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When did Ayn Rand change her mind about Ronald Reagan?


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#1 Chris Grieb

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 05:16 AM

When Ayn Rand wrote "It's Earlier Than You Think" she had praise for Ronald Reagan's speech "A Time to Chose". 2 years later when he ran for Governor of California articles in the Objectivist supporting his election.

In 1976 she was strongly opposed to his nomination and supporting Gerald Ford. In the last issue of the Ayn Rand Letter she strongly opposed Reagan. Can anyone on OL tell me when the change occurred?



#2 Robert Campbell

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 07:30 AM

Chris G,

Good question.

The Ford Hall Forum question and answer sessions that I've been checking are 1968, 1969, 1971-1973, and 1976-1978. (1974 is for sale, and I'll eventually get to it; the recording on atlasshrugged.com doesn't work.)

I see no mention of Ronald Reagan till 1976.

Robert C

#3 Bill P

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 08:17 AM

Here's what I find in print:

From the Ayn Rand Letter, Volume IV, Number 2, November-December 1975 (I"m not certain of the actual publication date - they were often behind schedule, and am dealing from electronic sources, not my paper copy which is back home and not with me at the moment.):

Now I want to give you a brief indication of the kinds of issues that are coming up, on which you might want to know my views.
1. The Presidential election of 1976. I urge you, as emphatically as I can, not to support the candidacy of Ronald Reagan. I urge you not to work for or advocate his nomination, and not to vote for him. My reasons are as follows: Mr. Reagan is not a champion of capitalism, but a conservative in the worst sense of that word—i.e., an advocate of a mixed economy with government controls slanted in favor of business rather than labor (which, philosophically, is as untenable a position as one could choose—see Fred Kinnan in Atlas Shrugged, pp. 541-2). This description applies in various degrees to most Republican politicians, but most of them preserve some respect for the rights of the individual. Mr. Reagan does not: he opposes the right to abortion.



From Sanction of the Victims, delivered November 21, 1981 (and available in Voice of Reason):

In conclusion, let me touch briefly on another question often asked me: What do I think of President Reagan? The best answer to give would be: But I don't think of him—and the more I see, the less I think. I did not vote for him (or for anyone else) and events seem to justify me. The appalling disgrace of his administration is his connection with the so-called "Moral Majority" and sundry other TV religionists, who are struggling—apparently with his approval—to take us back to the Middle Ages, via the unconstitutional union of religion and politics.
The threat to the future of capitalism is the fact that Reagan might fail so badly that he will become another ghost, like Herbert Hoover, to be invoked as an example of capitalism's failure for another fifty years.
Observe Reagan's futile attempts to arouse the country by some sort of inspirational appeal. He is right in thinking that the country needs an inspirational element. But he will not find it in the God-Family-Tradition swamp.



So, she had become disillusioned with Reagan by the time of writing of the November-December 1975 issue of The Ayn Rand Letter. I have the Ford Hall Forum lectures (and, when available, the Q&A) available on my computer, so I may check them during the 1972 - 1976 time frame as time permits. This oral tradition thing certainly has drawbacks!!!

Regards,

Bill P

#4 anonrobt

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 09:21 AM

This oral tradition thing certainly has drawbacks!!!
................

Yes, despite the electronic age and usage, it is almost like a primordial/Luddite mindset, huh...

#5 DavidMcK

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 05:01 PM

"The threat to the future of capitalism is the fact that Reagan might fail so badly that he will become another ghost, like Herbert Hoover, to be invoked as an example of capitalism's failure for another fifty years."

Note that this ghost has been evoked many times in the present crises...almost30 years after she wrote this, so she is at least more than half right!

Edited by DavidMcK, 18 December 2009 - 05:01 PM.


#6 John Day

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 05:12 PM

My guess would be somewhere around 1973. Abortion was becoming much more prevalent of a political issue because of Roe vs. Wade. Before Roe, abortion was an issue for the states and not something would receive much attention in a presidential race. Rand's primary objection to Reagan in the 1976 primaries was based on Reagan's anti-abortion views and that Ford was vaguely pro-choice.
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#7 Chris Grieb

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 08:54 PM

My guess would be somewhere around 1973. Abortion was becoming much more prevalent of a political issue because of Roe vs. Wade. Before Roe, abortion was an issue for the states and not something would receive much attention in a presidential race. Rand's primary objection to Reagan in the 1976 primaries was based on Reagan's anti-abortion views and that Ford was vaguely pro-choice.

Ford being vaguely pro-choice was due to Betty Ford. I think his and Reagan's positions were much the same. Reagan had signed a bill that greatly liberated the law in California which Reagan later stated he regretted signing.

Rand may have been listening to Greenspan reports about Ford and Reagan.



#8 Bill P

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 08:03 AM

My guess would be somewhere around 1973. Abortion was becoming much more prevalent of a political issue because of Roe vs. Wade. Before Roe, abortion was an issue for the states and not something would receive much attention in a presidential race. Rand's primary objection to Reagan in the 1976 primaries was based on Reagan's anti-abortion views and that Ford was vaguely pro-choice.


That is fitting quite well. By the 1974 Ford Hall Forum Q&A session, she is "spitting fire" about the "right to live" movement. (Listened to it earlier this morning)

Bill P

#9 Barbara Branden

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 02:13 PM

When I last saw Rand, in 1981, she told me that she was opposed to Reagan because she considered him a typical conservative in his attempt to link politics and religion. About his anti-abortion view, she said: "A man who does not believe in a woman's right to her own body, does not believe in human rights."

Barbara




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