Friday, December 3, 2010

The Worship of Ronald Reagan vs. Facts

The individual who participated in this debate, though uninformed, was respectful. Since I don't want the followers of my Reagan conversations to think I am always belligerent, I felt it appropriate to post this recent exchange I had with a conservative friend. As usual, it is complete and unabridged.

Max Price:

"If the Democrats want to expand government, they're going to have to go through me first, and I don't intend to let that happen. I want to limit government and expand personal responsibility—not the other way around." - r reagan

the quote is from this guy's chairman message, and is relevant to reagan's policy on funding civilly minded programs.

it's an interesting read that gives a more genuine personal regard of reagan rather than the positive or negative retrospect of the president.

i didn't know of reagan's opinion when i sent you my feeling towards the importance of personal responsibility. It was a cool feeling to see those words. In using only this quote and applying it to his opposition to the 60's civil rights bills, one could conclude that reagan did not want minorities, primarily blacks, to succumb to become dependent on gov't programs. if you can give the reason he opposed the civil rights bill i'd be happy to read. all i can find is that he found parts of the bills to be unconstitutional. most importantly, it was heartening to see my opinion of personal responsibility preiterated (yes, i meant that spelling) in Ward Connerly's lecture.

when i looked that guy's name up i found this link as well. you might like this one better

i prob don't need to say this, but i don't agree with racist shit, so if this guy said something messed up i most likely wouldn't agree with it.

Matthew Rozsa

I'm assuming that you're responding to the four-pronged case I have made that Ronald Reagan was a racist. Just to reiterate it, I included:

1) His opposition to the major civil rights legislation of the 1960s.

2) His opposition to fighting apartheid in South Africa, even when that measure was backed by other conservative Republicans as well as Democrats.

3) His efforts to obtain tax-exempt status for private colleges that had racially discriminatory policies (most notably Bob Jones University).

4) His use of coded racist rhetoric in his political speeches, such as his reference to "welfare queens" or his statement "I believe in states' rights" when visiting Neshoba, MS, a town where the term "states' rights" was famously used to justify opposing federal investigations into the KKK's murder of three civil rights workers there.

In your letter you have only addressed the first point, so for the sake of brevity and topicality, I will limit my reply to that issue.

First, you should know that I disagree with the notion that social welfare programs will lead to widespread government dependency by those groups who use them. Note the emphasis on the word "widespread" - I use it because, while sporadic instances of abuse and parasitism do occur, their prevalence and significance has been grossly exaggerated by right-wing demagogues.

That said, even if one DID buy that argument, it is still completely inapplicable to the seminal civil rights bills of the 1960s:

- The Civil Rights Act of 1964 made it illegal for different voter registration requirements to be applied on the basis of race (a common tactic used to disenfranchise black voters), outlawed racial segregation in its most prevalent forms (including in schools, government buildings, and public facilities and accommodations), and made it illegal for employers to discriminate when hiring on the basis of race or gender.

- The Voting Rights Act of 1965 furthered the work of the previous year's bill by increasing legal protections to black voters when attempting to register or cast their ballots.

- The Civil Rights Act of 1968 made it illegal to discriminate in the sale, rental, or financing of housing on the basis of race, religion, or national origin.

As you can clearly see, none of these bills involve social welfare programs of any sort. Each and every one exists for the sole purpose of protecting African Americans from the discriminatory practices that had led to their oppression in the century following the Civil War.

The next question, then, is this:

On what basis did their opponents speak out against them?

Naturally, the vast majority of them were reluctant to be overt in their expression of racist ideals, much as their Obama Era counterparts are today. Instead a variety of myth-based excuses were bandied about, with the most prevalent being that they were simply fighting for "states' rights" (that term again), that advocates of civil rights were actually socialists seeking to take over America, that liberals were using civil rights laws to expand government power with the ultimate goal of creating a tyrannical regime, and that civil rights activists were simply motivated by a hatred of and desire to oppress innocent Southern whites (although how freeing blacks was the equivalent of oppressing whites was an argument they never convincingly articulated). Reagan himself argued that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was "humiliating to the South" while fair housing laws were wrong because "if an individual wants to discriminate against Negroes or others in selling or renting his house, he has a right to do so."

I hope this helps.

Max Price

see matt, i expected you knew this stuff already haha. it's all good information. while i only responded to your first part, i read it all. i mainly wanted to share with you what i found. i might have more for you later on this subject, but my time is scarce away from work. cheers

Max has yet to reply to my letter. If and when he does, however, this blog will be updated accordingly.

No comments: