WS>>VANGUARD: Remembering Ronald Reagan

carl william spitzer iv cwsiv_2nd at JUNO.COM
Thu Feb 6 14:44:46 MST 2003

          From: "" <Vanguard at>
          Wed, 05 Feb 2003

          EDITOR'S NOTE:  In honor of his birthday, we  have
          chosen  to run this special tribute  to  President
          Reagan, previously published in Britain's "Freedom

          Vanguard of the Revolution

          by Rod D. Martin, 6 February 2003

          It was fashionable for a time to consider Ronald Reagan
     a warmonger and a fool.  Perhaps this is the best  indicator
     of  his Chuchillian stature; for like Reagan, Churchill  was
     so maligned, and like Churchill, Reagan saved the world.

          The left, of course, credited Gorbachev for this, which
     resembled nothing so much as crediting Hitler's suicide  for
     the  end of World War II.  Reagan's victory -- and the  fact
     that  we  are  not  now  speaking  Russian  or  buried   ala
     Khrushchev  under  a smoldering ruin -- was  produced  of  a
     vision  shared by no president before him, and  a  fortitude
     possessed by few.

          He  refused  to accept the left's  received  wisdom  of
     "moral  equivalence"  between  the Communist  East  and  the
     democratic West:  he called Russia the "evil empire" it was,
     and  revived the moral courage essential for  victory.   His
     opponents, lesser men from Michael Dukakis to Michael  Foot,
     hurled  their epithets: "dangerous," "destabilizing,"  "cow-
     boy."   But Reagan understood the real danger was in  a  nu-
     clear superpower bent on world conquest and in the throes of
     both  economic and ethnic collapses its  Western  apologists
     refused to see.

          He repaired a nuclear "deterrent" so badly eroded as to
     lack  credibility  and invite blackmail. Side by  side  with
     Margaret  Thatcher, he stood down the  left's  greatest-ever
     attempted appeasement -- the nuclear freeze movement --  and
     not only rearmed America but re-established the deterrent in
     Europe.   The Soviets, playing off the terror of the  times,
     threatened  to walk out of stalled arms talks if he did  so.
     In  a move that stunned everyone, he wished them fond  fare-
     well.   He would not be bullied; and when they realized  it,
     they returned.

          His certainty that people everywhere yearned for  free-
     dom and that free markets could always out-produce  central-
     ly-planned  slavery drove his strategies  where  realpolitik
     could  never go.  He replaced both containment  and  d'tente
     with  his "Reagan Doctrine," proclaiming America  would  ac-
     tively roll back its foe by helping freedom fighters  behind
     the Iron Curtain.  Fro m World War II until Reagan, not  one
     square  inch of ground had been recovered once lost to  com-
     munism.  Now all things changed, as Moscow was made to  play
     defense,  first in Grenada and Afghanistan,  and  ultimately
     from the Berlin Wall to the USSR itself.

          Unwilling to play for less than total victory, he  went
     for  the Russian jugular.  Realizing that over half  of  all
     Soviet  hard currency came from th e export of oil he cut  a
     deal  with  Saudi Arabia:  weapons and other  benefits  pre-
     viously unavailable, in exchange for an oil glut which would
     buoy  the  West and skewer the common foe.   Combining  this
     with  an arms race, the keystone of which was the  high-tech
     Strategic Defense Initiative, he pushed Moscow over a  cliff
     his opponents said could not be there. Gorbachev, coming  in
     much  too late after a string of dead  General  Secretaries,
     was  left  first  to "restructure," then  to  dismantle  his
     empire, and finally just to "wither away."

          This is Reagan's greatest legacy, but it is hardly  his
     only one.  His supply-side faith in Laffer's lower  marginal
     tax rates ignited a twenty-yea r boom in an America used  to
     every-three-year  recessions.  His vision  for  tax-deferred
     retirement accounts transferred the "means of production" to
     the "proletariat" and destroyed the basis for class warfare:
     shareholders,  a  tiny fraction of the population  in  1980,
     today  are a large majority.  The wealth his  ideas  created
     drove  a  technological boom unlike any the world  had  ever
     seen,  and  convinced  billions  previously  susceptible  to
     socialism that freedom really works.

          It is there that Reagan's greatness really lies.  To  a
     bleak Orwellian world, he restored hope; and the chance  not
     only  that there would be a next century, but that it  would
     be a good one.

          Copyright: Rod D. Martin, 6 February 2003.

          -- Rod D. Martin, Founder and Chairman of Vanguard
          (,  is an attorney  and
          writer from Little Rock, Arkansas. A former policy
          director to Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, he is the
          Center for Cultural Leadership's Senior Fellow  in
          Public  Policy and Political Affairs, and  Special
          Counsel to Founder Peter Thiel.

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