In this ambitious work, David Byrne analyzes the ideas that
informed Ronald Reagan's political philosophy and policies. Rather
than appraising his personal and emotional life, Byrne's
intellectual biography goes one step further; it establishes a
rationale for the former president's motives, discussing how
thinkers such as Plato and Adam Smith influenced him. Byrne points
to three historical forces that shaped Reagan's political
philosophy: Christian values, particularly the concept of a
universal kingdom of God; America's firm belief in freedom as the
greatest political value and its aversion to strong centralized
governments; and the appeasement era of World War II, which
stimulated Reagan's aggressive and confrontational foreign policy.
Byrne's account of the fortieth president augments previous work on
Reagan with a new model for understanding him. Byrne shows how
Reagan took conservatism and the Republican Party in a new
direction, departing from the traditional conservatism of Edmund
Burke and Russell Kirk. His desire to spread a "Kingdom of Freedom"
both at home and abroad changed America's political landscape
forever and inspired a new conservatism that persists to this day.
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