Hollywood actor, fortieth President of the United States
Ronald Reagan

Ronald Wilson Reagan (6 February 1911 – 5 June 2004) was an American politician and actor who served as the 40th President of the United States from 1981 to 1989. Prior to the presidency, he was a Hollywood actor and union leader before serving as the 33rd Governor of California from 1967 to 1975.


Best of Both Worlds: An Interview with Milton Friedman, by Milton Friedman, Brian Doherty, Reason, Jun 1995
Topics discussed include: the new Congress, flat taxes, the withholding tax, the people who influenced him, what led him to write about policy issues, libertarianism and how his political views have changed over the years
"... I expected so much out of the Reagan administration and was disappointed. I'm a great admirer of Ronald Reagan himself, and I suspect he would have gotten much more done if it hadn't been for the Cold War and the problem of Nicaragua and El Salvador. But nonetheless, there's no doubt that while he talked about cutting down the size of government, he did not succeed. He did slow it down—you've got to give him credit for some achievements. But not the massive reduction that he hoped for and planned for."
Claiming Paine, by Katherine Mangu-Ward, Reason, Jul 2007
Review of the book Thomas Paine and the Promise of America by Harvey J. Kaye
"And then there is Ronald Reagan's appropriation of Paine. Accepting the nomination at the 1980 Republican convention, he said of the American people: 'They are concerned, yes; they're not frightened. They are disturbed, but not dismayed. They are the kind of men and women Tom Paine had in mind when he wrote, during the darkest days of the American Revolution, "We have it in our power to begin the world over again."' Kaye is aghast: How did Reagan (Reagan!) manage to use Paine to 'bolster conservatism and the Republican Party'?"
Clark For President: A Report on the 1980 Libertarian Presidential Campaign, by Ed Crane (Communications Director), Chris Hocker (National Coordinator), Dec 1980
Post-mortem analysis of the Clark campaign, focusing on what the authors consider were the ten most important aspects, and in terms of what was learned that could be useful to later campaigns
"Third, we constantly confronted the need to distinguish Ed Clark from the other serious candidates in terms of issues, while not omitting or downplaying any salient issue. This became a particular problem vis-a-vis Reagan, who was regularly portrayed in the news media as a hard-core advocate of the pure free market. There were two ways to counter this: by talking about Reagan's real economic record, and by emphasizing Libertarian differences with him on civil liberties and foreign policy."
Democracy Versus Liberty, by James Bovard, The Freeman, Aug 2006
Discusses the dangers of equating liberty with "self-government" as majority rule
"In his 1989 farewell address, Ronald Reagan asserted, '"We the People" tell the government what to do, it doesn't tell us. "We the people" are the driver—the government is the car. And we decide where it should go, and by what route, and how fast.' But the American people did not choose to drive into Beirut and get hundreds of Marines blown up, or choose to run up the largest budget deficits in American history, or provide thousands of antitank weapons to Ayatollah Khomeni, or have a slew of top political appointees either lie or get caught in conflicts of interest or other abuses of power or ethical quandaries between 1981 and 1988."
Do Elections Guarantee Freedom?, by James Bovard, Future of Freedom, Nov 2007
Discusses whether democratic elections achieve the purported objective of "will of the people" controlling the government
"In his 1989 farewell address, President Ronald Reagan asserted, '"We the People" tell the government what to do, it doesn't tell us. "We the people" are the driver — the government is the car. ...' But the American people did not choose to 'drive' into Beirut and get hundreds of Marines blown up, choose to run up the largest budget deficits in American history, provide thousands of anti-tank weapons to Ayatollah Khomeni, or have a slew of top political appointees either lie or get caught in conflicts of interest or other abuses of power or ethical quandaries between 1981 and 1988."
