The Right Coast

June 07, 2004
By Tom Smith

John Fund describes the covert effort to undermine the USSR, and the pipeline operation was only part of it.

Peggy Noonan on RR.

To be young and working in his White House at that time in human history, was--well, we felt privileged to be there, with him. He made us feel not that we were born in a time of trouble but that we'd been born, luckily, at a time when we could end some trouble. We believed him. I'd think: This is a wonderful time to be alive. And when he died I thought: If I'd walked into the Oval Office 20 years ago to tell him that, he'd look up from whatever he was writing, smile, look away for a second and think, It's pretty much always a wonderful time.

This is true. I quit my job as tenure track law professor at UC Davis, surely one of the most PC law schools in the country, and that's saying something, to go work for the Reagan Administration. I have a picture of me, looking like a baby with a beard, shaking his hand. I helped him make markets more free--good work if you could get it. Maybe you have to be at least 40 to understand that the Reagan revolution really was a revolution. Media dimwits who never knew him or hated him can talk about optimism and charm all they like. He was really about one big idea -- freedom. He was optimistic because he believed in the power of ideas, when they were true. He understood that the opposite of freedom is fear. He did not have a first-class mind, but he had a first-class temperament. He understood the economics of freedom instinctively.