Viva Reagan!

Til de “historisk udfordrede”: Det er i dag 25 år siden, at Ronald W. Reagan blev indsat i embedet som USA’s 40. præsident, og i dagens anledning er det vel nok værd at sende “the Gipper” en venlig tanke.

Nuvel, som øverste chef for den udøvende magt i verdens mægtigste nation får man uvilkårligt lidt … skidt … på fingrene—selv når man i øvrigt efter alt at dømme har en generelt pletfri karakter.  Og selv de mest “die hard” Reaganistas (Søren Pind? Morten Holm? Finn Ziegler?) må vel erkende, at det langt fra var alt, der gik, som det skulle—især ikke i 2. embedsperiode.  Jeg vil ikke gå så langt som Murray Rothbard gjorde i 1989 i hans—som altid—afsindigt velskrevne (og spydige) essay, “Ronald Reagan: An Autopsy”, men snarere sige at Reagan var en mand, hvor der ikke helt var konsistens mellem ambitionerne/retorikken og de faktiske resultater.

Men det ville også have været svært.  Tænk på, hvor revolutionært det var i 1981 at sige ting som disse i sin indsættelsestale:

“[G]overnment is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. From time to time we’ve been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. But if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else? …

We are a nation that has a government — not the other way around. And this makes us special among the nations of the earth. Our Government has no power except that granted it by the people. It is time to check and reverse the growth of government which shows signs of having grown beyond the consent of the governed. …

Freedom and the dignity of the individual have been more available and assured here than in any other place on earth. The price for this freedom at times has been high, but we have never been unwilling to pay that price.

It is no coincidence that our present troubles parallel and are proportionate to the intervention and intrusion in our lives that result from unnecessary and excessive growth of Government.

It is time for us to realize that we are too great a nation to limit ourselves to small dreams. We’re not, as some would have us believe, doomed to an inevitable decline. I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing.”

Og mens Rothbard nok havde ret i, at Reagans resultater af mange på den amerikanske højrefløj er blevet overdrevet, så er de nu ikke alle helt sådan at kimse af—især ikke når der anlægges et lidt længere tidsperspektiv.  Wall Street Journal har fredag en hyldest og opsummering i en lederartikel, der passende hedder “Still Morning in America: Reaganomics 25 Years Later”:

“Twenty-five years ago today, Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as the 40th President of the United States promising less intrusive government, lower tax rates and victory over communism. On that same day, the American hostages in Iran were freed after 444 days of captivity. If the story of history is one long and arduous march toward freedom, this was a momentous day well worth commemorating.

All the more so because over this 25-year period prosperity has been the rule, not the exception, for America–in stark contrast to the stagflationary 1970s. Perhaps the greatest tribute to the success of Reaganomics is that, over the course of the past 276 months, the U.S. economy has been in recession for only 15. That is to say, 94% of the time the U.S. economy has been creating jobs (43 million in all) and wealth ($30 trillion). More wealth has been created in the U.S. in the last quarter-century than in the previous 200 years. The policy lessons of this supply-side prosperity need to be constantly relearned, lest we return to the errors that produced the 1970s.”

For de sentimentale har Heritage Foundation i dagens anledning lavet et helt nyt website dedikeret til Reagan—hvor man bl.a. kan sample gamle citater, hyldesttaler m.v., men hvor man også kan læse tænketankens mere kritiske bemærkninger om Reagan-periodens mindre vellykkede elementer.

En anden mulig måde at fejre dagen på er denne: Tag en øl (men ikke en Budweiser!), spænd dit AuH2O badge på jakkereversen, sæt dig til rette, smæk cowboystøvlerne på bordet, og se og lyt til videooptagelsen af den tale (kendt som “The Speech” eller “A Time for Choosing”), som Reagan i 1964 holdt for Barry Goldwaters præsidentkampagne:

“This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.

You and I are told increasingly we have to choose between a left or right. Well I’d like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There’s only an up or down — [up] man’s old — old-aged dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. And regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course.

In this vote-harvesting time, they use terms like the “Great Society,” or as we were told a few days ago by the President, we must accept a greater government activity in the affairs of the people. But they’ve been a little more explicit in the past and among themselves; and all of the things I now will quote have appeared in print. These are not Republican accusations. For example, they have voices that say, “The cold war will end through our acceptance of a not undemocratic socialism.” Another voice says, “The profit motive has become outmoded. It must be replaced by the incentives of the welfare state.” Or, “Our traditional system of individual freedom is incapable of solving the complex problems of the 20th century.” Senator Fullbright has said at Stanford University that the Constitution is outmoded. He referred to the President as “our moral teacher and our leader,” and he says he is “hobbled in his task by the restrictions of power imposed on him by this antiquated document.” He must “be freed,” so that he “can do for us” what he knows “is best.” …