Examining Reagan's Record on Free Trade, by Sheldon Richman, The Wall Street Journal, 10 May 1982
Analyzes several actions by the Reagan administration that belie Mr. Reagan's alleged pro-free trade stance
"How ironic that Mr. Reagan, admirer of free-traders, has yet to discover the senseless self-deprivation of protectionism and the imperative of immediate elimination of U.S. trade barriers. As Henry George wrote 100 years ago, 'What protection teaches us is to do to ourselves in time of peace what enemies do to us in time of war.' It is ironic that this debate occurs when protectionism is in intellectual disrepute. Free trade ... is now the respectable position among economists across the spectrum. But what one hears more and more today are protectionist statements prefaced with, “Of course I'm for free trade, but....'"
Related Topics: Farming, Free Trade
Interview with Karl Hess, by Karl Hess, A. Lin Neumann, Reason, May 1982
Topics discussed include the Republican Party, National Review, AEI, Goldwater, Rothbard, anarchism, the Vietnam War, Carter and Reagan, fascism, urban enterprise zones, the environment, and authoritarianism vs. freedom
"The Reagan administration is increasing the debt and the national expenditure, not decreasing them, but they're doing it in a popular way. ... You see, perfectly reasonable people who can tell you that you can never solve domestic problems by throwing money at them, like Reagan, are eager to tell you that you can solve international problems by throwing money at them. ... And we have in Reagan the perfect person to do it because ... he may not even be conscious of this at all. Reagan is a perfectly decent middle-class American who believes the rhetoric. ... But I don't think he studies the legislation very hard."
It Came From Washington: A Criminally Insane Government, by Paul Craig Roberts, 1 Jul 2012
Examines U.S. government adversarial actions towards Russia and China through NATO, in the Middle East and in the Pacific
"When President Reagan nominated me as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy, he told me that we had to restore the US economy, to rescue it from stagflation, in order to bring the full weight of a powerful economy to bear on the Soviet leadership in order to convince them to negotiate the end of the cold war. Reagan said that there was no reason to live any longer under the threat of nuclear war. The Reagan administration achieved both goals, only to see these accomplishments discarded by successor administrations."
Machiavelli and U.S. Politics, Part 3: Lies and Appearances, by Lawrence M. Ludlow, 19 Aug 2005
Continues examination of Machiavelli's teachings and comparison to recent U.S. presidential promises and actions
"Didn't President Reagan tell his supporters that overgrown government was itself the problem, not the solution? Didn't he vow to eliminate draft registration, the Department of Education, and the Department of Energy? ... Reagan is remembered for opening the curtains on 'morning in America' despite saddling taxpayers with massive debt and profligate spending, ... expanding bureaucracies, and an extension of criminal law that has stuffed our prisons with nonviolent offenders. Even his tiny cut in marginal tax rates in 1981 was offset by tax hikes later that year — not to mention bracket creep from inflation."
Reasoning on the Nature of Things, by Clarence B. Carson, The Freeman, Feb 1982
Discusses how natural law doctrines were repudiated by utilitarians, why natural rights are important from an economic viewpoint, how the rights to life, liberty and property can be construed and what the author understands as the "social contract"
"The election of Reagan to the presidency, the gaining of a Republican majority in the Senate, and the increase of conservatives in the House, have been interpreted as a major change in the thrust of government. Also, Reagan has been most vigorous in promoting his economic program during the first six months or so in his term of office. There has been considerable talk of economic freedom, of freeing enterprise, of removing government controls, and the like. But the justifications of these, so far as I am aware, have been made almost solely in utilitarian and pragmatic terms."
Standing Armies, Political Mischief, by Lew Rockwell, 6 Oct 2000
Discusses a poll by the Wall Street Journal about a possible "October Surprise" that would bolster the presidential aspirations of Al Gore
"American history is strewn with politicians who used foreign adventures to bolster their domestic political standing. But the idea of an October Surprise' in particular is of recent vintage. It began with the charge by the political Left, backed by no shortage of evidence, that in 1980, the Reagan campaign arranged for Iran to hold the American hostages until after the election and release them at Reagan's inauguration. Conservatives at the time dismissed such charges as the ravings of former Stalinists trying to discredit the savior of the free world."
