End Results


casablanca31.jpgWhere we are today is not an aberration. It is the logical outcome of Reaganism.

When Reagan said that “government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem,” he summarized a right-wing agenda intent on abolishing public responsibility in favor of a pre-New Deal vision of unfettered capital. The Reaganites endowed the market with the magical power of making everything work towards the good.

In this vision, selfishness is the only real good. The profit motive is the only legitimate motive. In the years since Reagan, we have seen privatization create havoc in our health care system. Healing is founded on the idea of service, of working together for the good of individuals and communities. The profit motive has proved to be only a degrading force in this regard, but those who made money from exploiting the system continued to force health into the Reagan mold.

The inability to recognize the public good as a value is a prime characteristic of Reaganism. For this reason, it’s impossible for the right wing to make any progress in the country’s educational system. In fact, the system continues to get worse.

The rise of Reagan constituted a quite deliberate and overt repudiation of empathy and compassion as social values. His fairy tales about welfare queens were all about blaming the poor. If people were poor, it was all their own fault. In addition, racism was no longer a problem. Black people who criticized institutional racism were guilty of a victim mentality. It was black culture that was at fault. This is a vein that the Republicans have continued to mine up to the present. Reagan was actually George Wallace, but with a nice smile.

If I had to pick a slogan for the Reagan movement it would be, “We don’t care.” We don’t care about anything except standing guard while the rich make their money. To accomplish this, we will pour the tax revenues into the Pentagon, from which no ordinary citizens will experience any benefit. When your taxes go for nothing, then of course you’ll demand lower taxes. Lower taxes, more money for the rich, the poor stay poor, and the defense contractors stay fat.

After Reagan, every little hate-filled cockroach came crawling up from the under the rocks. They got AM radio talk shows, newspaper columns, and TV shows, along with high government positions. People who were rightly considered wackos in the 1970s were suddenly treated as if they were respectable. Reagan’s appointment of the nutcase James Watt to head of Interior was symbolic of everything that’s happened since. When your position is that government is the problem, and you run the government, then government becomes a topsy-turvy circus, a grotesque theater of hostility. Reagan’s America had a sneer on its lip and a mean glint in its eye.

Reagan secretly sold arms to Iran in order to fund murderers in Central America. All he got was a little slap on the wrist. Many of the players returned under Bush Jr. to play their illegal games again.

So don’t look around and act surprised that we have a vicious mobster in the White House, bleeding our future dry with dirty wars and secret plotting. Reagan won two elections, the second by a landslide. A lot of people voted for this shit. This is exactly what happens when you say “We don’t care. All I want is mine. To hell with justice, fairness, kindness. To hell with children, the aged, the poor.” This is exactly what you get.


~ by cdash on January 9, 2008.

10 Responses to “End Results”

  1. And yet, when this is pointed out, many lefties still think we should be “mature” and “not stoop to their level” and “try some reconciliation.”

    Um, not with any elected Republican or party official. When you don’t punish evil, what incentive is there to not do evil? The inherent goodness of human nature? We’re fucking tribal. Someone somewhere is always going to try and fuck everyone else.

    Assuming the election happens, and by some Diebold-esque miracle, a Dem gets in, we all know that Bush will pardon everyone and there will be no investigations because we need to heal, like we did in 1974 and 1992 so that in another 1-2 elections, another Republican can try and fuck shit up even further.

  2. your post is not about religion, but it reminded me that sadly, the reagonites and bushies forgot one of the most important things that their “savior” jesus said:

    “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.”

  3. Dash:

    Very comprehensive and pithy summary of all that was wretched about “Reaganism.” From the opening of the campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi to welfare-queen canard through the craven Iran-Contra scheme(ahh, you forgot the deregulation of the Savings And Loan industry), his influence was indeed toxic and surely opened Aunt Dora’s Box (my favorite pun).

    I voted for Carter in 1980 and Mondale in 1984 and I’d vote for both again in a heartbeat.

    At least, however, there were aspects to the man and his presidency which make those years seem like some kind of golden age of justice and competence compared with what the USA has endured since George W. Bush took office. For all of his “Evil Empire” rhetoric, there were few American presidents quicker than Reagan to establish close ties with the day’s Soviet Premier. Reagan/Gorbachev I at Hofdi House in Reykjavik was a masterpiece of summitry.

    While I can’t say that I AGREED with most of Ronald Reagan’s views, nor most of the views of Baker, Regan and Shultz, I don’t believe that Reagan had the INTENTION of being anything other than an honorable public servant and as professionals those latter three Cabinet Secretaries don’t come much more competant. Basically, they’d made their money and seemed to try to do what they thought was in the best interests of the nation. I’ll always give Shultz extra credit for being an unapologetic advocate of drug legalization even when the “War On Drugs” was one the Administration’s signature issues and signature frauds.

