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I see there's not much comment here yet on the death of Ronald Reagan, but I, for one, as an admirer of Ayn Rand's work, mourn his passing, and want to say that I always considered him to embody much of the "sense of life" that I see portrayed in her work. I know that he had his failings, which Ayn Rand addressed, but the world would be a lot better place if we had more Ronald Reagans and fewer of the standard fence-sitters who populate the Republican party.

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I see there's not much comment here yet on the death of Ronald Reagan, but I, for one, as an admirer of Ayn Rand's work, mourn his passing, and want to say that I always considered him to embody much of the "sense of life" that I see portrayed in her work.  I know that he had his failings, which Ayn Rand addressed, but the world would be a lot better place if we had more Ronald Reagans and fewer of the standard fence-sitters who populate the Republican party.

Barry Goldwater was a wishy-washy Republican Presidential candidate in 1964. In late October of that year Ronald Reagan made a televised speech in support of Goldwater. I was completely stunned by that speech and knew immediately that that was the sort of intellectual backbone that Goldwater needed to win the Presidency. I distinctly remember wishing that Reagan was running for President in place of Goldwater.

Little did I know then that years later Reagan would be my Governor, and later the President I had wished for. Reagan was far from a perfect man, and I realize that he is denounced my many Objectivist friends of mine, but, nevertheless, I consider him to have been a really good President and I believe that history will show him for the extraordinary man that he was. I pay tribute to Ronald Reagan tonight, and I thank him for helping to make the world a much safer and better place than it was before he made his mark on it.

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Guest jrshep
I pay tribute to Ronald Reagan tonight, and I thank him for helping to make the world a much safer and better place than it was before he made his mark on it.

Nicely put Stephen.

It is perhaps too often too easy to denounce someone who hasn't risen to ideal, failing to see how high they actually climbed in reaching for it.

Reagan exuded the American sense of life. He had style and grace.

"We've done our part. And as I walk off into the city streets, a final word to the men and women of the Reagan revolution, the men and women across America who for 8 years did the work that brought America back. My friends: We did it. We weren't just marking time. We made a difference. We made the city stronger, we made the city freer, and we left her in good hands. All in all, not bad, not bad at all."

Farewell Address to the Nation, January 20th, 1989.

( http://www.presidentreagan.info/speeches/quotes.cfm )

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Howdy,

To be honest, I have dreaded this day. Although I knew that it would come.

The earliest president that I remember is Jimmy Carter. All I remember of Carter, is the hostage crisis, and the energy crisis.

Reagan was elected when I was eight. His determination, and belief in America really had an impact on me as a young man.

In many ways, the way I view the world, and the way I view being an American in the world were shaped by Reagan's America.

Remember Grenada? The commies start getting froggy. Americans might get into trouble. STOMP! CRASH! No more commies.

Or Reykjavik? When he walked out on Gorby? My god! How the press screamed on that one! Too bad they crooks in DC eviscerated SDI. Or did they? With Black budgets one never can really tell.

Course my personal fav was, “Mr. Gorbachev. Tear Down this wall”. It still chokes me up to think of it.

He may have been objectionable to some, but he is still a hero to me.

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I believe it is appropriate here to quote from my Introduction on this forum:

"...I was born in Hungary and still live there. I grew up during the final decade of Communism.

"My first memory involving the United States is hearing the radio news reader's anxious voice reporting on how 'Washington continues with its star warfare plans.' I had no idea at that time what 'Washington' was, let alone a 'star warfare plan,' but I thought whatever it was, it must be something great and powerful--something done by men who can. I felt I could identify with these strong and able men somewhere far away much more than with the men around me who were 'concerned' about 'these dangerous plans'--the men who, as I saw it, couldn't because they wouldn't."

President Reagan was the man from whom I learned what it means to be a man; he was the American from whom I learned what it means to be an American.

An admirer from Hungary salutes his beloved Star Warrior!

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I was 9 days shy of 10 when Reagan was sworn into office in 1981. I have only vague memories of the way the country was during the Carter administration, so I don't have a good direct experience of the sea change his election represented. I was one of the children who grew up in Reagan's shadow. A lot of my first impressions of America are impressions of Reagan's America -- the growing optimism, the vibrant economy (Silicon Valley in the 1980's), the sense of progress and increasing possibilities. By the time I was old enough to grasp the nature of the Cold War it was essentially over. I never really viewed the Soviet Union as a serious threat because by the time I understood what it was it was so obviously on its last legs.

Given the conflicts we face today, I wish we had him back. He was among other things a war leader, and we could use one of those right now.

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I learned remarkably little about his policies during my political science degree, which probably speaks well of Reagan. What I know comes mostly from his speeches, which speak for themselves:

http://www.rationalmind.net/random.php?sho...Ronald%20Reagan

I have to remind myself that there was a time in American history when such leaders were the rule, not the exception.

Btw, how was Goldwater “wishy-washy”? He is the only presidential candidate since the revolution to offer a truly new vision in his candidacy, though every other candidate has claimed to.

