Ronald Reagan was a wonderful, warm man. He made you love him by small acts of kindness and beautiful gestures. Raspberry Gumballs and the President.
But what America needed was the simple truth and a champion for individual rights and the Constitution; That Ronnie did not have to give. Today we need that individual even more desperately. We have that in Congressman Ron Paul.
United Republicans of California ("UROC") was founded on April 22, 1963, by then State Senator Joe Shell (see footnote) and Assemblyman Bruce Reagan to promote the candidacy of Senator Barry Goldwater for President of the United States. Many Republicans were disgusted with the corporate agenda adopted by the Rockefeller, big-money brokers who had controlled the Republican Party for so long. UROC's agenda was a real grass-roots campaign that took the ideas of Barry Goldwater directly into the homes and minds of Americans.
The method they adopted was shoe-leather activism. In San Marino alone, 15 groups of UROC members committed to going door to door for a registration drive that changed the make-up of the Republican Party. They went armed with Goldwater literature, two books: "None Dare Call It Conspiracy" by John Stormer and "A Choice Not An Echo" by Phyllis Schafly, and were prepared to talk about ideas. By this means, something like 2 million copies of “None Dare Call It Treason" were sold or given away by Goldwater activists.
UROC did not spend piles of money to enact change. Their activism, however, successfully changed the demographics of the Republican Party, awakening Americans to the ideas Americans had hungered for and encountered through several difference sources.
One of these sources,“Conscience of a Conservative,” by Barry Goldwater, was published in 1960. At that time, the then-rapidly-growing freedom – conservative movement was also fired with enthusiasm for the works of Ayn Rand and science-fiction master Robert Heinlein as well as the works of Rose Wilder Lane and Isabel Patterson.
Other organizations, such as the LA-based Foundation for Economic Education, established in 1946 by Leonard E. Read, and the John Birch Society, founded by "Taft Republican" Robert Welch in1958, promoted the benefits of free-markets and less government. These organizations continue to promote the same ideas today based on the foundations of freedom outlined in America's Founding documents.
Those ideas found fertile ground in the 60s, evoking a shift that continues today.
The ideas enunciated by UROC stood in stark contrast to the big government – corporate assumptions that had become institutional to American politics. America had undergone a take-over by corporate elites, led by Nelson Rockefeller, not yet recognized as such but the awareness that something was very wrong with America's direction resulted in an exploration of ideas that would eventually lead to the present.
The term Goldwater Republican became a badge of honor. The ideas that became the Conservative mantra defined what it meant to be a Conservative Republican. Those ideas were specific and reasoned. Today, being a Conservative means something entirely different.
The re-structuring of the term "Conservative" was accomplished by the reinterpretation of terms and issues using a carefully-orchestrated collation of faux history, misdirection, and political and personal coercion. Those who were, and are primarily, responsible for carrying this out were the interests, mostly corporate, who employed the NeoConservatives for just this purpose.
Unfortunately, the covert campaign to steal the term, 'conservative,' succeeded in grabbing it and the power of that movement from those in the Republican Party by the time of the Nixon presidency. Nixon was not a conservative but knew well he could not be elected unless he disingenuously assumed that mantle because Republicans had demonstrated a hunger for the rhetoric of freedom.
Ironically, it was Richard Nixon who fractured the Republican Party, driving out the Libertarian wing with his announcement of Wage and Price Controls on August 15, 1971. The Libertarian Party was officially founded on December 11, 1971, by David Nolan and a small group of former Republicans in the living room of activist Luke Zell in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
David Nolan had been an officer of three organizations at MIT which were working for the candidacy of Barry Goldwater. The three separate groups operating at MIT in 1963-64 were Young Republicans, Young Americans for Freedom ("YAF"), and Youth for Goldwater. The officers overlapped, making it possible for them to have more presence on the campus. Nolan came to the ideas on individual freedom, economics, and the Constitution from Barry Goldwater, Robert Heinlein, “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress,” and other fiction, and Ayn Rand's “Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged.”
Soon after this, the first wave of eager and ambitious Trotskyites, soon to re-label themselves as Neo-Conservatives ("NeoCons"), left the Democratic Party to become Republicans. The first of these were Irving Kristol, his wife and son, William Kristol. These were soon followed by the cadre that, at present, still comprises the main intellectual end of the NeoCon cabal.
These idea-mongers had found a flush living re-packaging the strategies of Leo Strauss for use on Republicans and Libertarians. These included posh weekend-seminars that helped them identify potential academics and intellectuals who could accept their ideas with a straight face, keeping a clear eye on the potential for self profit.