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  1. #31
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    Re: Is Reagan conservatism dead?

    JimZ ^^ Mine too.

  2. #32
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    Re: Is Reagan conservatism dead?

    ^^

    Reagan: Tear down this mother wall

    Ron Paul: Well it realy doesnt bother us. Lets get back to the gold standard instead.

  3. #33
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    Re: Is Reagan conservatism dead?

    In fairness:

    JFK: Get your shit out of Cuba or there is gonna be a ••••••• problem like you dont believe.

    Ron Paul: Back to the gold standard. We need an absolute monetary value....90 miles is pretty far. Why get involved?

    Robert Kennedy: Ill get that mother ••••••• Castro. Its a GO. No way is that communist gonna be 90mi off our shores. Well kill te SOB


    How things change.
    Last edited by jimzinsocal; 02-04-2008 at 05:37 PM.

  4. #34
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    Re: Is Reagan conservatism dead?

    Reagan raised taxes 4 times throughout his Presidency facing looming deficits. And Republicans point to him as conservatism that works, despite his tax cuts having to be halted. Yet they still see tax cuts as something that should be unconditional, was Reagan wrong on the economy?

  5. #35
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    Re: Is Reagan conservatism dead?

    Goldwater... I remember having to read None Dare Call it Treason, then earning my allowance by selling copies of it door to door. In retrospect, I'll bet there were some liberal neighbors that thought my Mom and Dad were a bit "off"... havin' the kid peddle political books for money.

    But, I got to shake Goldwater's hand in Oakland. That was something.

  6. #36
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    Re: Is Reagan conservatism dead?

    AUH2O

    That helped me in chemistry classes later on...

  7. #37
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    Re: Is Reagan conservatism dead?

    I know the book. Got me an A in my HS "Problems of Demcracy" class cause my teacher may as well have had a black haircomb pasted on his upper lip.

    Then again I remember crying my little eyes out cause JFK didnt get the nomination one year!!

  8. #38
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    Re: Is Reagan conservatism dead?

    Quote Originally Posted by Computerwiz View Post
    Reagan raised taxes 4 times throughout his Presidency facing looming deficits. And Republicans point to him as conservatism that works, despite his tax cuts having to be halted. Yet they still see tax cuts as something that should be unconditional, was Reagan wrong on the economy?
    That was the Democrat-controlled Congress that wrote those tax hikes against Reagan's wishes. I do fault him for signing off on them, though.
    Brian

  9. #39
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    Re: Is Reagan conservatism dead?

    Ya, the president has ultimate control as far as dictating tax cuts, he had to consent.

  10. #40
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    Re: Is Reagan conservatism dead?

    I was curious what the American Conservative Union Foundation had to say on this topic:

    Ronald Reagan's Conservative Legacy Everyone on the right has long claimed Ronald Reagan as his intellectual forbearer, and this will only intensify now that he has passed away. Whatever the brand of conservatism, whether it is the neoconservative love of national greatness, the paleoconservative distrust of too much freedom, the Tory-conservative suspicion of abstract philosophizing, the progressive-conservative love of big government, or the mainline-conservative fear of being thought uncompassionate--all of these claim President Reagan as their intellectual patrimony. This is not surprising since he has been the most successful conservative of modern times.

