Sunday, June 06, 2004

Ronald Reagan

Lauren and I were sad to hear of the death of President Reagan on Saturday. It wasn't totally unexpected, of course, but sad nonetheless. If nothing else, growing up he was always the rote answer to the question: who is the President? We didn't know much about politics, but we knew that Ronald Reagan was the President, and he was protecting us from the evil communists.

Yet for a long time, I never really "got" the Reagan thing. I remember seeing a picture of him on a Claremont professor's wall and thinking, "was he really that special?"

I soon came to realize, however, that Reagan represented, perhaps for the first (and only) time in the 20th Century, a president that truly believed in the ideas of the modern conservative movement. He distrusted big government. He liked cutting taxes. And, perhaps most importantly, he despised relativistic thinking. He truly believed in the Declaration of Independence's principles, Lincoln's words, and 20th century conservative thinkers' writings. It's rare for such a true believer to enter the White House.

So whatever your politics, I think there's a lot to admire about Ronald Reagan. "Ideas" people are always preferable to wishy-washy politicians in my book. Thus, We should all hope Reagan's influence on public life endures, if not because of his politics, then because of his character.

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