Saying Goodbye to the Gipper: A Requiem for Reaganism
April 8, 2021 (1mo ago)

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Guest Post by Scott Greer

Con Inc. can’t quit Ronald Reagan. This week, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson defended his support for chemically castrating kids by appealing to Reagan.

I go back to William Buckley, I go back to Ronald Reagan and the principles of our party, which means a limited role for government. [Twitter]

Go to 2:20 in the video below to see it for yourself.

Reaganism, according to Hutchinson, means government doing absolutely nothing about civilizational threats. The government is only supposed to deliver tax cuts to mega corporations and spread democracy to the third world. It’s not its job to protect your kids.

Many conservatives will refute Hutchinson’s claims and insist Reagan would oppose the chemical castration of children. That may be so, but there’s a problem with the Right’s continued reverence for the 40th president. The Gipper left office over 30 years ago, yet conservatives still evoke his name like he’s second only to Jesus Christ. This could be discounted as nothing more than harmless nostalgia. But Reaganism is not antiquated — it’s in many ways the same globalism that patriots  battle today.

The only difference is that Reagan tailored globalism to Middle American tastes.

Rick Perlstein’s 2020 book, Reaganland: America’s Right Turn 1976-1980, shows how the Gipper’s rhetoric had more in common with Davos than Donald Trump. You probably don’t know that Reagan supported a European Union for North America. His vision was far more expansive than what later came out of the horrible North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

In his 1980 campaign announcement speech, Reagan proclaimed, “A developing closeness among Canada, Mexico, and the United States — a North American accord — would permit achievement in each country beyond that which I believe any of them, strong as they are, could accomplish in the absence of such cooperation,” Reagan said in his 1980 campaign announcement speech.

The future president said this North American union was the natural update to the Founding Fathers’ vision. He extolled this union because it would allow the “peoples and commerce of its three strong countries [to] flow more freely across their present borders than they do today.” Essentially, Reagan endorsed open borders when it came to immigration and trade.

This opinion wasn’t some gaffe in an interview. It was written into his speech announcing his candidacy for president.

This section of his announcement speech was based on a staff memo requested by Reagan. The then-presidential candidate dubbed the request: “the open border project.” The memo suggested that America could adopt the Roman ideal of universal citizenship as a model for naturalizing all residents on the continent. “The simplicity of the idea, and its generosity, cannot fail to work its way among the poor, the hopeless and among the educated and more affluent,” the memo read. The memo also argued that the benefit “of cheap labor with no questions asked” would assuage Middle American concerns about “cultural dilution.”

Reagan endorsed this memo. This mentality explains why he signed the 1986 amnesty into law that legalized over three million illegals and worsened the problem of illegal immigration. He thought cheap labor and open borders were good for the country — just like globalists do.

Reaganland shows other instances of the 40th president’s commitment to the Globalist American Empire. In a 1980 primary debate, both Reagan and his future vice president George H.W. Bush embraced illegal aliens and open borders. An ordinary audience member asked Bush if he thinks that Texas should educate the children of illegal aliens for free. Bush said they should and insisted that he thinks illegals should be legalized. “These are good people. Strong people. Part of my family is Mexican,” the former CIA director added.

Reagan agreed with his opponent. “Rather than talking about putting up a fence, why don’t we work out some recognition of our mutual problems, and make it possible for them to come here legally with a work permit,” he replied. He also argued that we need to “open the border both ways.” The Chamber of Commerce couldn’t have said it better.

In a 1977 radio address, he criticized working-class Americans who were worried about unfair competition from illegal aliens. “Are great numbers of our unemployed really victims of the illegal alien invasion, or are those illegal tourists actually doing work our own people won’t do? One thing is certain in this hungry world: No regulation or law should be allowed if it results in crops rotting in the fields for lack of harvesters.”

Reagan also welcomed the Mariel boatlift, which brought hundreds of Cuban criminals to the United States without the permission of the American people. Despite the massive problems caused by these migrants, Reagan praised them for “yearn[ing] to be free.” He supported refugee resettlement, regardless of its negative effects on the American people, because it made America look good in its rivalry with the Soviet Union.

To Reagan, American identity depended more on newcomers than the people who lived here for generations. This is why he was obsessed with the “shining City on a Hill” rhetoric. America was only good insofar that it engages in foreign interventions for “freedom” and embraces mass immigration. Reagan shared the neocons’ “invade the world/invite the world” mentality. The difference between Reagan and the neocons is that Reagan knew when to pull out of foreign conflicts, such as when he withdrew troops from Lebanon.

Reagan also failed as a president in rolling back the federal government’s overreach, particularly its most insidious policies. Christopher Caldwell explains in his book, The Age of Entitlement, how Reagan failed to do anything about affirmative action. Caldwell argues that Reagan’s policies forced the burden of diversity onto the private sphere, which made this consequence of the civil rights revolution far worse. Thanks to Reagan, multinational corporations are now responsible for making sure “racial equity” is reached. He also did little to cut back on the public sphere’s “positive discrimination.”

It can be argued that Reagan’s economic policies boosted American prosperity and his anti-crime measures helped make America safer. We can appreciate those things while realizing that Reaganism as a whole deserves to be buried. It only offers terrible answers to the problems of our time. We don’t need to accept millions of immigrants and unvetted “refugees” to prove our greatness. And we certainly don’t need to back dubious “freedom fighters” in third world countries to demonstrate our values.

We simply need to put our own people first. For all his errors as president, Donald Trump understood this. President Trump doesn’t celebrate America because it offered asylum to the huddled foreign masses. He loves America because it’s his country.

The future of the Right depends on dispensing with Zombie Reaganism and understanding this fundamental truth: Abstract values don’t make America great — it’s our people who make it great.

Scott Greer is author of “No Campus for White Men” and host of the “Highly Respected” podcast. He is a proud alum of  The Daily Caller.

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