Sunday, June 13, 2004


In my recent comment on the Leftist claim that Reagan was a peacenik, I pointed out that his negotiations with Gorbachev over nuclear disarmament were in no way Leftist-inspired but rather an example of good conservative pragmatism -- something Gorbachev himself perceived. It is interesting that Kesler's survey of American conservatism in the 20th century also identifies American conservatives generally as being overwhelmingly and repeatedly pragmatic and little concerned with or unified by broad theoretical systems -- though Kesler, as a believer in natural-law morality, deplores that. Excerpts:

"it is possible to have conservatives without having a unified conservative movement. Indeed, this was the situation in America before the mid-1950s. If it is not quite the plight of conservatives today, it may soon be again... Meyer's fusionism thus missed many of the hard questions about morality and politics.... The overwhelming practical imperative was to resist liberalism at home and defeat Communism abroad, and it would have been wrong to try to insist on other principles or conditions for such a necessary alliance... More and more, conservatism lacks a common message or focus, and the education it offers citizens and politicians is splintered into myriad discussions of specific policies."

The word "pragmatic" however, is a rather broad term and it could be held to imply a total lack of principles. I think that Reagan himself is the best demonstration that that is not so. His was the most principled pragmatism one could imagine. Everything he did was calculated to get the best possible deal for the individual. His goals and principles could not have been clearer or more firmly-founded. And who would deny that getting both the USA and the USSR to scrap all nuclear weapons would have been a tremendous victory for the individual? As a true conservative, Reagan had guiding values but he was very flexible about the means of attaining them. Conservatives go by what works but they go by what works in the service of the individual.

Another point I explore elsewhere is that the association between love of individual liberty and pragmatism is no accident. The two attitudes are in fact related.



Margaret Thatcher's eulogy to the Gipper was brief but very much to the point. See here. Excerpt: "Others prophesied the decline of the West; he inspired America and its allies with renewed faith in their mission of freedom. Others saw only limits to growth; he transformed a stagnant economy into an engine of opportunity. Others hoped at best for an uneasy cohabitation with the Soviet Union; he won the Cold War not only without firing a shot, but also by inviting enemies out of their fortress and turning them into friends".

Like Iain Murray, I was pleased that the funeral was an Anglosphere affair -- with two of the four eulogists not being American. And nobody even thought to question it that I know of.

I have just learned that Reagan once said this: "I learned the value of prayer. My mother told me that everything in life happened for a purpose. She said all things were part of God's plan, even the most disheartening setbacks, and in the end, everything worked out for the best". In the circumstances I am rather glad I said what I did about belief in predestination two days ago. (Link via Petrified Truth).

There is a reply here from several black Americans to the scurrilous claim on ABC News to the effect that Reagan was bad for blacks. Reagan was good for Americans of ALL races.

But Leftist fruitcake Jimmy Breslin's comment on Reagan's funeral can only make one laugh. Breslin said: ""His whole weeklong funeral is cheap, utterly distasteful American publicity." Breslin sure knows how to make himself look a fool.

Larry Elder has an amusing recap of the dumb things the Left had to say about Reagan whilst he was President. And they called Reagan dumb! That Reagan had read Bastiat, von Mises, Hayek and Hazlitt when they were still little-known shows that he was a considerable intellectual, in fact -- just not a Leftist one. And the worth of that intellectual background showed in the success of his economic policies. Had Reagan been reading Miliband, Gramsci, Althusser or any of the other Marxist theologians so favoured by Leftist intellectuals, his policies would have been the usual dismal socialist failure.

There is a fabulous gallery of Reagan photographs here. Ignore the anti-Reagan rant someone has also posted on the site.

Michael Totten says that the Peoples Republic of Berkeley has now become the Islamic Republic of Berkeley. No change of principles was needed, of course. Leftists have the same principles that Stalin had: None.

Nader hypocrisy again: "So let's get this straight: While the workers Nader claims to fight for were braving the New York cold to shame Cisco and other jobs-shipping multinationals, Nader was by the fire polishing up a speech calling such firms 'unpatriotic' -- all the while holding up to half a million dollars in Cisco stock."

About time: "Employers are sick and tired of graduates who cannot function in the workplace, and university funding should be linked to ensuring students complete a graduate skills test, Education Minister Brendan Nelson has warned. In an interview with The Australian, Dr Nelson has flagged plans to force universities to publish the results of the tests, revealing how many of their graduates are ready to go to work.

A forthright summary from Peter Hitchens in his very pessimistic commentary on the EU and its "third way" politics: "it is quite possible for capitalism and socialism to coexist, provided you abolish liberty"

For more postings, see GREENIE WATCH and POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH. Mirror sites here and here


Leftism is more popular with young people than with older people largely because Leftism is itself juvenile: They criticize what they don't understand. Which makes it ironic that "We know best" and "It's for your own good" are the basic Leftist messages. Leftists have never outgrown the simplistic thinking or the arrogance that are the characteristic limitations of youth

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