Screw You, Ronald Reagan!


As the world celebrates what would have been Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday on Sunday, Jeff Riggenbach lays out the trad-libertarian case against the president who famously–in the very pages of Reason magazine in July 1975–tried to link conservatism with libertarianism at their core by saying "I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism."

Riggenbach points out Reagan's failures on overall taxation, trade, spending, draft registration, the war on drugs, and government employment as president, and how bad he was in libertarian terms as California governor as well. Happy birthday, Gipper!

Bonus: An ixlor.com thread on anti-Reagan punk songs.

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  1. Reagan became, or should I say returned to being, a Keynesian halfway through his first term.

  2. I am slowly coming to the realization that LvMI only exists so that paleos can tune in each day to find out who they are supposed to hate.

    1. Not only for that, Brandybuck, and Rothbard had already called out Reagan as a run-of-the-mill statist like 20 years ago.

    2. Your “realization” is simply not true. They are contrarian to be sure, but Reason Magazine is also contrarian in its own way.

      Not everyone there is a “paleo” either.

    3. This isn’t about hate. It’s about misconceptions many Republicans/”conservatives” have about Reagan. He shouldn’t be idolized or even admired.

      1. Sssshhh, Brandybuck doesn’t like to have his bubble poked.

        The best thing about LvMI is how it riles up those who claim to be libertarians but still hold onto a lot of conservative beliefs.

      2. “…or even admired”

        The problem I have is not that Riggenbach criticized Reagan. The problem is that he seemingly makes him out to be the worst president since Lincoln*. While I certainly don’t put him in my top five list of presidents, to assert that there is nothing admirable about Reagan is silly.

        *For those not in the know, LvMI considers Lincoln to be the worst human being who ever lived, next to Hamilton.

        1. *For those not in the know, LvMI considers Lincoln to be the worst human being who ever lived, next to Hamilton.

          While they definitely dislike Lincoln, it is hyperbole to claim that they think he is the worst human being “who ever lived”.

          Although, its ironic that its perfectly fine for people to idolize Lincoln, yet somehow kookish to dislike him.

          1. Sorry, but DiLorenzo is totally over the top on his hatred for Lincoln. While I can understand the LvMI trying to make revisionist history into a formal branch of Austrian Economics, they would do better than to promote DiLorenzo’s axe grinding.

            The reason DiLorenzo keeps finding eebil Mercantilists under every historical rock, is because mercantilism was a pretty common world view for much of the 18th and 19th centuries.

  3. Anarchists should probably just refrain from commenting on any president period.

    1. Article paraphrase: “Reagan was not a libertarian, thus libertarians are not on the Right of the spectrum they are on the Left.”

      1. I read this article a little bit before it was posted. Please cite where the hell you pulled this information (your ass not being a valid source).

        1. Read the last three or four paragraphs of the article, Zoltan:

          The GOP is the conservative party in American politics, the party that since Lincoln (and Henry Clay and Alexander Hamilton before him) has stood for mercantilism, welfare statism, and war. Libertarians are not conservatives; they are not on the Right. They are on the Left, the last remnant of the original liberals.

          1. Libertarians are not conservatives; they are not on the Right. They are on the Left, the last remnant of the original liberals.

            Really? There are classical liberals in deep cover on the Left? Where?

            1. Ask Riggenbach – I’m merely quoting him from the article.

              1. Oh shit, I will respectfully shove my foot in my stupid mouth. Riggenbach is an idiot for saying that.

                1. No prob. Dust a little Desenex behind the molars and you’ll be fine.

        2. Your problem is you read it only “a little bit”. Read all the way to the end where it makes the conclusion that since Reagan was not a libertarian then libertarianism is really on the Left. I’m exaggerating a little bit, but not much.

      2. Conservatives and Liberals are on a shared spectrum of Collectivism.

        Libertarians champion Individualism and thus are not on the spectrum at all with Conservatives and Liberals.

    2. Why? Are you calling the author of this mises piece an anarchist?!? After he goes whole hog into the left/right dichotomy?

        1. He may say he is, but his writing indicates otherwise. Anyone can say they’re an anarchist. WTO protesters who throw shit through windows and chant Marxist slogans call themselves anarchists. It doesn’t mean they are.

          1. True, but left wingers who call themselves anarchists are really just communists. Libertarians who call themselves anarchists are probably really anarchists.

          2. Anyone can say they’re an anarchist.

            But can they say it three times fast?

            1. Depends on which syllable one accents.

          3. Riggenbach has written in multiple places that he is an anarchist, and specifically an anarchocapitalist in the Rothbardian tradition. Check his archives on LvMI’s website.

            Or just sit there, continuing to doubt because . . . well, just because, I guess?

            1. Uh…because of what he wrote? Your reading comprehension is fail.

          4. That is why we need to license anarchists.

            1. Anyone can say they’re an anarchist…It doesn’t mean they are.

              Ha ha ha!

  4. I can’t believe there is no mention of Reagan’s greatest statist failure – blackmailing the states into rasing the drinking age just as I got to the former drinking age.

    1. the drinking age was restored to previous following the traffic carnage which also killed innocent prople.

      1. citation needed

        1. Don’t feed the troll, Pip. Because what it eats is your soul.

          1. Thanks. I neglected to checkout the email addy.

      2. what WORKS at diminishing traffic carnage is enforcement of traffic laws, not changing the drinking age. traffic fatalities have gone WAY down over the years (granted, vehicle safety is a bit better), DESPITE the speed limit being RAISED in many locales. why? a change in enforcement, and a change in the culture. i HATE to admit we can learn something from europe, but when it comes to drinking age, we can (such as the UK). it’s ridiculous on its face to say you are an adult at 18 for instance, but you can’t buy liquor until you are 21.

        1. We learned lots of great things from Europe (mostly UK), liberty of the individual and distrust of power being two of many.

          I wouldn’t expect an ignorant cop to know better though.

          1. yawn. another .2 on the troll-o-meter from another ignorant bigot.

            get a new routine.

            1. get a new routine

              LOL! You got a million of ’em!

              1. the bigotry really is tiresome. adults discuss ideas. bigots use ad hominems and insult people based on career, race, gender, etc.

                1. Me? I just hate god damned liars.

                2. shorter: waaaaaaaah!

