Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Pond Scum Spotting

The virulent venom of frustrated rage:
The lot of the no-account eastcoast libsnob longhaired artsyfartsy slagpunk francophile comsymp is not a happy one. Not this week.

All of America and much of the world is celebrating the life of a man who actually changed the course of history, and, for once, for the better. But not quite everyone.
And their knickers are definitely in a twist. Follow the link for some examples, but here's the deal:
What turns these unworthies a shade of crispy brown is not that they think Ronald Reagan actually fits any of their purple descriptions, but that he transformed, and transformed irretrievably, the politics not only of his country, but of the world.

Margaret Thatcher got it right when she said more than a decade ago that Mr. Reagan's greatest accomplishment was that "he has achieved the most difficult of political tasks, changing attitudes and perceptions about what is possible."

A generation has risen almost to maturity that cannot remember that only yesterday the triumph of free men and women over the blight of communist tyranny was no sure thing. When Ronald Reagan came to office in 1981, the Soviet Union looked no worse than even money to win the Cold War. Powerful, reasonable voices were raised suggesting that the best the West could achieve was to make a subservient peace with the communists.
If you are too young to remember the spiritual miasma of Jimmy Carter in office, consider yourself lucky. His operative philosophy was "It's all our fault." Sounds familiar, doesn't it? We're damn lucky we had Ron to banish Jimmy back to the farm before his screw-ups became irretrievable.

But back to the pond scum - it's clear that they have their talking points all lined up, which I would summarize as "No big deal". Here's Arty Schlesinger and the "intellectuals":
Writing on Ronald Reagan's achievements in Newsweek, historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. notes, "Reagan's admirers contend that his costly re-armament program caused the Soviet collapse. Maybe so; but surely the thing that did in the Russians was that time had proved communism an economic, political and moral disaster."

Funny: Here's Schlesinger in 1982, observing that "Those in the United States who think the Soviet Union is on the verge of economic and social collapse" are "wishful thinkers who are only kidding themselves."
Tsk, Arty's just a tad forgetful, I guess. But wait, there's more!
Many historians and pundits have refused to credit Ronald Reagan's policies for helping to bring about the Cold War victory, blaming communism's chronic economic problems. Yet, like Scheslinger, they failed to describe it as inevitable while Reagan was actually in office.

In 1982, the learned Sovietologist Seweryn Bialer of Columbia University wrote in Foreign Affairs: "The Soviet Union is not now nor will it be during the next decade in the throes of a true systemic crisis, for it boasts enormous unused reserves of political and social stability."

But the genius award undoubtedly goes to Lester Thurow, an MIT economist and well-known author who, as late as 1989, wrote: "Can economic command significantly . . . accelerate the growth process? The remarkable performance of the Soviet Union suggests that it can. . . . Today the Soviet Union is a country whose economic achievements bear comparison with those of the United States."

Throughout the 1980s, most of these pundits derisively condemned Reagan's policies. Strobe Talbott of Time magazine faulted the Reagan administration for espousing "the early '50s goal of rolling back Soviet domination of Eastern Europe," an objective he considered misguided and unrealistic.
Ole Strobe ("all states will recognize a single, global authority") was rewarded for his perspicacity with a gig in the Clinton State Department. I guess we're just lucky the single, global authority didn't feature Marx and Lenin.

But I digress. More pond scum spotting here and here.

Peter Bronson sums up:
Remove the filler, and here's the national media's obituary for Ronald Reagan in 12 words: "Great communicator. Star Wars. Trickle down. Iran-Contra, Iran-Contra, Iran-Contra."

Of course, it's much longer than that. There's a lot more in there about Iran-Contra, I think. But that's what we get when we turn our first draft of history over to the liberal elites. It's like giving firearms to chimpanzees.
Pete's too polite.