Saturday, May 3, 2008

Barry Goldwater

Earlier, I quoted Barry Goldwater's most famous quote, about vice and virtue. What follows is an excerpt from Barry Goldwater's 1964 speech at the 28th Republican National Convention, where he accepted the nomination for president and made the famous statement. Even back then, Senator Goldwater was dismissed as a loony, much like Ron Paul is being dismissed today. But his words ring true and make me wistful about how far we've fallen since the 1960's:

Now, my fellow Americans, the 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. We must, and we shall, set the tide running again in the cause of freedom. And this party, with its every action, every word, every breath, and every heartbeat, has but a single resolve, and that is freedom - freedom made orderly for this nation by our constitutional government; freedom under a government limited by laws of nature and of nature's God; freedom - balanced so that liberty lacking order will not become the slavery of the prison cell; balanced so that liberty lacking order will not become the license of the mob and of the jungle.

Now, we Americans understand freedom. We have earned it, we have lived for it, and we have died for it. This Nation and its people are freedom's model in a searching world. We can be freedom's missionaries in a doubting world. But, ladies and gentlemen, first we must renew freedom's mission in our own hearts and in our own homes.

During four futile years, the administration which we shall replace has distorted and lost that faith... [Oh what I would give to hear the new 2008 president say those words...]

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.

Fellow Republicans, it is the cause of Republicanism to resist concentrations of power, private or public, which enforce such conformity and inflict such despotism. It is the cause of Republicanism to ensure that power remains in the hands of the people. And, so help us God, that is exactly what a Republican president will do with the help of a Republican Congress... [As we can see, the Republican Party is a mere chimera of its former self in the new millennium.]

The beauty of the very system we Republicans are pledged to restore and revitalize, the beauty of this Federal system of ours is in its reconciliation of diversity with unity. We must not see malice in honest differences of opinion, and no matter how great, so long as they are not inconsistent with the pledges we have given to each other in and through our Constitution. Our Republican cause is not to level out the world or make its people conform in computer regimented sameness. Our Republican cause is to free our people and light the way for liberty throughout the world. [This key issue--diversity--will become more important as the U.S. becomes more diverse, and the Democrats have taken away this issue from the Republicans, which has led to their success. Senator Obama's speeches show that it is his Democratic platform that seeks to "unite diversity with unity," which should be the first goal of any politician.]

Ours is a very human cause for very humane goals.

[Sigh. One day, I hope we all wake up and remember again what America stands for.]

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