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6th February
written by Sean Noble

Is “Reaganism” dead?  There have been plenty of pundits who suggest that Republicans “move beyond” Reagan and come up with “fresh” ideas to capture voter’s imagination.  They point to the success of The One (Barack Obama) and say that we can’t continue to trot out the same, tired policy initiatives.

They’re wrong.  Reaganism is timeless, because it is based on the principles of our Founding Fathers, who based much of their principles on concepts dating back as much as 2,000 to 3,000+ years (think Moses of the Old Testament, and Plato, Socrates and Aristotle).  The principles of a representative, limited government are exactly what we need to be championing as conservatives today.

You want hope?  This is Ronald Reagan in 1981, as the nation dealt with a massive economic crisis:

It is no coincidence that our present troubles parallel and are proportionate to the intervention and intrusion in our lives that result from unnecessary and excessive growth of government. It is time for us to realize that we are too great a nation to limit ourselves to small dreams. We are not, as some would have us believe, doomed to an inevitable decline. I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing. So, with all the creative energy at our command, let us begin an era of national renewal. Let us renew our determination, our courage, and our strength. And let us renew our faith and our hope.


You want change?  This is Ronald Reagan in 1967:

“Government is the people’s business, and every man, woman and child becomes a shareholder with the first penny of tax paid. With all the profound wording of the Constitution, probably the most meaningful words are the first three: ‘We, the People.’ Those of us here today who have been elected to constitutional office or legislative position are in that three-word phrase. We are of the people, chosen by them to see that no permanent structure of government ever encroaches on freedom or assumes a power beyond that freely granted by the people. We stand between the taxpayer and the tax spender.”


Conservatism is about hope and change.  Conservatives have historically been the most optimistic of political animals, believing in individual ingenuity, self reliance, self discipline and free-markets.  Liberals don’t trust people to make their own decisions and believe that Government knows better how to run their lives than they do.  That’s not hope and change, that’s pessimism and servitude.

So what can we do, as conservatives, to move the country forward again, to find a winning message that will appeal to the masses?  We must return to the principles of freedom, free-markets, responsibility and hard work.  We must educate our neighbors about the history of this country, how we became the greatest nation on earth.  We must help people recognize that salvation does not come from more government, it comes from freedom.

Many will say that we have already lost the fight.  That it is too hard to convince enough people to care about the cause of freedom.  Reagan had an answer to that complaint:

“Don’t give up your ideals.  Don’t compromise.  Don’t turn to expediency.  And don’t…having seen the inner workings of the watch, don’t get cynical…. Don’t get cynical, because look at yourselves and what you are willing to do, and recognize that there are millions and millions of Americans out there who want what you want, who want it to be that way, who want it to be a shining city on a hill.”

            Yes, it is hard to defend freedom.  But many of us have never had to put our life in harm’s way to do so like so many millions of brave men and women have done for the last 235 years.  If we don’t work to defend freedom, to educate people, to voice a call to action, who will?

            Now is the time for us to renew ourselves in demonstrating that Republicans stand for real people. That the policies of less government intrusion, free-markets and personal responsibility are what made us the greatest nation on earth, and that we must ignite those passions again with millions of Americans so that we may remain “the shining city on a hill.”

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  1. […] honor of Reagan’s birthday today, I have posted a Deep Thinking piece entitled “Reagan Republicanism: A 21st Century Opportunity.”  I hope you like it. […]

  2. 06/02/2009

    While much of popular Reaganism is worthwhile and founding-fathers-worthy, I find Reagan as an icon to be a poor choice if you think Reagan=limited government/founding fathers policy. Reagan ended up growing government and was a foreign policy imperialist which is the opposite of limited goverhment and in my opinion the opposite of what the founding fathers (that I like) would have wanted for foreign policy.

    I wince every time I see a limited government group use Ronald Reagan’s picture to embody or promote limited government.

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