What went wrong with Reagan.

Reagan arrived with an entourage of economists who said that big government and government spending was inefficient, wasteful, and did damage conditions that it purported it would cure. None made a moral case in economics, that a man had a right to his or her own earnings. The Reagan revolution simply pointed out that the left had been wrong.

But this far, and no further. While Reagan had huge success, many on the right took a pass on repealing the welfare state that Wilson, Roosevelt, and Johnson built. They could show its inefficiencies, but would not affirm the property rights and the moral right, of those who had to pay for it through force and threat of force.

Post Reagan, real intellectual foundations were built at think tanks watchdogging the welfare state, and Americans watched post-Reagan Republicans, and Carter Republicans, wheel and deal with the left as if property rights was an old fading establishment not expected to survive, but worth fighting a losing piecemeal battle over. As if the confiscation of wealth was morally acceptable, while proven to be a practical farce.

The question on the right must then be today, since the case for free markets has been made on a practical level, why is America slipping toward the Euro-model? Because the moral argument has been surrendered. But just a cursory view of tea party “signage” has shown that moral argument, has begun to be taken up. For tea party patriots to be successful in the long-range, the Reagan/Gingrich model of accepting the lefts moral premise’ on economics, before fighting them on the details- must end. Mankind is not his brothers keeper’.

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6 Responses to What went wrong with Reagan.

  1. joe says:

    But do we want politicians to even attempt to govorn based on a moral argument ? The far left exclusively uses the “moral” or emotional argument in all policy debates. For example, as generous as welfare benefit’s are now, there may always be one more child who may slip between the cracks, and go hungry, hence the new school lunch programs designed to also feed breakfast, as well as supper, and a midnite snack, just for good measure.
    Let’s take two extremes from both sides of the isle, Obama, and Gov. Christie from NJ. Christie is at this time very ill-equipped to run for president. He gets torn to bits whenever he attempts to make an endorsement of another politician, but I believe he supports these squishy rhino’s only because he sees the world only through the lens of practicality. But when he sticks to his strong suit, and explains the practical nature of his policies to the people of NJ, he is tearing the teachers union, (who pull the strings of the Dem party of NJ) to shreds, but what really matters is that he is fixing the economic problems.
    Obama, on the other hand was sold to America purely on moral, or emotional grounds. See exhibit A.

    He was supposed to be above the fray of mistrust that people rightly feel for politicians.
    This leads to policies that strip searches a nun, while Mohammed gets a bow as he passes by. But Obama himself cannot understand why we reject his one act “fairness” play on wheels. See, we are supposed to “feel” his compassion to Islam, and “feel” safer to boot.
    To him, and his fellow travelers on the left, the world is comprised only of victims, or devil’s. The victims only expected role is to shield him from the devil’s he constructs. Little Kim of North Korea has mastered this art.

    At the end, the narrator discusses how the people’s fear has been almost intertwined with indoctronation for so many generations that even the reality of pain and suffering from malnutrition, and lack of medical care is twisted into a form of adherence to dear leader. They can no longer even grasp the concept of truth, or what is practical. Dear leader decides that for them.
    Obama’s biggest problem now is that this mistrust to politician’s here has rightfully been applied to him as well.
    The notions of collective salvation, class envy, brothers keeper, are all “moral arguments as well. They are by nature in America , always viewed with a healthy dose of scepticism, even the good ones, but only because we want to know the author’s intentions first.
    Remember the three main answers to “why” that people deal with every day. Because it makes sense (practicality ), because it is the “right thing to do”(moral), or simply because “I said so”(compulsion).
    Of the three, practicality never lets you down when months after an election, the media who sold you a candidate proclaims “but what do we really know about him” Practicality leads to truth.

  2. able2cog says:

    I think the fallacy is that “for someone to be moral, or make a moral arguement, they must set practicality aside”. Flip side of the same fallacy, “we must be practical, lets not wax morality”. However, I think it is possible to be moral and practical. The moral arguement for freedom is the most effective/fundamental arguement because without that foundation laid, no matter the utility of the construction above, a silly-putty foundation will bring it all down…eventually. Case in point, The Laffer Curve. Ofcourse it makes sense that government should not take too much revenue from the private sector as at some point, higher taxes leads to lower revenue. The left than has us arguing over the “amount” of progressive income taxes, not whether we would be better off WITHOUT progressive income taxes. The right is drawn down this rabbit hole everytime. Why? Because the right is ‘practical’ only focused in debating the left. That is why we have lost ground. The sole focus is about ‘practical’ adbominable ominus government…and not “why in hell do we have ominus abominably large government?”.

