Big Government

On his 108th birthday, these 10 Barry Goldwater quotes will make liberals rip out their hair

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Photo credit: Donny Ferguson, with permission

Photo credit: Donny Ferguson, with permission

Born on January 2, 1909, Barry Goldwater would come to define modern conservatism and libertarianism and restore Americans’ belief in limited government.

His victory in the 1964 Republican presidential primary, campaigning on a platform of reducing the government only to those functions specifically authorized by the Constitution, turned the Republican Party from a middle-of-the-road moderate party into a rhetorical force for limited government.

He would go down to a crushing defeat to Lyndon Johnson in the November election, but historians agree that while he lost the battle, he won the war. In the end his pioneering decision to campaign explicitly as a constitutional conservative would lead to the election of Ronald Reagan and the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress and the establishment of the Libertarian Party. The mailing lists he built and conservative activists he groomed would build and lead the Republican Party to this day.

Before there was Reagan, or Ron Paul, there was Barry Goldwater. If he were somehow alive today, he’d still be driving liberals crazy on his 108th birthday with quotes like these.
“The good Lord raised this mighty Republic to be a home for the brave and to flourish as the land of the free-not to stagnate in the swampland of collectivism, not to cringe before the bully of communism.”
– Presidential nomination acceptance speech, 1964 Republican National Convention

“Where is the politician who has not promised to fight to the death for lower taxes- and who has not proceeded to vote for the very spending projects that make tax cuts impossible?”
– “The Conscience of a Conservative,” 1960

“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.”
– Presidential nomination acceptance speech, 1964 Republican National Convention

“[Democrat and GOP leaders] propound the first principle of totalitarianism: that the State is competent to do all things and is limited in what it actually does only by the will of those who control the State. It is clear that this view is in direct conflict with the Constitution which is an instrument, above all, for limiting the functions of government, and which is as binding today as when it was written.”
– “The Conscience of a Conservative,” 1960

“We do not seek to lead anyone’s life for him – we seek only to secure his rights and to guarantee him opportunity to strive, with government performing only those needed and constitutionally sanctioned tasks which cannot otherwise be performed.”
– Presidential nomination acceptance speech, 1964 Republican National Convention

“Broken promises are not the major causes of our trouble. Kept promises are. All too often we have put men in office who have suggested spending a little more on this, a little more on that, who have proposed a new welfare program, who have thought of another variety of ‘security.’ We have taken the bait, preferring to put off to another day the recapture of freedom and the restoration of our constitutional system. We have gone the way of many a democratic society that has lost its freedom by persuading itself that if ‘the people’ rule, all is well.”
– “The Conscience of a Conservative,” 1960

“…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

“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.”
– Presidential nomination acceptance speech, 1964 Republican National Convention

“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.”
– “The Conscience of a Conservative,” 1960

“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!”
– Presidential nomination acceptance speech, 1964 Republican National Convention

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