    How about taking the radical step of looking to Mr. Reagan himself to explore his intellectual roots, his political philosophy? In a speech to the largest annual gathering of conservatives in the United States, immediately after assuming the presidency in 1981, he confided his philosophy to his compatriots. After listing "intellectual leaders like Russell Kirk, Friedrich Hayek, Henry Hazlitt, Milton Friedman, James Burnham, Ludwig von Mises" as the ones who "shaped so much of our thoughts," he discussed only one of these influences at length.
    It's especially hard to believe that it was only a decade ago, on a cold April day on a small hill in upstate New York, that another of these great thinkers, Frank Meyer, was buried. He'd made the awful journey that so many others had: He pulled himself from the clutches of "The [communist] God That Failed,'' and then in his writing fashioned a vigorous new synthesis of traditional and libertarian thought -- a synthesis that is today recognized by many as modern conservatism.
    It was Frank Meyer who reminded us that the robust individualism of the American experience was part of the deeper current of Western learning and culture. He pointed out that a respect for law, an appreciation for tradition, and regard for the social consensus that gives stability to our public and private institutions, these civilized ideas must still motivate us even as we seek a new economic prosperity based on reducing government interference in the marketplace.
    Our goals complement each other. We're not cutting the budget simply for the sake of sounder financial management. This is only a first step toward returning power to the States and communities, only a first step toward reordering the relationship between citizen and government. We can make government again responsive to the people by cutting its size and scope and thereby ensuring that its legitimate functions are performed efficiently and justly.
    In other words, the Reagan patrimony came from philosopher Frank Meyer. It was based upon his synthesis of traditional and libertarian thought. Some, although not Meyer himself, call it fusionist conservatism but most simply call it conservatism or Reagan conservatism. Although Meyer expressed it in a new way, as Mr. Reagan said, it was derived from the deeper current of Western thought and history, especially from the American experience. Its central values were individualism and respect for law, for tradition and for the social consensus expressed in its public and private institutions, especially those of the states and communities, which were more intimately and rationally responsive to the values of the people.
    Meyer best summarized this philosophy in an article titled "Western Civilization," published in the conservative intellectual journal, Modern Age. First and foremost, his philosophy was not an ideology, a simple party program nor what he labeled a utopia. To Meyer, utopias were the opposite of the Western tradition that conservatives were to re-teach to the modern world. Utopias, in fact, represented the modern reaction against the core beliefs of Western civilization. All societies that preceded the Western ones-- called by him the cosmological civilizations--were all of a single type. All united all authority--moral, spiritual, political, social, economic--in a single unified regime that had undisputable answers to all questions asked by individuals, backed by all of society's resources to assure communal consensus. But once the West arose, it questioned all existing traditions and provided a competing morality--shattering the unity and sundering it into different realms that vied for the newly liberated individual's loyalty.



  11. #41
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    Re: Is Reagan conservatism dead?

    part 2
    In short, utopias grew as alternatives to Western individualism. They were rationally devised formulations that could be of the left, center or right, ones that would provide counter explanations to the newly dominant Western one of a free individual with choices to be made. Utopias of the left were universalist and idealist in design, those of the right were concrete and positive, and the middle were "neutral," not based on values at all but upon pragmatism. Leftist utopias were based on one universal principle such as justice, freedom or equality. Rightist ones were based upon the single right way of the community as expressed in its traditions of virtue and honor and written in its national culture. Centrist ones were based on the single neutral principle of power. Their corresponding archetypal philosophers were Karl Marx, Auguste Compte and Niccolo Machiavelli. Western civilization preexisted and rejected all these alternatives, past and present and was entirely different.

    Western civilization was the only one--old or new--not based upon a single concrete or ideal premise but was a synthesis of ideal and concrete, values and power, left and right and center. It was synthetic not in the Hegelian or Marxist sense that the separate strands disappeared into the synthesis but in the Medieval sense that the separate strands continued to exist but in a symbiotic sense, together. As Reagan expressed it, it was a synthesis of libertarian universalism and traditional Western culture. It was individualistic and traditional, universalistic and communal, valued freedom and required institutional order, used reason, traditional common-sense and spiritual inspiration. A synthesis became possible if freedom were used as the means to achieve the traditional ends, simplified in the formulation, libertarian means for traditionalist ends.

    Western civilization did not necessarily value tradition in general but Western tradition in particular, specifically the mores and institutions of the European peoples. Pre-Western, cosmological societies, as Meyer pictured them, were "tightly unified" in every way, socially, culturally, politically, economically. The cosmos and humanity were one, is and ought were the same, society and the individual were unified, state and society were coterminous. All people lived in an eternal nature, seamless, ever the same--in recurring cycles and with some conflict and change--but there was one dominating tradition that explained all reality as the one essential unity of being.

