Barry Goldwater

From Conscience of a Conservative:

- The ancient and tested truths that guided our Republic through its early days will do equally well for us. The challenge to Conservatives today is quite simply to demonstrate the bearing of a proven philosophy on the problems of our own time.

- Conservatism, we are told, is out-of-date. The charge is preposterous and we ought boldly to say so. The laws of God, and of nature, have no dateline.

- Circumstances do change. So do the problems that are shaped by circumstances. But the principles that govern the solution of the problems do not.

- Conservatism is not an economic theory, though it has economic implications. The shoe is precisely on the other foot: it is Socialism that subordinates all other considerations to man's material wellbeing. It is Conservatism that puts material things in their proper place-that has a structured view of the human being and of human society, in which economics plays only a subsidiary role.

- Surely the first obligation of a political thinker is to understand the nature of man.

- The root difference between the Conservatives and the Liberals of today is that Conservatives take account of the whole man, while the Liberals tend to look only at the material side of man's nature. The Conservative believes that man is, in part, an economic; an animal creature; but that he is also a spiritual creature with spiritual needs and spiritual desires. What is more, these needs and desires reflect the superior side of man's nature and thus take precedence over his economic wants. Conservatism therefore looks upon the enhancement of man's spiritual nature as the primary concern of political philosophy. Liberals, on the other hand,--in the name of a concern for "human beings"--regard the satisfaction of economic wants as the dominant mission of society. They are, moreover, in a hurry. So that their characteristic approach is to harness the society's political and economic forces into a collective effort to compel "progress." In this approach, I believe they fight against Nature.

- Man's most sacred possession is his individual soul.

- The Conservative knows that to regard man as part of an undifferentiated mass is to consign him to ultimate slavery.

- Man's political freedom is illusory if he is dependent for his economic needs on the State.

- The Conservative looks upon politics as the art of achieving the maximum amount of freedom for individuals that is consistent with the maintenance of social order.

- The framers of the Constitution had learned the lesson. They were not only students of history, but victims of it: they knew from vivid, personal experience that freedom depends on effective restraints against the accumulation of power in a single authority. And that is what the Constitution is: a system of restraints against the natural tendency of government to expand in the direction of absolutism.

- Our tendency to concentrate power in the hands of a few men deeply concerns me. We can be conquered by bombs or by subversion; but we can also be conquered by neglect-by ignoring the Constitution and disregarding the principles of limited government.

- Bemoaning the evil will not drive it back, and accusing fingers will not shrink government.

- 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 in 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 their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.

- The Constitution, I repeat, draws a sharp and clear line between federal jurisdiction and state jurisdiction. The federal government's failure to recognize that line has been a crushing blow to the principle of limited government.

- The Constitution is what its authors intended it to be and said it was--not what the Supreme Court says it is. If we condone the practice of substituting our own intentions for those of the Constitution's framers, we reject, in effect, the principle of Constitutional Government: we endorse a rule of men, not of laws.

- I believe that unionism, kept within its proper and natural bounds, accomplishes a positive good for the country.

- Graft and corruption are symptoms of the illness that besets the labor movement, not the cause of it. The cause is the enormous economic and political power now concentrated in the hands of union leaders.

- The time has come, not to abolish unions or deprive them of deserved gains; but to redress the balance-to restore unions to their proper role in a free society.

- One way we exercise political freedom is to vote for the candidate of our choice. Another way is to use our money to try to persuade other voters to make a similar choice--that is, to contribute to our candidate's campaign. If either of these freedoms is violated, the consequences are very grave not only for the individual voter and contributor, but for the society whose free political processes depend on a wide distribution of political power.

- This attack on property rights is actually an attack on freedom. It is another instance of the modern failure to take into account the whole man. How can a man be truly free if he is denied the means to exercise freedom? How can he be free if the fruits of his labor are not his to dispose of, but are treated, instead, as part of a common pool of public wealth? Property and freedom are inseparable: to the extent government takes the one in the form of taxes, it intrudes on the other.

- I do not believe in punishing success.

- The root evil is that the government is engaged in activities in which it has no legitimate business.

- The need for "economic growth" that we hear so much about these days will be achieved, not by the government harnessing the nation's economic forces, but by emancipating them. By reducing taxes and spending we will not only return to the individual the means with which he can assert his freedom and dignity, but also guarantee to the nation the economic strength that will always be its ultimate defense against foreign foes.

- I have not denied that many of our children are being inadequately educated, or that the problem is nation-wide. I have only denied that it is the kind of problem that requires a solution at the national level. To the extent the problem is quantitative--to the extent we have too few classrooms and pay some of our teachers too little money--the shortages can be taken care of by the localities concerned. But more: to the extent the problem is qualitative--which in my opinion it mainly is--it is manifestly one that lends itself to correction at the local level. There is no place where deficiencies in the content of an educational system can be better understood than locally where a community has the opportunity to view and judge the product of its own school system.

- We should look upon our schools--not as a place to train the "whole character" of the child--a responsibility that properly belongs to his family and church--but to train his mind.