Random thoughts and insights – always shaken, never stirred


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No one is better at revisionist history than liberals in academia and journalism.  I suspect it’s more than just controlling the present in that it remains a peculiar facet of liberal thinking that one must always be on the side of the angels, and that all good things must come from the left.  If something good occurs ostensibly from the right, the true answer must lie elsewhere.  Stephen Den Beste masterfully fisks just such a believer’s opinion piece in the New York Times. And what a fantasy this John Patrick Diggins entertains.  SDB remembers the real liberal view of Reagan the same way I do:

I don’t remember any consensus at the time that Reagan’s foreign policy was even remotely enlightened. (Or at least not from the left.) On the contrary, it was bitterly criticized in much the same terms that Bush’s foreign policy is now being criticized – and by much the same people and institutions – for being un-nuanced, excessively muscular, and confrontational. (They didn’t use the epithet “unilateral” back then because it hadn’t been invented yet, but if it had been he’d have been called that, too.) I remember Reagan being criticized for being stupid, misinformed, and dangerously religious. He viewed the world in absolutes, almost like it was a cartoon, and he was intolerant and uncompromising and imperialistic. I remember him being portrayed as feeble-minded, as an idiotic puppet, an actor playing the part of President – badly – whose understanding of the job and of the world was formed by watching bad movies. He was “the great communicator” and it was ruefully acknowledged that he was more effective in delivering speeches than any President since JFK, but he was an empty mask, the form of a President without any real substance. He was a Potemkin president.

But Diggins would have us remember it this way:

But many neocons came to hate Mr. Reagan, saying he lost the cold war since he left office with communism still in place.

The mind boggles.  The dreaded neocons hate Reagan?  It would have been nice of the Professor to have served us up a quote or two in support of this astounding assertion. Instead, he implies Dick Cheney (boo!) was among the haters for fearing a resurgent Soviet Union – no quote there either however. It’s pretty clear that the biography he’s written on Reagan will belong on the fiction shelf.

Meanwhile, if you haven’t already, enjoy the whole fisking.

Written by martinipundit

June 14, 2004 at 3:01 pm

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