    This unity was broken historically in two places at approximately the same time, according to Meyer. Athens, while founded upon the same cosmological cultic norms was the first to come into contact with a large number of different traditions, as its trade reached the ends of the known world. With the new goods came new ideas, new values, new institutions, in short, new traditions, indeed hundreds of new societal constitutions that Aristotle was to catalogue. Different ways of looking at things inevitably brought questions about one's own values, which can create doubt about one's truths if there is some freedom to debate them, as there was in Athens. Socrates became the first philosopher by asking questions about his and other traditions, ultimately viewing all traditions as shadows rather than eternal verities. Reality was ideal and abstract in its substance, hidden behind the "concrete" facts and truths valued by the Athenian tradition.

    In short, Socrates divided concrete and ideal, is and ought, tradition and real essence, moral freedom and social convention. His ideal Republic "scraped clean" the traditional conventions and had state arranged sexual relationships, sharing of spouses, children raised communally with parents unable to know their own, offspring educated to serve the just society, at least for those who mattered socially, and a philosopher king to rule the rest. How else could justice be achieved than by going to the root of the injustice that otherwise rules society? Parents who know their children, for example, give them special advantages that unjustly allow them to gain at the expense of other children with weaker or poorer parents. The just could the create the ideal society and end injustice. In the end, however, the traditional society won over the ideal one by killing Socrates, crushing Plato's coup and ending this threat to the unitary Athenian civilization.

    The traditional way also came under threat in a very different manner in another part of that old world. A man named Abram claimed that God had appeared to him directly and revealed a new way, one that questioned much of the dominant Mesopotamian civilization. This God was not the god of the dominant communities but was above all nations and dwelled apart from all. The earth was not eternal but created by Him in time and he was entering history to tell the re-named Abraham to teach that the one true God was dissatisfied with the way things were and demanded obedience to Him and Him only. Protection came from God not from the civilization's state authority. After his offspring Isaac and Jacob adopted this new covenant, which existed outside these states, they were led to Egypt, where God allowed Moses to defeat this archetypal cosmological civilization by bringing his people out from its slavery to the freedom of God's law. But, at the time of Samuel, Israel rejected God's immediate rule and demanded a king, which God gave them, but at the price of a new bondage and ultimately, defeat and dispersal at the hands of the same Romans who had also ended the Athenian experiment with an authority that challenged the all-powerful state.

    While these two momentarily escaped the tightly unified cosmological nature of traditional society, this univocal reality came back stronger than ever in the form of the Eternal City. While Rome began with a Greek-like traditional form, which provided a third partial historical exception to the all-powerful state for a limited period of time, Caesar transformed it into an all-pervading universal empire ultimately unifying god and humanity under the same all-powerful leader. Power and virtue were reunited in the emperor and this institution conquered and then ruled the world for a millennium, with an authority so overwhelming that it seemed it would last forever.

    Then, out of that same exceptional soil at the limits of empire, burst a soft but ultimately persuasive voice that proclaimed, "Render to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's," breaking to this very day any possible earthly cosmological unity, although many have tried to recreate it. In one sense, this Incarnation did unify is and ought in the person of Jesus as the Messiah but his kingdom was not of this world. This world's nature was not unitary but rent between natural and transcendent domains, the only bridge between the two being Jesus. But this Jesus represented a "stumbling block to the Jews and a foolishness to the Greeks," as St. Paul recognized, appealing exclusively neither to traditional virtue nor to philosophical freedom, but resolvable to both only by accepting the contradiction and unity of the cross, the duality of ideal and concrete synthesized in God made man.

    This new synthesis questioned all human tradition and, more, Jesus' followers were given the freedom to loosen and bind its dictates through his earthly church, based upon what he had or would reveal to this new community. Unlike the communities bound into and ruled by states, individuals were granted the right to choose whether to follow Him and his church or not. Only the individual was now in a position in this world to unify the competing realities. It made him free to chose between good and evil, to chose God or man, Caesar or church, state or community, power or virtue. As with Socrates, the cosmological state killed Jesus and that was supposed to be that. Yet, this church kept growing and was soon seen by Rome itself as a means to reinvigorate its own civilization, which worked for a time, after which the unthinkable occurred. The ultimate cosmological empire fell in the West and left Europe to its own devices.


