Book Reviews

Was the Reagan Revolution Really Reagan's?

While we're at it, was it really a revolution?

|

How broad was the California tax revolt of the 1970s? Broad enough to stretch from Ronald Reagan to the Black Panthers.

The Panthers' position is mentioned only briefly in Rick Perlstein's Reaganland—just a single sentence meant to get across how widespread dissatisfaction with the state's property taxes had gotten. But if you start poking around at that spot, you'll find a deep rabbit hole just waiting for you to explore it. With "most tax increases," proclaimed the Panther slate in Oakland's 1973 municipal elections, "the poor always suffer and Black people, in particular, suffer most." The candidates went on to decry everything from the property tax to the business license tax, and along the way they complained about how much money was spent on police pensions and downtown businesses. They also grumbled that black Oaklanders were being taxed without representation, since the levies were imposed "by the all-white Oakland City Council."

Reaganland is 914 pages long, not including its extensive endnotes, and nearly every one of those pages could send you down an equally fascinating rabbit hole. This is the fourth and probably final volume in Perlstein's series of books on recent American history, and like its predecessors it is both informative and entertaining. Perlstein is an engaging storyteller with a talent for juggling multiple narratives, and he is able—not always, but usually—to write empathetically about people he fundamentally disagrees with, a useful skill for a liberal historian describing a country's turn to the right.

That shift is Perlstein's big subject, a fact he signals by subtitling the book America's Right Turn, 1976–1980. The combination of title and subtitle might prompt a double take, since Reagan did not become president until 1981. For the bulk of Reaganland, the man in the White House is not Reagan but Jimmy Carter.

Yet the title isn't an error. One of the book's chief themes is that America's move rightward began well before Ronald Reagan entered the Oval Office. Its cover shows Reagan and Carter seated together in the back of a limo—two rivals riding the same car. Their destination: Reagan's inauguration.

* * *

A familiar metaphor—often attributed to Reagan, though its origins are cloudy—calls conservatism a three-legged stool. In its idealized form, the three legs are free enterprise, a strong national defense, and traditional moral values. In practice, "free enterprise" is often a cover for protecting or subsidizing business interests, "national defense" for global intervention, "moral values" for moral panic.

However you define them, each leg grew stronger as the '70s melted into the '80s. They gathered this strength not just within the organized right but outside it. These weren't three legs of a stool so much as three sweeping trends that at times combined to form the conservative movement but were quite capable of operating independently too.

The social conservatives were concentrated in a network known as the New Right. The New Right's boundaries are not easy to define, but three overlapping developments were at its core. One was a set of high-profile grassroots right-wing rebellions in the early '70s, notably the anti-busing riots in Boston and a dispute over textbooks in West Virginia. Another was Christian conservatives' growing willingness to enter the political realm—and to work across denominational lines—to battle secularism. (The most important causes here were the fights against legalized abortion and against an effort to strip segregated religious schools of their tax-exempt status.) The third element was a group of money-savvy activists, many of them based in the world of direct mail, who set out to weave those organic backlashes into an organized political force.

Perlstein is at his best covering these culture wars. The lead-up to the National Women's Conference of 1977, a battleground between feminists and traditionalists, is rendered here as a series of vivid set pieces told from multiple points of view. Perlstein's political sympathies are with the feminists, but he's attuned to the reasons many working-class women felt alienated from the most visible feminist groups. "Feminist leaders tended to be lawyers, professors, and foundation executives. No wonder they viewed working outside the home as fulfilling," he writes, summarizing a '70s study. "The same survey found that most antifeminist activists who worked were unmarried, had menial, deadening jobs, and 90 percent had no college degree. In the world as these women experienced it, marriage was what rescued you from work."

Perlstein is similarly sensitive when describing that conflict over tax exemptions for segregated schools. Most modern accounts see this as little more than a batch of racists trying to preserve their privileges, but Perlstein notes that the new rules really were poorly crafted: The institutions whose representatives descended on Washington to protest the change included not just segregation academies but schools that made good-faith efforts to recruit black students. They just couldn't afford the procedural hurdles the rules would impose. After hearing many hours of testimony along these lines, the Internal Revenue Service revised the proposal to take some of these complaints into account.

That's not to say the dispute was a mere misunderstanding, easily resolved. For many Christians, that compromise wasn't enough; there were deeper ideological battles, and not just the one over race. To the proposal's most radical opponents, the key question was whether the government could dictate orders to religious institutions in the first place. "These men do not have the rightful authority," one testified, "to tell us how to run our schools, our homes, and our churches."

As the cultural revolutions of the 1960s and '70s swept through the country, the backlash was not limited to the New Right; it wasn't just Jerry Falwell's fans who found themselves uncomfortable with widespread marijuana use or the new visibility of gay culture. And the second leg of the conservative stool was even more well-represented outside standard conservative circles. Liberal hawks had long been a part of the political landscape, and they coexisted uneasily with the Carter administration's more dovish members. Carter himself grew more hawkish toward the end of his term. And if that wasn't enough for antsy Cold War liberals, a new tribe was waiting to welcome them.

The neoconservatives—an assortment of formerly left-wing figures driven rightward, in part, by their Cold War commitments—were becoming a bigger presence in elite circles. Their favorite politician was Scoop Jackson, a senator from Washington who mixed his left-liberal economic opinions with militaristic views on foreign policy. But with Jackson unable to take the Democratic nomination and with Reagan hoisting the anti-détente banner in the GOP, many neocons were willing to cross party lines. They offered a highbrow counterpart to the lowbrow jingoism of the New Right, which stoked grassroots anger with direct-mail broadsides against the Panama Canal "giveaway."

* * *

And then there's the stool's third leg—the one that's either pro-market or just pro-business, depending on how seriously the speaker takes his small-government rhetoric.

I mentioned earlier that Perlstein usually writes with empathy about positions he doesn't share. This is the area where he is most likely to let that slide. Take his discussion of Free to Choose, a 1980 TV series hosted by the libertarian economist Milton Friedman: Here the text sometimes devolves into heckling, as when Perlstein complains that the show's praise for Hong Kong's free market successes was a "thoroughgoing fantasy" because it did not mention that the city government constructed housing and subsidized the harbor ferry on which Friedman was filmed praising Hong Kong's market economy. But Friedman was making an argument about the absence of trade barriers and economic controls, not claiming that the city had no economic interventions at all. (The book version of Free to Choose, which has more space for details, does mention both the public housing and the transportation subsidies.)

Perlstein is better when discussing the group he calls the "boardroom Jacobins." Before the '70s, he notes, business interests tended to accommodate themselves to federal regulation. Or at least a certain sort of company did: "blue-chip firms, safe, stable, and perennially profitable, impervious to economic downturns." Resistance was more likely to come from businesses that were "smaller, family-held, concentrated in midsized cities that ordinary citizens rarely dealt with, who didn't care what the New York Times said about them." These enterprises "tended to operate with less secure profit margins compared to blue-chip firms, and felt far more vulnerable to federal regulation." And they didn't have nearly as much pull in Washington.

But in the '60s and '70s, an anti-business backlash fueled a new wave of restrictive legislation, much of it pushed by the crusading attorney-activist Ralph Nader. Larger businesses eager to fend off those rules became more willing to criticize the post–New Deal state. They also became more willing to call on voices around the country—sometimes real grassroots activists, sometimes astroturf fronts—to argue their case. And so Perlstein's Jacobin capitalists were born.

As always, many politicians of the era used free market rhetoric as a cover while advancing economic interventions on corporate interests' behalf. In the Republicans' 1980 presidential primaries, the most pro-business candidate was former Texas Gov. John Connally. Connally was happy to invoke the idea of free enterprise, especially when it came to removing the regulations that afflicted his beloved energy companies, but his platform was filled with not-so-free market ideas about bailouts and subsidies—especially for those aforementioned energy companies.

Perlstein regularly highlights moments when Democrats, at times including Carter, were less willing to tax, spend, and regulate in this period. He is especially attentive to the ways this strained the president's relationship with the more conventionally liberal elements of the party—tensions that culminated in Ted Kennedy's challenge to Carter in the 1980 Democratic primaries. Perlstein arguably overstates Carter's fiscal conservatism: The book notes several examples of the president's reluctance to spend money, but total federal spending was nonetheless higher when he left office than when he came in. But if anything, Perlstein understates how much this rebellion against the liberal state took hold on the left.

Take the deregulation of trucking and air travel. These are market-friendly policies that were not mere sops to business, since they removed the rules that maintained the country's transportation cartels. More to the point, they weren't simply signed by President Carter; they were advanced in the Senate by Ted Kennedy, the very man who ran against Carter from the left. Outside the government, they were championed by the boardroom Jacobins' bête noire, Ralph Nader. Indeed, Nader accused Reagan, Connally, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce of being weak on trucking deregulation.

Nader was, in fact, a leading voice for loosening large swaths of the regulatory state. In his foreword to the 1973 book The Monopoly Makers, Nader decried "corporate socialism," a system in which "public agencies control much of the private economy on behalf of a designated corporate clientele," locking out competition, raising prices, and blocking disruptive technologies. Reaganland includes a detailed account of Nader's failed attempt to create a federal agency of consumer affairs, an entity he hoped would be less susceptible to industry capture. It has less to say about his efforts to reduce the powers of those captured agencies.

Needless to say, Kennedy and Nader were not opposed to the entire regulatory apparatus. In The Monopoly Makers, for example, Nader took care to distinguish economic regulation, which he frequently opposed, from health and safety regulation, "which seeks to complement, not replace, a market system." But then, many of those boardroom Jacobins defended economic interventions when it suited them too. (The Carter-era Chamber of Commerce supported several subsidies, and it fought to kill a bill that would have loosened federal restrictions on peaceful union picketing.) Anyway, my point isn't that the liberal lions of the '70s were really libertarians. It's that the third leg of the conservative stool, like those other two legs, was hewn from sentiments that didn't just show up on the right.

In 1980, the socialist weekly In These Times noted that "all three major candidates for chief executive of the world's biggest government are running against big government." The unsigned editorial did not proceed to defend big government. It argued that those candidates—Reagan, Carter, and independent John Anderson—didn't really want "to end federal government involvement in the economy," since "federal regulation of the economy has been welcomed or sought by American business leaders since the late 19th century" and most federal regulation "has been a case of big business regulating itself and others through government."

Echoing Nader, the editorial went on to distinguish those unwelcome rules from legislation "in the spheres of safety, health and the environment," which it supported. But it wrapped up by demanding a "socialist federalism that will strengthen the power of state and local governments and begin dismantling the highly centralized agencies created to insulate corporate power from popular control."

States' rights and an assault on the regulatory state, but from the left. Is this mirror-universe Reaganism?

The authors of that editorial were not free marketeers, no more than John Connally was. But they were deeply disillusioned with the mid-century liberal consensus. The sheer ubiquity of this disillusionment suggests that more was afoot here than a mere right turn.

* * *

That rejection of the consensus had its limits. Most American voters did not relish the thought of, say, giving up their Social Security checks. Periodically in Reaganland, the title character claims while campaigning that he had never said Social Security should be voluntary. Perlstein points out that the younger Reagan had, at the very least, called for adding "voluntary features" to it.

Once in office, though, Reagan stuck with his revised position. In 1983, facing the possibility that Social Security would become insolvent, he raised the payroll tax and forced a host of federal employees to start paying into the system. The bill that did this, he declared, "demonstrates for all time our nation's ironclad commitment to Social Security."

That legislation is discussed in another recent book, Marcus Witcher's thoughtful Getting Right With Reagan. If Reaganland reminds us that America's right turn began well before Reagan became president, Getting Right With Reagan reminds us that it didn't go nearly as far as the conservatives of the 1980s preferred. Witcher, a historian at Huntingdon College, examines all three legs of the right-wing stool, showing how economic, social, and defense conservatives each found disappointment in the Reagan years.

For angry free marketeers, Reagan was a president who promised to keep spending under control but instead let it explode, who promised free trade but imposed new tariffs and quotas, who never deregulated as much as Carter did and in some spheres regulated more. For disgruntled social conservatives, Reagan was a fair-weather friend who chased their votes but rarely expended any political capital on their behalf. The hawks were particularly prone to cursing the president after he moved toward negotiations with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Witcher's argument isn't that Reagan wasn't really a conservative; it's that he wasn't as uncompromising as his base would have liked. (If you're used to hearing AIDS activists arguing that Reagan barely lifted a finger to stop the disease, your head may spin as you read quotes from New Right activists unhappy that he barely lifted a finger to crack down on gays in the name of public health.) Witcher makes a good case that the 40th president didn't prioritize the social conservatives' issues, though he doesn't discuss some places where Reagan did give them some wins. It was Reagan's attorney general, after all, whose pornography commission called for a crackdown on obscenity. And the Federal Communications Commission tightened its restrictions on "indecent" radio broadcasts during Reagan's presidency, though the so-cons surely considered that a bittersweet victory as not just profanity but nudity became standard fare on cable television.

In short, Reagan threw social conservatives some bones but didn't really try to stop the broad cultural shifts that their movement was dedicated to reversing. Tellingly, the administration's most notable socially conservative policy was one that drew support from across the political spectrum, not just from the New Right faithful: the war on drugs. A broad-based moral panic got political results that a self-consciously conservative band of lobbyists and ideologues could not.

The other place where Witcher doesn't grapple as thoroughly as he could with Reagan's record is the so-called Reagan Doctrine, a policy of arming anti-communist forces in the Third World. Witcher mentions the most prominent of those rebel groups, the Nicaraguan Contras, noting that several conservatives complained that the White House wasn't as committed to the Contra cause as they were. Fair enough, but Reagan did keep the aid flowing. More importantly, the president's willingness to intervene in Third World conflicts, from Nicaragua to Angola to Cambodia, reveals a record more hawkish than you see if you focus solely on his relations with the Soviet Union.

Even the Reagan Doctrine had roots—or at least one root—in the Carter era. One of the anti-communist groups receiving U.S. assistance was the mujahedeen, a Muslim guerrilla force fighting Soviet invaders in Afghanistan. That particular flow of aid began under Reagan's predecessor. Once again, a leg of the conservative stool looks a lot like forces that aren't ordinarily thought of as conservative.

* * *

The picture becomes yet more complicated when you compare the U.S. with the rest of the world. Virtually every country has adopted at least some degree of market reform since the late 1970s—and how much they liberalized doesn't seem to be correlated with how attached they are to moral conservatism or to international saber-rattling.

Who enacted the most radical market reforms of the late Cold War? The nominally socialist New Zealand Labour Party, which freed prices, deregulated industries, privatized state-owned enterprises, and eliminated an assortment of subsidies. It also decriminalized gay sex and barred nuclear-armed American ships from its ports.

When the conservative stool's three legs are separated, the result is not rubble; it's a host of alternative stools, fashioned from alternative combinations of legs. Libertarians preach open markets without supporting vice laws or the national security state. Certain sorts of authoritarians do the reverse. And every now and then, there's a Panther tax revolt.

Reaganland: America's Right Turn, 1976–1980, by Rick Perlstein, Simon & Schuster, 1,120 pages, $40

Getting Right With Reagan: The Struggle for True Conservatism, 1980–2016, by Marcus M. Witcher, University Press of Kansas, 448 pages, $39.95

NEXT: Lance Armstrong vs. the New Honor Code

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. If Perlstein is able to recognize that people might have different circumstances, situations, and motivations — and that they might therefore have different desires and goals — that makes him damned near unique, these days.

    I know it’s a popular position on the “Right” and in libertarian adjacent circles to think of everyone who advocates for “more socialism” as just a ravening, power hungry, lazy tax eater. And hell, some of them actually are, although mostly that’s constrained to the top layers, and I suspect that’s mostly those folks using the language as a means to gain leverage and position.

    But there’s a *reason* (drink!) why this philosophy is so appealing to so many across so many cultures, and it’s not *purely* envy of those who have more. And it’s critical to understand the real motivations of people if you want to have any hope of getting through to them and hopefully changing *their* perspective.

    I know, there are lots more of them than there are of us, and it’s very likely that many of them are completely unwilling to actually consider their positions. But it’s impossible to win if you don’t know who your opponent really is.

    “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” –Sun Tzu

    1. Hey, in before the spam bots! 😀

      1. A lot of it just boils down to Robin Hood syndrome. Taking money from the “rich” (proletariat) and giving it to the “poor” (lumpenproles, arts, etc) because it makes them feel good about themselves.
        And hey, if you can get an easy living from advocacy at the same time, so much the better.

        1. These people need to remember that Robin Hood took money from the taxman and gave it back to the people.

          1. Somebody 40 years ago figured out how to completely change the meaning of Robin Hood to “take from the rich to give to the poor”.

            Brilliant in its abject awfulness when you think about it.

    2. Ultimately–on the individual level–socialism claims that some people are entitled to other people’s stuff, just because the people and stuff exist.

      We can argue the psychology and moral philosophy involved, but eventually have to decide how much robbery to tolerate before shooting back.

    3. “…I know it’s a popular position on the “Right” and in libertarian adjacent circles to think of everyone who advocates for “more socialism” as just a ravening, power hungry, lazy tax eater…”

      Or, more simply, a parasite.

      1. I’d say at this point the majority of the people just want a childlike existence with all their needs provided for by the government. The fucking Democrats are more than happy to agree to those demands if it keeps them in power.

