These are Dr. Hurd’s comments on Ronald Reagan, from a review of a book on Reagan found on this site at the Booklist under Society/Culture. These comments seem relevant at a time when the current American President has a set of ideas and policies very different from our 40th President.
Ronald Reagan was a more decent person than I realized. He understood, to a greater extent than the media at that time would allow us to know, the absolute necessity of liberty and freedom to the survival of man. He wasn’t moralistic or “extreme,” but simply loved America and what it stood for. Reagan hated Communism because he loved human potential, and he loved freedom for its unleashing of human potential.
I now see how Reagan could defeat Communism when nobody before him in office could: Because he understood–and loved–its alternative. At times he came across as shallow, sentimental and unintellectual, but there was a deeper side there. He had much more of an eye for detail and concrete specifics, to back up his arguments, than I ever knew until I read this collection of his self-written radio broadcasts from the 1970s (as well as other writings, mainly prior to his presidency). I’m happy when I think that we had someone much closer to Thomas Jefferson than the statists of JFK, LBJ, FDR and now, of course, Obama, in charge of the American system. It makes me think that freedom can and will rise again. I’m sad and troubled when I think that Reagan could do so little of lasting impact economically, despite his sincere desire to do so, because the entrenchment of our statist bureaucracy makes it impossible. Reagan understood the power of ideas, and his ideas were largely good ones, well-intentioned and on the right track. But we’re going to need much more than a Reagan “revolution” to save America and freedom.
A final thought: We know that Reagan loved freedom and therefore hated Communism, as well as fascism. Today, we know that Obama hates the Reagan philosophy of freedom to which he often refers as a “failed philosophy.” We know that Obama hates tax cuts, he hates deregulation and he detests any notion of government getting out of the way of the individual. My question: What does Obama actually love? It will take the next 4 years to concretize that. Americans, watch and learn.