Barry Goldwater

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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.

Barry Morris Goldwater (1 January 1909 - 29 May 1998) was an American politician. He was a U.S. Senator from Arizona, and the Republican Party's nominee for President in the 1964 election.

Sourced

  • The world will not greet you with open arms, but with a clenched fist.
    • Speaking as a Phoenix, Arizona city councilman to the 1950 graduating class at the segregated Carver High School
  • 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.
    • Unsourced variant: 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, and let me remind you they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyranny.
  • 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 of this 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.
  • 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.
    • With No Apologies (1979)
  • 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."
    • Speech in the US Senate (16 September 1981)
  • I used to receive a hundred calls a year from people who wanted me to get into the Green Room at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, because that's where the Air Force stored all the material gathered on UFOs. I once asked Curtis LeMay if I could get in that room, and he just gave me holy hell. He said, "Not only can't you get into it but don't you ever mention it to me again." Now, with the millions of planets that we know are up there, it's hard for me to believe that ours is the only goddam one that has things that can think walking around on it. So when people tell me they've seen UFOs, I don't say they haven't. In fifteen thousand hours of flying, I've never seen one, but I've talked to pilots who have. I talked to an airline crew that swore up and down that an object came alongside of them one night, and before they could do anything it vanished. We lost a military pilot who went up to intercept strange lights and never came back. His airplane disappeared, too. I won't argue for or against.
    • As quoted in The New Yorker (25 April 1988)
  • 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 (28 July 1994)
  • I said one day that Dole had a temper, and he got madder than hell. He has one. He has a mean one.
    • The Washington Post (28 July 1994)
  • The best thing Clinton could do — I think I wrote him a letter about this, but I'm not sure — is to shut up.... He has no discipline.
    • The Washington Post (28 July 1994); in the same article, speaking about former Goldwater supporter Hillary Clinton he states: "If he'd let his wife run business, I think he'd be better off."
  • The most dishonest man we ever had in the presidency.
    • Speaking of his political rival Lyndon Johnson in The Washington Post (28 July 1994); he also used similar descriptions when speaking of Richard Nixon
  • Most Americans have no real understanding of the operations of the international moneylenders... the accounts of the Federal Reserve have never been audited. It operates outside the control of Congress and ... manipulates the credit of the United States
  • Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them.
    • November 1994, Conservatives Without Conscience, John Dean
  • The big thing is to make this country, along with every other country in the world with a few exceptions, quit discriminating against people just because they're gay. You don't have to agree with it, but they have a constitutional right to be gay. And that's what brings me into it.
  • Having spent 37 years of my life in the military as a reservist, and never having met a gay in all of that time, and never having even talked about it in all those years, I just thought, why the hell shouldn't they serve? They're American citizens. As long as they're not doing things that are harmful to anyone else. ... So I came out for it.
    • Interview with Lloyd Grove, The Washington Post, ibid. 28 July 1994. Retrieved 10/21/2008

