Monday, March 16, 2009

Reagan's Legacy; Political and Religious Freedom

The mention of Ronald Reagan's name raises ire or admiration, depending on one's ideology. But, no one can deny that his presidency left a large legacy that remains to this day.

Reagan was the "ideal" of conservative values of individualism, determination, hard work, limited government and freedom. He inspired the conservative views of American values, while his commitment to humor dissolved defences of his opponents (at the time). His legacy ran the gamut from the economic crisis left by the Carter adminstration, the freeing of the Iranian hostages, to the call for "tearing down the wall" between Eastern and Western Germany.

His ideals of freedom and justice for all, his optimistic outlook, and eternal hope in the American dream and dependence on American values were the driving and determining commitment of his presidentcy.

I find that the human heart cannot live without vision, dream or ideals, which inspire the individual to accomplish and attempt to attain a 'better way of life". The human heart was what Reagan appealed to.

I find that the socialistic enterprise whether in government or organizations tend to leave the human heart burdened by "mandates of "resposible behavior". Social responsibility is a good value, but cannot be "mandated" without hindering or limiting individual freedom. Freedom is the first and foremost responsibility of any good government. Freedom allows the market to flourish as it rewards those who have goals of business prosperity, as well as the individuals who choose a different way of life.

An ideology of materialism cannot be the basis of any government, while freedom can. Governments based on materialism, whether absolutizing the free market or social responsibility is a short sighted view to the 'common good". While alligning the free market for the benefit of the social may be productive to the material well-being of the government or organization, it limits individual choice and rewards those who have shown personal irresponsibility.

While personal freedom is the first responsibility of a good government, there should be a balance of power in understanding that no one has the "full" or "right" view of the future. And universalizing "social concern" does not make the proper distinctions about who is truly worthy of help, without enabling those who want to be social parasites.

I loved Reagan. He inspired my heart every time I listened to him. He was transparent, direct, and honest about his values. He did not have an attitude of arrogant "etlite-ism", as he always made comments of humor that balanced his "statements of commitment" with humor and grace.

I thought of him this morning and smiled.

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