Was Ayn Rand Wrong on Reagan?

Posted by DrEdwardHudgins 2 years, 6 months ago to Politics
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Happy Birthday Ronald Reagan! Was Ayn Rand wrong about him?
SOURCE URL: https://atlassociety.org/commentary/commentary-blog/6125-was-ayn-rand-wrong-on-reagan


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  • Posted by ewv 2 years, 6 months ago
    Reagan eliminated thousands of regulations, and sought to reduce the volume of bureaucrats and taxes. Yet when he left office, the government was massively bigger than ever: more regulations, more tax collections, more bureaucrats, and an enormously larger debt. But it would have been much worse with more of Carter or Mondale. Fortunately Reagan was not able to impose his government religious agendas that Ayn Rand opposed.

    One of the accomplishments of the Reagan administration which is not generally realized is how it broke the political momentum of the anti-private property rights viro preservationist movement under Nixon and Carter. Over a hundred thousand people had lost their property to a binge of expansion of the US Fish &Wildlife Service and the National Park Service operating with eminent domain powers under the rise of the New Left "Environmental movement" in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s.

    A national land use bill controlling private property without government needing to take the deed and at least pay for it nearly passed Congress at the end of the Carter regime. A smaller equivalent was ruthlessly imposed in the New Jersey Pine Barons, where private property was "greenlined" by USFWS forcing local towns to impose prohibitions on private land use in the name of "local zoning" -- under the threat of massive National Park Service acquisition of even more if they didn't.

    There were big plans to further expand Federal control of the land with more acquisition and regulatory prohibitions, including making government acquisition of private property a perpetual, massive annual off-budget entitlement. The abuse did not stop, and has still not stopped, but was vastly curtailed under the Reagan administration, partially by strangling much of the funding for the land acquisition agencies -- which the viros resent to this day.

    On the negative side of the Reagan administration on this topic, "private" land acquisition and control programs were set up under Federal law in the name of the "market" with government subsidies. The better people warned against it, but couldn't stop it. Today it is entrenched as quasi government operations, and NGOs like The Nature Conservancy routinely operate as real estate fronts for government acquisition. Libertarians still promote this as "free market environmentalism".

    Reagan also did not stop the eminent domain abuse by the National Park Service at the Cuyahoga Valley in Ohio, which had begun in the late 1970s and which was covered very well by a Jessica Savitch Frontlines documentary, For the Good of All, in 1982 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUVM4.... He also would not veto the legislation imposing the Columbia Gorge Gorge National Recreation Area taking over private property in 40 towns in Oregon and Washington with massive "greenline" controls for forced acquisition and land use prohibitions.

    Ayn Rand did not seem to know about this aspect of government under Nixon and Carter, and partially Reagan at the end of her life. If she was partially aware of it she never wrote about it. She did see very early the evil of the viro movement and exposed it in The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution in 1971, but did not cover the land acquisition. Most people didn't and still don't know about it because while it affects large numbers of people, they are scattered and isolated, particularly in rural areas where most of the anti private property abuse comes down, and the media is enthralled with emotional support for the viros and their scenic imagery, ignoring the abuse of power and its terrible injustices.
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  • Posted by 2 years, 6 months ago
    By the way, tax revenues rose under Reagan from about $600 billion when he took office to around $900 billion when he left. Problem was that spending rose even more. He should have used the veto pen like a sword!
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