Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Once Again, He was right...

During his farewell address to the American people, Ronald Reagan, ever the humble optimist, spoke of America as being a shining city on a hill, a beacon of sorts that would set an example for freedom-loving people from every corner of the world. Mr. Reagan had a good reason to speak of our nation in such glowing and confident terms. In the eight short years he was in office, our nation accomplished more economically and internationally for the cause of liberty than at any time since World War II. 19 million new jobs, falling inflation and interest rates, record economic growth, a doubling of federal revenues and the vanquishing of the Soviet Union all happened as a direct result of his view that liberty works best for our people, and all people.

Mr. Reagan would have never believed that in less than 20 years since he left office the United States would be slouching towards the goal of becoming Western Europe - debt-ridden with quasi-nationalization of key industries (see cars, student loans, banking, health care...), exploding social welfare spending, rising levels of regulations and the threat of punitive tax rates on the more productive people among us.

I have said many times in recent years that America is no longer Reagan's America but one where the Reagan years are to be looked at as a brief aberration as we stumble into the same ditch as the Romans. I have not shared in his optimism. I have not believed my own statements that we must have hope because we are the only nation whose reset button has the word "liberty" on it. I tell my students, and have prepared to tell my kids, that our country still has time to change its mind and turn this economic Titanic around. Yet, many times I think I say this only because I do not want to feel guilty for bringing children into a world where they will be poorer than I, only by virtue of being born while adult socialists made plans on how to ruin their chance for success.

Yet, once again, I am proven wrong and Reagan, the great sage is proven right. There are reasons to be hopeful even when all looks bleak.

Of course, one reason could be the 63 seats that the Republicans won in November promising to not act like a Bush Republican. Another could be found in Mr. Obama recently pushing for greater free trade with South Korea despite protests from unions, environmentalists and other groups who do not want to compete in the global economy. It is also somewhat encouraging to see Mr. Obama cave in on his promise to force tax rates up on high achievers. The coming two year extension of the Bush tax cuts, combined with the payroll tax cut, even if temporary, are also a temporary movement away from the Hope and Change idiocy that has been so pervasive in our country.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, is the decision of Judge Henry Hudson, who just yesterday ruled that Mr. Obama's health care legislation requiring all of us to engage in commerce - by force - is unconstitutional. We may now see the implosion of the criminally suffocating health care legislation that promised to hurt businesses and individuals everywhere.

Somewhere, Mr. Reagan is probably smiling that sly smile of his and saying, "I wonder why people were so frantic over the past couple of years. Don't they know that Americans always change their minds when they come to believe that government is the problem, rather than the solution to what ails us?"

Bit by bit perhaps his reason for optimism is being woven back into the fabric of what makes our nation unique. I for one plan to do more sewing in the near future. After all, if Mr. Reagan could have hope when times suggested there should be none, the least I can do is have hope when current times suggest there is little.


  1. I've always been an optimist. I'm glad you're thinking about joining me. :)

  2. Professor Chambless,

    After speaking with you the other day in your office, I'm doing what I can to stave off the pessimism I've felt building for years. I'm not saying our little talk did all that. While you're a very good and convincing speaker, it was more of a straw that broke the downhearted camel's back. You're right about Reagan here and you're right about the resiliency of liberty here in the US. We've faced down threats to our freedom ever since we first won it, so now should be no different.
    It's nice to feel a little optimism and a drive to "sew" more as you put it.

  3. This has been one of your best posts yet. I'm glad that the changes that I've considered positive in the past couple of months are an actual sign of this 'Titanic turn-around'. We must keep fighting for liberty, and use these small steps into the right direction as an incentive to keep pushing for more freedom, especially economic freedom.

  4. It’s such a relief to know that the health care legislation was officially declared unconstitutional. I was confident it would be killed before it was enacted, but since I have a little less faith in humanity, I was expecting the worst.
    I saw on a video that the legislation made it mandatory for every individual to purchase health care insurance, because the chief lobbyist from the insurance industry would only support the bill with that condition. Since Obama had been completely against the mandate, would it be safe to say that the main culprit of that specific point in the bill was the private sector, not the government?