|Source: Liberty Pen- U.S. President Ronald Reagan-|
President Reagan speaking in favor of individual freedom and not big government. Taking on big Left-Wing big government supporters in Congress who wanted to make America like Europe. The Ted Kennedy's/Tip O'Neal's in Congress that wanted a Scandinavian style welfare state in America financed with high taxes across the board.
Something Barry Goldwater obviously wanted to do when he ran for President in 1964, but ran at a time when the New Deal and Great Society approach to economics and having a central government safety net for people was very popular. And where perhaps 1/2 Americans if not more expected their government to provide lot of economic insurances for them.
But by the time the mid 1970s comes around where a lot of the country was dealing with high taxes and the recession of 1974-75 and a weak recovery of 1976, big central government was becoming unpopular in America.
And the country was not just moving right, but right-wing Democrats were moving out of the Democratic Party and into the Republican Party. Which is how along with The Deflation and the economic malaise of 1978-79 that went though 1980, is how Ronald Reagan defeats President Jimmy Carter in 1980 and becomes President of the United States.
But Reagan wasn't a Phyllis Schlafly/Pat Buchanan right-wing Nationalist Republican. That wanedt to take America back to another time when their faction of the country was in control of the country. And where ethnic, racial, and religious minorities weren't as prevalent. The Schlafly-Buchanan wing of the Republican Party who hated big government in the economy, but believed big government could be used to set basic moral standards in America and direct how Americans should live their personal lives. Which is one reason why he wouldn't fit into today's Christian-Right GOP. That might not want big government in the economy, because they want it in our homes and personal lives instead.
Reagan wasn't a Libertarian Republican, at least in the classical sense. His support for the War on Drugs is an excellent example of that. But he didn't believe government should be dictating how Americans should live their own lives. And believed in personal choice and privacy, short of harming others and society.
Reagan was very conservative in how he lived his own personal life and had very culturally conservative views like women's place in the world and romantic couples living with each other before marriage. But he didn't believe that government should make these decisions for everyone else. Especially at the Federal level.
He really is the closest thing we've ever had to a Libertarian Republican, at least in the television era and it really isn't close. His hawkish views and beliefs in a conservative internationalist foreign policy, is another example of why Ronald Reagan wasn't a Libertarian. But he truly was someone who believed in individual freedom both from an economic and personal standpoint. Which is something I respect about him.