            2. I might be an ignorant bigot, but at least I’m not a cop!

              1. and the criminal justice system thanks you.

        2. THERE YOU ARE!

          You’re alllllll about the enforcement I see – shocker!

          What works is *training* and strict licensing laws so people actually know how to *drive*

          That is all. Bye derpfy!

          1. yes, when it comes to an activity (driving) that is not a civil right (it’s a privilege), that occurs on public tax funded roadways, that involves propelling a gas powered dangerous device at high speeds, and that results in far more deaths than any other cause in the US, then yes – i am for enforcement, because it works

            drugs? that’s (or should be) an individual choice. govt. should not be involved in personal choices. driving a vehicle on a public roadway in a reckless manner negatively affects others, to include killing them.

            the roadways ARE much safer, and that is due largely in part to increased enforcement of DUI laws, etc. any criminologist will tell you (or any criminal) that perception of risk of detection is what most effectively creates deterrence. not excessive punishment.

            30 yrs ago such enforcement was to a large extent a joke, and thus people committed the offense with impunity.

            1. “results in far more deaths than any other cause in the US”

              You mean unlike smoking? You are one ignroant person.

            2. What pip said. God, you are stupid.

            3. Don’t forget heart disease, retard.

              1. L’retard, c’est Moi.

                1. How do you say blogwhore in French?

              2. fair enough. let me correct myself and rephrase to “immediate cause”. smoking and heart disease take time. they are also SELF INFLICTED, which goes back to my point.

                if you want to kill yourself whether through poor eating habits, smoking, or whatever. more power to you.

                reckless and DUI affect OTHERS.

                that’s the libertarian difference. stuff that only affects you – go forth and do it and suffer or benefit. that’s up to you.

                driving is not such an activity.


                1. *shakes head*


                2. Heart disease is self inflicted? Wow, you’ve just solved one of the world’s greatest medical problems. Breaking News: dunphy says people can just stop giving themselves heart disease! Can I have your autograph sir?

                  1. the CDC says that 60% of chronic illness results from behavior. so yes, when you include crappy diet, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, excessive drinking, etc.

                    it’s a cumulative longterm effect.

                    it’s obviously much more true for younger people who die from heart disease.

                    1. That doesn’t mean that all heart disease is self inflicted, so… point still moot.

                    2. fair enough. it most certainly is not. if i said that, i retract that.

        3. listen never-lived-in-europe, the EU annual vehicle safety inspection is comprehensive. cant even have a rust spot. compared to the rust-buckets on our roads. duh

          1. true. and “liberal” sweden’s DUI enforcement makes ours look incredibly candy-ass.

            there’s also much greater liability for the operation of a vehicle by an owner in regards to those they let drive the vehicle w/o a license and etc.

            the autobahn is proof positive that speed limits are NOT the primary way tro improve safety.

            1. I took a shit in Sweden once

              1. or had an average swedish meal. hard to tell the difference between the incoming and outgoing in that country.

                case in point: swedish meatballs.

                  1. you’re not the boss of me. i’ll do what i want

                    stop BEING. hth

  5. For the 3,274th time I repeat: There are bad politicians and worse politicians, but no so thing as a good politician. The very nature of professional politicking precludes the use of the adjective “good”.

    1. See this is the type of comment I’m just sick to death of from paleo-anarchists. You hold the world to a purely Platonic standard that no one could ever meet.

      Frankly the greatest weakness of libertarianism as a philosophy, especially the paleo-bullshit segment of it, is that it doesn’t believe in political leadership. A Churchill is a Stalin is A Hitler is a Reagan is an Obama.

      You guys are fucking clueless. Rather than building an effective coalition you spend your time calling everyone who might agree with you on 80% of the issues a Statist.

      1. What the fuck is a “paleo-anarchist”? Are you drunk today? Because you’re making up shit out of thin air.

        1. paleo anarchist is a perfect term for the scumbags at lewrockwell.com

          1. Uh, not really, and secondly, the only link in this article is to mises.org.

            You seem a tad wound up, buddy. And your face is greasy. Real greasy. You been up all night?

            1. VERY greasy

        2. What the fuck is a “paleo-anarchist”?

          Good question. Given that anarchy would be mankind’s “natural” state or antecedent to archy, what’s the point of sticking the qualifyer paleo onto it? Is there some sort of neo anarchy out there?

          1. mankind’s “natural” state

            Nasty, brutish, and short.

            1. No, it’s nothing like your mother.

        3. What the fuck is a “paleo-anarchist”?>/i>

          Someone who looks for signs of societal chaos in ancient burial sites?

          1. fucking tags. How do they work?

            1. Left and right. 🙂

      2. FUCK OFF, SLAVER!


      3. He distinguished bad politicians from worse politicians. Which would distinguish a Churchill from a Stalin.

        So, What the fuck are you talking about?

      4. “You hold the world to a purely Platonic standard that no one could ever meet.”

        Not really, I think he’s just saying that politicians are on average more rotten than the average person. I suppose the relevant question is — is it because the corrupt seek power, or because power corrupts?

        1. Both. It’s the human centipede as ouroboros.

        2. i don’t think they are more rotten, it’s just that their rottenness has a much greater chance of negatively affecting others.

          even a serial killer can only kill a few dozen people. think about how many people a senator can kill, with the help of his friends.

          think about how much freedom he can restrict.

          often, with an individual, you can ignore him and/or use self-defense if he attacks you. try to do that with the government, and you end up in jail or dead.

          1. Think how many people COPS can kill, all in the name of LAW AND ORDER!

            1. They get promotions for it, or they don’t have to work but still get paid.

              1. we get promotions for it? really?


                  1. damn, i’ve been doing this wrong.

          2. Yo-ho,
            How many folks,
            Did you shoot today?

            1. .01 on the troll-o-meter.

              i expected such a comment based on my last post. the difference is that you, as a bigot, assume all cops commit and support brutality.

              the reality is quite different.

              1. I don’t think there is such a thing as an “employment bigot,” but whatever helps you sleep better at night. I hear there’s a war on cops. Sweet dreams.

                1. a bigot is a bigot. if you prejudge people, not based on them, but based on their profession, their skin color, etc. you’re a bigot.


