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Heartland’s Benjamin Domenech has an excellent post over at Ricochet titled “Did the Reagan Revolution Fail?” Ben takes issue with the brilliant Steven Heyward’s piece at AEI last week about “Modernizing Conservatism.” Here’s an excerpt from Ben’s Ricochet essay:
In October of 1964, Ronald Reagan presented himself to the country as a politician, giving the speech he’d been giving essentially for a decade without mention of Barry Goldwater. It’s easy for many of us to recall so many lines from The Speech. But we often forget the introduction: “I am going,” Reagan said, “to talk of controversial things. I make no apology for this.”
The Reagan Revolution began at that moment. It took twenty years, until the reelection of 1984, for his approach to governance and the world to be proven right by history. It took twenty-five for it to be memorialized by a wall that isn’t there.
Ask anyone on the right, and they’ll tell you Reagan’s Revolution ended in triumph. But now Steve Hayward tells us it ended in defeat.
Hayward is not just smart but a genuinely brilliant fellow, which is why, for the past several months, I’ve tried to put this post on the “conservative case for higher taxes” to the side and pretend it doesn’t exist, the way I do with the Star Wars prequels. (Never happened. Couldn’t happen.) But now he’s rewritten the same argument again, and I think it needs doing.
Here’s my favorite bit (among many) from Ben’s Ricochet piece:
At their core, most technocrats are motivated by a naive belief in the inherent goodness of men. They believe people, including politicians, will see reason and the greater good if it is only shown to them. They believe in the healing power of the chart and the graph and the illustrated trajectory of society. They believe that because they play fair, the other side will too. And they are oh so very wrong.
Ben continues with more brilliance … including a tip of the hat to Heartland’s work on debunking the climate change panic.