Some will object to placing Reagan with the likes of Mao and David Koresh. I happily, nay thankfully, concede that he was not one of the great monsters of the recent past. The facts remain, though, that he espoused a fantastically stupid sort of economic miracle cure (which failed; see Krugman, Peddling Prosperity); revealed not merely an astounding ignorance but a wealth of positive mis-information about (in no particular order) pollution, biology, welfare, drugs, the powers available to the police under the American Constitution, etc. He had no idea whatsoever of history, played on a nostalgia for a fictional past, was enamoured of absurd technical projects like Star Wars and publically stated his belief in an immanent, nuclear Armaggedon. (Whether he believe in that last, or said he did to win support from even more ignorant voters, is debated.)

No, Reagan was not a devouring monster: just an ignorant, superstitious, supremely powerful man who may have happened to think that the world ought to be blown up soon.