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Friday, April 22, 2005

Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And moderation in the pursuit of laying the smackdown on right-wing nut jobs is no virtue!

Barry Goldwater Jr. RIP

The DailyKOS had a wonderful article about the legacy of one Barry Goldwater, Jr. I have mentioned earlier in these pages about how I have no quarrel with paleo-Conservatives...the kind who believe government has as much right nosing around your personal business as they believe it has nosing around your business-business. There's another word for them: Goldwater Conservatives. My dad was one.

Here are some quotes which you might want to hang onto if you have to do battle with the Theocratic wing of the GOP. They love to say that they are carrying on this man's legacy. It's like the scene with Marshall McLuhan in "Annie Hall." If AuH2O was alive today he'd be saying the same thing or similar: that some of the people invoking his name and his legacy don't have a clue about his beliefs and his life's work.

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.

-- From Goldwater's acceptance of the GOP nomination, 1964

My faith in the future rests squarely on the belief that man, if he doesn't first destroy himself, will find new answers in the universe, new technologies, new disciplines, which will contribute to a vastly different and better world in the twenty-first century. Recalling what has happened in my short lifetime in the fields of communication and transportation and the life sciences, I marvel at the pessimists who tell us that we have reached the end of our productive capacity, who project a future of primarily dividing up what we now have and making do with less. To my mind the single essential element on which all discoveries will be dependent is human freedom.

-- From With No Apologies, 1979

If he'd let his wife run business, I think he'd be better off.

-- A reference to Bill and Hillary Clinton, from a Washington Post interview, 1994

However, on religious issues there can be little or no compromise. There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God's name on one's behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in 'A,' 'B,' 'C,' and 'D.' Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of 'conservatism.'

-- 1981, might have been in the Congressional Record for that year.

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.

-- From a Washington Post interview, 1994

Religious factions will go on imposing their will on others unless the decent people connected to them recognize that religion has no place in public policy. They must learn to make their views known without trying to make their views the only alternatives.

-- Attributed to Goldwater, but no date/source found

You don't have to be straight to be in the military; you just have to be able to shoot straight.

-- Attributed to Goldwater but no date/source found

There are other quotes attributed to Sen. Goldwater, but those are the best I've found. If he were alive today he'd take the Shrub out behind the woodshed and give him a nice old-fashioned whuppin' on principle. Yes, that gravitational perturbation near Phoenix, AZ is him spinning in his grave. He's been doing that since 2000.