K. Lloyd Billingsley - Contributor
[Courtesty of Pacific Research
Billingsley is Editorial Director for the Pacific
Research Institute and has been widely published on topics
including on popular culture, defense policy, education reform,
and many other current policy issues. [go to Billingsley index]
Maximized the Contradictions of Liberalism
Provoking the fury of the Left...
[K. Lloyd Billingsley] 6/10/04
The current outpouring of good will for Ronald Reagan stands
in stark contrast to the beating he used to take in the press.
The reason for the disparity lies in the way Reagan acquired
his political education.
War II Reagan was a liberal on a crusade to save the world
from “neo-fascism.” At
the time, the Communist Party USA was mounting an offensive
in the studios. The Party
controlled a coalition called the Conference of Studio Unions
(CSU) which used jurisdictional disputes to expand power. Since
these were not strikes in the strict sense, the actors opted
to cross the picket lines. Reagan and many others took the full
wrath of the CSU in massive battles outside every studio.
groups were pleased to use Reagan as a speaker until he criticized
communism. He then teamed with other actors to
expose Stalinists, such as screenwriter John Howard Lawson, the
Party’s straw boss in the talent guilds. Reagan was also
instrumental in turning Hollywood against CSU boss Herb Sorrell,
and the Party never achieved its objectives in the studios. The
Hollywood left never forgave him but Reagan, the first union
leader to become president, never forgot the experience.
knew Reagan meant business when he fired the striking air traffic
This also upset the dictates of American
liberalism that for “social justice” to prevail,
unions must always get what they want, whatever the harm to the
public. Reagan’s rise to the presidency also violated liberals’ rule
that they alone are fit to govern, and that a conservative in
the nation's highest office constitutes a national emergency.
Reagan did not hesitate to call the Soviet Union an evil empire,
a fully accurate description, as First Things editor Richard
John Neuhaus observed. The statement sent liberals into fits
of rage but made Reagan a hero to millions in Eastern Europe
who, unlike American liberals, actually had to live under communism.
Defending the United States from a missile attack, Regan believed,
was a better idea than the doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction.
The effort of the Soviet economy to keep up further speeded the
collapse of the empire.
After a Marxist coup on Grenada, Regan sent a force to rescue
Americans there. The president aided anti-communist rebels in
Nicaragua, and let Libya know the consequences of terrorism.
All this provoked the fury of American liberals who believe that,
since America does not live up to their vision, every time the
nation acts in the world it must be illegitimate. Liberals prefer
the UN, which when Reagan became president was headed by Kurt
Waldheim, a Nazi war criminal.
also disliked Reagan's concept that workers should keep more
of what they
earn and that government should live with
limitations. For class-war liberals this amounts to an “assault
on the poor.”
did not intend to do so, Reagan maximized the contractions
As with any president, there are grounds for criticism
but as Les McCann said, “compared to what?” Ronald
Reagan should not be compared with anybody’s wish-list
but instead with other actual presidents.
believe the current praise of Reagan is excessive should read
Jimmy Carter by my colleague Steven Hayward,
followed by the author’s Age of Reagan. CRO
2004 Pacific Research Institute