Well, I, for one, resent it when a representative of the people refers to you and me, the free men and women of this country, as “the masses.” This is a term we haven’t applied to ourselves in America. But beyond that, “the full power of centralized government” — this was the very thing the Founding Fathers sought to minimize. They knew that governments don’t control things. A government can’t control the economy without
controlling people. And th
ey know when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. They also knew, those Founding Fathers, that outside of its legitimate functions, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector of the economy. …

Now it doesn’t require expropriation or confiscation of private property or business to impose socialism on a people. What does it mean whether you hold the deed to the — or the title to your business or property if the government holds the power of life and death over that business or property? And such machinery already exists. The government can find some charge to bring against any concern it chooses to prosecute. Every businessman has his own tale of harassment. Somewhere a perversion has taken place. Our natural, unalienable rights are now considered to be a dispensation of government, and freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp as it is at this moment. …

You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. If nothing in life is worth dying for, when did this begin — just in the face of this enemy? Or should Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery under the pharaohs? Should Christ have refused the cross? Should the patriots at Concord Bridge have thrown down their guns and refused to fire the shot heard ’round the world? The martyrs of history were not fools, and our honored dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis didn’t die in vain. Where, then, is the road to peace? Well it’s a simple answer after all.

You and I have the courage to say to our enemies, “There is a price we will not pay.” “There is a point beyond which they must not advance.” And this — this is the meaning in the phrase of Barry Goldwater’s “peace through strength.” Winston Churchill said, “The destiny of man is not measured by material computations. When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we’re spirits — not animals.” And he said, “There’s something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty.”

You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.

We’ll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.

We will keep in mind and remember that Barry Goldwater has faith in us. He has faith that you and I have the ability and the dignity and the right to make our own decisions and determine our own destiny.”

Den er sgu’ til at blive både sentimental og helt oprørsk af.

6 thoughts on “Viva Reagan!