        What today’s Republicans stand for is anyone’s guess. Certainly not fiscal conservatism or limited government. But they seem an order of magnitude better than the Democrats regarding individual rights.

    4. It feels good to have someone else forcibly take shit from folks you don’t like. Even better if you reap some financial value from it.

      1. Amazing. perlhaqr tries to kick off a discussion with some nuance, and the CACLLS jump in and denounce him, and spout a bunch of simplistic analysis, even though perlhaqr is on their “side”.

        It’s like the scene in History of the World, where Mademoiselle Rimbaud says that her father said, “The poor ain’t so bad.” And King Louis is like, “‘The poor ain’t so bad.’ He’s lucky he’s alive!”

        1. Not amazing, TDS-addled lefty shit defends support for more socialism.
          Fuck off and die. Seriously (since you seem to feel that’s required)

          1. Of course, your simplistic mind would mistake not demonizing those who have “socialist” views for supporting socialism. Would not expect you to understand any argument for acting toward others with basic human decency.

            1. Of course, as a fucking imbecile, you’d attempt to couch your support under a steaming pile of shit.

              1. As an emotional moron, a person with zero emotional intelligence, you are incapable of comprehending any discussion about treating other people who have different views from you with respect. It’s sad.

                1. I’ve really got very little ammunition because my original accusation was dishonest, but I can probably salvage everything by hopping on my high horse.

                2. As a committed shoveler of lefty shit, a person of near zero intelligence, you demand kind treatment from those who call you on your bullshit; ‘tolerance’ for a continuing stream of lies.
                  And you are certainly welcome to your opinion; you won’t get a single comment from me; reality is not so flexible.
                  It’s pathetic; fuck off and die.

            2. “and the CACLLS jump in and denounce him, and spout a bunch of simplistic analysis

              Nobody actually denounced perlhaqr, and most of the LACLLS (Thanks I invented it myself) gave comprehensive answers, but just look at me go.
              It’s a beautiful Sunday morning and I’m raring to lie my ass off and troll.

              1. “LACLLS (Thanks I invented it myself)”

                What does that stand for?

                1. Libertarians and Conservative Libertarians Libertarianismings.
                  Do you have a problem with that? Here in the great United States of America were allowed to coin our on damn acronyms you honorary Canadian.

                  1. Libertarianismings

                    Lol.

        2. Amazing you failed to recognize it added to what he was saying. It is called discussion. Nothing I said denounced him or what he wrote. Anyone who isn’t an idiot can recognize that.

          1. I apologize for that. I accidentally made my comment on your comment. The UI jumped around a bit while I was typing into my iPhone. See that I posted the exact same comment below, where I intended to make the comment in the first place.

            1. So you’re stupid and fucked up, all while being a self righteous cunt.

              Again.

              1. I clicked the wrong place on a web page that keeps reloading and relocating HTML elements. That could only happen to a stupid person, I guess.

            2. Or, you’re lying because you were wrong.

              1. I guess so. Although you can see for yourself that I posted the same comment a second time, which is consistent with my explanation.

        3. The dumb cunt is wrong again!

          1. Woohoo! Let’s just throw some random misogyny out there.

            1. It’s only random when applied to me.

            2. Poor Dee doesn’t know what random means.

        4. Chumby didn’t denounce him though. Neither did Mother’s for that matter.

    5. The power hungry are supported by a vast army of bleeding hearts who think compassion is shown by giving more power to the government to redistribute the benefits of one’s labor. These folks would be, and are, terribly offended to hear libertarians tell them they are complicit in sending armed agents to collect taxes at gunpoint. They truly believe that some folks are entitled to exist at the forced partial enslavement of others.

      1. And especially easy for those who avoid fruitful labor.

    6. This may come as a shock to you, but anyone who advocates for “more socialism” IS a power hungry tax eater. Laziness is an odd adjective to throw in, and “ravening” even more so. But yes, socialists are power hungry tax eaters; that’s practically the definition of socialism.

      1. This may come as a shock to you, but these people aren’t evil in their hearts. They really feel that they’re doing good. That doesn’t justify what they do, but they aren’t doing it with evil intentions. Telling them they’re evil isn’t going to change their minds. All it does is dehumanize them, which is what you do to your enemies so you feel no guilt when you kill them. After all, they’re not human beings, so fuck ’em.

        1. No, they are being selfish in their own way. If being compassionate and caring feels good to some, then institutionalizing compassionate care indulges their desires–at the expense of others.

          1. Everyone is selfish in their own way.

            1. Not everyone steals to indulge their selfishness.

              1. Sometimes when we’ve had a bit too much we make a few mistakes.

                1. That’s entirely different from siccing the government on other people to steal their income and property. Socialism is not a one time drunken binge. You excuses won’t wash.

          2. Especially if they can “do good” by taking from person A to give to person C, so person C will support person B’s rise to power.

            1. But it is for society!

          3. Yes, they are being selfish in their own way. But for a lot of them (and this is the point I was trying to make in my first post) they’re doing it because there’s a problem they see that they’re trying to solve. Most of the people here think they have a crappy solution, but sarcasmic is correct that they don’t think of themselves as the bad guys.

            Lemme throw out an example here from my own life. Things went to shit for me a few years back, and following the resulting midlife crisis, I decided to implement a late teens / early 20’s daydream and get my CDL. I left the computer industry and became a truck driver.

            So, at this particular instant, I’m sitting in the cab of my tractor, 1300 miles from “home”, such as it is these days. I get about two days off a month, at home. The rest of the time I’m in this truck, even when I’m not officially “working”. As for the actual work part, it’s about an 80 hour a week job.

            The vast majority of my expenditures are on food. It is, as you might imagine, difficult to park a 75 foot long vehicle in most places. There are also a lot of very stringent regulations about how long you’re allowed to drive, and how long you have to be *not* driving, and these regulations are enforced with the sort of inflexibility you can only find in software, because every truck is federally mandated to have an Electronic Logging Device to make sure you’re following the rules. So the truck stops have a fairly captive audience, and their prices reflect it. The exact same microwave burritos that my local grocery store has for $1.25 each are $2.29 at the national chain truck stop I’m currently parked at. And that’s just a single example, but it’s the only thing I knew the specific price of back home.

            I’m working harder (certainly physically) than I ever have in my life, doing the job that transports about 99% of what people own, and barely treading water financially. I can see why people without my particular philosophical background could find the idea of a political ideology that talks about improving that appealing.

            1. Try the “every Walmart store” map if they still make it, or Costco. Those truck stop prices will get you, definitely. The person I know who still drives used to live on frozen hotdogs and energy drinks. If you get the little fridge it helps.
              If I were still doing it I’d try making beef jerky at home. Metabolically I did ok on trail mix and Diet Pepsi.
              Stay safe out there, shiny side up.

        2. Amazing. perlhaqr tries to kick off a discussion with some nuance, and the CACLLS jump in and denounce him, and spout a bunch of simplistic analysis, even though perlhaqr is on their “side”.

          It’s like the scene in History of the World, where Mademoiselle Rimbaud says that her father said, “The poor ain’t so bad.” And King Louis is like, “‘The poor ain’t so bad.’ He’s lucky he’s alive!”

          1. Not amazing, TDS-addled lefty shit defends support for more socialism.
            Fuck off and die. Seriously (since you seem to feel that’s required)

          2. “and the CACLLS jump in and denounce him, and spout a bunch of simplistic analysis

            And again, nobody actually denounced perlhaqr, and most of the LACLLS (Thanks I invented it myself) gave comprehensive answers, but just look at me go.
            It’s a beautiful Sunday morning and I’m raring to lie my ass off and troll.

          3. You already posted this dumb shit, dumbshit.

          4. “denounce him”

            No one denounced him liar.

        3. “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

          ― C. S. Lewis

          1. Exactly.

            Or as Will Smith said:

            “Even Hitler didn’t wake up going, ‘Let me do the most evil thing I can do today.’ I think he woke up in the morning and using a twisted, backwards logic, he set out to do what he thought was ‘good.’”

            Of course he was forced to explain that Hitler was a vile person after people ran away with that quote saying “Smith says Hitler was a swell guy!”

            1. What the hell does that have to do with stealing?

              Did Hitler wake up and think, “I’ll steal from the Jews to compensate my brothers, and oh heck, they object, I guess I’ll murder six million of them while I’m at it.”

              Theft is theft. Stop pretending otherwise.

              1. Well, actually, Hitler did think Jews were engaging in nefarious plots to steal the common man’s wealth. And he did think he was justified in taking it back.

                1. Government’s gonna govern. Is that your justification for socialism? Nazis were socialists, in case you had forgotten.

                2. “Well, actually, Hitler did think Jews were engaging in nefarious plots to steal the common man’s wealth. And he did think he was justified in taking it back.”

                  I’m sure you’ve got a cite for this bullshit, but am equally sure it’s Parade magazine.