The Drug War as a Socialist Enterprise, by Milton Friedman, 16 Nov 1991
From keynote address at Fifth International Conference on Drug Policy Reform; examines why, 20 years after Friedman's admonition against Nixon's drug war, the government continues its attempts at enforcement, in spite of the observable, predicted results
"Trebach: I believe you were a supporter of Ronald Reagan.
Friedman: I still am, but not of everything that he did. ... There are two areas in which I think the Reagan administration performed very badly. One was the drug war and the other was foreign trade. ... Ronald Reagan was a man of principle. He is the first president in my life who was elected because the people had come around to agreeing with him, rather than because he was looking at polls and saying what the people wanted to hear. He was saying exactly the same thing in 1980 when he was nominated, as he was in 1964 when he supported Mr. Goldwater."
The Future of an Illusion: Kerry's Tax Policy, by Charles Adams, 21 Sep 2004
Discusses presidential candidate John Kerry's proposal to tax "the rich" and provides several historical examples of how the wealthy avoid being affected by higher rates
"Ronald Reagan's tax planning is just one simple example of how the rich can easily avoid the upper tax brackets. Someone noticed what a fine golf swing Reagan had, and the answer was that when he reached the top tax bracket, he stopped working and played golf for the rest of the year. Many wealthy doctors (and others) do the same thing, closing down their medical practice around August and then taking a vacation from earning money for the rest of the year. ... However, the Rabbi Trust and Reagan's golf habits are, as any competent tax practitioner knows, just two of many routine ways to avoid Kerry's soak the rich tax strategy."
Related Topics: Democratic Party, Taxation
The Iranian Threat That Never Was, by Sheldon Richman, 26 Mar 2014
Introductory review of Gareth Porter's Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, covering the period from the 1950's to the 1979 revolution and early interference from the Reagan administration
"Continuing the U.S. hostility toward the Islamic Republic begun by the Carter administration, and siding with Iraq when Saddam Hussein's military attacked Iran, the Reagan administration imposed 'a series of interventions ... to prevent international assistance of any kind to the Iranian nuclear program.' Not only did President Reagan block American firms from helping the Iranians; he also pressured American allies to participate in the embargo. This was in clear violation of the NPT, which recognizes the 'right' of participating states to acquire nuclear technology for civilian purposes."
Related Topic: Iran
The Power of Persuasion, by Jeff Riggenbach, Mises Daily, 20 May 2011
Historical account of the Persuasion magazine, edited by Joan Kennedy Taylor between Sept 1964 and May 1968
"Ronald Reagan, the consummate conservative politician, would exemplify this problem more than a decade later. ... One year later, as the Republican nominee for the presidency, he promised voters to end compulsory draft registration, which had been resurrected by the incumbent president, Jimmy Carter. But in 1982, Reagan reneged on this promise, explaining that ... it could hardly be denied that 'we live in a dangerous world,' and 'in the event of a future threat to national safety, registration could save the United States as much as six weeks in mobilizing emergency manpower.'"
The Reagan Record On Trade: Rhetoric Vs. Reality [PDF], by Sheldon Richman, Policy Analysis, 30 May 1988
Analysis of Reagan's stance on free trade and protectionism, contrasting what he and those in his administration said with a lengthy list of actual quotas, tariffs and trade negotiation results
"After more than seven years in office, Ronald Reagan is still widely regarded as a devoted free trader. ... A recent example of Reagan's free-trade rhetoric came in a speech ... in which he said the American trade deficit was a sign of strength. ... Unfortunately, a look at the record leads to the question: With free traders like this, who needs protectionists? ... Many people would be surprised to learn that under Ronald Reagan the American economy is more closed than it was before he came to Washington. ... Ronald Reagan says that one of his heroes is Frederic Bastiat. Reagan ought to reread Bastiat ..."
