Notable & Quotable Reagan

In today's Wall Street Journal, "Notable & Quotable" excerpts reason's 1975 interview with Ronald Reagan:

If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals-if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.

The full, fascinating interview is available here.

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  • ||

    The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom

    Those were the days...

  • No Name Guy||

    Its worth noting, despite the rhetoric and the first year of his term, Ronald Reagan eventually gave us some of the biggest tax increases in history while making the debt skyrocket.

    I never understood the Reagan-worship.

  • ||

    Reagan hate is almost as predictable as Ayn Rand hate in these here parts.
    Go to it, you fuckers.

  • ||

    Ronald Reagan The Democratic Congress eventually gave us some of the biggest tax increases in history while making the debt skyrocket.

    So fucking typical.

  • zoltan||

    And why not? There's a lot not to like. I don't like any kind of irrational hate as much as the next person though.

  • ||

    You know, Jamie, you can't give him credit for the tax cuts and blame the Dems for the increases.

  • ||

    The historical moment that made conservatives and libertarians into allies has passed. There is no longer any reason for libertarians to want to be associated with Reagan.

  • Rimfax||

    Uh, there's lots of stuff that I didn't like about Reagan (and Rand) and lots of stuff that I did like. Does that make me a fucker? ("Only my friends can call me 'pig fucker'.")

  • No Name Guy||

    Or, blame Bush Sr. for his single tax increase will giving Reagan a free pass for his several tax increases.

  • Rimfax||

    The inability to accept that your heroes can be deeply flawed and deeply virtuous at the same time that drives me bat shit. Bat shit, I tell ya. Bat shit.

  • ||

    Is he the guy that humongous federal office building is named after?

  • ||

    Reagan also cut the top marginal income tax rate from 70 to 30(?) percent. At the very least it ended a policy of confiscatory tax rates, although they may creep back. Of course, I guess there's no satisfying an anarchist.

    The interview does put the lie to the image of Reagan as a simpleton. Certainly more insightful and thoughtful than anything I've read coming from Hillary, Obama, McCain, et al.

  • Colin||

    Reading that interview, it's amazing how learned Reagan really was -- far more learned than any candidate we've had in years.

  • Neu Mejican||

    A Political Song

    1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4.

    We don't want your apathy.
    No fuckin' government gets down on me.

    Can spare any change?
    Can spare any change?

    Anti Reagan and stuff man, yeah.

    Joe Pop-o-Pies
    http://www.pop-o-pie.com/

    The Gipper was an authoritarian by my recollection...

  • Naga Sadow||

    Colin,

    The great thing about Reagan was that he was technically an outsider in politics even despite his governorship of California.

  • Naga Sadow||

    Neil!!!!!!

  • ||

    The historical moment that made conservatives and libertarians into allies has passed. There is no longer any reason for libertarians to want to be associated with Reagan.

    Replace Reagan with the present GOP and I agree. Ronnie wasn't perfect by any means, but compared to GWB he's a libertarian.

  • No Name Guy||

    Reagan was definitely not a simpleton, thats true. You think GWB or Tom DeLay ever read Hayek? Exactly.

    The "hes stupid" thing is something Democrats try to tag on all Republicans, true or not. Sad things is with the current President its actually true.

  • zoltan||

    I think a lot of people dislike libertarian because the current Republican/right-wing noise machine has raised him to the status of demi-god while obviously not being aware of those great principles he shared with libertarians and which the current GOP most certainly does not. It's an insult to him, really, for them to distort his image that way, though he did support some of the policies they currently support.

  • Naga Sadow||

    No name,

    GWB, stupid? Absolutely. But if you have ever read his "Bushisms" you would know that he is a comic genius.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Reading that interview, it's amazing how learned Reagan really was -- far more learned than any candidate we've had in years.

    More learned than the law professor currently running?

    Or are you talking about candidates for California Governor?

  • SIV||

    That record they are hawking on the pop-o-pies site doesn't have the good songs..

    Fascists Eat Donuts

    "Make these donuts with extra grease, this batch is for the chief of police"

    and a "slow version" of Truckin'?

  • Ethan||

    Nor was Reagan the super-hawk that today's GOP make him out to be. Some of his best quotes:

    "Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means."

    "A people free to choose will always choose peace."

    "People do not make wars; governments do."

  • Neu Mejican||

    SIV,

    Joe's second record is on there in its entirety.

    So at least some of the good songs are on there.

    As far as I can tell it is only missing the first record.

    But if'n that's your fave, then...

  • Colin||

    More learned than the law professor currently running?

    Most definitely. When Obama is forced to discuss anything outside his thin layer of expertise, he displays remarkable ignorance.

    Of course, in comparison with his fall opponent, he's Dr. Johnson.

