If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.
I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals — if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories.
The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.
— Ronald Reagan, interview with Reason Magazine (1975)
February 24, 2012 at 02:46
I’ve always hated that quote from Reagan. More eloquent and educated men have said it better, under far more dire circumstances. http://tarenceray.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/thomas-jefferson-perfect-government/ – see if you agree
February 24, 2012 at 14:30
You’ll find plenty of quotes by Jefferson and other Enlightenment philosophers on here, but I do not share the petty, ill-informed hatred of Reagan that some supporters of liberty suffer from.
He definitely sold out some of his principles in order to get and remain elected…but if you bother to read his writings and transcripts of his weekly radio broadcasts from the 1970s, he was a very intelligent, eloquent, and educated (however autodidactic) man, who clearly believed in liberty.
Also, some people seem unable to grasp the idea that, however much he did wrong in the 80s, any alternative would have been far worse. The US, at that time, was seriously thought to be economically doomed, incapable of recovering and having any future impact.
Had a Carter or, worse, Anderson won, that would have been true. Whatever prosperity America had from 1980 on is a result of Reagan at least restraining government to the extent that he did, relatively speaking.