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.

Barry Morris Goldwater (1 January 190929 May 1998) was an American senator from the U.S. state of Arizona, and the U.S. Republican Party's nominee for President in the 1964 election.

Contents

QuotesEdit

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!
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.
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. … To my mind the single essential element on which all discoveries will be dependent is human freedom.
  • 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.
  • 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 Republican Presidential candidate, San Francisco (July 1964)
    • 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.
  • It is a fact that Lyndon Johnson and his curious crew seem to believe that progress in this country is best served simply and directly through the ever-expanding gift power of the everlastingly growing Federal Government. One thing we all know, and I assure you I do: that's a much easier way to get votes than my way. It always has been. It's political Daddyism, and it's as old as demagogues and despotism.
    • As quoted in "The Underdog Underdog" in TIME magazine (6 November 1964)
  • 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
    • With No Apologies (1979)
  • 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)
  • I think every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass.
    • Said in July 1981 in response to Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell's opposition to the nomination of Sandra Day O'Connor to the Supreme Court, of which Falwell had said, "Every good Christian should be concerned." as quoted in Ed Magnuson, "The Brethren's First Sister," Time Magazine, (20 July, 1981)
    • According to John Dean, Goldwater actually suggested that good Christians ought to kick Falwell in the "nuts", but the news media "changed the anatomical reference."
      • Dean, John (2008). Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches. Penguin Group. "I know because I was there when he said it." 
  • 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), p. 70
  • You don't need to be 'straight' to fight and die for your country. You just need to shoot straight.
    • Statement of 10 June 1993, as quoted in "Goldwater Backs Gay Troops" in The New York Times (11 June 1993); also quoted in Barry Goldwater (1995), by Robert Alan Goldberg, p. 332
  • 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.
    • Said in November 1994, as quoted in John Dean, Conservatives Without Conscience (2006)

The Conscience of a Conservative (1960)Edit

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.
Ghostwritten with L. Brent Bozell
  • Conservatism, we are told, is out-of-date. This charge is preposterous and we ought to boldly say so. The laws of God, and of nature, have no dateline. […] These principles are derived from the nature of man, and from the truths that God has revealed about His creation. […] To suggest that the Conservative philosophy is out of date is akin to saying that the Golden Rule, or the Ten Commandments or Aristotle’s Politics are out of date.
  • 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.
    • p. 15

Address on religious factions (1981)Edit

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?
Remarks in the Congressional Record (15 September 1981)
  • It's a wonderful feeling to be a conservative these days. When I ran for President 17 years ago I was told I was behind the times. Now everybody tells me I was ahead of my time. All I can say is that time certainly is an elusive companion.
    But those reactions illustrate how far the ideological pendulum has swung in recent years. The American people have expressed their desire for a new course in our public policy in this country, a conservative course.
    Being a conservative in America traditionally has meant that one holds a deep, abiding respect for the Constitution. We conservatives believe sincerely in the integrity of the Constitution. We treasure the freedoms that document protects.
    We believe, as the founding fathers did, that we "are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
  • The specter of single-issue religious groups is growing over our land. … One of the great strengths of our political system always has been our tendency to keep religious issues in the background. By maintaining the separation of church and state, the United States has avoided the intolerance which has so divided the rest of the world with religious wars.
  • 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.
  • In the past couple years, I have seen many news items that referred to the Moral Majority, prolife and other religious groups as "the new right," and the "new conservatism." Well, I have spent quite a number of years carrying the flag of the old conservatism. And I can say with conviction that the religious issues of these groups have little or nothing to do with conservative or liberal politics.
    The uncompromising position of these groups is a divisive element that could tear apart the very spirit of our representative system, if they gain sufficient strength.

    As it is, they are diverting us away from the vital issues that our Government needs to address. Far too much of the time of members of Congress and officials in the Executive Branch is used up dealing with special-interest groups on issues like abortion, school busing, ERA, prayer in the schools and pornography. While these are important moral issues, they are secondary right now to our national security and economic survival.
  • I must make it clear that I don't condemn these groups for what they believe. I happen to share many of the values emphasized by these organizations.
    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." … This unrelenting obsession with a particular goal destroys the perspective of many decent people. They have become easy prey to manipulation and misjudgment.
  • The 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. The great decisions of Government cannot be dictated by the concerns of religious factions. This was true in the days of Madison, and it is just as true today.
    We have succeeded for 205 years in keeping the affairs of state separate from the uncompromising idealism of religious groups and we mustn't stop now.
    To retreat from that separation would violate the principles of conservatism and the values upon which the framers built this democratic republic.

