The Degeneration of Conservatism
A person once said,
On religious issues there can be little or no compromise. There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God's name on one's behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. 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? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. 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."
No, this was not a bleeding-heart liberal; in fact, this is someone who most bleeding-heart liberals have learned to detest. This was a 1981 Senate speech given by Republican Senator Barry Goldwater. It is ironic that most people consider Ronald Reagan to be Goldwater's ideological successor. Various authors have pointed to the loss of the Goldwater campaign as the start of the modern Republican Party. John McCain remarked that Goldwater created the "breeding ground for the election of Ronald Reagan." A conservative columnist for the Washington Post described the 1980 Reagan election with the words, "it took 16 years to count the votes [of the 1964 election], and Goldwater won." But Reagan was not Goldwater's ideological successor. Goldwater was a libertarian. Reagan's right-conservatism was an unusual and hideous marriage of libertarian principles with religious zealotry. And 26 years after Reagan's election, moderate Republicans are beginning to see just how pernicious Reagan's alliance has been.
This entry was edited on 2007/01/28 at 19:26:32 GMT -0500.