It’s birthday time around here. Thirty-five years ago on February sixth my Dawnie had this giant baby pop out and run around the hospital like the gingerbread boy. Well not quite but almost. I remember telling my grandpa, “Dawn had a boy and his name is Hans.” Grandpa looked at me, astonished. I asked what was the matter. He was shocked that we would name a kid after that big guy on Bonanza. No Grandpa; Hans. I was already learning how entertaining life can be for the hard of hearing.
Hans shares his birthday with Ronald Reagan. Ron spoke at my high school and I got to ask him a question back in 1969. The big hubbub then was that Reagan wanted to raise tuition at state colleges. He was no Bernie Sanders, eh? Reagan was no Fritz either. Even at that time I wondered what business it was of the state’s taxpayers to furnish the world with educated workers. I figured that was a parent’s or even the future worker’s responsibility. We can’t discount endowments and scholarships as a more legitimate method of helping promising students. These things could be expanded dramatically with the vastly more efficient use of educational funding of a totally private system.
Maybe Ron was trying to be nice to all the people who had come to expect someone else was going to pay; pulling the rug only part way out from under them. Idealists or ideologues have a real problem with addiction. Not their own but with those who depend on the system. To pull that rug out all the way would create such mayhem that the cure could become worse than the disease. Yet to continue with the growing state must certainly lead to that point Magaret Thatcher recognized, where the money runs out.
Hans was a terrific trumpet player in high school. We took him and a friend to see Dizzy Gillespie in Iowa City. Dizzy was getting old and losing his touch, but the thing about a show like this is the caliber of the musicians that surrounded him. There was even a young man, Ryan Kisor, from Sioux City North sharing the stage who still plays with Wynton Marsalis.
Ronald Reagan was surrounded by exceptional people as well. And it is funny (or tragic) that those people are ignored or marginalized today. These were the people who helped Reagan lead us through an era of peace and prosperity. (There’s always an exception, of course. In this case, being in farm country, we can’t ignore the farm financial crisis of the 80’s that was a result of the export demand bubble burst by our Cold War foreign policy.)
The memory of Mr. Reagan has been hijacked and distorted to enrich the pockets of the powers that be. The fall of the Soviet Union, for example, is mistakenly held up as an example of Reagan’s aggressive foreign policy. There is a big difference between peace through preparedness and strength, and military adventurism. It is a sad commentary on the confidence today’s conservatives have in limited government when out of one side of their mouths come “rights that come from our Creator” and “the sanctity of life;” and out the other side comes, “see the sand glow,” and, “ help introduce him to the 72 virgins.”
If conservatives truly believed in free market principles they would see the Soviet Union collapsed out of the lack of incentive to excel and a hopelessness for future advancement. But they have fallen for the war profiteer’s line that attacking people makes their friends, our friends. There was even someone quoted in the paper as voting for Marco Rubio because he would be strong in defending us from Islamic extremists. Why is it so difficult to understand?
Take a look at a widely accepted measure of the economy; the New York Stock Exchange. In the last five years Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Northrup Grumman (military hardware stocks whose products are purchased by you and me whether we like it or not) have gained about 400% while the Dow has risen 50%.
We are being conned. The Warvanglicals are leftists and the Democrats are leftists. They make a great team confiscating our savings to either produce a failing society like the Soviet Union or an empire such as the failed one in Rome.
Our youngsters deserve better than to grow up in a country where half their working lives are spent as slaves to special interests.
Ronald Reagan’s wise associates that I mention are Pat Buchanan, David Stockman and Paul Craig Roberts. They are worth checking out.