                  1. Uh that’s a false equivalence. If I judge someone based on their profession, I’m judging them based on something they chose, not like race, gender, sexual orientation etc. If judging people based on their profession is bigotry, what judgement isn’t?

                    1. you’re still a bigot. just because a person chooses a profession that has some corrupt people in it, does not mean you can make assumptions about them as an individual.

                      if you told me you were a defense attorney and i assumed you were a liar who frequently knowingly suborned perjury, i would be a bigot.

                      despite the fact that some defense attorneys do that.

                    2. you’re still a bigot. just because a person chooses a profession that has some corrupt people in it, does not mean you can make assumptions about them as an individual.

                      These statements aren’t connected. Making assumptions about someone based on their profession isn’t bigotry.

                      Bigotry specifically refers to hatred towards differing race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, various mental disorders, or religion. Not career. Not career. Not career.

                      This conversation is over. There’s no point in repeating myself when you aren’t responding to what I’m saying.

          3. Dunphy makes a comment that make sense and all he gets is herp derp?

            1. Haters will hate…

            2. it’s the kneejerk bigot brigade ™ monty. i’m used to it.

              they are not to be confused with the bones brigade ™ who have both talent and insight.

              1. dunphy is used to persecution. He is, after all, a cop, the most persecuted minority of all. For millenia, his people have been hunted like dogs, simply for practicing their religious rites. All these poor cops want is to shoot pets and druggies in peace.

                1. i’m not used to persecution at all. stats show most people respect police. check pollingdata.com

                  year after year, my profession is amongst the most respected.

                  some individual cops are fucksticks, others are saints, most are good people doing a hard job.

                  there is no war on cops, balko is (as per usual) correct.

                  there are bigots such as you, though, who take a GREAT name (heller) and do stupidity with it.

                  frankly, i’ve had scores of people over the course of my career go out of their way to thank me for what i do. heck, i’ve even had people that i arrested do that. you treat people fairly and the vast majority of the time, you gain respect.

                  that’s been my experience.

                  i don’t feel persecuted at all. i love my job.

                  i just don’t like bigots


                  1. Well first of all, hating cops doesn’t make someone a bigot. Calling this bigotry just shows that you think cops are a persecuted minority.

                    Second of all, if you can’t separate snark from reality, you shouldn’t really be on the internet. You might hurt yourself.

                    Third of all, I didn’t “take” the name heller. It is my name. Dumbass.

                    1. hating somebody who is a cop, or making unfounded assumptions about them as an individual is bigotry.

                      it’s like assuming an italian person you meet is a mafioso

                      it’s called bigotry

                      see also: prejudice

                    2. Again, judging someone because of their career and judging someone because of their race/nationality are not equivalent. One is bigotry, one isn’t. Why do I have to keep repeating myself?

                    3. it’s bigotry. just because a person chooses something (profession, religion, sporting activity ) vs. is born with it doesn’t change the fact that prejudging them (iow prejudice) and using a broad brush isn’t bigotry .

                      it is.


                    4. Words have definitions dunphy. Not everyone is a bigot.

      5. Jeffersonian, building coalitions by relenting on our principles is what built the massive Leviathan. You cannot create more freedom by trying to utilize a system that is designed to destroy it.

      6. See this is the type of comment I’m just sick to death of from paleo-anarchists. You hold the world to a purely Platonic standard that no one could ever meet.

        Jefferson: Have you, or someone in your employ, robbed or murdered anyone lately?


        Neither have I, along with everyone else I know, and probably every poster on this board. If we can’t hold any of our political leaders to that very basic standard, then our political system (or more likely, “politics” itself) is fucked and needs to be thrown out.

    2. There are good politicians. There are honest used car salesmen. There are good sociopaths. There are (almost) no absolutes

  6. Also, let’s not forget that little “supported terrorists in order to overthrow a democratically elected government” thing. And yes, the Sandinistas were scumbags, but they were elected in free and fair elections in 1984, and voted out of power in free and fair elections in 1990, making the terrorist activities of the Contras in the intervening years (and our vigorous support of them) even more obviously disgusting.

    But, yeah, besides the terrorism thing, a great, great man!

    1. Well, Hitler was also elected democratically, so how dare did America get involved in WW2.


      1. False equivalency.

        1. The Sandinistas also killed innocent people, including Catholic Priests and nuns. So did Che Guevara and Fidel Castro. You know, you don’t need an Auschwitz to do horrible things.

          1. The Holocaust had nothing to do with why the US was in the war. We got into it the good old fashioned way: being attacked by another country’s military. You are a fucking retard.

      2. You know who ELSE was elected in a demo…oh, never mind…

      3. If the Sandanistas had attempted to take over the rest of the Americas, you might have a point. If Hitler were just another European tyrant, it would not have been appropriate to get into in WW2. Are you really that much of an idiot? Are you related to STEVE?

      4. I don’t know you, but I’m going to give you enough of the benefit of the doubt to say that this is probably beneath your intelligence.

        You’re comparing Nazi Germany, a country that declared war on the U.S. and was invading and occupying European countries with one of the largest military forces the world had ever seen…to Nicaragua in the 1980’s. Really?

    2. got to have cover for a profitable drug running opp.

  7. No, no, no. You’re doing it wrong. You are libertarians. You LOVE Reagan.

    1. Oh, I see; that’s what is driving Jeffersonian wild today: insufficient love for Saint Reagan. It all makes sense now.

      1. If I hold Reagan to a reasonable standard based on his rhetoric and his record (Was the world more free or less free at the end of his term) versus other post-WW II presidents, I think he is the best.

        That doesn’t mean I think he’s perfect but I don’t want to hear anything from people who think Ron Paul would be a “GREAT” president.

        Also if libertarians were truly part of the Left, then go ahead and try to make common cause with the very very many leftists that believe it’s fine to force you to purchase any good or service. OR ally yourselves with the true libertarian-left which is made up of people like George Orwell and Christopher Hitchens. You know, people who would tell Lew Rockwell he was a fucking asshole and an aider and abetter of tyrants.

        1. then go ahead and try to make common cause with the very very many leftists that believe it’s fine to force you to purchase any good or service.

          Or you can ally yourself with people like Reagan, who believe it’s fine to force you not to purchase any good or service.