    People like Obama and Lieberman and McCain always prattle on about “partisanship” but there was always something comforting about Reagan carrying on at his worst rhetorically and O’Neill giving it back and then the two of them finding a way to settle it up amicably later AFTER all the rancor.

    George W. Bush is truly the Manchurian Candidate. Had he set out to betray the United States on the behalf of “Red China” and Saudi Arabia he could not have done a better job. Given all of the Chekhovian business with GHWB unable to control his tears publicly when he discusses Jeb, Barbara Bush’s malevolence, and the ultimate triumph of “her” son George over “his” son Jeb, is it that hard to imagine some of the incest protrayed so ably by Angela Lansbury and Laurence Harvey going on in the Bush family?

    One of the terrible knock-on effects of the Reaganism you depict is the drift in the “center” of the “Democratic” party presidential candidates from Mondale to Dukakis to Clinton to Gore to Kerry to…for a second there it was looking like Obama. Thankfully, it seems that HRC has halted Obama and halted the drift. My God, after Obama who was going to be the 2012 Democratic Nominee, George Wallace’s ghost?

    I am well aware that my point of view on Obama is not the mainstream one, but I urge everyone to look past their own projections of their own fantasies onto the man and LISTEN to what he says and doesn’t say. Make no mistake about it, this man is by far the most right-wing Democrat in the race. And I will argue it point-for-point with anyone. Two very fresh points to ponder: props to Bill Clinton for pointing out that Obama’s blog had recently been cleansed of its effusive praise of George W. Bush and Bush’s handling of foreign affairs and national security, and the bizarre juxtapositioning in Obama’s New Hampshire “concession” speech for critical references to slavery yet praise for Manifest Destiny.

    Black-man good, Red-man bad, Senator? Is that what he meant? He probably, as usual, had no idea even what he was saying. His speeches because of some MLK, Jr., meme, are thought to be significant but aren’t even English. Sure, the sentences have a subject, a predicate, an object and various modifiers, but they never really make sense, do they? How can surrender to Republicans and the status quo on Iraq and health care somehow represent “change”? Especially to young people.

    Obama, in my mind is, nothing so much as a PRODUCT of Reaganism.

  4. You fall into my category or fixing themsleves, just so you know.


    You can hate, I give you that right.

  5. “The inability to recognize the public good as a value is a prime characteristic of Reaganism.”

    So well said, Dashiell. This post really sums up what is wrong with the entire Neocon vision.

    Welcome back, by the way!

  6. To accomplish this, we will pour the tax revenues into the Pentagon, from which no ordinary citizens will experience any benefit.

    It got us the Internet. Of course, that pre-dates Reagan’s Presidency. But the conversion of ARPANET to the Internet mostly happened during his tenure and was paid for with DoD tax dollars.

    And I think a strong military does provide benefit. That’s not to say there isn’t a lot of waste there. There certainly is. We certainly didn’t need to spend as much money as we did.

    And Kelso brings up good points as well. In particular, his relationship with SotH Tip O’Neill.

    However, I agree that the Reagan Superhero Myth has spawned an evil horde as you described.

  7. can someone please explain what was so great about Reagan — why do so many people (including Reagan democrats????) want to dig him up and jolt electricity in him — and being better than GWB is not an answer…

    how we were so much better off with a man who didnt remember IranContra than one who doesnt remember reading the NIE

  8. You forget to mention about the same time they came out with Movies Like The Day After(with no commerfciald to add to the realism) starring Jason Robards.

    A realistic potrayal of nuclear hell. I was thirteen it scared the shit out me.

    He fell asleep while the Pope was talking to him. I have always looked at our government as an asylum in which the inmates are in charge. My cynicism knows no bounds. We are perpetually, profoundly fucked. That is, if you buy into goodwill, self sacrifice and all the great ideal stuff we love to hold dear.
    I rarely see anyone get out their car to help me or anyone else with a flat.
    I rarely see anyone to go out of their way to do anything for anybody.

    That is not Reagan or Bush

    I gotta get back to work.

  9. Dash, my memories of Reagan are pretty stark as well. He’s the guy that threw out the PATCO strikers, deregulated pretty much every industry in the nation and stated – as a joke – that the bombing begins in 5 minutes. He is the one who could not recall authorizing the sale of arms to Iran to fund the Contras. He paid lip service to the AIDS epidemic and the drug trade. Yeah, I agree, some may think this guy was a good president, but he started the US on the slippery slope this she’s on now.

  10. What about the convenient release of the US Embassy hostages in Iran coinciding with his election? Remember when he went to Germany and laid a wreath at the SS cemetary? The Ramones got him right with ‘Bonzo Goes to Bittburg’.

    I’d say the main thing screwing up this country is the travesty of presidential election year gaming we’re seeing right now. How is it that 2 little states like Iowa and New Hampshire can have the decisive vote about who even runs.. and don’t get me statrted on the Electoral College. No wonder the whole system is so easy to game. If it was at all fair a Republican wouldn’t have been president even once in the last generation.

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