I owe my readers an apology. On January 5, 2008 in a post I wrote titled “The Real Reagan Conservative” I promised to continue my analysis of all the GOP candidates in light of the definition of Reagan Conservatism. Since we have only Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul, and the presumptive GOP presidential nominee John McCain left, I want to address this subject from a different angle.
I’ve been reading my recently purchased copy of Barry Goldwater’s “The Conscience of a Conservative.” When I ordered my copy from Amazon I thought I was getting a later version, but much to my delight I received an original copy, complete with what appears a bite out of the front edge of the book and yellowed pages. The original printed price of fifty cents on its cover makes the $18.43 I paid for the book all the more valuable, thanks to the Invisible Dogg (the seller).
What is at stake in the upcoming elections is the US Constitution and our liberty it defends. Our Constitution has been under attack for nearly a century and most Americans do not realize this nor do they understand what is at stake. However, I may be wrong…read these words:
“I am convinced that most Americans now want to reverse the trend. I think that concern for our vanishing freedoms is genuine. I think that the people’s uneasiness in the stifling omnipresence of government has turned into something approaching alarm. But bemoaning evil will not drive it back, and accusing fingers will not shrink government.” Barry Goldwater, The Conscience of a Conservative (p. 23)
Senator Goldwater wrote those words 48 years ago and it seems the longing for freedom from the grip of the federal government has only grown stronger. Why is this? It is because we have elected the wrong men and women to represent us. Again I turn to Goldwater:
“The turn will come when we entrust the conduct of our affairs to men who understand that their first duty as public officials is to divest themselves of the power they have been given.” (Goldwater, p. 23)
You’re thinking, “Yeah, right!” As if a politician would vote him or herself less power! Why is that such a foreign idea to most Americans? It is because we have become an entitlement society and we are addicted to the federal feeding trough.
Most people celebrate when they get a nice income tax return as though they’ve received some wonderful windfall from the government or others use their returns as a vacation or luxury item savings plan!
Excuse me, but you are celebrating the return of your confiscated money, used by the federal government free of charge (albeit earning interest you’ll never see!).
Two more points to ponder before I go. What type of candidate is a Reagan Conservative? What type of candidate will work towards limited government? Goldwater again points it out for us:
“It will come when Americans, in hundreds of communities throughout the nation, decide to put the man in office who is pledged to enforce the Constitution and restore the Republic. Who will proclaim in a campaign speech: ‘I have little interest in streamlining government or 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 permissable. 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.”
Brilliant words, so much so that they affected many who would become the stalwarts of the conservative movement; Ronald Reagan, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, and Fred Thompson. Many people who espouse Reagan Conservatism are unfamiliar with The Speech so it is with a video excerpt I leave you. Enjoy and be amazed!