Goldwater (1988)Edit

Johnson was a dirty fighter. Any campaign with him in it would involve a lot of innuendo and lies. Johnson was a wheeler-dealer. Neither he nor anyone else could change that.
Autobiography, co-written with Jack Casserly
  • Johnson was a dirty fighter. Any campaign with him in it would involve a lot of innuendo and lies. Johnson was a wheeler-dealer. Neither he nor anyone else could change that. That's what he was. And Johnson was a treacherous boot. He'd slap you on the back today and stab you in the back tomorrow. Moreover, LBJ was dull. He was a lousy public speaker. The man didn't believe half of what he said. He was a hypocrite, and it came through in the hollowness of his speech. LBJ made me sick.
  • Vietnam is about halfway around the world from Washington. It's as large as the major European nations, with nearly 130,000 square miles... Its ancient recorded history goes back to 111 B.C... We entered (that country) with considerable ignorance.
  • I told Johnson and old colleagues on Capitol Hill that we had two clear choices. Either win the [Vietnam] war in a relatively short time, say within a year, or pull out all our troops and come home.
    • p. 222

Washington Post interview (1994)Edit

"Barry Goldwater's Left Turn" by Lloyd Grove in The Washington Post (28 July 1994)
  • 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.
  • I said one day that Dole had a temper, and he got madder than hell. He has one. He has a mean one.
  • 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 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.


MisattributedEdit

  • 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.
    • However, Karl Hess, a speechwriter for Goldwater, quoted Goldwater as having "repeatedly" said during the 1964 campaign that "the government strong enough to give you what you want is strong enough to take it all away." See The Death of Politics, a Playboy article from 1969.
    • Similar assertions have often been attributed to Ronald Reagan. Some of the inspiration for such expressions may lie in "The Criminality of the State" by Albert Jay Nock in American Mercury (March 1939) where he stated: "You get the same order of criminality from any State to which you give power to exercise it; and whatever power you give the State to do things for you carries with it the equivalent power to do things to you."
    • This quote has also been attributed to Davy Crockett. [citation needed]
  • Where fraternities are not allowed, communism flourishes.
    • Reported in Paul F. Boller, Jr., and John George, They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, & Misleading Attributions (1989), p. 36-37, as having appeared in the Baltimore Catholic Review.

Quotes about GoldwaterEdit

In your heart you know he's 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
America, the only nation ever founded in the name of liberty, never had a more ardent champion of liberty than Barry Goldwater. ~ John McCain
  • 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."
    • or with: "In your heart you know he might." - a reference to the possibility of Goldwater using nuclear weapons
  • 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 in The Washington Post (30 May 1998)
  • Low education and low intelligence, Goldwater once declared to the delight of his equally well-upholstered followers, are the real causes of poverty. One wonders what he, who did not last out more than one year of college, would have done if a family fortune and a family business did not await him back home.
  • The Goldwaterite picture of themselves, as of their hero, is as distant from reality as the rest of the private universe they are defending. The frontier virtues they claim to embody are as synthetic as the frontier they inhabit. Their desert is air-conditioned and landscaped; their covered wagons are Cadillacs; their chaps are from Abercrombie & Fitch; their money, like their candidate’s, is mostly inherited from grandpappy, or acquired with their wives. In their favorite campaign photos, on that horse and under that ten-gallon Stetson, looking into the setting sun, is no cowboy or even rancher but a Phoenix storekeeper. The Western trade he caters to, in business as in politics, is dude ranch.
  • I'm liberal up to a degree, I think everybody should be free, but if you think I'll let Barry Goldwater move in next door and marry my daughter, you must think I'm crazy. I wouldn't let him do it for all the farms in Cuba.
  • 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)

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