Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

William F. Buckley, Jr.: What Did Goldwater Mean?
National Review Online ^ | 12/10/04 | William F. Buckley, Jr.

Posted on 12/12/2004 2:19:17 PM PST by wagglebee

Phoenix — They continue to celebrate Barry Goldwater. An Institute, now 16 years old, gets in speakers, most of whom reflect on the achievements of their favorite son. Goldwater was an enormously accomplished man, indulgent of life’s amenities and challenged by its perversities. He attracted an extra-political following by cultivating pursuits not easily done by those more timorous than he. He inclined to do that which was risky, including national politics, and he emerged in the early 1960s as spokesman for the conservative wing of the Republican party. A question arose at the Goldwater Institute’s proceedings last week when the speaker dwelled, for a few moments, on the later Goldwater. The story is as follows:

A few years before his death in 1998, Goldwater started taking positions different from those of the conservative constituency at large. Conspicuous here was his defense of Supreme Court decisions involving abortion, gay rights, and the separation of church and state. Most followers of the senator were surprised, and abashed, especially at his defense of abortion. What emerged as a question, at the meeting in Phoenix, was whether his abortion position was owing to judicial ultramontanism, or to his general devotion to individual rights. It is not challenged that Goldwater defended abortion as though it were a closed issue, closed in the sense that the Supreme Court had ruled, in Roe v. Wade, that abortion was a constitutional right.

By one line of reasoning, a woman has the right to do what she chooses with her own body. That position can be taken, and was taken before Roe v. Wade came into town, by many who defended the right to abort. What the Supreme Court contributed was a constitutional validation. If abortion is a “right,” then perhaps the people who exercise that right are no more contumacious than people who write articles and take political positions. That would be a fundamentalist view of human rights, and there are those who believe that Senator Goldwater, when he affirmed the right to abort, was doing nothing more merely than affirming the exercise of human rights in general.

Other analysts believe that the senator was fooled by the respect he felt for the Supreme Court. Since the Court had ruled that abortion was okay, what more argument was there to dwell upon?

There is, of course, the difficulty that the Supreme Court is capable of judgments which, on reflection, observers are free to question, and even to oppose. The overriding question being, of course, whether in the exercise of a “right,” the right of someone else has been transgressed upon. In this case, obviously, the right of the unborn child. If the child has a right, surely it is to live. Therefore, to end his life is to go beyond the plausible limits of the mother’s right.

There were two responses to the Court in the Dred Scott decision. One of them can be characterized, roughly, as Lincoln’s. What he said, pure and simple, was that the Court had reasoned incorrectly. The slave was not “property” in the conventional sense. If so, then an owner who wished to transport that slave to another state or territory, where slavery was not institutionalized, could not do so without imperiling his title to the property.

Others defended the decision, sometimes for political reasons — states rights was a sundering national issue. Therefore great relief was wrought by the positive reasoning: If the Court said it’s okay, then it’s okay.

One visitor to Phoenix recalled that Senator McGovern, during his campaign for the presidency, was asked his views on busing. He replied, “The Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the question.”

Which was true, but which did not answer the question: What were the senator’s views on busing?

On abortion, the views of some, pre-Roe and post-Roe, were that no judicial reasoning can validate the expression of freedom when it is invoked in order to obliterate another human life.

Was Senator Goldwater acting as a constitutional exegete? Or was he reasoning for himself that the right of the unborn child was irrelevant? The question was not answered, but Goldwater’s memory had provoked curiosity on the matter, and it is reassuring that how Goldwater thought on a great public question continues to concern thoughtful conservatives.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: abortion; barrygoldwater; conservatives; conservativism; goldwater; prolife; roevwade; supremecourt; williamfbuckley
This is very interesting, I never have understood why Goldwater made the statements he did about abortion.
1 posted on 12/12/2004 2:19:17 PM PST by wagglebee
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

Goldwater was never the same after his landslide loss to LBJ in which Blacks shifted en masse from the Party of Lincoln over to the Party of FDR. His mind was affected, and he never really recovered.

