Friday, April 9, 2010

Put not your faith in ...

One of the first books I read that influenced my political thought was Conscience of a Conservative. I read and re-read my paperback copy. I learned later that it was actually written by Brent Bozell [William F. Buckley's brother-in-law], rather than by Barry Goldwater — my introduction to the idea of the "ghost-writer." [JFK didn't write Profiles in Courage, either.] Goldwater ran for President in 1964 when I was a college freshman and like a lot of young conservatives that was the first time I supported a candidate with enthusiasm, and my disappointment in his loss was severe [I've gotten over it]. I don't think Goldwater had read his book. In any event, he didn't know what conservatism is. David Mills reminds us that he was actually a certain variety of libertarian — if he was reflective about political principles at all.
While searching the web for something, I came across the Planned Parenthood site and followed a link to a group of theirs called “Republicans for Choice.” It included as a pull-out quote these words from Barry Goldwater:
A lot of so-called conservatives today don’t know what the word means. They think I’ve turned liberal because I believe a woman has a right to an abortion. That’s a decision that’s up to the pregnant woman, not up to the pope or some do-gooders or the religious right. It’s not a conservative issue at all.
It is impossible for me to think well of someone who could say something so morally cretinous, whatever else may be said in his favor. If protecting the life of the unborn is not conservative, I don’t know what would be—or, alternatively, why anyone would care to be a conservative. And if “do-gooder” is an insult in this case, the man doesn’t know what the good really is. He has taken a position the man of basic, of normal and merely human, moral awareness does not take. ....
Goldwater and the Do-Gooders » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog