Saturday, April 23, 2005

Sprinkling Goldwater

It is so cold in Indy that John fired Sam up. Thank the LORD for woodstoves and for John who was willing to go out to the garage to get some firewood while I sat shivering underneath a blanket. As a way of resisting the temptation to explain to God how everyone here had already put up their winter clothes and that weather like this makes it difficult to wear those strappy sandals people have bought I decided to look on the bright side of life (cue Monty Python song and whistle).

Today I bring you the quotable Barry Goldwater, thanks to Wikiquote. For those too young to remember, Barry Goldwater was an Arizona senator and Republican party candidate for president in 1964 (lost to Johnson). He is often credited with being one of the founders of the modern conservative movement. While I'm no fan of the implications of his personal politics in the short term, he was the kind of Republican I can respect--someone who was committed to protecting individual freedoms and limiting government's role in dictating the course of our personal lives.

Those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth. And let me remind you, they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyrannies. Absolute power does corrupt, and those who seek it must be suspect and must be opposed. Their mistaken course stems from false notions of equality, ladies and gentlemen. Equality, rightly understood, as our founding fathers understood it, leads to liberty and to the emancipation of creative differences. Wrongly understood, as it has been so tragically in our time, it leads first to conformity and then to despotism.

* Acceptance Speech  as the 1964 Republican Presidential candidate.

Goldwater supported some civil rights acts and not others, which led some to regard him as racist. I find the the first part of that quote scary because I see it happening now. And the last two sentences have a strangely appropriate resonance for today as well.

* I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!

* Acceptance Speech as the 1964 Republican Presidential candidate. Variants and derivatives that are often quoted include:
Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Tolerance in the face of tyranny is no virtue.

Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

Moderation in the protection of liberty is no virtue; extremism in the defense of freedom is no vice.

This is why I do what I do, though I must admit I do tend to shy away from "extremism."

* When you say 'radical right' today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican Party away from the Republican Party, and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye.

* The Washington Post (July 28, 1994)

Amen and pucker up everybody!

These days, I, like Goldwater, am displaying Libertarian, as opposed to Democrat or Republican tendencies. If he could be a sort of Libertarian in the Republican party, maybe I can be one in the Democratic party. I am really beginning to see the need for the Republican point of view as well as the Democrats and those very fun Libertarians. What I have decided I have NO use for is the homogenized monoculture that is encouraged by one party holding all of the cards.


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