2 posted on 12/12/2004 2:24:43 PM PST by Southack (Media Bias means that Castro won't be punished for Cuban war crimes against Black Angolans in Africa)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Southack
Goldwater laid out the groundwork for conservativism in 1964. Unfortunately, he lacked the charisma to win over any significant segment of the population. Moreover, the Kennedy tax cuts of 1963 created a huge economic expansion; this alone ensured ensured LBJ the election just as it would for Reagan in 1984 and Clinton in 1996.

IMHO, Goldwater's greatest contribution was in laying the foundation for Ronald Reagan. Reagan took Goldwater's principles and revitalized California and later the entire nation.

3 posted on 12/12/2004 2:32:08 PM PST by wagglebee (Memo to sKerry: the only thing Bush F'ed up was your career)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee
If the Court said it’s okay, then it’s okay.

This logic is the road to ruin for a free people.

4 posted on 12/12/2004 2:41:26 PM PST by Noachian (A Democrat, by definition, is a Socialist.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Southack
Goldwater was never the same after his landslide loss to LBJ in which Blacks shifted en masse from the Party of Lincoln over to the Party of FDR. His mind was affected, and he never really recovered.

No, Goldwater never changed. Issues came to the fore that highlighted his differences with mainstreet conservatism, and then Reagan sold the party to the Religious Right for their votes.

The Republican Party of today has very little to do in either membership or positions with the party of 1960.

So9

5 posted on 12/12/2004 2:42:22 PM PST by Servant of the 9 (Trust Me)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

He was getting old, plain and simple. I have noticed that some older people (75+ crowd) start saying things and taking positions contrary to what they had always supported. Some become downright kooky as a prelude to dementia. Unfortunately, I am going through this with my Dad right now who is showing signs of Alzheimers. He was always a staunch Republican, but the last election he voted Democratic 'cause he thought Bush would eliminate his Social Security.


6 posted on 12/12/2004 2:48:23 PM PST by rbg81
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

bump


7 posted on 12/12/2004 2:48:53 PM PST by blackeagle
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Noachian

People need to realize that the Supreme Court may have made abortion "Constitutional" with Roe v. Wade thirty years ago, but that doesn't make abortion moral or right. The Supreme Court made segregation and, by default, racism legal with Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896; however, 58 years later, the Court came to it's senses and reversed this with Brown v. Board of Education (the fact that Brown has been used to introduce a host of other unconstitutional programs is irrelevant). Hopefully, in the near future, the left will be confronted with the reality that abortion is not and never should have been the "law of the land."


8 posted on 12/12/2004 2:50:36 PM PST by wagglebee (Memo to sKerry: the only thing Bush F'ed up was your career)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Servant of the 9

"Reagan sold the party to the Religious Right for their votes"

Yep, that moron Reagan doing something so crass and un-Republican as to actually stand for something in addition to free markets and big defense budgets. How DARE he!


9 posted on 12/12/2004 2:54:59 PM PST by Luddite Patent Counsel ("Evil is just plain bad")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Southack
Goldwater was never the same after his landslide loss to LBJ in which Blacks shifted en masse from the Party of Lincoln over to the Party of FDR. His mind was affected, and he never really recovered.

Goldwater was the same before and after his landslide loss to LBJ in which Blacks shifted en masse from the Party of Lincoln over to the Party of FDR. His mind was affected at birth, and he never really recovered.

Goldwater by stupid ignorant and needlessly provocative statements handed our entire government over to LBJ and the FAR LEFT.

The man most responsible for getting the far leftist social agenda of LBJ passed was Barry Goldwater.

As LBJ said to Barry Goldwater, "I could not have enacted all my socialist legislation and programs without your great help"


10 posted on 12/12/2004 3:17:23 PM PST by Common Tator
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee
If I remember, Goldwater started having a "relationship" with a young and attractive woman, don't remember names. I think he fell prey to one of the oldest traps known to man; a woman. Back in my earlier days the slang expression was "pussywhipped". Perhaps that is a little strong, but it is descriptive.
11 posted on 12/12/2004 3:41:54 PM PST by det dweller too
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: rbg81
"Some become downright kooky as a prelude to dementia."

Paging Gerald Ford...
12 posted on 12/12/2004 3:52:47 PM PST by RightOnTheLeftCoast (You're it)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Servant of the 9
The Republican Party of today has very little to do in either membership or positions with the party of 1960.

Thank god for that. We don't need stinking liberals like Warren and Ford, or pro-abortionist Senators like Packwood or anti-war Senators like Javits.