  1. Peter Nedergaard

    Jeg samlede engang i anden anledning nedenstående 50 af de bedste citater af Ronald Reagen, som nogen måske kunne have fornøjelse af: Ronald Reagan (Ronald Wilson Reagan) (1911- ). Amerikansk republikansk politiker og USA’s 40. præsident 1981-1989.1)”Facts are stupid things.” – om politiske facts.2)”Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.”- om statens rolle.3)”Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.” – om staten (i Saturday Evening Post i 1965). 4)”I have never found anything that was as challenging or as fulfilling as being Governor of California. This has been the greatest experience of my life, maybe partly because I not only get to read the script, I help write it.” – om politikere (den 29. september 1973).5) “I’ve always believed that a lot of the trouble in the world would disappear if we were talking to each other instead of about each other.” – om dialog (den 11. april 1984).6)”We in government should learn to look at our country with the eyes of the entrepreneur, seeing possibilities where others see only problems.” – om øjnene, der ser (den 26. januar 1985).7)”I consider all proposals for government action with an open mind before voting “no.””- om beslutninger (i Ronald Reagan: An American Hero af William F. Buckley and Nancy Reagan).8)(Om Den amerikanske kirkegård i Normandiet: ) “Too many of these and other such graves are the final resting places of teenagers who became men in the roar of battle. Look what they gave to us who live. Never would they see another sunlight day glistening off a lake or river back home or miles of corn pushing up against the open sky of our plains. The pristine air of our mountains and the driving energy of our cities are theirs no more. Nor would they ever again be a son to their parents or a father to their own children. They did this for you, for me, for a new generation to carry our democratic experiment proudly forward. Well, that’s something I think we’re obliged to honor, because what they did for us means that we owe as a simple act of civic stewardship to use our freedom wisely for the common good.”- om soldater (den 14. september 1986).9)”Let us resolve that we will stop spreading dependency and start spreading opportunity; that we will stop spreading bondage and start spreading freedom.”- om muligheder og frihed (i 1985 fra talen til nationen – “State of the Union Address”).10)”Someone once said that every form of government has one characteristic peculiar to it and if that characteristic is lost the government will fall. In a monarchy it is affection and respect for the royal family. If that is lost the monarch is lost. In a dictatorship it is fear. If the people stop fearing the dictator he’ll lose power. In a representative government such as ours it is virtue. If virtue goes the government fails. Are we choosing paths that are politically expedient and morally questionable? Are we in truth losing our virtue? […] If so we may be nearer the dustbin of history than we realize.”- om regeringer i et historisk perspektiv (den 9. juni 1979 fra hans radiotale).11)”The one irrefutable lesson of the entire postwar period [is] contradicting the notion that rigid government controls are essential to economic development.”- om økonomisk udvikling.12)”We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.”- om ansvar.13)”Four years ago we said we would invigorate our economy by giving people greater freedom and incentives to take risks and letting them keep more of what they earned. We did what we promised, and a great industrial giant is reborn.”- om økonomi og frihed (i 1985 fra hans fjerde tale til nationen som præsident).14)”History teaches that wars begin when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap.”- om krig (den 16. januar 1984 fra hans tale til nationen).15)”I wasn’t a great communicator, but I communicated great things, and they didn’t spring full bloom from my brow, they came from the heart of a great nation – from our experience, our wisdom, and our belief in the principles that have guided us for two centuries. They called it the Reagan revolution. Well, I’ll accept that, but for me it always seemed more like the great rediscovery, a rediscovery of our values and our common sense.”- om Reagan-revolutionen (i 1989 fra hans afskedstale).16)”Let us be sure that those who come after will say of us in our time, that in our time we did everything that could be done. We finished the race; we kept them free; we kept the faith.”- om efterkommerne (i 1984 fra hans tredje tale til nationen).17)”Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere.”- om ledelse (den 15. februar 1986 i FORTUNE Magazine).18)”Government growing beyond our consent had become a lumbering giant, slamming shut the gates of opportunity, threatening to crush the very roots of our freedom. What brought America back? The American people brought us back – with quiet courage and common sense; with undying faith that in this nation under God the future will be ours, for the future belongs to the free.”- om frihed (den 4. februar 1986 i hans tale til nationen). 19)”This idea that government was beholden to the people, that it had no other source of power is still the newest, most unique idea in all the long history of man’s relation to man. This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”- om folket II (den 1. oktober 1964 i talen til det republikanske konvent).20)”The size of the federal budget is not an appropriate barometer of social conscience or charitable concern.”- om socialpolitik (den 5. oktober 1981 i talen til “the National Alliance of Business”).21)”Without God there is not virtue because there is no prompting of the conscience, without God there is a coarsening of the society; without God democracy will not and cannot long endure. If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a Nation gone under.”- om Gud I (i “The Forgotten Roots of American Freedom” af Brad Chaver).22)”Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”- om demokraternes økonomiske politik (bemærkninger den 15. august 1986 til “the White House Council on Business”).23)”Many other countries have made the mistake of mandating costly [employment] benefits, and they have mandated their citizens right out of jobs.”- om arbejdsmarkedspolitik (den 5. marts 1987 til “the House Education and Labor Committee”).24)”Any time you and I question the schemes of the do-gooders, we’re denounced as being opposed to their humanitarian goals. It seems impossible to legitimately debate their solutions with the assumption that all of us share the desire to help the less fortunate. They tell us we’re always “against,” never “for” anything.”- om dem, der vil gøre godt (den 27. oktober 1964 i talen til det republikanske konvent).25)”The taxpayer – that’s someone who works for the federal government but doesn’t have to take the civil service examination.”- om skatteydere.26)”You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man’s age-old dream – the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order – or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism.”- om højre og venstre (den 27. oktober 1964 i talen til det republikanske konvent).27)”Government is the people’s business and every man, woman and child becomes a shareholder with the first penny of tax paid.”- om regeringer I (den 14. januar 1982 i tale til
    “the New York City Partnersh
    ip Association”).28)”It is not my intention to do away with government. It is rather to make it work – work with us, not over us; stand by our side, not ride on our back. Government can and must provide opportunity, not smother it; foster productivity, not stifle it.”- om regeringer II (den 20. januar 1981 i den første indsættelsentale – “Inaugural Address”).29)”Welfare’s purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence.”- om socialhjælp (den 7. juni 1990 i artikel i The Los Angeles Times).30)”Heaven help us if the government ever gets into the business of protecting us from ourselves.”- om regeringer III den 12. april 1973.31)”If we look to the answer as to why, for so many years, we achieved so much, prospered as no other people on Earth, it was because here, in this land, we unleashed the energy and individual genius of man to a greater extent than has ever been done before […]. It is no coincidence that our present troubles parallel and are proportionate to the intervention and intrusion in our lives that result from unnecessary and excessive growth of government.”- om velstand og frihed.32)”They say the world has become too complex for simple answers. They are wrong. There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.”- om enkelhed (den 27. oktober 1964 i tale til det republikanske konvent).33)”Public servants say, always with the best of intentions, ‘What greater service we could render if only we had a little more money and a little more power.’ But the truth is that outside of its legitimate function, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector.”- om den offentlige sektor og den private sektor (den 27. oktober 1964 i tale til det republikanske konvent).34)”Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.”- om politik (den 2. marts 1977 i tale holdt i Los Angeles).35)”We believe faith and freedom must be our guiding stars, for they show us truth, they make us brave, give us hope, and leave us wiser than we were.”- om tro og frihed (i 1985 i hans fjerde tale til nationen).36)”We are for aiding our allies by sharing our material blessings with nations which share our fundamental beliefs, but we are against doling out money government to government, creating bureaucracy, if not socialism, all over the world.”- om udenrigspolitik og bistand.37)”Where there is liberty art succeeds. In societies that are not free, art dies.”- om kunst og frihed (den 1. august 1990 – citat fra Washington Post).38)”We hear much of special interest groups. Our concern must be for a special interest group that has been too long neglected. It knows no sectional boundaries or ethnic and racial divisions, and it crosses political party lines. It is made up of men and women who raise our food, patrol our streets, man our mines and our factories, teach our children, keep our homes, and heal us when we are sick – professionals, industrialists, shopkeepers, clerks, cabbies, and truckdrivers. They are, in short, “We the people”.”- om folket (den 20. juni 1981 fra hans første tiltrædelsestale).39)”We are a nation that has a government – not the other way around. And this makes us special among the nations of the Earth. Our Government has no power except that granted it by the people. It is time to check and reverse the growth of government which shows signs of having grown beyond the consent of the governed.”- om regeringers rolle.40)”Our mission is what it has always been – to lift the world’s dreams beyond the short limits of our sights and to the far edges of our best hopes.”- om drømme, jf. også King.41)””We the People” tell the government what to do, it doesn’t tell us. “We the People” are the driver – the government is the car. And we decide where it should go, and by what route, and how fast.”- om staten og folket.42)”There are no such things as limits to growth, because there are no limits on the human capacity for intelligence, imagination and wonder.”- om vækst (den 20. september 1983 i tale på University of South Carolina).43)”Recognize that government invasion of public power is eventually an assault upon your own business. If some among you fear taking a stand because you are afraid of reprisals from customers, clients, or even government, recognize that you are just feeding the crocodile hoping he’ll eat you last.”- om mod (den 27. oktober 1964 i talen til det republikanske konvent).44)”Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them.”- om regeringer.45)”While I take inspiration from the past, like most Americans, I live for the future.”- om fremtiden.46)”I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer, just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals […] The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom, and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.”- om konservatisme og libertarianisme (den 1. juli 1975 i et interview i Reason Magazine).47)”The founding fathers knew a government can’t control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing.”- om frihed eller kontrol (den 27. oktober 1964 i talen til det republikanske konvent).48)”No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth.”- om bureaukratier.49)”Government has an important role in helping develop a country’s economic foundation. But the critical test is whether government is genuinely working to liberate individuals by creating incentives to work, save, invest, and succeed.”- om regeringers rolle (den 30. oktober 1981), jf. også Hayek.50)”Freedom is the right to question and change the established way of doing things. It is the continuous revolution of the marketplace. It is the understanding that allows us to recognize shortcomings and seek solutions.”- om frihed (den 31. maj 1988 i tale til studenterne på Moskvas universitet).