The Reagan Roadmap for Antiterrorism Disaster, by James Bovard, CounterPunch, 8 Oct 2003
Details events before and after the 23 Oct 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut
"... on April 23, 1983, Reagan announced to the press: 'The tragic and brutal attack on our embassy in Beirut has shocked us all and filled us with grief ...' ... On September 13, Reagan authorized Marine commanders in Lebanon to call in air strikes and other attacks against the Muslims to help the Christian Lebanese army. ... After the 'arms for hostages' deal became public ... Reagan's credibility was devastated. Reagan went into such a tailspin after the crisis broke that his new chief of staff ... briefly examined invoking the Twenty-Fifth Amendment to remove Reagan from office because of medical unfitness."
The Secret State, by Carl Oglesby, 19 Dec 1991
Details various events from the dismantling of the Office of Strategic Services after World War II to the 1991 death of Danny Casolaro, which Oglesby said are reason to be worried about "a secret and invisible state within the public state"
"1980: October Surprise ... Barbara Honegger, activist in the Reagan 1980 campaign, and ... Carter national security aide Gary Sick ... claim in outline that in 1980 William Casey, long-time U.S. super-spy but at that point without the least portfolio, led a secret Reagan campaign delegation to Europe to strike a secret deal ... In the alleged deal, Iran agreed not to release the hostages until the U.S. presidential race was over, thus denying President Carter the political benefit of getting the hostages back. Reagan agreed that, if elected, he would help Iran acquire certain weapons."
To Defeat the Assault on Liberty, Our Appeals Must Be Moral, by Jim Powell, 13 May 2013
Argues, by providing several historical examples, that "compelling moral appeals for liberty" are needed to confront various current problems such as government spending and debt, higher taxes and disregard of constitutional limits on executive power
"Reagan knew how to deal with class warfare, too: 'Since when do we in America believe that our society is made up of two diametrically opposed classes—one rich, one poor—both in a permanent state of conflict and neither able to get ahead except at the expense of the other? Since when do we in America accept this alien, discredited theory of social and class warfare? Since when do we in America endorse the politics of envy?' Reagan made defending liberty look easy, but he had been speaking, writing and debating for some three decades before his 1980 White House run ..."
Under the Shadow of Inflationomics, by Hans Sennholz, Mises Daily, 1 Jun 2006
Explains how inflation has its roots in central banking and fiat money, and describes the influence of Keynesian economics on the policies of U.S. presidents from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush
"The Reagan Administration (1981-1989) reversed long-standing Keynesian trends by pursuing a supply-side economic program of tax and non-defense budget cuts. The program built on the thought that high tax rates and government regulation discourage private investment in areas that fuel economic expansion, and that more capital in the hands of private investors will benefit the rest of the population. ... Economic expansion remained relatively modest although the rate of inflation fell below 4 percent during President Reagan's tenure."
Warring as Lying Throughout American History, by James Bovard, Future of Freedom, Feb 2008
Recounts how U.S. Presidents and their administrations since James Polk have lied about wars, from start to finish
"Reagan paved the way for subsequent presidents in immersing anti-terrorist policy in swamps of falsehoods. In October 1983. ... a Muslim suicide bomber devastated a U.S. Marine barracks ... Reagan portrayed the attack as unstoppable, falsely claiming that the truck 'crashed through a series of barriers, including a chain-link fence and barbed-wire entanglements. The guards opened fire, but it was too late.' In reality, the guards did not fire because they were prohibited from having loaded weapons — one of many pathetic failures of defense that the Reagan administration sought to sweep under the carpet."

Cartoons and Comic Strips

Golly! I was right! Government isn't the solution ..., by Tony Auth, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 13 Sep 2005
Context: Hurricane Katrina
Related Topic: Government


Leonard Liggio on the Rise of the Modern American Libertarian Movement, by Jacob Hornberger, Leonard Liggio, 9 Mar 1995
Talk given at Vienna Coffee Club (Future of Freedom Foundation). Liggio starts off with the New Deal and covers many events and individuals both at the core and the periphery of the modern libertarian movement

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Ronald Reagan" as of 31 May 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.