            2. Even Milton’s Satan could not manage to will evil for its own sake. He was compelled to say, “Evil, be thou my good.”

        4. “…All it does is dehumanize them, which is what you do to your enemies so you feel no guilt when you kill them…”

          Whoa, deep, man…

          1. Deeper than you calling everyone who disagrees with you a “lefty piece of shit.”

            1. No, not at all; your cliche is noted as your deepest thought. Mine’s a random call out of BS from lefty piles of shit.

              1. Deepest? No. Just the one that struck the deepest chord with you.

                1. “Deepest? No. Just the one that struck the deepest chord with you.”

                  Looks like it was; you mistake my laughing at your cliche as ‘having struck a chord’.

                2. Can I get a “power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely”?

                  That would also be deep.

        5. Yes, theft is evil, period. This may come as a shock to you, but socialists are thieves. While they may not steal directly, they encourage others to steal for them, and they want the stolen goods.

          About the only good intention thievery I can believe in is the guy who steals a dead guy’s gun to shoot the killer.

          1. They’re not thieves in their own minds. They’re sharing, and sharing is good. The fact that they share what is not theirs doesn’t register in their minds as theft.

            1. You’re not a hypocrite in your own mind either. Doesn’t make theft moral just because the burglar has a socialist government backing him.

              It is immoral for me to steal from you. It is immoral for me to get someone else to steal from you. Delegating immorality no more renders it moral than a government paycheck endows someone with wisdom and abundant knowledge.

          2. “Yes, theft is evil, period. This may come as a shock to you, but socialists are thieves”

            This kind of shit infuriates me. You are absolutely right. And your rehtoric fucking sucks.

            The purpose of policy IS NOT TO BE CORRECT but to IMPLEMENT YOUR POLICY.

            And posts like yours demonstrate how much libertatians value being right over getting their shit done.

            People like you think calling the thieves thieves is a winning argument.

            Well. Do you FEEL like you’ve been winning? Because one look will tell you that, no, you absolutely haven’t. And it’s because you are so fucking stupid that you think screaming “THIEVES!!!” at people will cause them to vote your way.

            There are more of them than us. They DO NOT CARE that some aspie engineer doesn’t like their policy.

            1. Isn’t that cute — I should not call thieves, thieves, because that doesn’t stop them from being thieves.

              I’ll pay attention to that nonsense when you acknowledge that your little diatribe also does nothing to stop thieves from being thieves.

              1. “Isn’t that cute — I should not call thieves, thieves,”

                Not if you’re trying to implement policy.

                Have you gotten any policy implemented? Right.

                I win. Cheers. Have fun being a cranky old eternal loser, watching as theives take your shit while you scream at them and wonder why they don’t stop.

                “I’ll pay attention to that nonsense”

                I don’t beleive you.

                “when you acknowledge that your little diatribe also does nothing to stop thieves from being thieves.”

                I agree, shitting on a cranky old libertarian who would openly lie about caring what I think ever does nothing to stop thieves.

                What makes you think my goal was to stop thieves? Nah you just needed something to say because you know I was right about every single thing I said and you HATE IT.

                1. Show us what policies you’ve gotten implemented.

                2. This particular thread here is why I referred to Perlman as effectively a unicorn.

                  Alphabet: Yes, they are thieves. Now that we’ve established that, do you have any interest in examining *why* they engage in theft? Not all of them are doing it out of raw envy and “you have, I want”. Some of them are advocating the things they do because they’re working their asses off and still starving.

                  And I suspect that you understand that a lot of why that is has to do with the overhead that government imposes, but that’s not visible or obvious to a lot of people.

                  What I’m trying to get at here in the thread is that there are two basic options at this point. You can look at why these people are advocating what they are, and tailor your message to address their concerns, and possibly make some progress. Or you can point at them and call them thieves and lose the opportunity to gain an ally and take someone away from the other side.

              2. Here, lemme try a different tack.

                Philosophically, you’re correct. But I’m not talking philosophy, I’m talking strategy, and the strategy of telling people they’re thieves is, perhaps, not as effective as it could be.

                Hardline libertarians like those who hang out here are pretty rare. If we weren’t, the country wouldn’t be where it’s at now. So we need to win “hearts and minds”, as the saying goes, or we’re just going to stay outnumbered and get to watch as the country sinks further down into the muck.

                1. I’m a tad more cynical. I think two-thirds think they’re doing good, an additional three-twelfths are careerists, and one-twelfth act as herding dogs to keep the sheep from considering other options.

                  The “socialism will save America” bit has been around a long time. It is fully an industry itself at this point.

                  There is still tremendous need among many people. The office class is cruel. Anyway, not all the socialists are in it cuz they’re nice people. But yes, the hardworking hungry are faced with difficult problems.

                  Is “society” a form of theft? Who is their brother’s keeper? (Time for some libertarian economics books I guess.)

        6. “They really feel that they’re doing good”

          Neat

      2. Socialists are greedy. They want other people’s money.

        Capitalists may be greedy too, but they only acquire wealth by giving other people what they want.

        1. The world is not that simple.

          There is at least some real concern for the poor and unfortunate among socialists. It’s even possible for a socialist to hold a mix of honorable and dishonorable motives at the same time: concern for the poor, but also getting off the perks and power of being a socialist leader.

          And a “capitalist” might be a principled free market, or a capitalist can be a crony capitalist seeking all kinds of government favors and protection.

          1. Do you actually think that capitalists, libertarians, or other non-socialists don’t care about poor people?

            You are warped, period, if you think so little of people.

          2. If you have real concern for your fellow man, you help them to the best of your abilities.

            You don’t force other people to help them at the point of a gun and then try to say that you’re a moral person.

            This isn’t fucking complicated.

    7. But there’s a *reason* (drink!) why this philosophy is so appealing to so many across so many cultures, and it’s not *purely* envy of those who have more.

      I believe we’re hardwired for socialism because it works in family/tribal sized groups. When everyone knows everyone, people are accountable. People know who they are helping, and shirkers are shamed.

      The problem is that it doesn’t scale. One the group gets to a size where people aren’t held accountable, it fails.

      And it’s critical to understand the real motivations of people if you want to have any hope of getting through to them and hopefully changing *their* perspective.

      Socialism feels good. The feel like they’re doing something for the greater good, and anyone who opposes them is a greedy and immoral. Unfortunately you can’t change what someone feels through reason, logic and facts. They have to do that themselves.

      1. Furthermore, socialists don’t understand the value of shame. Food stamps used to be funny money, not a card. People who used them stood out. Not only that, but the money came from local taxes, not the federal government. That gave those on food stamps a social incentive to get off of them, and is the reason why the programs moved to federal funding and a debit card. To remove the shame.

        1. Same with Social Security. Old people used to be too proud to take handouts and charity. They’d rather suffer. Now everyone wants their check.

          1. Social security used to be less of a handout and more of a government-forced annuity. The annuities were more than paid for from the premiums (FICA taxes). But that didn’t last long, as life spans lengthened and benefits expanded. But almost everyone still thinks that they’re only getting back what they paid in.

            1. They were never “more than paid for” by the beneficiaries’ own FICA. They ran an annual surplus some years, but they always had an unfunded liability because they started paying benefits the year after they started collecting the taxes. Your rate of return if you were one of those early beneficiaries was astronomic.

          2. No,… they feel shame about charity still. It’s why they vote for the anonymous welfare check. People don’t like receiving charity because they have to show gratitude, humility, and feel undeserving.

            They like the government check because they feel entitled and righteous.

        2. If there was ever a locally-funded food stamp program, it must’ve been confined to one or a few states as a predecessor to the Agriculture Dept.’s federal program in the 1930s.

        3. It started as a way to increase demand for agricultural commodities. You weren’t supposed to be ashamed of them, you were supposed to be proud you were helping the farmers.

      2. Can even go another step further. President Johnson’s Great Society, as in the beginning of welfare, wasn’t created because private charity wasn’t doing a good job of helping people. It was because charity carries a social stigma. When the charity comes from government the shame is removed. People can be on government charity their entire lives without feeling a bit of shame because there’s no personal element, whereas private charity coming from individuals they interact with personally gives them an incentive to get off of it.

        1. Like shoplifting from Walmart versus from the ma & pa store down the street.

          1. Not really, because private charity isn’t theft.

            1. From the perspective of the shoplifter removing a personal element from the victim. Knew a shoplifter that would “borrow” from chain stores but not from one-offs. And she once shared her perspective on it.

            2. Yeah, it was actually a good comparison sarc.

              1. I really value this.
                sarc

        2. Read this about how FDR stopped private unemployment insurance.

        3. Read this for an objection to private charity because it was too generous.

          1. That was an honestly interesting read. Thanks.

        4. Now tell me again how socialists have the best of intentions.

          1. I’m not saying “socialists” have the best intentions because I’m a libertarian.
            Instead what I’m saying is that the involuntary transfer of wealth by educated and competent people from one group to another can be a societal net positive.

