The Tricks Time Plays on Us

Remember when Barry Goldwater was reviled as a right-wing extremist? Of course, he still is in many quarters, but his ideas have much more currency today than they did in 1964, when he lost the presidential election, in a landslide, to FDR’s spiritual and moral heir, LBJ. Here are some passages from Goldwater’s acceptance speech at the 1964 Republican National Convention:

[T]he tide has been running against freedom. Our people have followed false prophets. We must, and we shall, return to proven ways — not because they are old, but because they are true….

[W]e are a Nation becalmed. We have lost the brisk pace of diversity and the genius of individual creativity. We are plodding along at a pace set by centralized planning, red tape, rules without responsibility, and regimentation without recourse.

Rather than useful jobs in our country, our people have been offered bureaucratic “make work”; rather than moral leadership, they have been given bread and circuses….

Now 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….

It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don’t rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression — and this is hogwash….

[O]nly the strong can remain free, that only the strong can keep the peace….
Now, we here in America can keep the peace only if we remain vigilant and only if we remain strong. Only if we keep our eyes open and keep our guard up can we prevent war. And I want to make this abundantly clear: I don’t intend to let peace or freedom be torn from our grasp because of lack of strength or lack of will — and that I promise you, Americans….

Now I know this freedom is not the fruit of every soil. I know that our own freedom was achieved through centuries, by unremitting efforts of brave and wise men. And I know that the road to freedom is a long and a challenging road. And I know also that some men may walk away from it, that some men resist challenge, accepting the false security of governmental paternalism….

We see in private property and in economy based upon and fostering private property, the one way to make government a durable ally of the whole man, rather than his determined enemy. We see in the sanctity of private property the only durable foundation for constitutional government in a free society. And — And beyond that, we see, in cherished diversity of ways, diversity of thoughts, of motives and accomplishments. We don’t seek to lead anyone’s life for him. We only seek — only seek to secure his rights, guarantee him opportunity — guarantee him opportunity to strive, with government performing only those needed and constitutionally sanctioned tasks which cannot otherwise be performed….

A hard-nosed, libertarian Republican. If only….