The passing of President Ronald Reagan into eternity is evoking an array of emotions and thoughts. People recall his winsome and shiny character, his classic American optimism. That is in sharp contrast to what his critics always assailed as his intellectual shallowness.
Yet, how does one account for the monumental legacy President Reagan's time with us has left, not merely the United States, but the whole world?
At the end of the 1970s, a period when the turmoil and disruption of the 1960s might have begun to take institutional root (indeed, the cultural toll that sorry decade took is something with which we are still living), there Providentially arose on the world scene three leaders whose common moral perspective would change the course of human history.
In 1978, Karol Wojtyla, Krakow's philosopher-archbishop was elected pope, taking the name John Paul II.
In 1979, a shopkeeper's daughter by the name of Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister of England.
And in 1981 a former actor became President of the United States.
These three towering figures, each with modest beginnings, ascended the world stage at a critical moment. Their common link was neither their respective nationalities, nor their faith tradition, nor even their politics. It was a common moral understanding that bound these three, uniting them in what seemed to some at the time a rather fantastical, even dangerous vision. Specifically, the pope, the Prime Minister and the President were clear about two things: the moral reprehensibility of communism and the moral necessity of replacing it with institutions of liberty.
Read the entire article on the Acton Institute website.