            1. “…Instead what I’m saying is that the involuntary transfer of wealth by educated and competent people from one group to another can be a societal net positive.”

              Fuck off and die, slaver.

              1. Dude, you just told Tulpa to fuck off and die. You’re losing it.

                1. “Dude”, your bullshit just got so successfully parodied that a close reading of the handle wasn’t worth it.
                  Not my problem that your stupidity is so blatant that parodies are so easy.
                  Fuck off and die, slaver.

      3. “I believe we’re hardwired for socialism because it works in family/tribal sized groups. When everyone knows everyone, people are accountable. People know who they are helping, and shirkers are shamed.

        “The problem is that it doesn’t scale. On[c]e the group gets to a size where people aren’t held accountable, it fails.”

        — I remember reading that Hutterites practice Christian communism and that they find that they must split their colonies when they get above about 200 people to avoid shirking. They have been intermarrying for a long time and share a totalizing belief system. The quantity of people who are not so similar genetically and ideologically and can successfully practice common ownership probably is lower.

    8. You don’t have to be a genius to understand that if you give most human beings the choice between working hard in order to survive and being given what they need to survive for “free”, most people will always choose the latter.

      For a long time, America was sort of the exception to this rule, where most of us were too proud to take welfare and wanted to rise to a higher level on our efforts and merits. But that is definitely changing, especially for our younger generations.

      1. My crude allegory:

        A person washes ashore on a deserted island, and strives to procure water, food, and shelter.

        Another person washes on shore. If they are a socialist they immediately demand a share of everything.

        But a true socialist would land first, and then plan for the redistribution of future production.

      2. “You don’t have to be a genius to understand that if you give most human beings the choice between working hard in order to survive and being given what they need to survive for “free”, most people will always choose the latter.”

        The reason there never was and will never be The New Soviet Man;

    9. This is limited to America, what I’m about to say, because we have a unique governing philosophy ( while we fail to live up to it).

      We developed a system that was supposed to maximize freedom while facilitating natural limits to mankind’s worst impulses. Yet capitalism thrives on some of mankind’s worst impulses. I’m not convinced it is the foundational economic system of America.

      Regrettably, the only alternatives to capitalism are some breed of socialism which ALSO fuels mankind’s absolutely worst impulses.

      The former is built on greed and the latter on fueling envy. While the in between space between both of those worsts is populated by interesting and frustrated debate, there’s no getting around the fact that the worst of mankind make the most profit in both systems. At least in capitalism, good people can make a modest living or at least not be impoverished. In socialism, we have histories of awful men filling the power vacuum of post-revolutionary governments and wrecking havoc on good people that end up starving.

      And there’s not much that can be helped in the socialism department. Government is corruptible. I’d rather be a well fed slave to a capitalistic debt master than starving in a hovel because my government owns all the property and food and “equal distribution” means they and they’re friends get all the goods.

      Ultimately, both systems are the same. Only a select few own all the property. But either one has a slower decline or it still allows for modest success among good and generous people.

      America has settled into a system of where we have both capitalism and socialism. I do not think it is going to turn out well. Our socialistic policies are a lot like leprosy – we can’t tell something has gone horribly wrong with the capitalism because the socialism numbs us to the pain.

  2. I seem to recall that Carter deregulated the airlines and the trucking industry, and he was a huge evangelical. Of course, he also started the Department of Education so it was a mixed bag. Reagan was elected as a Goldwater Republican, but he selected the Rockefeller Republican, the Washington insider, George Bush as his running mate, so he too was a mixed bag and a failed revolutionary. There’s not a nickel’s worth of difference between a liberal Democrat and a Rockefeller Republican, they both worship Government Almighty, they just disagree on what government should be doing to micro-manage people’s lives.

    So no, Reagan didn’t start the Reagan Revolution, he got elected because it was already underway, and it wasn’t a revolution, just a speed bump on the road to socialism.

    1. Don’t forget the deregulation of beer.

  3. How has the myth that Reagan cut government persisted so long, when it’s so evidently false?

    1. I always get a kick out of people defending Reagan against charges of running up the deficit by pointing out that when Reagan cut tax rates it actually increased the amount of taxes being collected – the whole Laffer Curve thing. So you’re defending Reagan by arguing that he increased tax collections? That’s a weird flex, but okay I guess?

      1. The usual defense of Reagan’s deficits I hear is “But, but, but Democrats controlled the House! It wasn’t his fault!”

        But when deficits increase under a Democrat president, the president is always to blame. Or the previous administration.

        Don’t expect intellectual honesty from people who elevate politicians to the level of Saints.

        1. “But when deficits increase under a Democrat president, the president is always to blame”

          Or so I’ve been told. Where’s Buttplug? He’s usually on top of which Republican is actually to blame.

        2. “The usual defense of Reagan’s deficits I hear is “But, but, but Democrats controlled the House! It wasn’t his fault!””

          No one says this. The defenses always revolve around aomeyhing else, like defense spending and its necessity for the cold war.

          God you’re fucking stupid.

        3. sarcasmic
          February.21.2021 at 10:46 am
          “The usual defense of Reagan’s deficits I hear is “But, but, but Democrats controlled the House! It wasn’t his fault!”…”

          Yeah, that’s because you are listening to the voices in your head as fucking imbeciles tend to do.
          Among those I know, none defend them that way. Most often, the claim is that the increase in defense spending was employed to force an already-toddering USSR to collapse. IOWs, it was a one-time increase, and should have been returned as part of the peace dividend after the collapse.
          Blame Bush (and the Euro parasites; whom Trump tried to cut off) for that, not Reagan, but of course, to a lefty twit like you, reality is somewhat mysterious.

      2. Usually, from what I’ve seen, the charge is that he increased the deficit because he cut taxes. In which case, the Laffer curve is a worthy defense.

        Since libertarians complaining that the government still spent to much makes up 1% of the population, chances are the people throwing Reagan’s deficit around are the ones who think we should have been collecting taxes to cover our expenses, not cut spending to fit our income.

  4. President Trump was a lot better than Reagan.

    1. President Trump tried to overthrow a peaceful election with a campaign of lies, and when that didn’t work by outright mob violence. There may have been a point when he was better than Reagan, but he blew any shot at a positive legacy with his post-election antics.

      1. “President Trump tried to overthrow a peaceful election with a campaign of lies, and when that didn’t work by outright mob violence.”

        As a TDS-addled shit, you keep lying, I guess in the hopes that those not so afflicted will believe your steaming pile of shit.
        No, we won’t; is was a lie the fist time you posted it, and hasn’t changed a bit since.

        1. Nothing says peaceful like threatening property destroying riots if your guy doesn’t win, harassing slate reviewers and threatening their children, and destroying all traces of election auditing materials.

          It was totes a free and fair election.

      2. Of course my whole narrative is collapsing underneath me, and I have to ignore a years worth of actual incitement to violence by the Dems if I’m going to try and inflate the significance of the sixth…
        But hey, this is what I’m paid for.

      3. Don’t try to out stupid shriek.

  5. The Reagan Insurrection!

    1. Newsweek’s writers hard up for ideas? Why don’t they start a series on forgiving Lance Armstrong. Just sayin.

  6. Whos ready for a Black Hawk Down sequel?

    https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/somalia-headed-towards-another-tragic-collapse-despite-billions-us-funding

    Somalis are today putting their lives on the line for democracy. It is time to listen. If the international community remains deaf or arrogantly insists they know better, the result will be a disaster that will reverberate far beyond Somalia’s borders.

    1. By all means, let’s start a new war. Trump was woefully deficient in this regard.

      1. They need to make up for a whole 4 years of new wars!

  7. Generally an excellent take, with one massive exception: Reagan’s persistent racism. In 1966, Reagan ran for governor of California promising to guarantee your “right” not to sell your home to blacks. As president, his continuing hostility to the civil rights movement was exemplified by his war on affirmative action. Reagan argued furiously against any federal intervention to reverse segregation, that is to say, affirmative action for whites, from Brown v. Board of Education onwards, but used federal power aggressively to prevent affirmative action for blacks, under the newly discovered “color-blind constitution”.

    It’s “interesting” to note that liberals shedding tears over the “failure” of the Equal Rights Amendment ignore the fact that feminists have achieved far more without the amendment than they hope to achieve with it.

    Re Milton Friedman and Hong Kong: it’s not surprising that a city founded as a trading center should believe in “free trade”. After all, Honk Kong depends entirely on the outside world for its food, material goods, etc. It has no agricultural or industrial lobbies. The nations that grew to industrial prominence after Great Britain–the US, Germany, and Japan–all had extensive tariffs. Hong Kong was itself a product of imperialism and the power of the British navy, not simply the “magic” of free trade. Milton Friedman’s home base, the University of Chicago, like all universities, is a product of government–the laws that create non-profit corporations, “artificial persons”, endowing them with all sorts of financial “free rides” unavailable to us unfortunate real persons.

