Ronald Reagan's America - Vol. 1

By Eric J. Schmertz; Natalie Datlof et al. | Go to book overview

4
Reagan's Long-Term Legacy

Martin Anderson

The truthful legacy of any American president, the accomplishments and the failures, the extent to which that presidency swayed the course of destiny, the degree to which any lessons will be imparted to future generations, is something that takes many years to discern. Only the passage of time, accompanied by the cooling of partisan passion, will allow us to measure the true greatness or failure of a presidency. But it is never too early to begin to sift through the archival debris -- and slowly, separating facts from myths and truth from lies and ignorance and noting the continuing imprint of that presidency on American life, we will begin to see, as the years fade away, the outlines of the clearest and most important failures and successes.

The more controversial a presidency, the more difficult it is to get an objective reading. So many of those who analyze and write the history -- the political scientists, the economists, and the historians -- are men and women with strong personal prejudices and deeply held views on the policies involved. For many decades now the inherent difficulties in objectively recording the history of any presidency, especially a contentious one, have been compounded by the sharply unbalanced political makeup of those who write history. No one any longer questions the fact that the personal political leanings of academic historians and political scientists is monolithically left-wing and that their counterparts in the national media are not far behind in their personal tilt to the left.

The fact that a very high percentage of intellectual historians subscribe to a left-wing political philosophy does not necessarily mean there is a problem of systematic bias; scholars and pundits and reporters are fully capable of suppressing their personal prejudices in pursuing their professional trade. Unfortunately, the urge to suppress these biases has not been resisted.

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