Thursday, December 04, 2008

Reagan the Socialist

Here's Ronald Reagan from a 1967 debate with Robert Kennedy: 
But I believe if government is to mean anything at all, that all of us have a responsibility, once the action has been decided upon and supposedly by the majority will, that we then, while reserving our right to disagree, we support the collective or the unified effort of the nation. Otherwise, all law and order and all government breaks down, because we might have a citizen who has a conscientious objection to paying taxes and if we allow our citizens to voluntarily quit paying taxes the government breaks down--or obeying the law, or anything else that may come along. We give up certain individual freedoms in the interest of--well, I suppose it comes from our own Constitution our idea that every American or every person has the right, is born with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But my pursuit of happiness, if it comes from swinging my arm, I must stop swinging my arm just short of the end of your nose.
And while I don't necessarily agree with everything he said (and in fact, think he got a bit confused as to what he was talking about), this hardly sounds like the rugged individualist Reagan's supporters continually pretend he was.  And sure, he was talking specifically of the Vietnam draft, but it's obvious this applies to everything else.  Society is about people making sacrifices to help one another, and that includes making sacrifices so the government works better.  

But of course, all conservatives will agree to this idea, if they let their guard down and speak freely.  It's only when the requirements of their strange ideology make them speak gibberish that they fail to make sense.  But even they realize that we must all make sacrifices and work together to make the world better.  Sorry I don't have anything funny to add to this.  I'll try harder next time.

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