Social Darwinism Shaping Reaganomics Ronald Reagan made many economic decisions that supported his beliefs in Social Darwinism throughout his presidency. Social Darwinism is considered to be the ideas of struggle for existence and “survival of the fittest,” a term coined by Herbert Spencer in order to justify social policies. Over time the individuals with superior biological characteristics will dominate populations that this super species possessed.
Couples who possessed these special qualities would then pass them down to their offspring, creating an elite generation in the modern world. Dominic Sandbrook the author of Mad as Hell, The Crisis of the 1970s and the Rise of the Populist Right, discusses president Reagan’s policies that were influenced by Social Darwinism beliefs with the assumption that conflict between groups in society leads to social progress. During his Presidency, Reagan was faced with many foreign matters, such as the ending of the Cold War, the 1986 bombing of Libya, and the shock of the Iran-Contra affair.
President Reagan Essay Example
He publicly described the Soviet Union as an “evil empire” and supported anti-communist movements worldwide while spending his first term forgoing the strategy of detente, by ordering a massive military buildup in an arms race with the USSR. Under a policy that came to be known as the Reagan Doctrine, Reagan and his administration also provided overt and covert aid to anti-communist resistance movements in an effort to “rollback” Soviet-backed communist governments in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Reagan recognized the change of the Soviet leadership with Mikhail Gorbachev, and shifted to diplomacy, with a view to encourage the Soviet leader to pursue substantial arms agreements. Reagan’s personal mission was to achieve “a world free of nuclear weapons”, which he regarded as “totally irrational, totally inhumane, good for nothing but killing, possibly destructive of life on earth and civilization. ” Reagan negotiated with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, then signing the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty which eliminated an entire class of nuclear weapons. Reagan implemented policies based on supply-side economics and advocated a classical liberal and laissez-faire philosophy, seeking to stimulate the economy with large, across-the-board tax cuts. Reagan’s outlook on economics was what he and the public called “Reaganomics”. “The blueprint for “Reaganomics,” was a sketched out supply-side approach to the economic, including massive cuts in income taxes, capital gains taxes, and corporate taxes,”(340).
His platform advocated reducing tax rates to spur economic growth, controlling the money supply to reduce inflation, deregulation of the economy, and reducing government spending. Reagan’s policies proposed that economic growth would occur when marginal tax rates were low enough to spur investment, which would then lead to increased economic growth, higher employment, and wages. Reagan’s beliefs on cutting taxes were supported by ideas of William Sumner who believed that the best equipped to win the struggle for existence was the American businessman, and concluded that taxes and regulations serve as dangers to his survival.
Reagan believed strong nations were composed of people who were successful at expanding their empires and these strong nations would survive in the struggle for dominance. Following his less-government intervention views, Reagan cut the budgets of non-military programs including Medicaid, food stamps, and federal education programs. Many Americans questioned whether Reagan’s policies benefited the wealthy more than those living in poverty and many poor minority citizens viewed Reagan unsympathetic to their struggles.
“He increased spending on state universities and student grants; he approved stricter regulations for home insurance, real estate, retailing, doctors, dentists,”(187). When he increased the stricter regulations on other policies he was insuring that the rich would be better off from the programs he implemented. Further, many conservatives thought the poor should have to provide for themselves and not be given any financial support from the government.
Elitists supported Reagan’s policies, believing that it is not the government’s obligation to provide assistance to people who are unequipped or under-equipped to compete for resources. They believed this would lead the country to where the weak and inferior are encouraged to breed more like themselves, eventually dragging the country down. Social evolution was based on the ideologies of individual competition, and those who believed in this theory also believed that the government existed for two purposes.
One was to protect the individual and his property from foreign threat and the other was to protect the individual and his property from criminals. Reagan believed that the country’s problems could not be solved by more interference from the government stating that, “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem. ” Reagan practiced a pragmatic conservatism that balanced ideology and the constraints of politics, restored America’s pride and morale and contributed to victory in the Cold War.