  12. #42
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    Re: Is Reagan conservatism dead?

    Part 3
    What was left of Western civilization retreated to the smallest areas capable of defense against the resulting chaos. All power became local, exercised by the strongest available protecting lord. Within these protected fiefs, the defenseless serfs were pleased to trade significant freedom for order. But the church survived with some freedom, both in the feudal parish and, in Rome, as the only unity in the European order--but a unity without earthly power, except in its own domains. Thus developed in medievalism the first concrete divisions between Caesar and God in the form of church and state. This freedom, in turn, allowed other institutions to develop to further divide state and society--monarchs with some claim to regional authority, bishops with temporal power to augment spiritual, semi-independent municipalities, guilds, joint trading companies and other private associations, even of commoners, all with some independent power to balance Caesar's. As F.A. Hayek put it, Western freedom rose between the cracks created by these institutions. Magna Charta, the early parliaments of lord, church and commoner and the rise of common law developed from them, lasting in England pretty much until modern times.
    Most of Europe was not to be as fortunate. The medieval separation of powers was soon to be undermined by an overwhelming outside threat that led to a centralization of power to combat it. In 1071, the remaining and now Christian Roman emperor of the East was defeated by the rising forces of Islam, which now left Europe exposed. Spain had already been occupied by Muslims since the 8th Century, threatening it from the Southwest and now the weakened East was opened too. The resulting Crusades freeing Jerusalem and momentarily ending the Eastern threat was shattered by the reconquest of Jerusalem by Islam in 1187. At this point, Europe aggressively centralized its resources in nation states that could defeat the rising power, which became even greater with the preeminence of the Muslim Turks and their occupation of central Europe in the 15th Century. By the time Islam was finally defeated decisively in 1571 at Lepanto and 1683 at Vienna, the victorious European states had so centralized power in newly redesigned monarchies claiming Divine Right that no force could any longer rival that of the state.
    The good news for the West was that before the medieval institutions died in Europe, they were transferred to England's American colonies. As Alexis de Tocqueville had noted, the medieval institutions were not only transferred but it was accomplished pretty much without the feudal jealousies and immemorial grudges that accompanied it in the old world. Lord Acton said it was first established in Maryland, where Charles Calvert created the first modern free society, formed upon the principles of separation of powers, the suffrage of all free men (slavery was not even enforced in the beginning) and religious toleration, until reactionary forces in Britain ended the experiment. Revived by William Penn, these principles were permanently re-established by him in the state that still bears his name. From Pennsylvania, the ideas spread throughout the middle colonies and ultimately to them all. These "self evident truths that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" were then used to justify independence from Britain and were later incorporated into a separation of powers Constitution that Acton called the perfection of the principles of the West.
    This novus ordo seclurum called for a whole new political science, declared one of its authors, Alexander Hamilton. What was new, according to Meyer, was that a "gulf opened" forever as individuals were freed from their community by doctrine and fact and were now to determine their own fate. A retreat to a protecting, unquestioning and consuming cosmological truth was now impossible, not just in America but worldwide, as the ideas spread. Only three reactions were now possible: (1) the new division of powers that empowered the individual could be rejected and a new unity could be recreated to concentrate power in a way to guarantee the communal good; (2) one could reject all community, even freely created, and retreat within the only remaining reality, the individual self; or (3) the new "tension" between powers could be accepted in all "humility," acknowledging that perfection cannot be reached when power is limited in this world but only in the next. The first alternative for the modern world leads to a religious solution such as in the unity of Allah and a traditionalist theocratic state; or a secular utopia such as communism, fascism or Nazism. The second reaction leads to Nietzsche, Camus or, in its milder versions, Emerson, and his injunction to reject all obligation and only follow one's own heart. The final solution is what Meyer identified as the true Western tradition and with modern conservatism.


