- Reagan would want you to.
Remember the speech where President Reagan famously demanded another government to “tear down this wall”? Guess who he was talking to. Mikhail Gorbachev, the then-premier of Soviet Russia. It was the height of the Cold War and President Reagan became a hero, not just in the United States but also in Europe, where his defense bolstered popular resistance to the expansion of Soviet-style Communist governments. President Reagan believed that a strong European defense provided a bulwark against Russian aggression on our own shores.
At the same time that President Reagan made his speech at the Brandenburg Gate, he embarked on a program to push for increased military spending. You see, Mr. Reagan understood something that Soviet-era officials (like Vladimir Putin) never did – that American capitalism was an engine that could grind Soviet communism into oblivion. By increasing government spending (which Reagan did at a clip no other presidency has ever seen), Reagan created demand in the private market. That demand was met by capitalists at Boeing, Lockheed-Martin and others. That meeting of demand created jobs and led to a post-Cold War boom.
Russia, meanwhile, could not keep up. Not only was their economy and potential GDP lower than that in the America, but there was also no incentive for workers to labor more intensely for the Soviet state. In a capitalist society, we work hard because we think it will lead to more successful outcomes: a raise, a promotion, etc. In a communist state, even a promotion would not lead to better living conditions – those decisions came solely from the State. As government spending moved into hyper-drive to combat the Reagan-era defense spending, there was less capital available in the USSR to send to the lower echelons. This meant that, the harder one worked, the more likely it was that they would move backwards.
This was the fundamental genius of Reagan-era defense spending.
In the present day, the question becomes whether Reagan would have tolerated Russian interference into American elections only thirty short years later. Never forget that Reagan was the president at the time of our greatest postwar test. He carefully studied the Soviets and Soviet culture, and decided that they were absolutely antithetical to American notions of freedom and governance. If former Soviets were attempting to influence the American polity, he would be the FIRST person in line to sign up for hearings.
If you cite to Reagan as your hero, then, you should demand that Russian influence be fully (and publicly) investigated.
- Russians are the classic enemy to conservative thought.
Going back to the discussion above: Russians have a long history of centralized governance and government control over the methods of production. By LONG history I mean, like, a thousand years.
For example, did you know that Russia was the last industrialized country to rid itself of slavery? You read that correctly… maybe you thought it was the United States, but Russia continued to have institutionalized slavery through serfdom for decades after our Civil War.
After the Bolshevik revolution (which, by the way, indirectly forced America into World War I – costing thousands of American servicemen their lives), the Communist state became the center of all decision-making regarding production and the citizen’s rights to income. That’s right, if you were a Russian citizen, no matter how smart you were or how hard you worked, the STATE decided what your outcomes would be.
Even today, the State in Russia is the central apparatus through which a person’s outcomes are chosen. Although it is nominally an open democracy, it is widely recognized that the current administration in Russia (itself a group of oligarchical holdovers from the Soviet era) maintains an iron grip on the methods of production and access to benefits.
All of these notions are contrary to American conservative thought. American conservatism is based on strong notions of American identity and self-determinism. In true American conservatism, the place of the government is a sort of stop-gap – that is to say, the government should intercede only in places where there is a clear market failure or it is beneficial for the private market to have a buyer of last resort (think infrastructure projects and national defense spending). Other than that, the government should sit on the sidelines and allow market forces to determine who wins and who loses. If you are smart enough and willing to work hard, there are no limits to what a conservative American would say you should achieve – regardless of your creed, color or class. American conservatives believe only in results – not social classes, or racial barriers or castes… not even your religion (let’s all remember that the majority of the Founding Fathers were Deists, not Christians as we know them today).
Thus, to a true American conservative, Russian interference is a uniquely alarming proposition. Anyone who has been co-opted by Russian beliefs regarding regulation and the free market would see conspiracies where others see opportunities. This person would look to exploit his own position of power, rather than allowing free market forces to decide who wins or who loses: think of country club memberships and decisions about which hotel diplomats choose to stay in while in America, for example. This person would excoriate companies who make choices based on market factors – rather than doing real work to make a market more conducive for American investment.
Any true conservative would find these ideas shocking. Nobody in America should get ahead because of their connections or their class. Those who serve our government should do so out of a fierce loyalty to this Country and its ideals – not because they stand to make millions while doing so.
Any conservative that felt that another country might have influenced someone in a leadership to think otherwise would demand that suspicion be checked – regardless of whether that person claimed a similar belief system as their own in public forums. The stakes are just too high.
- Those accused of being involved are from the KGB.
In Soviet Russia, there was no more powerful agency than the KGB. Russia historically has been a country ruled by uprisings… Premier Stalin was well aware of this, and thus instituted preemptive crackdowns on any party or person who might pose a threat to his long-term plan of ruling the country with an iron fist. The hammer he used to beat down dissent was the KGB. When you’re afraid of the citizens of your country, you want a strong, dependent intelligence unit around to keep an eye on your enemies (and to enforce your dictates). This framework lasted until the end of the Cold War (and beyond).
Vladimir Putin was raised in this hierarchy, being a KGB stooge himself. His methods are steeped in the old school, cut-throat cloak-and-dagger world of domestic espionage. Look at what has happened to the people in his own country who have opposed him. Most of them are dead, debilitated or disappeared. He learned full well what was required to maintain a firm grip on power among a historically restive population.
Look at what our current administration has done since it has taken office. It’s attempted to cow intelligence officials, stymied dissent within its own national security offices and attempted to bring the press to heel. If you are an anti-Soviet, American conservative, these activities appear familiar.
True American conservatism believes in self-determination and the right to privacy. There was no bigger proponent of these ideals than the late Justice Antonin Scalia. He would not tolerate state intrusion into the private affairs of our citizens, any more than he would tolerate using executive orders to dictate American legislative agendas. He believed strongly in the rights of the American people to make their own determinations.
He would want a probe into Russian attempts to influence our domestic policies, no matter where that probe led. It does not matter to a true American conservative whether someone SAYS that they believe in free market forces. It matters that they actually BELIEVE in those ideals.
If you count yourself as a conservative American, regardless of your other creeds, you should demand a full, public inquiry into the amount of Russian interference in our domestic affairs.