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Irony Watch: Ronald Reagan's Son Endorses the Freedom From Religion Foundation

Jerry Coyne is excited that his friends at the Freedom From Religion Foundation have secured prominent and expensive TV time for an ad by Ron Reagan endorsing them. Coyne loves the adolescent last line from this "unabashed atheist" -- not, I would think, becoming of a man 55 years of age.

FreedomUnderFire.jpgSavor the irony. In the U.S., campus speech codes forbidding politically incorrect ideas from being expressed, and related efforts to silence dissent in academia, blossomed in the Reagan era. They did so as a product of anger by political ideologues at Ron Reagan's father and his administration. I remember well: I fell victim to that movement myself in college at exactly that time.

FFRF's most recent victory has been at Ball State University, of course, which established a speech code directed against scientists supportive of intelligent design. Coyne and the FFRF worked together on that one. Now Mr. Reagan is using his dad's name, looks, voice and mannerisms -- his only relevant assets -- to generate support and money for an organization that continues in the illiberal tradition of suppressing free speech that launched on the fuel of anti-Reagan rage.

Coyne exults, "It's eerie that you can see the Gipper's genes in his features!" Yes, but the spirit of the man? Not so much.