Who was he: Barry Goldwater was a five-term United States Senator and an articulate leader of the resurgent conservative movement during the 1960s. In addition, the libertarian movement today is an outgrowth of the efforts and impact of the Goldwater movement whereby Goldwater was known as "Mr. Conservative." Goldwater is best known for his 1964 campaign for the GOP presidential nomination; at this time, his conservative forces defeated the moderates supporting Nelson Rockefeller for the nomination.
Although the new conservative GOP was badly defeated in the 1964 general election, this marked the birth of the move to the right for the Republican Party. On the night prior to the election a political newcomer, Ronald Reagan, made the first all-network speech on television endorsing Barry Goldwater for president, which propelled Reagan to the national stage; in 1980, Ronald Reagan won the presidency.
Although Reagan made an impact, the public will long remember the following admonition from Goldwater's 1964 acceptance speech for the GOP nomination: "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."
The two writers of this famous speech were Harry V. Jaffa and Karl Hess. Hess became a founding theorist of the new libertarian movement and an anarchist who often talked about smoking dope while speech writing for Goldwater at his home but never in his presence.
Jaffa became renowned as a pro-Lincoln scholar and expert in the United States who vigorously opposes the more libertarian views of Lincoln detractors like Tom DiLorenzo and Thomas Woods. Politics makes strange bedfellows. Freedom lovers today need political leaders and thinkers with the courage of Barry Goldwater.
Background: Barry Morris Goldwater was born on January 1, 1909 in Phoenix, Arizona, the son of Baron Goldwater and Hattie Williams. The family was quite wealthy, as his father's Jewish American family had started Goldwater's Department Store years before, which had become the biggest department store in Phoenix.
Goldwater attended and graduated from the prestigious Staunton Military Academy in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and later spent a year at the University of Arizona. Goldwater took over and managed the department store beginning in 1937 until the US entered World War II. During the war, Goldwater became a US Air Force pilot ferrying planes from the US mostly to India but also over the Himalayas to China.
After the war, in 1952, Barry Goldwater was elected to the Senate where he became known as a strong conservative concerned about communism and the Soviet Union. Goldwater rightfully accused the Democrats of socialist policies at home. In 1964 Goldwater won the Republican Presidential nomination against the Rockefeller forces but was badly beaten by Lyndon Johnson because of nuclear war fears created by the establishment mainstream media. False political ads showed Goldwater followed by a little girl picking flowers before a mushroom cloud destroyed America. Goldwater's campaign stressed state rights and he opposed the 1964 Civil Rights legislation.
Goldwater's campaign only carried Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama Mississippi, South Carolina and Arizona. Following the defeat, Goldwater continued serving in the Senate before retiring in 1987. By the end of his career, Goldwater was a highly respected member and considered a stabilizing force on the new rightwing shift by religious and social conservatives within the GOP.
Barry Goldwater died on May 29th, 1998 at the age of 89.