Remember that a government big enough to give you
everything you want is also big enough to take away everything you have. -- Barry M. Goldwater
Where is Barry Goldwater when you need him? Now there was a conservative. He wanted a small government and a balanced budget. He was for a strong military but only for defense, not nation-building. Goldwater was a man of principle, unafraid to point out hypocrisy, whether it emanated from a Democrat or a Republican. Of course, he got slaughtered in the 1964 presidential election by Lyndon Johnson, who went on to create the Great Society, the largest government social-engineering program since the New Deal.
I've been reading about the 1960s lately, and what has struck me most is how clear the line was between conservatives and liberals. The nation was divided, yes, but the division was about political philosophy -- how best to govern. Liberals wanted to use government to solve the nation's social ills -- racism, poverty, hunger. Conservatives wanted to leave such things to the "free market," believing the best government is that which governs least.
So how is it that "conservatives" are now supporting our largest-ever budget deficit? And why are "conservatives" in favor of letting the government invade our phone calls, our e-mails, our library records, our Internet searches, our bedrooms, and our pull-life-support-or-not decisions? And when did "conservatives" become such cowering nancy-boys, jettisoning the Constitution in the name of "national security"?
And finally, how did "conservative" come to mean being anti-science -- against stem-cell research, global-warming research, or even the teaching of evolution -- and favoring the insertion of fundamentalist Christianity into our governmental and educational institutions? Goldwater would be turning over (to the right) in his grave if he could see what passes for conservatism these days.
Which reminds me of another Goldwater quote, issued in his dotage in response to some foolishness uttered by Jerry Falwell: "I think every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass."
You go, Barry.
Bruce VanWyngarden, Editor