  • ||

    Yeah, the Tories, who wanted to keep the established and traditional authority, were the liberals. Yeah... Whatever...I always thought Ronnie was a complete dumbass, more evidence.

    "The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom"

    You can believe this by not reading anyone whom conservatism claims as a founder. Read Burke, the acknowledged founder, and what he thought of Tom Paine. Burke spoke for less government? Puh-leeze.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Colin,

    Yeah...okay, if'n ya say so...

    Ronald Reagan, stealth intellectual.

    Must be how he invented that Star Wars thingy...

  • ||

    Great point about the Burke and Paine, Mr. Nice Guy. The basis of conservatism, in my opinion, is a fetish for traditional forms of authority (the church, daddy, the CEO and the General), a penchant for belligerent nationalism, and a desire for less government interference in the affairs of those traditional authority figures. Thus, a war on drugs, waged mostly in low-income, minority neighborhoods isn't considered a threat to individual freedom among many conservatives because it doesn't effect "important" people. Covert war in Central America and the sale of weapons to a militant theocracy could be rationalized because it was part of the struggle against the commies. It is time for Right-conservatives and Left-liberals alike to acknowledge that libertarianism has become a separate movement with multiple tendencies.

  • ||

    If conservatism is libertarianism, doesn't Huckabee think conservatism is un-American?

  • ||

    The Great Divide: Reagan Rhetoric and Reagan Reality

  • ||

    That's a great way to sum up the whole Reagan mystique, libery mike! Facts are silly things to the Gipper's fan club.

  • ||

    Dave Hummels-Truth is, I used to be part of the fan club. I'm afraid, in the end, the truth is that Reagan had a lot more Ransom Stoddard and Liberty Valence in him than Tom Doniphon.

  • Metal Messiah||

    Ah, Reagan the "Great Bullshitter."

    The great defender of liberty who sent the California National Guard to college campuses to instigate a "bloodbath" against peaceful anti-war demonstrators. (Bet the Kent State Massacre brought a smile to the Gipper's face.)

    The great libertarian who embraced the authoritarianism of the religious right and rode it into the White House.

    The great libertarian who ramped up the war on drugs.

  • Colin||

    That Star Wars thingy (or the threat of it) helped finish off the Cold War, something a lot of so-called intellectuals considered unwinable.

    Reagan may not have had an intellect that compares with Jefferson or the Adamses, but he was a lot superior to what we've been getting lately.

    In regard to the Tories, it would seem they had a number of things in common with modern liberals, such as:

    1. A belief in a large, centralized government.
    2. High taxes.
    3. A strong conviction that knew better than everyone else, and that they knew what was best for the citizenry.

    My guess is they also weren't too pleased with ordinary people owning weapons.

  • ||

    On topic personal anecdote:

    It was in 1976 when he was trying to wrest the GOP nomination from Ford that Reagan came to Colorado to give a speech in Ft. Collins. I drove up from Denver to hear him and after the speech, when he and Nancy got to me in the receiving line they found a wide eyed kid who was jazzed that he cited "The Road to Serfdom" by Hayek in his talk. He told me he also really liked Hayek's "The Constitution of Liberty". This, of course, put me in orbit and I then mentioned that I enjoyed the points he made in an interview with Reason. (The topic of this thread-It was in that interview where he made his "libertarianism is the kernel of conservatism" quote.) I remember he then said, I swear, "Well, I'll have to look at that again". (Remember when the "Well" was the stock in trade of a Reagan imitation?) As I shook their hands in an enthusiastic farewell, Nancy assured me that "Ronnie loves that little magazine".

  • ||

    No Name Guy | June 3, 2008, 5:45pm | #

    Its worth noting, despite the rhetoric and the first year of his term, Ronald Reagan eventually gave us some of the biggest tax increases in history while making the debt skyrocket. I never understood the Reagan-worship.


    Reagan got congress to cut tax rates. He oversaw an actual decrease in discretionary spending! The rate of growth in total spending fell off drastically from Carter. And the Federal register, a monitor of all federal regulations actually shrank significantly! The rates of job growth and personal wealth responded by setting new records.

  • Nick_M||

    Reagan gets a good thorough damning from Rothbard.

  • ed||

    "Government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem."

    That's as libertarian as it gets, in speech if not in practice.

  • Jennifer||

    The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.

    So Reagan's ratcheting up the War on Drugs was ... what? Just his Alzheimer's speaking? Maybe the hero-worship comes from the formula "Reagan was responsible for the good stuff, while his brain rot gets the blame for the bad."

  • ||

    Jennifer-Ms Feral Genius (click on her name),

    No hero-worship. Just an appreciation of the good stuff. But, as you point out, it wasn't all good.

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