Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Muggeridge on Reagan

His Britannic Maj. wrote an article last year (over which he fretted most unnecessarily) on the Great Ronald Reagan for Human Life Review which he has honored by being a senior editor.

I offer it for your edification:

For Ronald Reagan religion and patriotism coincided. He took the words of the Declaration of Independence at their face value. His America was a promised land, flowing with democracy and freedom, under, of course, the rule of God. For Reagan, acceptance of divine authority was the key to social order. "If we will not be governed by God," he warned an audience of Evangelicals in March, 1983, quoting William Penn, "we must be governed by tyrants."

Like the Israelites of old, in ignoring God's laws, Americans brooked disaster. But Reagan was American enough never to lose faith in their essential goodness. Corrupt government had led them astray, as had King Joram his subjects when "he made the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit fornication and Juda to transgress." It took another century and a half, but didn't Ezechias finally manage to undo the evil Joram had caused? Reagan expected the same sort of reformation in his own kingdom of Judah. Restore prayer to public schools; keep parents informed of what was really happening to their teenage children in birth control clinics; fight child pornography, but above all put an end to the massacre of innocent children that had resulted from the Roe v. Wade decision of 1972, and, as Reagan confidently assumed, Americans would be brought back to their senses.

Some day, he promised his evangelical audience, Congress would indeed enact human life legislation to end the tragedy of abortion on demand; meanwhile, they must never rest until that happened. Their task was no less than that of helping to enforce the Declaration of Independence. Since science dictates that preborn children are indeed living persons, their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness required protecting.

And the same American-born spirit of militant hopefulness animated Reagan's foreign policy. He fought the Cold War not to placate the Soviets, but to defeat them. Hence he refused to countenance a nuclear freeze. Pursuing peace by leaving your enemy permanently in possession of superior military force to him seemed suicidal. The thing to do was end the arms race by winning it. Reagan believed that the United States was founded on moral principles. And, since in the end good must prevail over evil, the Soviet Union, as he told members of the British House of Commons in 1982, was indeed destined for the ash heap of history. Thus perish all evil empires.

Nevertheless, like American abortion advocates in high places, Soviet freedom-usurpers in the Kremlin were not about to quit without a fight. So in 1983, his ears plugged against the massed choirs of anti-war protesters, Reagan advanced U.S. Pershing and cruise missiles to within range of Eastern European targets. Soviet negotiators stormed out of arms limitation talks. Pundits around the world rose as one man in protest. Reagan responded by announcing that U.S. scientists had started work on a missile shield in space. This was the so-called Strategic Defence Initiative, parodied by opponents of Reagan's foreign policy as "Star Wars."

Peaceniks mocked S.D.I., but ruling circles in Moscow treated it with deadly seriousness. They knew that, should Washington ever develop an effective defence against on-coming missiles, Mass Assured Destruction would for their country become Mass Assured Defeat. S.D.I, persuaded the Kremlin to resume arms limitation talks, as Reagan predicted it would.

Here's the rest

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