade, the America slowly broke apart, its natural life finally ending as it vanished into the sea in 2007, three years after President Reagan was laid to rest as the blazing California sun slowly sank into the blue Pacific.
Yes, as Ronald Reagan well learned, there is very much a need in life for conservative victories. Hard fought conservative victories. Very good conservative victories. Just as the America had successfully sailed to victory facing the treacherous storms and enemy attacks of World War II, as a result of Reagan’s braving the political storms during his life the conservative victory for the American economy produced over twenty million jobs during the 1980s alone. The Cold War was won, the Soviet Union is no more and a colorful remnant of the Berlin Wall with the word “free” scribbled on it stands not many feet from where Sean Hannity will be speaking this night. The Age of Reagan was a glittering conservative victory that will shine brightly as long as history’s great stories are told.
But as Reagan also knew, the world’s struggles would not end there. Each generation has a responsibility to take up the cause of conservative victory anew, to assess the circumstances of their own day and time, and apply the ageless and classical principles of conservatism that Ronald Reagan played such an important part in bringing to triumph in modern American life. As Reagan himself reminded:
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.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online