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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/11156/the-goldwater-anomaly/

The Goldwater Anomaly

December 4, 2009 by

The eloquence was chiefly the doing of Goldwater’s speechwriter and principal adviser during the 1964 campaign, the journalist and political ghostwriter Karl Hess. As Hess tells it, Senator Goldwater really was a genuine classical liberal. FULL ARTICLE by Jeff Riggenbach


David L. Wood, M.D. December 4, 2009 at 10:09 am

In my training years (1960-1964), I was a staunch supporter of Barry Goldwater. In reading Jeff Riggenbach’s discussion it was unclear to me whether his use of the word “liberal” meant the classical meaning of Jefferson’s positions or the later radical, left-wing socialist takeover of the proper, classical label that was meant to assume the authenticity of the classical word, “liberal.” Is it possible Mr. Riggenbach might clarify which distinction he meant in calling Mr. Goldwater liberal?

Nikolaj December 4, 2009 at 11:10 am

David, I agree completely.

In addition, Murray Rothbard who flirted with communists in 1960s and openly supported big government protectionist Pat Buchanan for president of the USA in early 1990s has zero credibility to denounce Goldwater as a “statist”.

And accusation for “imperialism” is so ridiculous that sounds as copy-pasted nonsense from the Soviet propaganda textbooks.

The Wobbly Guy December 4, 2009 at 11:10 am

To be honest, I’m glad for the US intervention in South-East Asia, because I would not even exist if the damn commies haven’t been delayed by the sacrifice of the US, allowing the ASEAN economies to grow strong enough that they can discredit socialist ideas.

It was truly a matter of choosing the lesser evil. Perhaps Goldwater understood that.

Richard December 4, 2009 at 11:56 am

Riggenbach means “liberal” in the classical liberal sense. He refers to classical liberals as left-wing in contrast to right-wing statist Conservatives e.g. the 19th century Republicans.

Thinker December 4, 2009 at 12:25 pm

Minor quibble: Cleveland was a Democrat, not a Republican.

Paul Stephens December 4, 2009 at 3:41 pm

I worked for Goldwater’s election in ’64 (mainly because Ayn Rand endorsed him), and met Karl Hess in about 1969, when he was living in a commune and identified with the New Left.
“Liberal”, in most parts of the world, means “classical liberal” – an advocate of civil rights, representative government, the Rule of Law (independent judiciary), and above all, Free Trade (i.e., anti-mercantilism) and sound money (the gold standard or some other “objective value” like Hayek’s Commodity Reserve Currency), etc.
It isn’t quite the same as “libertarian” as we understand it, but it is its direct ancestor (or maybe we’re the bastard half-brother).
Thus, “liberalism” is definitely a statist ideology, but it assumes that governments will be honest and really represent the public interest.
FDR wasn’t “liberal” in the least – he was corporate-elitist, militarist, and thus, more or less fascist, as well as a consummate political manipulator, like LBJ.
If Goldwater was a “liberal” (and he seems to have been predominantly so), he was a “Cold War Liberal” posing as a Republican. As Rothbard observes, he definitely wasn’t part of “the Old Right” like Taft. He was more like Teddy Roosevelt – what we call “Progressives” in the West, but since his family was wealthy, he didn’t care much for any sort of redistributionist social welfare programs.
Eisenhower, I think, was an even better Progressive in this sense, and was a real advocate of democracy and equality of status. His lifelong voting pattern was Democratic, from most accounts, and he would have preferred to run for President as a Democrat, but the Republicans gave him the better deal (or maybe had the better leverage on him). His Administration, however, was dominated by the corporate, Ivy League Old Guard.
I heard one great speech he gave to the Cadets at Sandhurst prior to D-Day. It totally changed my view of him.
I was going to point out that Grover Cleveland was a Democrat, too – maybe the last “true Democrat”, whose major accomplishments included the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and Yellowstone National Park.

Clay Barham December 4, 2009 at 5:26 pm

There are private companies in America who get lost in their own experiences and traditions, to the point they no longer matter profitably in the market. This same growing infection is seen in government, even lasting much longer because it has certain income from taxes. Now, if you wanted to hire a turn-around specialist to reorient your business to making a profit and lasting, would you hire a Harvard law graduate with no experience and give him the keys and the reigns? I doubt it, because if you did, you deserve to go belly-up. You would hire someone with experience in business practices, making and selling of what you produce. He could stand back and take a broad look at what is going on, zero in on what makes money and what does not, then bring the business back to its core as it relates with the market and competitive conditions. In government, however, we have people elected who know nothing and build on what has failed, making it worse, yet able to sustain itself by raising more income from taxes. Then, throw them out and get some more egg-heads to repeat what the last bunch did. Maybe that is one reason Jefferson and his crowd wanted to keep government small, within a days ride on horseback, close to the governed they are to serve, not exploit. Claysamerica.com

newson December 4, 2009 at 10:31 pm

wobbly guy says:
“I’m glad for the US intervention in South-East Asia, because I would not even exist if the damn commies haven’t been delayed by the sacrifice of the US, allowing the ASEAN economies to grow strong enough that they can discredit socialist ideas.”

ah, the notorious domino effect. always a crowd-pleaser, no matter how many times debunked.

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