    1. Asshole Vanneman:
      “… As president, his continuing hostility to the civil rights movement was exemplified by his war on affirmative action…”

      Really love some token blacks, do you, you racist pile of shit?

      1. Jesus. Calm down, Sevo. Seriously, seek some help.

        1. Fuck off and die, TDS-addled shit.

        2. Seriously, fuck off and die.

          1. Anger so nice, he had to express it twice. Seriously, see someone about your anger before you have a heart attack or a stroke or something.

            1. You seem to favor stupidity; you repeat it so often.
              Fuck off and die.

    2. Affirmative action is government-mandated discrimination. Anyone denying that is wilfully blind AND a liar.

      1. You left out “racist”.

        1. And a violation of the 14th Amendment.

      2. The left is good at redefining words to mean their opposite.

        You know what I mean. Leftists show tolerance by not tolerating anyone who disagrees with them. They celebrate inclusivity by excluding anyone who disagrees with them. Equality means they are superior to anyone who disagrees with them.

        Same idea with racism. If you don’t give special favors to certain races then you’re the racist. As in if you don’t acknowledge that some races can’t make it without a helping hand, you’re the one who is racist.

        It’s doublethink right out of Orwell.

      3. And affirmative action couldn’t even win as a ballot proposition in a deep blue state like California, 2020. It lost by a wide margin.

        https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_16,_Repeal_Proposition_209_Affirmative_Action_Amendment_(2020)

        The progressive narrative is far more prominent than its support.

        On the one hand, they imagine they’re speaking for average Americans. On the other hand, they treat average Americans like they’re insurrectionists or right wing extremists.

    3. Goddamnit, I was trying to get in before the Vanneman comment.

      A post about Reagan is like Sauron to the Ring of Power.

    4. “Reagan’s persistent racism.”

      Oh fuck off.

  8. “Reagan threw social conservatives some bones but didn’t really try to stop the broad cultural shifts that their movement was dedicated to reversing.”

    In regards to the social conservatives, Reagan was almost like Goldwater’s rhetoric in practice (Goldwater famously despised the religious right). Reagan threw Watt under the bus–and not just because of Watt’s comments on affirmative action. When Watt banned the Beach Boys from playing the National Mall on the Fourth of July (for supposedly attracting the wrong element), Reagan started looking for a good reason to get rid of him–and Watt was gone shortly thereafter.

    Meanwhile, the bones Walker is talking about Reagan throwing to social conservatives–railing against pornography, crackdowns on shock radio, etc.–were by no means only supported by Reagan or Republicans. This was a time when the south’s transition from the Democrat to Republican was in full swing, and the Moral Majority would endorse Democrats, especially in the south, just as quickly as they’d endorse Republicans. People used to complain that there was more differences between the conservative and liberal sides of each party than there was between the parties themselves.

    The PMRC was spearheaded by a Democrat–deep into Reagan’s second term. Reagan’s support for the drug war, likewise, was by no means especially Republican. The crusade against pornography had both socially conservative and feminist overtones. What we’re really talking about here is the emergence of what came to be called “soccer moms” in the 1990s–suburban women who swing Democrat to save the children from rock and roll, drugs, pornography, and mean Republicans.

    “Oh, we got trouble,
    right here in River City,
    with a capital “T”
    and that rhymes with “P”
    and that stands for pornography!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LI_Oe-jtgdI

    1. Every once in a while, I like to rewatch Dee Sniders testimony before the Senate. It is a fine example of how senators should be treated. But then, I’m hostile towards those bastards whenever they open their face holes.

      Rhetorically pissing all over the Gores is just icing on the cake.

    2. And let us not forget the drug war – there was a largely “consensus” issue (apart from *Reason* and other then-libertarian periodicals). Social conservatives tended to like it, but then, so did moderates. So did many leftists like Rangel – in those days, the *failure* to impose severe punishment on drug dealers was racist, because it meant the white establishment didn’t care about drugs ravaging minority communities. Nowadays it seems the war on drugs has become racist – I suppose the point is to have racism in there somewhere.

      1. The Drug War still isn’t a Republican vs. Democrat issue. The reason they haven’t legalized marijuana in New York isn’t because the Republicans are in charge in Albany. It’s because, unlike California, New York doesn’t have a referendum so the voters can’t overrule the Democrats that control the government in Albany. Hell, the Democrats of New York City don’t think people should be allowed to buy large sized sugary soft drinks. Why would they let people buy marijuana?

        1. Same problem exists here in PA (and other old states whose legislature never enacted referenda).

          I once asked a veteran PA State Senator why the legislature never legalized citizen referenda, and he truthfully responded by saying “If we let citizens bypass the legislature to enact laws via referenda, state legislators would lose power and campaign contributions.”

    1. “Libertarianism failed Texas just like it failed Somalia”

      1. Can’t tell if serious.

        1. Just in case, the legitimate purpose of libertarian government is to protect our rights. We have police to protect our rights from criminals, courts to protect our rights from the police, a military to protect our rights from foreign threats, etc. IF IF IF you think Somalia is an excellent example of government that exists to protect people’s rights, then you need to work on some book learnin’.

  9. I hope that one day someone will write a book explaining in full detail how Obama was able to maintain control over the Deep State during the Trump presidency and about how he is currently our shadow president.

    1. You know what would have helped Trump infiltrate the “Deep State” (i.e. what non-nutjob non-conspiratorial normal people recognize as the career bureaucracy that exists in any functioning government) — if he showed enough respect to show up for briefings, read their reports, at least pretend to listen to their counsel. Maybe give them advance notice before impulsively announcing policy changes and firings on Twitter.

      1. You know what would keep you from being a laughing-stock, TDS-addled shit?
        Quit making up and repeating lies.

      2. acting nice wouldn’t have helped. they were spying on him before he was even inaugurated.

        1. What I described above is not “acting nice.” It is acting professionally.

          1. TDS-addled shit cries again.

      3. normal people recognize as the career bureaucracy that exists in any functioning government)

        TOP MEN PEOPLE! Obey them.

        if he showed enough respect to show up for briefings, read their reports, at least pretend to listen to their counsel

        He should have listened to Sessions, Bolton, Comey, Brennan, Mattis, etc. They gave sage advice and were top of their fields.

        policy changes and firings on Twitter
        Those fucking tweets!

        1. TDS is a reaction to someone being elected who actually *is* different from the normal run of swamp-scum. Terrifying to those with their hand in the cookie jar, and adolescent half-wits required to deal with change.
          If only Trump had been like Biden, WK and the lot would have been happy!

      4. Way to complete dodge my main point: America is not supposed to have a fucking shadow president, and never had one before in our history… until now.

        1. I’m not certain I believe that…

          1. To be clear, the “never before” is what I doubt.

  10. Thing about Reagan was he could charm the knickers off a nun. He also had this ability to just walk though any storm as if it wasn’t there.

    There’s an old saying “charm is greater than beauty”

    So a lot of people remember the Gipper fondly. Watch his moving Challenger speech or some of the jokes he liked to tell.

    1. And he was a handsome movie star, too, so he had charm and “beauty”.

    2. The debate with Mondale where he talked about his age was priceless. Even Fritz was laughing out loud.

      1. “I will not make my opponents youth and inexperience an issue in this election”

        With perfect delivery and timing.

  11. One was a set of high-profile grassroots right-wing rebellions in the early ’70s, notably the anti-busing riots in Boston

    *facepalm*

    Read another history book.

    76-80 was “Reaganland” is like the Clash emerging from the dark days of “Thatcherite Great Britain”

    I mentioned earlier that Perlstein usually writes with empathy about positions he doesn’t share. This is the area where he is most likely to let that slide. Take his discussion of Free to Choose, a 1980 TV series hosted by the libertarian economist Milton Friedman

    Ever think you’re suffering from Gell-Mann amnesia?

  12. There was definitely a conservative reaction to the failures of liberal control of government building in the 70s, but someone had to lead it and say strongly what needed to be said. There’s a reason Reagan won 49 states.

      1. so 49 states like he said

        can you read nigga?

        1. The book is about America ’76-80.

  13. Louise Day Hicks was on the opposite end of the political spectrum from Phyllis Schlafly.

    1. I know. Those grassroots MAR revolts were all over the ideological map, and the fact that those direct-mail merchants tried to corral them into a new political force does not mean everyone was willing to be corralled.

      1. Superb article.

        Your political “distance” is always spot-on.

      2. 90%+ of those Southie Moms voted for Ted Kennedy every time he was on the ballot.

        1. There is a great poll, from the lead-up to the ’76 election, where they asked that demographic who they want for president. The two frontrunners: Kennedy and George Wallace.