          Being the best post-WW2 president is like being the least stinky turd. Reagan was still an evil sumbitch to the cause of liberty, just like all the other guys.

          1. Yeah because that leftwinger Hillary Clinton and that leftwinger Barack Obama are soo sooo soo much better on the issue of drug control. Which political coalition is pushing for pet bans in San Francisco, Happy Meal Bans elsewhere in CA and various food and smoking bans everywhere hmmm?

            1. clinton was one of the worst presidents in history when it came to being a drug warrior and ESPECIALLY pushing for federalization of drug enforcement.

              it’s pretty fucking sad, that we can’t get any REAL presidential candidate in either party who would consider decrim even of marijuana, let alone “hard drugs”.

            2. Where did I mention Clinton and Obama? Where did I mention that Democrats are anywhere at all better on this issue? You’re a fucking moron who wants to play the Team Red/Team Blue game. Just because I said Reagan wanted to forbid people to buy what they want doesn’t mean liberals are excluded from that.

              1. both teams SUCK on the WOD. i would hope nearly everybody could agree with that in regards to the WOD

  8. So where’s the “Screw you, Barrack Obama!” article, I realize he’s only half-white, so maybe perhaps Brian Doherty could try to insult him half the time.

    Seriously Reason, you’re becoming The Huffington Post.


    1. Go here, instead. You’ll like it better.

      1. I feels so dirty now.

        1. That was for Greg, MWG. sorry I didn’t make that clear.

      2. For the “Screw you, Jimmah Carter” link.

      3. Damn it, BP, you could warn people first – I clicked on that!


  9. Bonus: An ixlor.com thread on anti-Reagan punk songs.

    Oi wonder if there were more anti-Thatcher or anti-Reagan punk songs.

    1. i prefer anti-jerry brown punk songs myself.

      and the simpering liberalism of faux punks green day gets old very fast

      1. Well you’re just an American Idiot or probably a Basket Case. Jesus of Suburbia you are intolerant as to what’s good music. You’re Welcome to Paradise and you just call them a Walking Contradiction like they had Geek Stink Breath. I’m guess I’m in the Minority when I say I take the Longview of Green Day’s career. No wonder we’re having a 21st Century Breakdown. Good Riddance. The Simpsons Theme Cover.

        P.S. Green Day sucks.

  10. The problem with libertarian leanings is retaining them in the face of challenges. Schwarzenegger appeared to have a hefty amount of libertarianism in his enhanced blood, which vanished with the first budget crisis.

    Reagan, I think, was a little more libertarian in outlook, but he had other issues that derailed him, particularly the Cold War. Not to make excuses, because I think limited government isn’t something optional or only for when convenient, but I think he’d have been a little more committed to some of those ideals without the Soviet challenge.

  11. On my list, Reagan is tied with Clinton for second best president of my lifetime.*

    It’s not as if the competition is really fierce.

    * I go back to Eisenhower.

    1. I kinda, sorta agree with you. Born in 1957, I’m trying to think if I’ve lived under a “good” president. I can’t think of one. Bad is easy — Nixon, Carter, and now Obama.

      So looking back, the Reagan years and the Clinton years were not disasters, but I don’t tend to give presidents any credit for the economy.

      1. Obama is a good president? Are you kidding me? Mr. Spread the Wealth? Mr. Hate the rich? Mr. Green Jobs and Green Cars? Mr. Government Is the Solution? Mr. Apologize for America?


        Obama is the worst president this country has ever had, he’s a global citizen, a multiculturalist, an arab lover, dude, wake up!

        1. Uhhh… “Bad is easy — Nixon, Carter, and now Obama.”

          P.S. You’re an idiot.

        2. Learn to read, troll.

          1. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

        3. Obama is the worst president this country has ever had, he’s a global citizen, a multiculturalist, an arab lover, dude, wake up!

          This is just sad. I’d recommend therapy if I thought it had any value.

        4. You need to work on your reading comprehension skills. He specifically named Obama as being a bad president.

          1. Anyone can make a mistake, read something to fast and understand the wrong thing.

            1. Well, Agent Smith, I’ve yet to see you add anything of value to any discussion you’ve ever posted in. The least you can do is read what we post and respond to what is actually posted.

              1. My article about Jimmy Carter is quite impressive, as for adding anything to the discussion, well, I’ve added more than calling people a troll and a dipshit like some of the LIBERALterians do here.

                1. I have to admit, I don’t read many of your posts. Once I hit posts about Hitler being democratically elected, I just tune you out.

                  If you hadn’t replied by my post, I wouldn’t bother with you at all.

                2. Mr Smith,
                  I just checked your blog. You’re not a Poe, a parody? For real?

                3. “LIBERALterians”

                  I think this is what pisses most people off about you. Your a ‘self-described’ libertarian, but you’re rhetoric is all conservative. Your mistake is a common one amongst conservatives (including Reagan) in that you think you’re somehow a kindred spirit of the libertarian perspective. In reality, you’re the opposite side of the same coin which belongs to our liberal statist residents Tony and (now, apparently) SM.

                  You may call yourself a libertarian all you want, but you’re nothing but a typical conservative whose ideology is as destructive to natural rights and freedom as your liberal statist cousins.

                  1. I am no conservative, conservative like liberals are idealistic and seek to remake the world in their image. I seek to get government out of my way and to protect my country from hordes of illegal aliens.

                    Conservative hate porn, liberals hate guns, I hate neither.

                    1. “I seek to get government out of my way and to protect my country from hordes of illegal aliens.”

                      …and this is different from a typical conservative how?

                      “Conservative hate porn…”

                      Not true…


                    2. But, what about gun porn?

                    3. Sorry KFP, there just isn’t a market for something so salacious… yet.

                    4. Then I intend to create it. Midget, illegal alien, gun porn. I shall be a thousandaire!

                    5. If you describe people peacefully moving to a place where they can sell their labor as a horde to be repelled by the state, you aren’t a libertarian.

              2. I think you’re on to something here, kinnath. Let’s see, overly eager to do things and devoted to the cause. Yep, this guys FBI.

