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Doug Hageman died on July (29), within spitting distance of
his birthday, and those who knew him needn’t wonder how he managed that. He was
an honest and good man and, as a thoughtful and active Republican in the land
of Democrats, something of a wonder.
Encountering Doug for the first time – as I did many years
ago, at a net-working meeting held in the rooms of Associated Builders of
Connecticut (ABC) in Rocky Hill – was a bit like catching a glimpse of a
unicorn in a dark glade. First you saw the white flashing flanks, then the
flowing mane, and then, shockingly, the improbable white horn. And you thought to yourself – it CAN”T be.
But it is.
Doug’s personal history reaches back to the Mayflower and
the founding of Plymouth Colony. If you had given him a few minutes, he would
happily explain to you why the separatist of Plymouth Colony were larval
conservative Republicans. At the very
least, he would insist, the Plymouth Colony had decisively rejected socialism
in favor of a sort of Reaganite conservativism.
Plymouth Plantation, you see, was first founded as a commune
in which all property rights were held in common. Food and supplies were
distributed based on need according to Marxian prescriptions: from each
according to his means, to each according to his needs. All this changed after
the 1620 famine. Starvation staring them in the face, leaders in the Plymouth
decided to abandon socialism in favor of capitalism: every family in Plymouth
was assigned a private piece of property the fruits of which they could keep
for themselves. Starvation was sent packing with its pants on fire, and
prosperity reigned in Plymouth.