The Republican party under Reagan changed for the better, and the Republic is better for it.

13 posted on 12/12/2004 4:08:50 PM PST by nwrep
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: det dweller too

I also watched Goldwater's slide into 'PW' territory. I would agree that a combination of declining mental abilities and a 'boost' to the libido by a young woman combined to push him in to supporting the killing of babies. Just listent to Granny 'D' and the sudden on-rush of tolerance by aging types - somehow the 'tolerance' never includes embracing moral standards or personal responsibility.


14 posted on 12/12/2004 4:11:11 PM PST by NHResident
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: nwrep
The Republican Party of today has very little to do in either membership or positions with the party of 1960.

Thank god for that. We don't need stinking liberals like Warren and Ford, or pro-abortionist Senators like Packwood or anti-war Senators like Javits.

It was Goldwater who broke the Mainstreet Liberal wing of the party under Rockefeller and Javits.

No one knows what kind of brain bubble changed Warren from a tough prosecutor and hanging judge to Supreme Court loon.

The Republican party under Reagan changed for the better, and the Republic is better for it.

In some ways, but I will stick to Goldwater's direction. A Federal Govt. that defends the coast (proactively), delivers the mail and otherwise leaves us all alone.

When I want religiosity, I go to church.
I don't want to hear it from the hired help in Washington.

SO9

15 posted on 12/12/2004 4:20:32 PM PST by Servant of the 9 (Trust Me)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: rbg81

"He was getting old, plain and simple."

I'm really glad you said this, because it is a fact of life--aging can slow down cognitive activity including the application of critical judgment and the desire to engage around contentious issues.

I recall a time when I was in graduate school; an elderly retired luminary of the field, known to our professor, happened to be in town, and graciously agreed to come speak with us for two classes.

A classic Freudian, he found himself being vigorously challenged by some enthusiastic grad students on some basic propositions. The next day he no-showed, and it turned out he just went home. He just didn't want to fight about it, so he didn't.

Maybe Goldwater just didn't want to fight about it anymore.


16 posted on 12/12/2004 4:26:57 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee
the reality that abortion is not and never should have been the "law of the land."

Today, liberals look back 100 years to the era of slavery and condemn what was then a legal though immoral practice. I wonder if people in the future will condemn this immoral time in American history when millions have died because a few judges unconstitutionally "tinkered" with our society.

17 posted on 12/12/2004 4:31:26 PM PST by Noachian (A Democrat, by definition, is a Socialist.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: NHResident
He also had a gay grandson, didn't he? I'd bet that because he didn't want to have to choose sides against his grandson's choice, or imperil his relationship with him, he took the liberal view.

That liberal view probably led him to other liberal views, as those holding that homosexuality was errant and wrong were the Conservatives. Disaffection with the Republican take on homosexuality probably tainted his opinion or judgement on many other Republican views.

18 posted on 12/12/2004 4:32:57 PM PST by AlbionGirl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: nwrep

don't be taken in by that ridiculous line-- Barry Goldwater was first and foremost ANTI-COMMUNIST and so was his constituency. Ronald Reagan was first and foremost ANTI-COMMUNIST and so was his constituency. Ergo, Goldwater's constituency + Reagan Democrats driven away by Democratic equivocation = Reagan's constituency.


19 posted on 12/12/2004 4:43:47 PM PST by gusopol3
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

"After marrying his second wife, Goldwater, and his family, took odd stands concerning campaigns in Arizona pitting pro-life candidates versus those who support abortion -- so odd that Goldwater would eventually betray his own party and support a Democrat over a Republican."

I think both of Goldwater's wives were pro-abortion. He did not seem conservative toward the end, most thought it was the influence of his wife. Perhaps there is something in the water. I might as well apologize on behalf of AZ for both he and McCain at this time. Sorry.


20 posted on 12/12/2004 4:49:56 PM PST by KTpig
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee
I read Goldwater's biography and what struck me was how stupid the man was.

Yes, he was an anticommunist and helped revive the conservative movement. But the movement was created at the grass roots level and he was the only leader available.

He never liked Reagan and supported Nixon up and till he resigned. His '64 campaign was idiotically run and his vote against the civil rights act (well intentioned) was stupid.

