Is It Be Hip to Be Square Again for Social Conservatives?

Ronald Reagan is considered by most scholars the last great president, leading one to recognize the sheer dearth of well-qualified leadership from his successors since leaving office in 1989. During the Reagan years, America experienced a phenomena of social simplification from the previous generation of civil unrest and immorality that produced the bulk of today’s liberal politicians and pundits. And while three Republicans were president between 1953 and 1981 (Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford), neither can be classified a conservative according to the standard of Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-AZ), who lost to incumbent Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1964 Presidential Election in a landslide. The new gold standard was realized under Reagan, an actor who achieved fame from humble beginnings, delivering his first landmark political speech stumping for Goldwater called “A Time for Choosing”.

It took a former Democrat to call “a spade a spade”, but then Reagan was not a run-of-the-mill politician. He was an American icon born from the roots of J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur, the first to allude to what qualities would comprise the American Dream.  As Reagan was born in the small rural town of Dixon, Illinois, he was far removed from the laps of luxury most of his predecessors enjoyed. He was a self-made man, an adherent to the mantra hard work pays off.  It was this principle that served as the foundation for his core principles. It assisted him with such statements that by today’s standards, are truly profound both in their wisdom and the ignorance exhibited by those who lost sight of the big picture.

“My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose — somehow we win out.”

With his election to the presidency in 1980, American culture reset to one more associated with the 1950’s. Society simplified. It was, in reference to the immortal lyrics by Huey Lewis and the News, “hip to be square” for the first time in nearly a quarter century.  Stifled were the blood-curdling screams of feminists, environmentalists and bitter civil rights activists pining for when the black community in America would be the governing elite much as white minorities in South Africa under Apartheid. The emphasis on class warfare, the concept of the “majority-minority us” against the evil white men of the world, no longer darkened the airwaves with their Red Scare. For the only time in contemporary history, America was finally “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”. Virtually everyone prospered from all walks of life — the poor, the black community, Hispanics and women. And for 12 years, the culture of dependency and bitter racial divisions were largely silenced due to this prosperity.

The hippies who instilled the culture we see transformed their image as they had twice before when they first were the beatnik vagabonds later morphing into the the counterculture movement peddling sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. By the 1980’s they were “yuppies,” ascending members of the upper-middle business class during the economic boom, when the culture of responsibility was posh. Of course, this method of acquiring wealth served them well, still of the liberal mindset, toward the end of obtaining power over the next 30 years. Most of today’s lawmakers in both parties prospered under “Reaganomics”. Liberals are quick to criticize conservatives and libertarians for their successes, mindful amid their shallow denials to always distort the facts.

The fear of mutually assured destruction during the Cold War ended as a result of Reagan’s aggressive anti-Communist foreign policy, contrasting from the prior failed doctrines of Containment and Detente.  The Left endeavors to discredit the Reagan record on toppling the Soviet Union. Upon being briefed of the extreme state of economic malaise and neglected national defenses, Reagan tailored his national security policy on Goldwater’s “peace through strength”.  In doing so, he engaged in an initiative to “render the awesome Soviet military threat impotent and obsolete.” This initiative, reviled by Democrats, was the Strategic Defense Initiative, better known today as “Star Wars”.

President Reagan took a radically different approach with the Soviet Union. Whereas previous administrations dating to the Truman Doctrine enacted policies largely based on appeasement, Reagan played political “chicken” by attacking the enemy directly. By introducing the Strategic Defense Initiative, he increased the stakes for the Soviets beyond Moscow’s capacity to compete. Shortly after invading Afghanistan in 1979, the Soviet economy nosedived. Its citizens found empty grocery shelves in cities, massive inflation and the inability to manufacture tax revenue and gross domestic product fast enough to maintain the military edge achieved beginning in 1969 under the Brezhnev Doctrine.  It was at this time the death knell was initiated by the domino effect that would collapse the Eastern Bloc by November 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall, dissolving what Reagan had declared “the evil empire”. The Soviet Union itself collapsed December 31, 1991.

The greatest legacy of the Reagan Revolution, however, was the 12 year moratorium of the following cliche by Ogden Nash, “Sex sells.” No longer were the concepts of licentiousness and promiscuity broadcasted with such ferocity as they had since the 1960’s.  Hollywood returned to focusing on Main Street. The media could no longer counter the Reagan Revolution by breaking away from God.  No longer was rendering the nation’s “great unwashed” to the soup ladle of state dependency in style. Through massive tax cuts in 1981 along with President Reagan working closely with Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker to reduce the 13.5 percent rate of inflation through indexation, America experienced its longest, most prolific period of economic growth and prosperity in a history characterized by the greatest slew of achievements in just over 200 years by one nation. These measures birthed a culture predicated upon the exquisite qualities of political and social conservatism. It truly was “morning in America”.

The Reagan Revolution’s dream was realized. It lasted until 1993, when Reagan’s former vice president and successor George H.W. Bush, transferred the power of the presidency to Bill Clinton due to his betrayal of the American people’s trust and conservative values.  It was then America not only lost its way economically and politically, but its ability to turn on the television or read a newspaper without viewing the previous forms of decadence based upon the principles of Nash. Sex was selling bigger than ever. Not only have economic, political and moral decay not looked back, civil liberties today are nonexistent. The phenomena was propagated most when MTV introduced reality shows where blase promiscuity resurrected a new extreme in practice, most notably Real World and Jersey Shore.  This trend was not only exacerbated, but increased ten-fold their impact of sex, drugs and violence.

The Reagan Revolution redefined the American imperative of a socialist collective to one nation of diverse individuals. In doing so, the Left was stunned, its lone recourse to discredit the rising tide of economic, political and social conservatism in declaring the Reagan Revolution catered to the people’s innate greed. Hence, the Left, through their mouthpiece of the mass media, declared the rich grew richer while the poor grew ever more so. The Left has always been of the mindset mankind is innately evil, that it must be reined in by the power of a cabal of masters. In its distrust, they have instilled fear into the hearts and minds of America since the days of Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR). Reagan, unlike Democrats, credited the American people for all progress.  Not only are references by the Left to the 1980’s as the decade of greed and income inequality false, but quite to the contrary. Nearly 20 million new jobs were created as a result of “Reaganomics” and the nation’s level of wealth increased by more than one-third. The changing economic atmosphere created a new culture in the world of the media and entertainment as people shared in the wealth amid more influence.

Comments are closed.