December 6th, 2004



I'm old enough to have voted for Goldwater in a presidential election, but I didn't.  At the time, I naively wanted to use my vote to encourage a third political party--any party, as long as it wasn't Democratic or Republican. Also, Goldwater's idea of foreign policy seemed somewhat radical to me. Lately though, I've come to admire some of the things he said. The following quote is a good example:

"Don't raise hell about the gays, the blacks and the Mexicans.  Free people have the right to do as they damn well please." attributed to Barry Goldwater." Living History, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Simon & Schuster, 2003, page 21.

I'm a Conservative

"Make your progress on the proven values, the Constitution, the free enterprise system, and don't mess around with it."  Barry Goldwater
I believe that quote is a short and sweet definition of conservatism.  Since Goldwater, there have been many so-called conservative leaders who, in my opinion, "talk the talk, but fail miserably to walk their talk."  For all their verbosity, most of their actions are largely in favor of large corporations and wealthy businessmen to the detriment of most Americans, including the children, the elderly, and our future generations.  They've also come up with these new-wave catch-phrase names for their perversions: social conservatism, neo-conservatism, right-wing conservatism, and compassionate conservatism.
Below is a list of dos and don'ts that characterize my idea of conservatism and the particular walk I talk and like to think I walk.
  1.  Don't mess with the U. S. constitution, it may not be perfect, but it has withstood the test of time.  If it's not there by now; it doesn't need to be there.
  2. Don't spend more money than you take in.  The national debt mortgages the lives of our children, grandchildren, and maybe future generations.  Cutting taxes is great, but don't do it until after you've cut spending and can afford it.
  3. Work hard to decrease the size of government.  Less government is more productive in the long run.  Instead of combining overlapping branches, trim them.
  4. Do provide a strong national defense, do make alliances with other countries that enhance that defense.  Respect the conflicting values of our allies, except in the area of intrinsic human rights (the Bill of Rights).
  5. Do not use the military outside the U. S., except to enhance our defense or to provide humanitarian aid.  Make it the very last alternative.
  6. Do not do battle in foreign lands without a clear objective and a commitment in common with our allies.
  7. Neither help nor hinder business.  Either process creates an artificial environment which will eventually hurt the country and/or its citizens.
  8. Protect, educate, sustain, and encourage the young.  They are our future.  Give each child the same opportunity for success.
  9. Make every possible effort to leave the environment as we found it.  Encourage renewable energy sources and discourage the non-renewable or high-polluting ones.
  10. Honor, respect, and do not abridge the rights of individuals to live, to enjoy life, and to worship in their own chosen ways.
Number ten is a short rewording of the Bill of Rights.
In my opinion, using the above list for scoring, ninety percent or more would qualify a leader as a good conservative.  There are some good conservative leaders in the government, but not many.  We need more.

The Fog of War

Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara
  Directed by  Errol Morris

Review: The video is a documentary of an interview with Robert Strange McNamara, who was Secretary of Defense for seven years during the Vietnam War era and during the presidental terms of Kennedy and Johnson. In World War II, he was involved in the bombardment of Japan. Prior to his term as Secretary, he was the president of Ford Motor Company. RSM was eighty-five years old when the interview took place.
 Best quote from RSM: "If we can't persuade nations with comparable values of the merits of our cause, we'd better re-examine our reasons."
Most memorable fact: In one single night of incendiary bombardment, fifty square miles in Tokoyo were destroyed and one hundred-thousand men, women, and children were killed.
The Eleven Lessons discussed by RSM:
  1. Empathize with your enemy, understand their needs.
  2. Rationality will not save us, [but sometimes blind luck will].
  3. There's something beyond one's self.
  4. Maximize efficiency.
  5. Proportionality should be a guideline in war.
  6. Get the data.
  7. Belief and seeing are both often wrong.
  8. Be prepared to re-examine your reasoning.
  9. In order to do good, you may have to engage in evil.
  10. Never say never.
  11. You can't change human nature.