  3. joe says:

    “The left than has us arguing over the “amount” of progressive income taxes, not whether we would be better off WITHOUT progressive income taxes. The right is drawn down this rabbit hole everytime.”
    But see, now we are arguing over which “method” of taxation is more, or less moral, while forgetting that the boobs in Washington are spending us into oblivion. When the government is tapping your life away, what difference is it in which vein they use ?
    I simply look at this in a different light. It’s very difficult, to impossible to teach grown adults any moral mindset that does not involve compulsion as a stick.
    The best we can hope for out of the majority of politicians is to understand that if they do not represent those who put them there, they will surely be shown the door.
    The only real time to instill good moral values in someone (wrong is wrong even if it is legal) is in childhood. We all know the adult family member who constantly self destructs (booze, drugs, finances) yet as long as they are bailed out, they are only enabled to repeat the same mistakes.
    In fact,most republican’s I know have bought the class envy kool-aid hook, line, and sinker. But they also belong to the same pool, or farm team that their representation comes from. How can one believe in free markets, yet envy the successful players in this market ?
    This is because envy is such a powerful emotion. Most believe that envy is the opposite of greed. But both in fact are flip sides of the same coin. The class envy people can never seem to find enough greed to do battle with, but why is it that the end recipient of that greedy person’s wealth is always themself, or to somehow empower themself ? But they cannot posess greed themself, right ? Friedman once called greed self interest. If this is so, the envy crowd must eventually hate themselves.
    Most smart politicians, on both sides know that they cannot play the envy card directly in policy. (Obama notwithstanding) This is because even though most people share this mentality, they fear the politician who wishes to wield this new power over their lives even more. (If they can wipe the supposed greedy one out, they can also wipe them out as well) Heck, even the followers of Marx in this country miss the irony when they discuss their philosophy on a laptop, or over lunch at McDonalds.

  4. able2cog says:

    I advocate a mans right to live for his own sake. (That was a moral statement reflecting my moral code or creed) This is not a hard sell, and theres no fabian (slow/gradual) version of that, its just a simple moral creed. Its not a lectured philosophical treatise, its simply a statement of right v wrong. If anything, the practical, concrete bound case for free markets has been argued in detail to death by the right. I agree theres a practical case to be made, but not at an expense of retreating from the moral case. Even kids get right from wrong. They know what theft is, they ‘don’t’ know what tax cuts and stimulus packages are. Most libs even admit socialism is ineffiecient, then try to make the case that is the only “fair” system, and that it is morally bankrupt for right wingers to make children starve. All fallacy, but most right wingers cower in moral uncertainty when faced with a lib arguement like that, most, not all. The left argues their morality by saying “you are your brothers keeper”, and the right argues back that that could lead to market misallocations of capital. That is an a-moral, or- lacking in any defined postion -moral stance…to an immoral, leftist position. Less poisen, still means death.

  5. joe says:

    I do agree that the moral argument is just as important as the practical, but all I am saying is that politicians on the right seem just as incapable of making the moral case as is the general population.
    The left are masters of it through trial and error alone, besides, it is all they have to go on.
    Check out exhibit B. Newsweek comparing Obama to Christie as well. Boy can I read the left’s curveballs today, or what.
    http://www.newsweek.com/2010/11/29/what-obama-can-learn-from-chris-christie.html

    “Today, Christie leads like the prosecutor he once was, identifying the crime, fingering the culprit, and methodically building a case designed to convince a jury of his peers. “Christie is who he is,” says Ruth Mandel, director of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University. “If you spend years exercising your biceps, those are muscles you’re going to have.” Obama, meanwhile, leads like a professor, examining all angles of an issue and seeking evolutionary change by consensus”
    Forgotten is the phrase “I won”, and who could forget those immortal words “We don’t mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back.”
    “The first lesson of Christie’s success: keep it simple. Within minutes of lumbering into Hackettstown’s American Legion Blue Ridge Post 164, Christie has managed to sum up his agenda in less than 140 characters. “We’re spending too much, borrowing too much, and taxing too much,” he says. “We need to spend less, borrow less, and tax less.” The capacity crowd applauds.”
    Fairly practical ?
    The flip side.
    “But he has since acknowledged missed opportunities and admitted that “leadership isn’t just legislation. It’s a matter of persuading people.” A few populist gestures—say, removing earmarks from the stimulus package or restricting Wall Street bonuses—may have provided some insulation as public opinion began to cool.”
    Flowers on a steamy pile of manure ? Won’t win any practical arguments here.
    “While Obama takes pains to acknowledge the validity of his critics’ concerns in an effort to find common ground, ”
    Cough..cough
    “Christie’s strategy is to use the power of the bully pulpit to make his opponents look foolish. ”
    Who said they need any help in that department.
    Teachers unions praying for his death ?
    The article, after framing Cristie’s power as absolute (Dem legislature notwithstanding) and claiming unnamed conservatives as hating him, afterall he only took charge of the deep blue state with the highest tax rates three years running, spending that outpaced even that, worst in job growth and business frendly, highest household income drop, truckers mag’s say worst roads, 45th in debt per capita, number one in property taxes, negative credit rating ect, (should be paradise valley by now, right ?) they trash him in typical leftist style but then opine that if Obama adopted his style, they would love him even more.

  6. able2cog says:

    When you look at Christies situation (Newsweek is off the deep end), you have to wonder, if the people of New Jersey sour on him, the state is done and producers may have to physically seperate themselves from their parasitic masters shortly after (teachers unions of New Jersey, New Jersey power players in politics,ect) This means, even at great business cost, leaving the state entirely. California just did what New Jersey might go back to, electing even worse politicians. This depression will likely change the entire landscape of the nation. I think Christie will be looked back at in a couple of decades as one of the east coasts last Paul Reveres, before the final decline of these failing leftist states/regions. So he says what has to be said, (even though New Jersians look at him like hes from Mars, and a temporary novelty visitor with amazing things to say) and likely expects not to achieve much, and be thrown out of office by an electorate still convinced they can HAVE their cake, and eat it, too.

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