                1. Wrong agency

        5. Have you looked into taking a few reading comprehension classes Agent Smith?

        6. How fucking stupid are you? Oh…never mind.

        7. “he’s a global citizen, a multiculturalist, an arab lover”

          And none of those things make Obama a bad president (and he is a bad president). You are seriously fucked in the head. No one here (except a few trolls and fewer serious liberal commenters) thinks Obama is a good president. Get over it. Ass.

          1. One issue with your statement: Being a multiculturalist (by definition) makes you a bad (___fill in the blank___).

      2. I would have to add Bush Jr. to the list of bad presidents (Think Patriot Act, bailouts, etc…). Though he did add lip service to ‘free market principles’… I guess that’s good for something… right? Right?

        1. I haven’t decided on Bush II yet.

        2. But don’t you see…he had to give up his free market principles in order to save the free market.


        3. You forgot something that starts with I and ends with q and is still costing us a metric fuckton of money.

          1. A leader’s intelligence is highly overrated. Much more intelligent people got us into Vietnam and Condoleezza Rice is no dummy.

            1. TOP. People.

              1. Actually, I’m a soft bottom-butch.

              2. Men. It’s “TOP. Men.”

                But still, awesome!

    2. I agree that the competition is thin but that is mostly because of the circumstances of the world (WW 2 followed by Cold War as well as the growth of the welfare state).

      Who would be your number one?

      The Clinton that tried to ban massive amounts of firearms and force everyone to buy into his health care scheme? Thats your number 2?

      1. I think some libertarians like the Clinton administration because it was largely checked by Congress. I don’t hold with that, as Clinton tried to do some appalling things as president. Being stopped in your tracks doesn’t make you a good president.

        1. I look at results. If you prefer we can say were talking of federal governance during each president’s time in office.

          Reagan had to deal with a Dem congress as Clinton had to deal with the GOP. It is arguable that is why their terms weren’t unmitigated disasters.

          For Jeffersonian, I put Eisenhower at the top of the post 1952 presidents and George the Lesser at the bottom.

          1. J sub D

            At least someone is reasonable around here. Except it appears Obama will end up being at the bottom depending on how well checked he is by the Congress.

            1. You’re not alone jeffersonian. I give credit where credit is due. Reagan was one of the most libertarian presidents of the 20th century. Goldwater is seen as the libertarian president that never was, but Reagan was basically a slightly tweaked, more appealing Goldwater. Even Judge Napolitano quotes Reagan pretty regularly. Some of the best modern libertarian rhetoric is from Reagan. Also, for Reagan to say libertarianism is the heart of conservatism…that’s the farthest any mainstream Republican has ever come to saying they’re a libertarian.

              1. Reagan talked a good talk. And that’s actually important in laying a foundation for future work, but Reagan was far from being a libertarian president.

                1. I disagree. For all that talk, people associate his talk with his actions, which are a complete 180.

                  1. I disagree. For all that talk, people associate his talk with his actions, which are a complete 180.

                    ^^This. IMO, the worst thing the Republican Pary has done is hijack “free market/capitalism” rhetoric for political purposes, while actively pushing “conservative Keynesianism”, as Rothbard described it.

                    So after years of hearing “free markets/capitalism”, the average person thinks that equates to Reagan and Bush administrations, where tax cuts coupled with massive government spending was the name of the game. This false association makes central-planning/soft socialism seem appealing to people.

              2. ProGLib is the most libertarian that never was. You can ask him yourself.

                1. Insert a “President” into that statement.

                  1. I thank you, my fellow American.

                    I assume you’re referencing the List?

          2. He certainly is no JFK, Clinton, or Reagan — he lacks the smarts or real world experience of them. Obama inherited crap but, like Nixon did, actively makes it worse in almost every way.

        2. i think in general that libertarianism is best represented in our govt. when you have a congress and president of opposing parties. the more the congress obstructs the president and vice versa, the less the busybodies in govt. can further the statist cause.

          1. Like when the Democratic Congress traded goodies like farm bills, Medicare bills, and other domestic nonsense so W. could fund his Middle East adventures?

            1. exceptions don’t disprove the rule.

              would you rather have a repub president and repub congress and/or a dem president and dem congress. i far prefer repubs to dems, but ime a mixed congress/prez are the best remedy to rampant statism.

              occasionally we get bipartisan assmunchery such as mccain-feingold, anti-ephedrine antics, etc.

              1. Not that they’re EXPERTS on it or anything

                1. no, they’re not. if only you could apply that fact to the actual expert issue i’d discussed you’d be less intellectually dishonest, and you’d actually have learned something

  12. Libertarian Presidents: 0
    Libertarian Senate Majorities: 0
    Libertarian House Majorities: 0

    Yes, screw that dumb-ass Reagan.

    1. So because Reagan was slick enough to get elected he’s what? A great president?

      1. Point of order, is MWG a new person or an MNG typo?

        1. Not new but not MNG, as well.

        2. Yea, I’ve been thinking about changing that lately. In fairness to ‘Minge’, he was here before me.

          1. NOW who’s being slick?

              1. I don’t know. I generally separate him from people like SM, because he seems to be somewhat open minded and open to honest debate. Sure he’s liberal, but he’s our liberal dammit!

              2. I want to encourage people with differing opinions who actually want to discuss things in good faith. I think that MNG usually does that.

            1. You know who else was slick…

          2. I’ve been trying to get someone to go by “Cannibal Perk” for sometime now. Your enemies would fear you!

            1. Fear? This blog is all love and sunshine…

            2. I’m trying to think of something that would piss people off. I’m just not sure who I’d prefer to piss off more on this blog. The liberals (SM, Tony) or conservatives…

              1. “The Christian Atheist”

                1. Perhaps something referencing your unhygenic, adulterous mother?

                  1. Perhaps something referencing your unhygenic, adulterous mother?

                    “Sink Douche”

                  2. No, no, no. It’s gotta be something that upholds the dignity and respect that come along with being part of the H&R commentariat.

                    1. the dignity and respect that come along with being part of the H&R commentariat

                      “The Strong Stomach”

                2. “Mensa for Dummies”

              2. Go with DateRape

            3. SF: off-topic, but I have two versions of the microslavery parable on the Rand Paul thread, if you would like to critique.

              1. Nevermind, I see you responded. I was busy on the phone with state revenue. They had a problem with my company’s 2007 filing.