Attributed

  • A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel.
  • After one of his long-winded harangues I suggested he had probably been vaccinated with a phonograph needle. He responded by saying that I would have been a great success in the movies working for Eighteenth Century-Fox.
  • American business has just forgotten the importance of selling.
  • And here we encounter the seeds of government disaster and collapse — the kind that wrecked ancient Rome and every other civilization that allowed a sociopolitical monster called the welfare state to exist.
  • For the past twenty-five years the apostles of the welfare state, some Republicans, some Democrat, have been busy transforming that stern old gentleman with the top hat, the cutaway coat, the red, white, and blue trousers, from a symbol of dignity and freedom and justice for all men, into a national wet nurse, dispensing a cockeyed kind of patent medcine labeled "something for nothing," passing out the soothing syrup and rattles and pacifiers for grateful votes on election day.
  • Hubert Humphrey talks so fast that listening to him is like trying to read Playboy magazine with your wife turning the pages.
  • I became convinced the isolationist mood of the country after World War I, not the harsh terms of the Treaty of Versailles, had made World War II inevitable. If we had maintained our military superiority throughout the twenties and thirties, President Roosevelt could have warned Hitler not to invade any neutral countries, and that warning would have been heeded.
  • I don't think there was any Reagan revolution. This country is based, its economy is based, on free enterprise. The government's based on a constitutional democracy. And all Reagan did was to continue what Harry Truman did and George Washington started.
  • I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution or that have failed their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is "needed" before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents "interests," I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.
  • I will offer a choice, not an echo.
  • I won't say that the papers misquote me, but I sometimes wonder where Christianity would be today if some of those reporters had been Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
  • I wouldn't trust Nixon from here to that phone.
  • If everybody in this town connected with politics had to leave town because of chasing women and drinking, you would have no government.
  • It's a great country, where anybody can grow up to be president... except me.
  • It's political Daddyism and it's as old as demagogues and despotism.
  • Nixon was the most dishonest individual I have ever met in my life. He lied to his wife, his family, his friends, his colleagues in the Congress, lifetime members of his own political party, the American people and the world.
  • Politics is the art of achieving the maximum amount of freedom for individuals that is consistent with the maintenance of social order.
  • 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.
  • Sex and politics are a lot alike. You don't have to be good at them to enjoy them.
  • The income tax created more criminals than any other single act of government.
  • The big thing is to make this country, along with every other country in the world with a few exceptions, quit discriminating against people just because they're gay, you don't have to agree with it, but they have a constitutional right to be gay. And that's what brings me into it.
  • Throughout history civilian populations and political rulers have talked of peace. We have never been free of war. The soldier, whose profession is war, understands that peace must be enforced by superior military might. The certainty of defeat is the only effective deterrent we can use to maintain peace. Furthermore, we can be strong without being aggressive.
  • To disagree, one doesn't have to be disagreeable.
  • To insist on strength is not war-mongering. It is peace-mongering.
  • When I'm not a politician, I'll be dead.
  • You don't have to be straight to be in the military; you just have to be able to shoot straight.

Misattributed

  • A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.
    • Gerald Ford in a Presidential address to a joint session of Congress (12 August 1974)
    • Ford has also been quoted as having made a similar statement many years earlier, as a representative to the US Congress: "If the government is big enough to give you everything you want, it is big enough to take away everything you have."
      • "If Elected, I Promise…" : Stories and Gems of Wisdom by and About Politicians (1960) p. 193
    • Unsourced variants attributed to Goldwater include:
      A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away.
      Remember that a government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take away everything you have.
    • This quote has also been attributed to Davy Crockett and is consistent with his very-limited-government philosophy.

Quotes about Goldwater

  • In your heart you know he's right.
    • 1964 Presidential Campaign slogan, countered by Democrats with: "In your guts, you know he's nuts."
    • or with: "In your heart you know he's right, yes, extreme right."


  • Unlike nearly every other politician who ever lived, anywhere in the world, Barry Goldwater always said exactly what was on his mind. He spared his listeners nothing.
    • Lloyd Grove inThe Washington Post (30 May 1998)


  • America, the only nation ever founded in the name of liberty, never had a more ardent champion of liberty than Barry Goldwater. Simply put, Barry Goldwater was in love with freedom.


  • I always came away...with the impression that he was a great patriot and a truly fine human being.


  • He was your friend forever, but if your opponent, an implacable foe. He never changed.
    • Biographer Jack Casserly [4]


  • [Barry Goldwater was] one of the giants of 20th century American politics... [he] blazed the trail for the type of conservatism that has dominated government for the better part of three decades.


  • Think of a senator winning the Democratic nomination in the year 2000 whose positions included halving the military budget, socializing the medical system, re-regulating the communications and electrical industries, establishing a guaranteed minimum income for all Americans, and equalizing funding for all schools regardless of property valuations — and who promised to fire Alan Greenspan, counseled withdrawal from the World Trade Organization, and, for good measure, spoke warmly of adolescent sexual experimentation. He would lose in a landslide. He would be relegated to the ash heap of history. But if the precedent of 1964 were repeated, two years later the country would begin electing dozens of men and women just like him. And not many decades later, Republicans would have to proclaim softer versions of those positions to get taken seriously for their party’s nomination.
    • Rick Perlstein in Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus (2001)

External links

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