As TR once said of another senator "He meant well, feebly"
21 posted on 12/12/2004 4:54:44 PM PST by rcocean
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee; B4Ranch
IMHO, Goldwater's greatest contribution was in laying the foundation for Ronald Reagan. Reagan took Goldwater's principles and revitalized California and later the entire nation.

Bump! Also, I think people fail to realize that in solving the problems introduced by big government and cultural relativism poverty would diminish greatly.

I do think we need to focus on those things. We need to make sure that we aren't disadvantaging our willing American workers at the bottom of the social heap by our immigration laws, our red tape, and our taxation law.

Reagan's efforts to improve those matters translated into the boom that Clinton always claims for himself.

22 posted on 12/12/2004 5:08:03 PM PST by risk
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee
When I read Buckley's articles, there's at least once that I have to go to the dictionary. I thought I had this one whipped then word "exegete" go me in the last paragraph. I wonder if he does this on purpose.

If the Court said it’s okay, then it’s okay.

I hear a lot of this and it concerns me a little. All the Supreme Court can do is rule on a question according to the constitutions, laws and customs of the people. It did this in Dred Scott, regardless of Lincoln's reasoning, which was correct but only indicated a minor flaw in the law regarding the transport of slaves.

What the Supreme Court can't do is rule on the mysteries of life, like when a developing child gains a human soul. It did this in Roe.

Therefore, if the Supreme court says its so, there is a definite limit to its jurisdiction.

23 posted on 12/12/2004 5:10:25 PM PST by William Terrell (Individuals can exist without government but government can't exist without individuals.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: risk

http://www.nationalcenter.org/Goldwater.html

Read the acceptance speech from the Cow Palace, prophesying the course of the next 25 years, then call him stupid. The truth is, he was a drunk and it got to his gray matter.


24 posted on 12/12/2004 5:13:21 PM PST by gusopol3
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: William Terrell

I think Buckley uses obscure words to remind the leftists that you don't have to be a liberal in order to be an intellectual snob (George Will does the same thing, although not as much).


25 posted on 12/12/2004 5:14:11 PM PST by wagglebee (Memo to sKerry: the only thing Bush F'ed up was your career)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: gusopol3
I'm not saying Goldwater was on the wrong side or wasn't right on the big issues of the 60's or didn't have good speech writers.

But when it came to judging people and events, running a political campaign, keeping ones emotions in check, etc. - the man was a dummy.

He meant well, he surrounded himself at times with good smart people, but he was himself a weak sister.
26 posted on 12/12/2004 5:19:47 PM PST by rcocean
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee
Buckley does "intellectual snob" real well; he has the intelligence for it.

27 posted on 12/12/2004 5:21:25 PM PST by William Terrell (Individuals can exist without government but government can't exist without individuals.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: William Terrell

From what I've heard, GWB has the intelligence (and education) to do it also; however, he realizes that his appeal is in not doing it.


28 posted on 12/12/2004 5:23:36 PM PST by wagglebee (Memo to sKerry: the only thing Bush F'ed up was your career)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: Servant of the 9
No, Goldwater never changed.

I guess his child bride may have had a little to do with his changing views....

29 posted on 12/12/2004 5:38:14 PM PST by itsahoot (There are some things more painful than the truth, but I can't think of them.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: rcocean

if you think Bush vs. MSM, Michael Moore, Rather and Soros was tough, you should have been there for Goldwater against "the consensus." As to the speech, I'm not referring to the phraseology , the province of the speech writers-- I'm talking about the content and the guts and vision to elucidate it.


30 posted on 12/12/2004 5:43:14 PM PST by gusopol3
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: KTpig

I recall people who were "on the floor" (of the Senate) at the time he was "in the cups" a lot before he took the backward turn. That's what I see of VA's Warner, too.


31 posted on 12/12/2004 6:02:29 PM PST by Spirited
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Southack
Goldwater was never the same after his landslide loss to LBJ in which Blacks shifted en masse from the Party of Lincoln over to the Party of FDR.Didn't that shift begin during FDR's own administration, early on therein?

ff

32 posted on 12/12/2004 6:11:39 PM PST by foreverfree
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Spirited

Darn, I made it through Buckley...to have you use the unfamiliar term "in the cups." Does it mean drinking, or does it have to do with his 2nd wife (who was 30 years younger)?