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Btw, how was Goldwater “wishy-washy”?  He is the only presidential candidate since the revolution to offer a truly new vision in his candidacy, though every other candidate has claimed to.

Unfortunately, Reagan was the only one defining and advocating Goldwater's vision. As for Goldwater, his campaign slogan was a limp appeal to emotion: "In your heart, you know he's right."

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...I was born in Hungary and still live there. I grew up during the final decade of Communism.

Would you mind giving us a little report on what is happening in Eastern Europe in general, and Hungary in particular, these days? I was just talking with someone the other day about how little we hear about it here in the United States.

Fred Weiss

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Btw, how was Goldwater “wishy-washy”?  He is the only presidential candidate since the revolution to offer a truly new vision in his candidacy, though every other candidate has claimed to.

I am not sure what you mean by "vision," but what Goldwater lacked was ideas. It is too much of too little value for me to recount and document in detail. If you read Ayn Rand's writings from the 1960s, she wrote about Goldwater many times. She initially found reason to lend qualified support for him, which, if I recall correctly, she later withdrew. Goldwater had some courage, but courage does not take the place of ideas. The following pretty much sums up Ayn Rand's final assessment of Goldwater.

"Senator Goldwater was not an advocate of capitalism ... his meaningless, unphilosophical, unintellectual campaign has contributed to the entrenchment of the consensus-advocates."

("The New Fascism: Rule By Consensus," Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal)

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Ouch...looks like I have some reading to do.

It is only worth it if you are really motivated to understand the history of that time. I personally think those years were among the most boring of the century, politically.

If you read Letters of Ayn Rand, she wrote a very long letter to Goldwater, early, around 1960 or so, in which she first acknowledged him, and then proceeded to educate him on all the contradictions he held! She was right on the money. At the end she asked him for an appointment to meet with him personally, so she was certainly willing to invest some time and effort in his behalf. But, unfortunately, there just was nothing much there intellectually that she could even cultivate in him.

A few years later I was knocking on doors for the Metropolitan Young Republican's Club, trying to get the vote out for Goldwater. I actually gave up on him, probably before she did. When I heard the Reagan speech I mentioned earlier, I really understood what was missing in Goldwater, and why he would never win.

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There was a really big article in Time in the last 6-8 months about a new book featuring Reagen's diary entries, letters, etc.

In one of his entries that is in the article, he mentions Ayn Rand and that he is interested in her work.

He was pretty religious, so some of her ideas obviously didn't gel, but he was definitely interested in those ideas.

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For me, the Reagan years were like riding a roller-coaster. Granada, up. Lebanon, plunging into the dangerous depths. Libya, up. Rehabilitating Arafat, precipitous fall. Some cutback in regulations, up. The biggest tax hike in history, down. SDI, up. Lifting the grain embargo against the Soviet Union, down. And so it went for eight years.

Reagan had the power to stop terrorism at its beginning. Instead, he treated with Iran, he placed the godfather of terror, Arafat, into a position the monster could never have achieved on his own, he never followed up in Libya (though I give him points for what he did do); and, most importantly, he was the first president to run from the terrorists (after they murdered our Marines). He did these things when he had the backing of the American people to fight terrorism aggressively. I never understood why, unless it was because he was so intent on the Soviets that he failed to recognize terrorism for what it was. That is entirely possible, since at the time it was the communists who were backing terrorists everywhere. Even so, leaving Lebanon set a dangerous precedent, and we are paying dearly for it now. And, bringing back Arafat after the Israelis had finally defeated him was just unconscionable. I can't imagine what he was thinking.

There were many things to admire about the man, but I cannot bring myself to say I esteemed him. I am happy to hear that he positively affected those who have posted. We need all the positive we can get.

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An Excellent Commentary on Reagan's New Right May Be Found Here.

Nonetheless, Reagan did serve his country, and he does deserve some salutation for that.

Reagan did lend moral support to those who favored capitalism in Russia (like Yeltsin) and Lech Walesa in Poland as Communism fell.

He did cut taxes and the economy improved in the mid-80's (well, in some locales it did)

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Regarding Goldwater, this is from Rand's Play Boy interview in 1964

PLAYBOY: How do you feel about the test-ban treaty which was recently signed?

RAND: I agree with Barry Goldwater's speech on this subject on the Senate floor. The best military authorities, and above all, the best scientific authority, Dr. Teller, the author of the hydrogen bomb, have stated that this treaty is not merely meaningless but positively dangerous to America's defense.

PLAYBOY: If Senator Goldwater is nominated as the Republican presidential candidate this July, would you vote for him?

RAND: At present, yes. When I say "at present," I mean the date when this interview is being recorded. I disagree with him on a great many things, but I do agree, predominantly, with his foreign policy. Of any candidates available today, I regard Barry Goldwater as the best. I would vote for him, if he offers us a plausible, or at least semiconsistent, platform.

http://www.ellensplace.net/ar_pboy.html

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I have two questions: 1) Ayn Rand once said that Ronald Regan was clearly not an example of a capitalist. If you want me to dig out my source, I will do so though I'm not sure where I read/saw it. I think it was from one of the Phil Donahue interviews. But in light of what has been said here about Regan, what do you think of this? Personally, while I agree that he was not a capitalist, I think he was one of the best presidents of the 20th century--arguably, but not certainly, the best. This is simply because we have not had a capitalist president in the 20th century, with the possible exception of Calvin Coolidge. That brings me to 2) Though I don't know a whole lot about his term of office, would Coolidge have been the best president in the 20th century? He was credited with having been a very "conservative" president who did not do a lot of trust-busting in an era where trust-busting was a major claim to fame.

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More quotes:

"She [Rand] disapproved of Ronald Reagan, whom she considered a typical conservative in his attempt to link politics and religion; she had refused to vote for him."

(From The Passion of Ayn Rand, by Barbara Branden)

"Dear Mr. Vandersteel:

Thanks very much for pamphlet. Am an admirer of Ayn Rand but hadn't seen this study.

Sincerely,

Ronald Reagan"

(From Reagan: A life in letters)

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This is something I recently posted to Harry Binswanger's list. I have received many responses to it from other Objectivists and every single one

agreed with me enthusiastically and thanked me for writing this:

Harry cited a long list of Reagan's failures, inconsistencies, and

sins of commission and omission and he's right. But I liked Reagan

anyway and I have my reasons too.

First of all, I liked him in a sense of life way. He struck me and

almost all who saw him as an honest, valuing, hard working, self-

confident, idealistic, life-loving man. That's something that's not

easy to fake, especially for someone who was so frequently on

television. As Ayn Rand observed:

"Television has a peculiar power to reveal the essence of a man's

character. ... It is a wonderful invader of psychological privacy,

more potent than a lie detector." [Ayn Rand Letter, June 18, 1973]

The most important thing about Reagan, isn't what he did, but what

he SAID. The Great Communicator publicly and proudly gave voice

to some of the best American ideals and spoke to human values

everywhere. As Ayn Rand noted:

[E]ven the humblest peasant or the lowest savage would rise in

blind rebellion, were he to realize that he is being immolated, not to

some incomprehensible "noble purpose," but to plain, naked human

evil. ["How does one lead a rational life in an irrational society?"

_VOS_]

As one TV satirist noted after hearing Reagan's speech for

Goldwater in 1964, the Republicans had a secret weapon: Reagan

shooting off his mouth. By publicly declaring the Soviet Union an

"evil empire" and demanding that Gorbachev "tear down this wall,"

he unleashed that weapon to help win the Cold War.

Yes, Reagan was mostly talk, but the right ideas must precede the

right actions and sometimes there is a lag between the two. At least

Reagan supplied the words and his optimism inspired and re-

energized Americans everywhere.

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Betsy, I agree with what you said. Thanks for reminding me, it's made me feel better. Sometimes it is hard not to fall into the (mostly liberal) trap of thinking that just because something isn't perfect, it is worthless. Reagan's words were especially important after the 70's and after Carter. Boy, did we need them after Carter!

I do always try to remind myself that our president isn't a dictator. No matter what he wants to do, he must drag the rest of the country along with him. Even if a president has the backing of the majority of the people, he still has to face the media and Congress. (Above, I unfairly counted the steep rise in the deficit against Reagan, when Congress is the only entity that can accomplish that.) It's something to remember that when judging a presidency.

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Guest jrshep

Margaret Thatcher's eulogy to Ronald Reagan: http://www.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30000-13125658,00.html

"We have lost a great president, a great American, and a great man. And I have lost a dear friend.

"In his lifetime Ronald Reagan was such a cheerful and invigorating presence that it was easy to forget what daunting historic tasks he set himself.           

"He sought to mend America's wounded spirit, to restore the strength of the free world, and to free the slaves of communism. These were causes hard to accomplish and heavy with risk.           

"Yet they were pursued with almost a lightness of spirit. For Ronald Reagan also embodied another great cause - what Arnold Bennett once called 'the great cause of cheering us all up'."

And more…

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  • 3 weeks later...

Here's an article by Lech Walesa regarding President Reagan, that I think is a good read -- especially the section towards the end about "cowboys".

The Polish people, hungry for justice, preferred "cowboys" over Communists.

"When talking about Ronald Reagan, I have to be personal. We in Poland took him so personally. Why? Because we owe him our liberty. This can't be said often enough by people who lived under oppression for half a century, until communism fell in 1989.

Poles fought for their freedom for so many years that they hold in special esteem those who backed them in their struggle. Support was the test of friendship. President Reagan was such a friend. His policy of aiding democratic movements in Central and Eastern Europe in the dark days of the Cold War meant a lot to us. We knew he believed in a few simple principles such as human rights, democracy and civil society. He was someone who was convinced that the citizen is not for the state, but vice-versa, and that freedom is an innate right." -- Lech Walesa

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