The strange cult of personality that emerged around Ronald Reagan is a phenomenon of passing interest. For the Left, he was literally not just Hitler, but Satan (seriously); for the so-called Conservatives, he was some kind of American emanation of the Divine. The difference is one of perspective; as Emile Durkheim observed, Satan is a type of God. I, however, not only reject Reagan’s Divinity however conceived, but question whether or not he deserves to be thought of as a Great Man with the singular power and agency needed to work great good or visit terrible evil, and thus worthy of either a positive or negative cult of personality à la Stalin.

I think a corollary of Moldbug’s principle that Leftist protests are merely the public rites of an already-accomplished triumph is that the controlled Conservative opposition is itself occasionally permitted and encouraged to make a big triumphalist show of ostentatiously snatching, from the political dinner-table, some scraps that the Left no longer really wants; the Left of course complains hysterically as a matter of principle and strategy, but has in fact already long lost truly serious interest and moved on to something else.

We were supposed to believe that Reagan was some kind of Messiah (or, according to Leftist rhetoric, Satan) who heroically delivered (tricked and stole) the Nation from the Left. By doing what exactly? By not capitulating to the Soviet or further socializing the economic means of production. But by the 80s the Left had long since abandoned Soviet Communism in favour of cultural Marxism, and was no longer interested in doing the things that Reagan putatively “stopped” them from doing; and, for the things they were interested in doing (e.g. fighting AIDS, which meant promoting the libertine Cultural Marxist agenda), the Republicans under Reagan and his immediate successor and former vice-President, Bush Sr. not only gave them every possible assistance, but did so notwithstanding that “social conservatives” were a formidable bloc in the Republican Party without which Reagan would never have been elected. It’s worth noting that even the memory of the Moral Majority has since then, and in high Stalinist style, been totally stricken from the cuckservative historical record of the Glorious Reagan Revolution and its Stalinist cult of personality. This cult, with its associated revisionist history, is perhaps the only thing which a PR spokesman like Reagan can possibly have in common with a true world-historic actor and Great Man like Stalin.

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3 thoughts on “Viva la Reagan Revolucion?

  1. Worse yet, one should also point out the fact that Reagan, much like his British counterpart Thatcher, in spite all the libertarian retoric, did not only fail to deliver libertarian promises, but actively grew the government, even more so than the contemporary Left. Their libertarian credentials are less than zero, let alone traditionalist ones. It was, after all, Reagan that instituted the no-fault divorce in California when he was the governor (that should have been a sign). It was Thatcher that instituted the gun ban in Britain. And both of them not only raised the taxes, but also exponentially grew the government spending during their rule.

    At first, the only “cut” was in Carter’s last-minute loony-tunes estimates for the future. But in a few short years, Reagan’s spending surpassed even Carter’s irresponsible estimates. Instead, Reagan not only increased government spending by an enormous amount – so enormous that it would take a 40 percent cut to bring us back to Carter’s wild spending totals of 1980 – he even substantially increased the percentage of government spending to GNP. That’s a “revolution”?

    The much-heralded 1981 tax cut was more than offset by two tax increases that year. One was “bracket creep,” by which just inflation wafted people into higher tax brackets, so that with the same real income (in terms of purchasing power) people found themselves paying a higher proportion of their income in taxes, even though the official tax rate went down. The other was the usual whopping increase in Social Security taxes which, however, don’t count, in the perverse semantics of our time, as “taxes”; they are only “insurance premiums.” In the ensuing years the Reagan Administration has constantly raised taxes – to punish us for the fake tax cut of 1981 – beginning in 1982 with the largest single tax increase in American history, costing taxpayers $100 billion.

    Creative semantics is the way in which Ronnie was able to keep his pledge never to raise taxes while raising them all the time. Reagan’s handlers, as we have seen, annoyed by the stubborn old coot’s sticking to “no new taxes,” finessed the old boy by simply calling the phenomenon by a different name. If the Gipper was addled enough to fall for this trick, so did the American masses – and a large chuck of libertarians and self-proclaimed free-market economists as well! “Let’s close another loophole, Mr. President.” “We-e-ell, OK, then, so long as we’re not raising taxes.” (Definition of loophole: Any and all money the other guy has earned and that hasn’t been taxed away yet. Your money, of course, has been fairly earned, and shouldn’t be taxed further.)

    Income tax rates in the upper brackets have come down. But the odious bipartisan “loophole closing” of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 – an act engineered by our Jacobin egalitarian “free market” economists in the name of “fairness” – raised instead of lowered the income tax paid by most upper-income people. Again: what one hand of government giveth, the other taketh away, and then some. Thus, President-elect Bush has just abandoned his worthy plan to cut the capital gains tax in half, because it would violate the beloved tax fairness instituted by the bipartisan Reganite 1986 “reform.”

    The bottom line is that tax revenues have gone up an enormous amount under the eight years of Reagan; the only positive thing we can say for them is that revenues as percentage of the gross national product are up only slightly since 1980. The result: the monstrous deficit, now apparently permanently fixed somewhere around $200 billion, and the accompanying tripling of the total federal debt in the eight blessed years of the Reagan Era. Is that what the highly touted “Reagan Revolution” amounts to, then? A tripling of the national debt?

    What about the supposed deregulation?

    How about deregulation? Didn’t Ronnie at least deregulate the regulation-ridden economy inherited from the evil Carter? Just the opposite. The outstanding measures of deregulation were all passed by the Carter Administration, and, as is typical of that luckless President, the deregulation was phased in to take effect during the early Reagan years, so that the Gipper could claim the credit. Such was the story with oil and gas deregulation (which the Gipper did advance from September to January of 1981); airline deregulation and the actual abolition of the Civil Aeronautics Board, and deregulation of trucking. That was it.

    The Gipper deregulated nothing, abolished nothing. Instead of keeping his pledge to abolish the Departments of Energy and Education, he strengthened them, and even wound up his years in office adding a new Cabinet post, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Overall, the quantity and degree of government regulation of the economy was greatly increased and intensified during the Reagan years. The hated OSHA, the scourge of small business and at the time the second most-hated agency of federal government (surely you need not ask which is the first most-hated), was not only not abolished; it too was strengthened and reinforced. Environmentalist restrictions were greatly accelerated, especially after the heady early years when selling off some public lands was briefly mentioned, and the proponents of actually using and developing locked-up government resources (James Watt, Anne Burford, Rita Lavelle) were disgraced and sent packing as a warning to any future “anti-environmentalists.”

    It seems that Reagan, like Bush, like Thatcher, like all the supposed “satans” of the Left, serve merely to pull the wool over the eyes of the Right. The Left paints them something they are not, it protests, and whines, but it is all just a part of the con-job. When these “satans,” actually “trojan horses” are “in power” they disarm defensive mechanisms of the right-wing constituencies, and can therefore push all the left-wing stuff they want without any sort of opposition from the Right. Had the Jeb won he would have probably been worse than the Obama.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the much-needed detail! Last but not least, following the attempt on Reagan’s life the wife of Jim Brady, who was shot and permanently disabled in that attack, became the most prominent and professional anti-gun crusader in the history of that country, leading an organization, Handgun Control Inc. (later, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence) that was a flagship organization not just of the anti-gun crusade, but the culturally Marxist Left in general in its struggle against both Rightists and Libertarians, whose own flagship in the “culture wars” of the 80s-90s was the National Rifle Association.

      Liked by 1 person

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