                Timely service. Hey, its been nearly 3 years since you filed this, but we are just getting around to it now.

                1. They wanted to make sure to catch you unawares, robc.

                  1. Means I get to spend some time this weekend digging thru files.

                    Office has moved since then, so things arent as orderly, its a file in a box in a closet instead of in my desk drawer. Sigh.

                    Also, made a copy of long form version of parable, in case I need to copy pasta in the future. Feel free to call in an airstrike if you need to.

            4. “The Disruptive Rectum”

            5. The heck with “Cannibal Perk.” Go with “Bloody Mess”.

          3. That admission just tanked your prospects to hit MNG for trademark infringement.

            I once had a similar brand confusion problem with a commenter called “Five Fingers of Friendliness” but I sued his ass right off the internets. He changed his name to “Glove of Love” but I think someone else sued him for that.

              1. Religion. Is that thing even still around?

                1. Contemplate this on the tree of woe…

              2. According to tradition, and hagiographic sources, following the declaration of Christianity as the Official Religion of Armenia in 301 AD, St. Gregory has a famous vision, wherein the Only Begotten Son of God ? Jesus Christ, descends from Heaven, his face lit aglow, and with the strike of a golden hammer designates the site where the Mother Cathedral for the entire Armenian nation is to be founded.

                So Jesus was an urban planner. Just like joe.

                1. It’s how UFO sightings were done in 301 AD.

    2. Reagan is the spawn of Lincoln who was himself the lovechild of Satan and Hamilton. All Republicans are mercantilists who make baby Rothbard cry.

  13. Occasionally, I flip over to Morning Joe, just to get my blood pressure up. Not long ago, the resident nodding simpletons were trying to convince themselves the Presidential Suit will somehow or other attempt to “become Ronald Reagan” between now and the next election.

    Good luck with that, Sonny.

    1. We’re game for the attempt, but Christ! Give us a little something to work with, please!

  14. Seriously Reason, you’re becoming The Huffington Post.

    DRINK! Won’t do it.

    I’m off to score some mescaline.

    1. I’m off to score some mescaline.

      Zog bless you Mr. Brooks, Zog bless you.

  15. Say what you will about Reagan, pro or con. But one thing is certain — were he still alive today, he wouldn’t know it.

    1. They’re almost as fun as fights over abortion and immigration in these parts.

      1. I hate both of those things, yet most of the anti-Reagan people here love me.

      2. Point of order, is MWG a new person or an MNG typo?

          1. Lol! Not hardly.

  16. It’s tempting (for me) to think of Reagan and JFK as a matched set of funhouse mirror Presidents; in both cases, what they actually DID has been largely replaced by an idolatrous and largely imaginary narrative.

    1. Yes from what I know of JFK’s actual positions and actions as president he would be more likely to get my vote than any of the past several Democratic or Republican candidates for President.

    2. I have friends who STILL start frothing at the mouth at the mention of Reagan, even though he left office over 20 years ago, and they can’t have been more than 8 when he was elected. Frankly, a lot of the Reagan-hate reminds me of Holy Grail:
      “Reagan turned the country into a newt!”
      “A newt?”
      “…it got better…”

      But as you say, it has a lot more to do with “Reagan” being shorthand for everything they don’t like than it does with the actual man or his policies.

  17. The article goes way overboard and goes off topic talking about Dubya for some reason. Some of the criticisms of Reagan are valid, but he also had to work with a Democratic congress. I’d the country came out better than when he first came in. Any president who cuts the highest tax bracket down from 70% to 28% is good in my book. Clearly we all would have wished it was much lower or a flat tax, but I mean c’mon guys give him some credit. Plus the whole “bracket creep” thing is such a left wing argument. We shouldn’t have brackets to begin with. All bracket creep would do is to show the idiocy of a progressive tax system.

    He got rid of the fairness doctrine, helped bring an end to serious communism, and made anti-government rhetoric common place.

    Sure I agree that deficits were bad and so was the war on drugs, but Reagan was influential in bringing supply side economics to the forefront. Certainly he wasn’t perfect for many reasons, but why shit on arguably one of the most libertarian presidents of the 20th century?

    1. Because the WOD is one of the worst things afflicting this country today, from it’s waste of money, to its militarization of the police, to its erosion of civil liberties?

      If you give a shit about civil liberties, Reagan started something that has been one of the worst blows to civil liberties in a long time. He deserves hella scorn for that.

      1. Of all the crimes committed by Reagan (and presidents do bad things), the WOD is at the top of the heap.

        1. The term “War on Drugs” was first used by President Richard Nixon on June 17, 1971.

          But, if a beginning must be identified, I nominate Henry Anslinger and the Treasury Department’s Federal Bureau of Narcotics in 1930. It is a case of mass insanity afflicting the American populace aided and abetted by power seeking politicians, law enforcement agents and progressives eager to stamp out the scourge of people putting what they fucking want into their own fucking bodies.

          Anti-freedom to the core.

          1. Nixon didn’t make it so that I had to pee in a cup to get a job. That started under Reagan.

            1. what’s the “reason hit and run blog approved libertarian position” on whether a private employer should be able to require drug tests of employees?

              and of course i understand there is a difference between SHOULD they do it, and is it legal/constitutional for them to do it.

              1. The problem is the federal government demanding that all businesses that have contracts with the government must drug test their employees.

                Hard to get a job as an engineer with any fortune 500 when everyone has some division or other that sells shit to the feds.

                1. Are you saying that’s the case? My company has numerous Fed contracts & there was no cup-peeing required for me.

          2. I think you’d have to go back to The Harrison Narcotics Tax Act in 1914. That’s when consumption of drugs began to be regulated with an eye toward end-effect and not just safety and efficacy claims (which began with the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act.)

          3. I think it would be more fair to say that Reagan re-intensified the war on drugs. Everybody thought pot was about to be legalized when he came to office. In any case, his actions on drug policy were extremely un-libertarian.

            1. Crack showed up and everyone panicked. We were, indeed, on the way to de-criminalization of pot. Even coke was (somewhat) socially tolerated…

              1. crack wasn’t quite the perfect storm, but it kinda sucked. it still was not NEARLY as addictive as the “just say no” folks claimed.

                crack at least came close to be as bad as the reefer madness people claimed mj was. the problem was they lost all credibility with people earlier on when they lied about marijuana, etc.

                1. crack at least came close to be as bad as the reefer madness people claimed mj was

                  Oh you cops. You kill me.

                  1. oh you people named bradley, you kill me.

                    crack was PRETTY addictive and the fight for crack turf was violent as fuck.

                    of course legalizing it would have eliminated some of the violence.

                    noted that some of the biggest calls for enforcement in communities devastated by crack came from community members, not law enforcement.

                    i’ve known people personally who have used crack a few times (or once) and did not become addicted. it’s hardly a magickally addictive drug ™

      2. You’ve made Nancy cry.

        1. How can you tell?

      3. I never said the War on Drugs were good. I said it was bad. I just think even with the War on Drugs, Reagan deserves some credit for advancing liberty. I think eliminating the fairness doctrine was good for civil liberties. You have to put it all into perspective. I see it all as a mixed bag, but I see it as more good than bad. I think that’s rare and deserves at least some recognition, not an unambiguous “Screw you, Ronald Reagan.”

        1. Reagan was an old-school conservative. Minimize government, but keep people safe in their beds at night.

          1. Except he increased bureaucracy and spending and endangered people in their beds at night by allowing the police to knock down their doors and raid their homes.

            1. as president, reagan had very little authority/power to authorize police to do much differently from what they had done.

              there’s that whole federal thang. most cops are not federal.

              judges, cop-o-crats and city/state politicians are far more to blame than reagan

    2. Further, Reagan kept the government out of the PC business. We’d still be using Macs if not for that.

      This post and the response to it shows many ‘libertarians’ are not serious about shrinking government. They really just like to masturbate their own sense of purity. Another one to file under Reason’s ‘WHY WON’T THE LEFT LOVES US?1!1!?’ folder.

    3. He didn’t cut taxes, he just delayed them. The deficit exploded. Oh taxes were raised every year of tenure after his income tax ( that’s not the only tax we have). There is nothing libertarian about supply side. Really tired of libertarianism being associated with conservatism.

    4. He didn’t cut taxes, he just delayed them. The deficit exploded. Oh taxes were raised every year of tenure after his income tax ( that’s not the only tax we have). There is nothing libertarian about supply side. Really tired of libertarianism being associated with conservatism.

  18. This is pretty typical of Reason. Reagan was clearly unsuccessful in living up to his libertarian ideals when the rubber met the road, and for that he should be called out.

    But can someone name another president who had more libertarian leanings than Ron? I get that he didn’t live up to them, but none of our other recent leaders even gave lip service to libertarian principles.
    Reagan Libertarian Quotes-

    Farewell Address (1989)
    “We the people” tell the government what to do, it doesn’t tell us. “We the people” are the driver, the government is the car. And we decide where it should go, and by what route, and how fast. Almost all the world’s constitutions are documents in which governments tell the people what their privileges are. Our Constitution is a document in which “We the people” tell the government what it is allowed to do. “We the people” are free.

    I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.

    * The ten most dangerous words in the English language are “Hi, I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”
    o Remarks to Future Farmers of America (1988-07-28)

    How do you tell a Communist? Well, it’s someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It’s someone who understands Marx and Lenin.

    * Remarks in Arlington, Virginia (1987-09-25)

    Yeah, I’d much rather brag about Clinton feeling my pain.

    1. Uh, Obama gives lip service to a lot of shit for which you will gladly call him out on for not delivering. Why doesn’t Saint Reagan get the same treatment?

    2. But can someone name another president who had more libertarian leanings than Ron?

      The tallest midget is still not a giant.


  19. Clinton tried to do some appalling things as president. Being stopped in your tracks doesn’t make you a good president.

    You’re right. Being ineffectual at implementing bad ideas doesn’t make you a good President.

    But I started looking back at the Clinton Presidency as the Good Old Days about six months into the long national nightmare which was GWB.

    1. It’s a sad commentary when the only hope we have is gridlock. Of course, that was part of the original design of our system, so it’s not entirely unintentional.

      1. Help me Obi Gridlock Kenobi, you’re our only hope…

    2. But I started looking back at the Clinton Presidency as the Good Old Days about six months into the long national nightmare which was GWB.

      This. You and me both. I knew this country was in trouble when I started missing Clinton.

  20. During the 1980 election, I thought Reagan was on target in regards to economics and completely wacko on foreign policy. I was pretty sure he was going to start WWIII.

    But instead, he managed to break the back of the Soviet Union and usher in the era of “deficits don’t matter”.

  21. Man, you’re making me want to dig out my old DK and Husker Du albums – I haven’t listened to them in probably 20 years. I still have the vinyl – but no turntable on which to play them.

    Blow it out your ass, Jerry Falwell!
    Blow it out your ass, Jesse Helms!
    Blow it out your ass, Ronald Reagan!
    What’s wrong with a mind of my own?

    1. i once produced jello biafra in concert. he was one of the most insufferable asses i have ever met. bar none.

      otoh, he was great at spoken word and god knows the DK’s rocked.

      california uber alles is relevant all over again

  22. the more the congress obstructs the president and vice versa, the less the busybodies in govt. can further the statist cause.


    Fuck off dunphy, you incoherent pigshit Brown Shirt motherfucker.

    1. Delayed reaction? Or just the blackouts again?

      1. i’d say it was tourettes, but those guys usually have more interesting and insightful comments

  23. No love for “Bonzo Goes to Bitburg” on the Reagan punk songs thread? Song is classic!

    Reagan is symbolic of a classic mindset that conservatives were for small government. Yet it was during his Presidency that it was quite the opposite. I applauded his rhetoric and found him very Presidential. But as is the case with all of them, once elected, the priority is how to be re-elected.

    1. As PJ O’Rourke said (paraphrase), conservatives tell you that government is the root of all evil and as soon as they get into office they do their best to prove it.

  24. Let’s just say the idea of our resident pig-fellator dunphy attempting to use the term “statist” as a slur on somebody else bugs me; I seem to be having a hard time mustering an ironic chuckle, today.

    1. Oh lighten up.

  25. Cut him some slack. He started losing his brain while in office. And he did have something to do with the end of the Soviet Union.

    1. He had all the right enemies.

      1. So what? By that metric, W was a superb president.

        1. Well, thank ya kindly, Bingo! heh heh heh

  26. Without Reagan the free market and individual liberties that libertarians prize would be under far greater assault due to the Soviet System and worldwide influence. Reagan made those spending deals with Democrat Congresses to get the military muscle needed to break Communism. He figured that deal was worth taking. I happen to agree.

    1. Reagan W. made those spending deals with Democrat Congresses to get the military muscle needed to break Communism terrorism.

    2. Yes, US military buildup ended communism. Decades of central-planning-induced economic stagnation in the Eastern bloc had nothing to do with it.

      It’s pretty funny: both the commies and conservatives claim that communism would’ve worked fine, if only they hadn’t lost the penis size competition with the US.

  27. Citizens! In all times, two political systems have been in existence, and each may be maintained by good reasons. According to one of them, Government ought to do much, but then it ought to take much. According to the other, this two-fold activity ought to be little felt. We have to choose between these two systems. But as regards the third system, which partakes of both the others, and which consists in exacting everything from Government, without giving it anything, it is chimerical, absurd, childish, contradictory, and dangerous. Those who parade it, for the sake of the pleasure of accusing all governments of weakness, and thus exposing them to your attacks, are only flattering and deceiving you, while they are deceiving themselves.


    I think that that last bit describes Reagan get-your-government-hands-off-my-Medicare Conservatives perfectly.

  28. I’m just going to note that RR was actually a fairly decent actor. He always gets tagged with the “B film” non-love, but he wasn’t all that bad.

    Now, as a President, well…he wasn’t a bad actor.

  29. I think it’s really important to point out that I have no strong feelings about Reagan one way or the other, since, as far as I can tell, he achieved some good things, but also some bad things.

  30. “Riggenbach points out Reagan’s failures on overall taxation, trade, spending, draft registration, the war on drugs, and government employment…”

    …and saddest of all, he’s the most libertarian president we’ll ever have.

    P.S. Just because Riggenbach points to something, doesn’t make it true.

    1. I was just about to post this same thought, Ken, until I scanned quickly to the bottom of the comments section, and saw you’d posted it ahead of me.

      None of us will see a more libertarian president, of this or any country, in our lifetimes.

      And as far as your P.S., well, let’s just say I’ve personally found Jeff Riggenbach’s writing and perspective to be consistently worthless. Glad to see he hasn’t ruined his “perfect record” with this latest.

      1. “None of us will see a more libertarian president, of this or any country, in our lifetimes.”

        Well that depends. In terms of economics, Mart Laar, the former Prime Minister of Estonia based his whole economic policy on Milton Friedman’s book Free to Choose.


        Vaclav Klaus of the Czech Republic is someone else who comes to mind.


        1. I can come up with others if I spend more than 5 minutes on it.

          1. I’m pretty sure we were talking about the United States.

            First person plural being key in “he’s the most libertarian president we’ll ever have.”

            It’s not the trees that’ll getcha; it’s always the forest with the really big teeth.

            1. Sorry Ken, read Draco’s comment again.

              “None of us will see a more libertarian president, of this or ANY COUNTRY, in our lifetimes.”

              It’s not the trees that’ll getcha; it’s always the forest with the really big teeth.

              1. Sometimes it’s the tense that gets you MWG, not the forest or the trees. Note carefully that I said “None of us will see…”

                That’s called the future tense. But thanks for your links, good stuff.

                I would love to have a more libertarian POTUS than Reagan. I just highly doubt we’ll see it.

            2. In the future, make sure you read someone’s comment carefully before responding with such snark. It’ll help you look like less of an ass.

              1. No, I reserve the right to make an ass of myself whenever I please.

                I’ve missed stuff due to quick reads, before, and I’ll miss stuff again.

                You’ll just have to keep pointin’ out to me–I do what I want.

                1. Alright Ken, through your humor you’ve ingratiated yourself to me once again. All is forgiven.

      2. You find his factual findings of Reagan’s anti-liberty policies worthless?

        1. I don’t even have to look at what they are.

          Taken in context, Ronald Reagan struck a bigger blow for freedom–both here and abroad–than anyone since World War II.

          He made some big mistakes too, but compared to what he did for freedom?

          He went against the left on domestic policy, when they thought his policies were stupid, and he went against the right on foreign policy when the right thought he was stupid.

          By “being stupid” to the right, he liberated hundreds of millions of people in the Eastern Bloc, and by “being stupid” according to the left, he managed to slash the top income tax rate from 70% to 28%, and he got the maximum capital gains tax all the way down to 20%.

          The presidents who came after have all been pathetic by comparison.

          1. ^This post>article based on ‘left-libertarian’ bullshit.

            1. Left-libertarian bullshit may be the author’s beliefs, but the actual facts are still the facts. Reagan took an even bigger shit on the 4th Amendment than past presidents had done. He increased taxes for the middle class. He increased spending more than most presidents before him. He was a poor president.

              1. That’s absurd.

                Where was GDP when Reagan came in office? Where was inflation? Was there a recession in the middle of that for the Fed cranking rates up? Hell yes.

                Where was GDP when Reagan left office?

                How much did his monumental tax slashing have to do with that?

                A lot.

                It’s amazing listening to some people–people who claim the Laffer curve is bullshit out of one side of their mouths, and then turn around and complain people paid more in gross taxes out of the other!

                Again, there’s a forest to be seen here somewhere. …and my post up yonder about his major achievements?

                That’s the forest.

                He was right about so much. So much that what he was wrong about pales by comparison. His achievements are so monumental, you’re still thinking about them.

                Bestest most libertarianist president we’ll ever have in our lifetimes.

          2. He had to kill the patient to save him!

    2. the most libertarian president…

      The “most”? I’d have to cite Washington. It’s been downhill ever since.

      1. And before anyone mentions Washington’s slaves, I would point out that, given his arbitrary and capricious power over 309 million Americans (not to mention billions of foreigners), President Obama is the greatest slaveholder of all time (in a metaphorical sense). Discuss. Or not.

        1. Fuck you heart Lincoln/Sherman.

        2. Why is there no room for me in this place?

      2. Ever heard of the Whiskey Rebellion?

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