          1. Both went on to endorse Jimmy Carter.

            1. Both went on to endorse Jimmy Carter.

              So did Pat Robertson. But the point here is the voters, not the leaders; and four years later, a lot of those voters were Reagan Democrats.

              That said, I certainly agree that these currents were not limited to “the right.” That’s one of the themes of the article.

          2. Do you know who else opposed forced integration of public schools?

            Matt Welch

            1. much better than “44 in 1980. 49 in ’84.”

              stick to shitting on Welch and you’ll be golden

        2. You user name is exactly the opposite of Ted kennedy

          1. If only the Boiler Room Girls had access to Uber…

          2. Ted Kennedy

            My dad had a story about him. Ted showed up in Vietnam. He came to the medevac unit and my father who was chief triage officer approached and greeted him. He asked him to come and visit with the recovering soldiers in post op.

            Ted Kennedy refused. He took some photo ops and dusted out.

            This was 1968 the worst year of the war. The unit was handling more wounded than one can imagine.

            It was unforgivable.

  14. Reagan’s biggest accomplishment (his deft handling of the Soviet breakdown) will always be overshadowed by him turning the GOP into a collection of evangelical Fundie-Nuts with a military hard-on for Armageddon.

    There is a reason Ayn Rand called Reagan “an enemy of freedom”.

    1. “a collection of evangelical Fundie-Nuts with a military hard-on for Armageddon”

      Culminating, of course, in the election of notorious theocratic extremist Donald Drumpf, who literally started World War 3 when he blew up that Iranian guy.

      OTOH at least Reagan was anti-Russia. People like David Frum and Bill Kristol need to regain control of the GOP so the party can rediscover that crucial aspect of its platform.

      #LibertariansForGettingToughWithRussia

      1. By moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem and going all Aborto-Freak The Dotard endeared himself to the Fundies. Putin’s Russia is his fave ally you know.

        1. Yeah those Christian fundies really give a shit about Israel lololol

          1. Are you a total idiot?

            Pew Survey on whether Jesus Christ will return by 2050. Not surprisingly, the views of white evangelicals, Southerners, and HS or less – differ a lot from other subsets.

            If you don’t understand the connection – maybe you should read the ‘Left Behind’ series.

            1. So fucking what? Literally, so what?
              Are you trying to push the new theologically ignorant eschatological blood libel that’s been hopping around the stupider parts of the internet, that Evangelicals believe the Israeli Jews have to die before Christ’s return?

              And the ‘Left Behind’ series was considered doctrinally sound by zero Christian denominations, including Evangelical ones. That’s like holding up Jurassic Park as a treatise on Paleontology.

              1. It’s JFree.
                Ask him how the magic words “Fight Climate Change” will stop the CA wild fires.
                One of the few times you won’t get a shit-pile of baffle-gab, just crickets.

              2. And the ‘Left Behind’ series was considered doctrinally sound by zero Christian denominations, including Evangelical ones.

                So what. The readers are the ones who matter and there are a lot of them. How a specific author of fiction interprets something that many readers WANT to interpret outside ‘fiction’ (in this case basically Revelations as a descriptor of some apocalyptic messianic future) is not that important. Just ask Ayn Rand.

                And Xian Zionism – and before that Xian Restorationism – long preceded the Left Behind series. The core root of them all is eschatology about a Second Coming. Derived from – mostly – Revelations. And it has also been at the core of every revivalist movement – including fundamentalism at the beginning of the 20th century.

                1. and another survey that specifically asks WHAT fundamentalists believe about Israel

                  “When you think of the modern rebirth of the State of Israel in 1948 and the re-gathering of millions of Jewish people to Israel” 80% say these events were fulfillments of Bible prophecy that show we are getting closer to the return of Jesus Christ

                  1. Question is, what do Christians believe is their role in bringing about Christ’s return?

                    There, it’s going to be much more interesting…

                    I have issues with Christians who think they can manipulate God into coming again if they use war to give Israel all the land promised to her. I see hubris and conceit in such ideas. Israel is not supposed to make alliances with foreign powers, either. They are supposed to trust God will give them the land. Instead, American Christians are subsidizing Israel’s faithlessness by supporting intervention wars to bring about Christ’s return.

      2. Folks should stop stalin and start russian to putin this advice.

        1. +3 lame Dad jokes

  15. Asked what she thought of Reagan, Ayn Rand replied, “I don’t think of him. And the more I see, the less I think of him.” For Rand, “the appalling part of his administration was his connection with the so-called ‘Moral Majority’ and sundry other TV religionists, who are struggling, apparently with his approval, to take us back to the Middle Ages via the unconstitutional union of religion and politics.” Rand’s primary concern, it seems, is that this “unconstitutional union” represented a “threat to capitalism.” While she admired Reagan’s appeal to an “inspirational element” in American politics, “he will not find it,” remarked Rand, “in the God, family, tradition swamp.” Instead, she proclaims, we should be inspired by “the most typical American group… the businessmen.”

    https://www.openculture.com/2014/10/in-her-final-lecture-ayn-rand-denounces-ronald-reagan-the-moral-majority-anti-choicers-1981.html

    1. My progressive friends told me Ayn Rand was a hypocrite who totally discredited her entire philosophy because she benefited from Social Security (or was it Medicare?) late in life. Is that true?

      1. Progs are the hypocrites. They are supposed to celebrate SS/Medicare recipients – not disparage them.

  16. Hmm, guess it didn’t like the direct link.
    Take 2

    https://www.zerohedge.com/economics/demographics-dark-destiny

  17. A familiar metaphor—often attributed to Reagan, though its origins are cloudy—calls conservatism a three-legged stool. In its idealized form, the three legs are free enterprise, a strong national defense, and traditional moral values. In practice, “free enterprise” is often a cover for protecting or subsidizing business interests, “national defense” for global intervention, “moral values” for moral panic.

    I’ve never heard that attributed to Reagan and the origins are not ‘murky’ at all. The origins are from the first issue – Nov 1955 – of National Review – the credenda written by William F Buckley

    Creating those three as necessary connections of what came to be a Republican revival changed the preexisting coalitions (eg the coalition between Reps and southern Dems) a bit. But only at the national politics level.

    Reagan was the ultimate success of that – but IMO also the end of it. The stuff re National Review was ultimately not a real ideology by Republicans but a mass media strategy to counter what was basically one-party rule by Dems from Depression on. The successor to William Buckley – National Review – was Rupert Murdoch – Fox. And that has been politically more successful.

    1. I’ve never heard that attributed to Reagan

      Enjoy.

      and the origins are not ‘murky’ at all. The origins are from the first issue – Nov 1955 – of National Review – the credenda written by William F Buckley

      I see no stool metaphor in there.

      1. I was around during the entirety of Reagan’s presidency. I don’t remember ‘three-legged stool’ as an explicitly stated metaphor during any of that.

        The only exception may be about Social Security where ‘retirement planning’ depended on a three-legged stool – with SS being one of those. But I really don’t even remember that being a Reagan thing since it seems more like marketing palaver from a 401k plan.

        1. That said – whether its 1955 or the 1960 Sharon Statement that was the founding document of YAF, I do not see the reduction of the fusionist/conservative ideology to three legs of one stool.

          So perhaps what is murky is – where were the termites and when did they eat the other legs?

          1. And who knows – maybe it is Reagan – since by March 20 1981, in his first post-inauguration speech to fellow conservatives, he is down to:

            Because ours is a consistent philosophy of government, we can be very clear: We do not have a social agenda, separate, separate economic agenda, and a separate foreign agenda. We have one agenda.

            Still no stools though

  18. There were still so many exciting and lucrative opportunities in technology, medicine, entertainment and other fields back then that many people supported capitalism – because they thought they could strike it rich, or at least benefit from others who did. Conservative principles allowed people to own the fruits of their innovation.

    But these days there just aren’t those kinds of opportunies left. Unless you’re hawking a new flavor of dog food on Shark Tank, you’re out of luck. Thus the appeal of socialism – which is not to defend it, only to explain it.

    I actually feel sorry for kids today, because while we’ve solved all the ‘easy’ problems for thems and handed them ‘paradise’, we’ve left them no challenges. (Again, another reason they find socialism so appealing – to create new problems to exploit for profit and power.)

    So what’s the answer? Squabble with your allies (and faux-cialists) here in your safe space, or get out there into enemy territory and fight.

    1. There are not opportunities left?

      You make those. Have people not figured this out,

      Younger people today think that opportunities are just laying around like reward coins in a video game. If they are not you have been cheated.

      1. Don’t often agree:
        “There are not opportunities left?
        You make those. Have people not figured this out,..”
        +1

        “Younger people today think that opportunities are just laying around like reward coins in a video game. If they are not you have been cheated.”
        Your brush might be a little broad, not sure it’s the majority here. And traveling as a US citizen, there seems to be no lack of millennials (or younger) who press for information on how to immigrate to the US to start businesses or work for the magic ‘start-ups’; got mobbed by the waiters in a local greasy-spoon in Xinjiang several years ago; they all wanted to get to the US to start a game-development company.

      2. You cowardly fight your allies here in your safe space. So you can brag to your wife, “I destroyed another socialist online. Prove I said that you liar.”

        Except I’m not a socialist, and you lost the argument. There simply isn’t the same wealth of opportunities today as there was 30 years ago. You’re living in fantasy land and regardless, you need to convince the kids not me. But you refuse because you know they’d destroy you.

        1. “Except I’m not a socialist, and you lost the argument. There simply isn’t the same wealth of opportunities today as there was 30 years ago.”

          Two claims absent evidence. Pretty much what you’ve delivered so far.
          Looks like Addiction Myth is Posting Myth.

          1. All the easy problems have been solved. The only problems left are either self imposed (climate change) or insoluble (cancer). Unless you have a billion dollars and well connected friends you’re out of luck.

            Name a lucrative problem that needs to be solved. 100 years ago there were endless problems. Today there are none, other than what I mentioned.

            You bicker cowardly only here with your allies in your safe space echo chamber. I fight out in enemy territory. If you did too, you’d admit I’m right.

            1. Opportunity to be self sufficient… but regulations and even zoning prevent a wide portion of the American population from pursuing those things.

    1. Boomer heh.

      It is your world now gen whatever. Good luck with it.

      So far I give you a C+

      1. Im actually a late boomer – Obama not Nam.

        But the notion from previous post (which I was actually replying to) that all the worlds problems have been solved now and paradise is all that’s left.

        That is exactly where Ok boomer has been a great snarky retort.

        1. “That is exactly where Ok boomer has been a great snarky retort.”

          No, it’s as adolescent here as anywhere else.

  19. It’s really impossible to discuss Reagan and the culture wars without bringing in the intelligence agencies. Reagan was a 40-year FBI informant, much of what this article discusses involved Cointelpro-type programs, Reagan’s VP was former CIA director George HW Bush – and the 1981 assassination attempt was very spooky (see the investigation by John P. Judge). When Reagan didn’t die, they made a deal that Reagan would be a figurehead but George HW would in fact run things.

    1. At the time, people said it was James Baker running things. For a while I wondered whether it was Howard Baker.

    2. Got a cite for that steaming pile of bullshit?

  20. Damn deplorables and TRUMP!!!!

    “Trump Hotel Employees Reveal What It Was Really Like Catering to the Right Wing Elite”
    https://www.washingtonian.com/2021/02/19/trump-hotel-employees-tell-all-what-it-was-really-like-serving-right-wing-elite/?utm_source=pocket-newtab

    WK creams his jeans!

    1. Amazing how they manage to make the fact that Trump likes big steaks and using hand sanitizer, Melania will send back a dish if it’s not what she ordered, or that Giuliani does paperwork while he eats, seem sinister.

      These guys have obviously never had to wait tables at an Olive Garden.

      1. It was said of Bush; if he walked across the Potomac, WaPo and the NYT would headline:
        “Bush Can’t Swim!”
        WK (and other TDS-addled shits) claim if Trump had just sort of acted like Biden, he’d have been reelected. Bullshit; the media would have crucified him for ‘acting’.
        Trump made asses of the media by being elected and they retaliated by digging up every rumor they could.
        For the same reason, he made asses of the swamp-scum, and THEY retaliated by ‘investigating’ every rumor the media dug up.
        Outside of what he accomplished, making asses of both those classes of people is enough to make me like the guy

  21. At 917 pages, this book had better give some kind of insight on how to get out of our present mess. Otherwise, TL;WR.

    1. You have to read the whole 917 pages; 916 pages won’t capture the full nuances.

  22. The emergence of the religious “right” was a very striking development in that it seemed by many to come out of nowhere. Up until the middle of the 1970s, the face of American Protestantism was non-evangelic mostly-white churches which were thought of as “liberal” in contrast to the Catholics and Orthodox, and mostly-black evangelic churches which were the mainstay of the civil rights movement. By the mid-to-late 1970s the face of American Protestantism was televangelists who were socially and politically conservative or reactionary.

    What happened was mostly Roe v. Wade. Pro-abortion forces miscalculated, thinking the political trend toward legal abortions was coming fast, and therefore that a Supreme Court decision like that would not be a great shock. It still took a few years after that decision for the issue to shake out along “left”-“right” grounds; people hardly remember that for a few years, outside of the Catholic Church, the opposition to abortions was almost as great among “liberals” as among “conservatives”, and then the “liberals” became less and less opposed and the “conservatives” more and more so.

    1. Reagan prompted me to switch from Republican to Democrat in 1980, and I switched back to Republican in 2016 to vote for Rand Paul, then Trump and again in 2020,

      I opposed Reagan in the 1970s and 1980s because of his intolerance for sex, drugs, rock n roll, porn, abortion and his embrace of Falwell, Robertson and other conservative Christian theocrats).

      But I supported Reagan’s economic policies while he was President (and since), and his crowning achievement was ending the cold war and splitting up the USSR.

      1. I was ecstatic when Reagan fired the air traffic controllers. Fuck You PATCO. One of my high school friends dropped out of GA Tech after his freshman year to scab. Went up to Oklahoma to air traffic school.

        After that the SoCon shit pissed me off and I had enough commie indoctrination to worry about his foreign policy. I thought Grenada was bad although I was fine with the Contras. A steady diet of 80s punk rock fueled my distrust of Reagan but I was a Hinckley Truther from the get go. Family friend of the Bushes who skated on an attempted assassination with a soft stint in St Elizabeth’s.

        I did a complete 180 watching the Berlin Wall come down and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Ol’ Bonzo knew what he was doing after all and was instrumental in making it happen. Freeing Europe from Soviet Communism was no mean feat. Best president (not “least bad” like Clinton was between Reagan and Trump) between Coolidge and Trump for that alone.

    2. +
      The more one party looks to be embracing all sorts of anti-Christian platforming, the more stark the right/left Christian divide will become.

      To some extant, The religious want to preserve a space to play and be recreational that is in keeping with their moral values and doesn’t feel like work (ratings systems, book banning, discrimination, prudish attitudes about prime time entertainment), but they also just want to be left alone. A lot of the cultural incursions have destroyed cultural strongholds that the religious enjoyed, so fighting back against the totality of the left is still a part of being “left alone”.

      The left (and libertarians) have embraced the totality of leftist morality and have no issues with it being shoved into every nook and cranny of American culture. Even Libertarians adopt the attitude that it’s good for the prudes to have their noses rubbed in homosexual couplings in kids movies.

      But for the religious to fight to keep some institutions completely to themselves, they are seen as theocrats and authoritarians.

    3. Up until the middle of the 1970s, the face of American Protestantism was non-evangelic mostly-white churches which were thought of as “liberal” in contrast to the Catholics and Orthodox, and mostly-black evangelic churches which were the mainstay of the civil rights movement. By the mid-to-late 1970s the face of American Protestantism was televangelists who were socially and politically conservative or reactionary

      Disagree. The fundamentalist-mainline split in Protestant churches has been going on for about 100 years. Ever since Lyman Stewart funded a series of essays called The Fundamentals. That’s not the same thing as ‘evangelicals’.

      The shift in the 1970’s was only a shift. Fundamentalism became very much a Southern and rural part of religion. And while it wasn’t particularly focused on politics – when it did focus on politics, it was Democrat. The change to Republican was a part of the post-civil rights ‘Southern strategy’. Less overtly about civil rights or race but using many of the dog whistles in a Southern religious system that was then and remains segregated. Same as the law-and-order crowd which morphed into the politicized – and very white – NRA with a focus on 2A. For that matter, its the same thing that motivated ‘paleolibertarian’ reaction against ‘libertarian’ and tried – fairly successfully imo – to coopt it.

  23. More commie nonsense from unreason commies.

    unreason staffers prove that propaganda fails. Its why youLefties need some fresh idiots from outside America to think you represent America.

  24. I guess I’m supposed to read the article before commenting but I think I did a pretty good job so far…

    They offered a highbrow counterpart to the lowbrow jingoism of the New Right, which stoked grassroots anger with direct-mail broadsides against the Panama Canal “giveaway.”

    “We built it, we paid for it, it’s ours”
    Well, it belongs to Chi-Na now.
    Shoulda hung on to the canal…
    Never saw a “New Right” mailer. Just familiar with the history going back further (Book of Knowledge children’s encyclopedia) than a primary school history textbook that was half color illustrations

    1. Marxists don’t believe in private property.

  25. Awwwww look, Reason’s Marxist piece of shit useful idiots are still pissed off about losing the cold war.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.