Reagan Warned Us About Socialism, We Didn’t Listen

Over 40 years ago, after his term as California governor ended and before he became president, Ronald Reagan recorded daily commentaries broadcast by about 350 radio stations and heard by tens of millions of Americans.

Throughout his nearly five-year radio run, Reagan preached that the promises of socialism were lies. He noted that we often grow so accustomed to them, however, that we lose the fear of the ideology itself.

“Socialists ignore the side of man that is of the spirit,” Reagan said back in 1975. “They can provide shelter, fill your belly with bacon and beans, treat you when you’re ill – all the things that are guaranteed to a prisoner or a slave. But they don’t understand we also dream, yes, even of owning a yacht.”

That’s why Reagan’s words are as wise today as when he recorded them – many years before some of the most ardent supporters of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign were even born.

Back when Reagan was broadcasting his commentaries, communist regimes were officially atheist. They were dedicated to destroying religion, which they saw as an ideology competing with Marxism.

To be fair, Bernie Sanders has expressed no ambition to destroy religion. But many of the left want to ban all expressions of faith in the public square.

Reagan also warned against Big Government becoming a nanny state, trying to run our lives even with the best of intentions.  When news broke of a school trying to ban hot dogs and root beer and force cafeterias to carry more healthful fare, Reagan said: “Do-gooders, busy-bodies and bureaucrats need to learn that people don’t like to be told what to do. Kids are kids and sometimes persuasion is better than dictatorship.”

Sounds like Regan was talking about former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, competing with Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination, and Bloomberg’s infamous campaign against large cups of soda being sold.

That’s why Reagan’s words are as wise today as when he recorded them. Reagan gave up radio commentaries on Nov. 13, 1979, the day he announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination. I believe we’d be wise to heed Reagan’s warnings and take his advice.  

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