Flashback: ‘In that cause I am doing the very best I can’ (1960)

(I’m the son of a Goldwater Republican. That’s a story itself, but essentially the experience taught me to stand on principle — damn the odds, damn the consequences. I continue to hold Barry Goldwater and his passionate defense of Liberty in the highest regard.)

“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.” (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!” (1964)

“I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom.
My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them.”

“My faith in the future rests squarely on the belief that man, if he doesn’t first destroy himself, will find new answers in the universe, new technologies, new disciplines, which will contribute to a vastly different and better world in the twenty-first century. Recalling what has happened in my short lifetime in the fields of communication and transportation and the life sciences, I marvel at the pessimists who tell us that we have reached the end of our productive capacity, who project a future of primarily dividing up what we now have and making do with less. To my mind the single essential element on which all discoveries will be dependent is human freedom.” (1979)

“I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in A, B, C and D. Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? … I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of ‘conservatism.'” (1981)