  13. #43
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    Re: Is Reagan conservatism dead?

    Part 4
    The challenge for Ronald Reagan was to recreate this order in the U.S. after its leaders had abandoned much of it by adopting the milder utopia of the welfare state early in the last century. From its rise in 19th Century Europe under Otto von Bismarck and its adoption in America beginning with Woodrow Wilson, this new system was to use high-powered, neutral experts in government to positively promote social welfare. Based upon his studies in Germany and Great Britain, Professor Wilson had concluded that the old U.S. separation of powers was what was holding back progress as it was being manifested in Europe in the newly emerging 20th Century. Division of power in the Constitution was "a serious imperfection," where the "federal government lacks strength because its powers are divided," which could be solved only by centralizing responsibility and power in the hands of the Presidency, which he proceeded to do. In the future, the Executive was to determine the proper neutral, scientific answer for each social problem and provide a utopia of freedom and justice for all.
    It did not work out that way. By the time of Ronald Reagan's predecessor, it had produced stagflation--that is, economic stagnation and inflation together--and a sense of malaise that the future could never be any better than it was by the mid-1970s. Moreover, the "best and brightest" experts had failed in foreign policy too by being unable to successfully conclude the Vietnam War. President Reagan entered office motivated by the old Meyer Constitutional conservatism and immediately attacked the welfare state assumptions and rebuilt the military forces. He reduced non-defense discretionary spending by eight percent, reduced total domestic national government spending outlays from 17.9 to 16.4 percent of gross domestic product, cut taxes and reduced regulations to minimize the power of the government experts, successfully reviving the economy for "seven fat years" thereafter and with repercussions to the present day.
    Yet, the welfare state status quo had only retrenched and began rising even by the end of the second Reagan term. By 2004, a Republican president had increased non-defense discretionary spending by almost 40 percent and had created a new entitlement with long term unfunded financial obligations totaling $8 trillion. The idea of limited government--of using libertarian means to achieve traditional ends such as real social welfare--seemed dead even within the political party Ronald Reagan had revived and to whom all paid at least symbolic homage. It would not have surprised him. Nearing the end of his first term, his personnel director made a presentation to his cabinet showing that the progress made in reducing the size of the federal bureaucracy during the previous four years was being eroded by new hiring by his own appointees. President Reagan responded, " I know how difficult it is to restrain the size of government. In my reading of history, no nation has gone as far as we have gone toward statism and turned back."
    But he did not leave it there. His moral optimism based upon his values made him add, "Although no country has come back, I would like us to be the beginning; I would like us to be the first." Now that obligation has been passed to us, Ronald Reagan's heirs, the nation's conservatives. President Reagan achieved much but freedom allows no permanent victories--or defeats. It is up to the next generation to decide whether President Reagan's legacy of libertarian means to achieve traditional Judeo-Christian ends or more bankrupt welfare statism and moral decay will be the future for the United States. As his mentor Frank Meyer concluded about the future of Western values and American institutions, "the issue is still in doubt."

    By Donald Devine, Editor
    Aside from my opinion that the focus of the Reagan Conservative is misinformed when stating the country was formed on a traditional Judeo-Christian foundation with all the Deists and Masons involved in crafting the founding documents, I think it's dead based on all the new interpretations coming forth.

    Perhaps it's political evolution sprinkled with a bit of revisionist history.

  14. #44
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  15. #45
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    Re: Is Reagan conservatism dead?

    Quote Originally Posted by otoc View Post
    Part 4
    Aside from my opinion that the focus of the Reagan Conservative is misinformed when stating the country was formed on a traditional Judeo-Christian foundation with all the Deists and Masons involved in crafting the founding documents, I think it's dead based on all the new interpretations coming forth.

    Perhaps it's political evolution sprinkled with a bit of revisionist history.
    Admittedly there were deists and masons, but there were also pastors. Read the prayer that open the first congress or the inaugural address of Washington. Note the chapel in Congress, the fact that church services used to be held IN congress, the baptism of Pocahontas in the rotunda. Revisionist? I don't think so.
    Brian

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