Not that there is anything wrong with that.


33 posted on 12/12/2004 6:23:29 PM PST by KTpig
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: foreverfree
Reformatted...

Goldwater was never the same after his landslide loss to LBJ in which Blacks shifted en masse from the Party of Lincoln over to the Party of FDR.

Didn't that shift begin during FDR's own administration, early on therein?

ff

34 posted on 12/12/2004 6:29:00 PM PST by foreverfree
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: KTpig

Drinking habits changed.....


35 posted on 12/12/2004 6:47:07 PM PST by Spirited
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: gusopol3
I liked Goldwater, but he wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer. He did have a good speechwriter, Karl Hess.
36 posted on 12/12/2004 7:17:41 PM PST by Bismark (Do you understand "fish or cut bait?")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.


37 posted on 12/12/2004 7:24:06 PM PST by nkycincinnatikid
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: William Terrell
"Buckley does 'intellectual snob' real well; he has the intelligence for it."

Lol, yes he does...But perhaps Buckley's bit too smart for his own good: An IQ of a thousand, the ultimate wordsmith, and someone of whom nearly NO ONE understands.

38 posted on 12/12/2004 7:25:14 PM PST by F16Fighter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee
"I think Buckley uses obscure words to remind the leftists that you don't have to be a liberal in order to be an intellectual snob..."

"judicial ultramontanism"

Yeah, Bill...that's the ticket....

39 posted on 12/12/2004 7:28:15 PM PST by F16Fighter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: Servant of the 9

I still think Reagan was the greatest President we've had, in that he moved the country right again out of a clearly moderate funk, but we have had no President willing to get things even remotely back on the right track to limiting government since.

Goldwater would have been an ideal president.

Of course, you could have guessed that from my freeper home page. :)


40 posted on 12/12/2004 7:53:21 PM PST by LibertarianInExile (NO BLOOD FOR CHOCOLATE! Get the UN-ignoring, unilateralist Frogs out of Ivory Coast!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

It is NOT irrelevant, unfortunately. Each of the twisted bits of logic the courts use to expand their power for good can be used for bad--and they inevitably are.

The power of the courts should not have been used for anything but limiting government, and while Brown was the 'right' decision, it was not the smart one. The 1965 Civil Rights act was 'good' law, but its effect has been awful. Next time you think 'there oughta be a law,' remember, there probably is, and a judge 'interpreting' it is what f'ed things all up.

If there isn't a law, leave it alone, or try to get one passed, or move, instead of having a judge make one up.


41 posted on 12/12/2004 7:57:18 PM PST by LibertarianInExile (NO BLOOD FOR CHOCOLATE! Get the UN-ignoring, unilateralist Frogs out of Ivory Coast!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Servant of the 9

Bump again!


42 posted on 12/12/2004 7:58:38 PM PST by LibertarianInExile (NO BLOOD FOR CHOCOLATE! Get the UN-ignoring, unilateralist Frogs out of Ivory Coast!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: F16Fighter
Well, he's pretty famous, so somebody must understand him.

43 posted on 12/12/2004 8:12:59 PM PST by William Terrell (Individuals can exist without government but government can't exist without individuals.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

Comment #44 Removed by Moderator

To: LibertarianInExile
I guess I didn't say what I meant very well. Plessy v. Ferguson was WRONG and there is no way around it, it needed to be overturned. Brown v. Board overturned Plessy; however, it went way to far and, as you mentioned, been used as a platform to expand government.

All I wanted to demonstrate is that a long-standing court opinion CAN be overturned.

45 posted on 12/13/2004 9:59:58 AM PST by wagglebee (Memo to sKerry: the only thing Bush F'ed up was your career)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee
"his defense of Supreme Court decisions involving abortion, gay rights, and the separation of church and state."

It could have had somthing to do with the fact Goldwater's daughter Peggy had an abortion, Goldwater's grandson was a sodomite and Goldwater was at best a nominal Christian. He was also a class A ingrate, as witness his nonendorsements of Governor Reagan in 1976 and 1980, when most other Republicans (Dole, Connally, Rhodes) were not taking sides.

46 posted on 03/23/2005 5:55:19 PM PST by Meldrim
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson