Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Happy Birthday Ronnie

I’d just like to say one big happy Birthday to Ronald Reagan who would have been 102 today. Considering how old he actually was  when doing the job, he showed quite a lot of youth and energy as President notably showing up Gorbachev several times. Why however should we be praising Ronald Reagan? Well I bet most of you know roughly already but I'm going to give a brief synopsis of why he’s one of the greatest Presidents of all time.

Reagan was a lover of the free market, personal freedom and his own country. America’s economy grew significantly under Reagan, through a period of prosperity that Republicans keep going on about today. And you know they are right to say that if you deregulate businesses, cut taxes, and most importantly shrink the state the economy will expand. Furthermore, Reagan tackled the world wide inflation problem in the US by reducing the money supply whilst in Europe they decided to begin losing their own economic freedom by pinning their currencies to the Deutsche Mark. The greater economic freedom led to more personal freedom, something Ronald Reagan rightly believed America should stand for. He was very proud of this and consequently very proud of the US. It was said of him that he was always happy and looked like that at any moment would turn around to say ‘God Bless America’ and truly mean it.

Ronald Reagan ended the Cold War. Although others helped, the primary reason why we don’t have the USSR and Marxist-Leninism around anymore is because of this chap. The Soviet Union was a mess of the state in 1980 when Reagan became President, it was backward in every way. But the country had a stable system of government just like North Korea is now. Ronald Reagan hated Communism and knew that if the world did not act it would still be around for many years to come.

The best thing about how Ronnie dealt with this problem though is that there wasn't a shot fired in the European hot zone. He challenged the USSR to an arms race knowing that the US could win economically without there ever being a war. Indeed, Reagan started STI not a weapon but a destroyer of weapons, for the use of peace only. Reagan also helped set the tone for the USSR.

There are some things I do think Reagan got wrong. I'm not sure that in Afghanistan he was paying much attention to who exactly he was arming. Nor do I think with such ferocity should he have attacked central and South American Communists because it has partially led to US-phobia (although there is some elements of jealously there). But long term thinking on what were smaller issues in the 1980s is hardly a very fair criticism when giving an overall verdict for Ronnie.

However, I believe it is a bit of a myth that Reagan was a massive social conservative, seen as a positive and a negative by some. I doubt if he were a politician today Ronald Reagan would have the same ideas about gay people, rape and the Bible as some Republicans have. He was certainly not a nutter.

But was Ronald Reagan good? Yes, he was great. I feel to celebrate the great man we can legitimately get on our Stetsons and listen in to Luc Chignell’s country and western show on URN (Saturdays 11-1). But after that make sure you take them off, we’re British unlike you Luc.

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