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  2. Jan Madsen

    Tja, han havde nogle få positive sider. Er der nogen, der kan bekræfte følgende:Et af Reagans valgløfter var at genindføre guldstandarden, så han nedsatte en kommission bestående af økonomer til dette. Alle i kommisionen var dog på forhånd modstander af guldstandarden, så de konkluderede, at det alligevel ikke var tilrådeligt…?

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  3. MrSoprano

    “Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.””Last February 19th at the University of Minnesota, Norman Thomas, six-times candidate for President on the Socialist Party ticket, said, “If Barry Goldwater became President, he would stop the advance of socialism in the United States.” I think that’s exactly what he will do.”Jeg er ligeglad med Rothbard, Reagan Rocks My World!

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  4. Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard

    Kære Lasse,Karikaturen er god–den er, som alle gode karikaturer, morsom, begavet, med et udgangspunkt i virkeligheden … og ikke helt i overensstemmelse med virkeligheden.Som allerede antydet i min post, er jeg selv langt fra ukritisk overfor Reagan. Men i.f.t. påstandene i tegningen, så hører det med til historien, at Reagan dels prøvede at gennemføre større besparelser på forbundsudgifterne (men ikke kom igennem kongressen med dem), og dels formåede at reducere forbundsstatens relative andel af den amerikanske samfundsøkonomi–samt iøvrigt, som den eneste i nyere tid, fik sat en bremse for trenden i udviklingen i mængden af lovgivning.Se f.eks. Veronique de Rugys artikler om Reagan vs. Bush (http://www.aei.org/publications/pubID.20675/pub_detail.asp) og Milton Friedmans to simple tidsserier (http://punditokraterne.smartlog.dk/26689_Ikke_alle_politikere_er_lige_ens.html).Men at vi begge kunne have ønsket os det bedre …

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