Quote of the Day: Goldwater on Equality

 

“Absolute power does corrupt, and those who seek it must be suspect and must be opposed. … Equality, rightly understood, as our founding fathers understood it, leads to liberty and to the emancipation of creative differences. Wrongly understood, as it has been so tragically in our time, it leads first to conformity and then to despotism.” — Barry Goldwater

Just a little thought for a New Year’s morning.

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  1. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    We didn’t understand Goldwater at the time.  Who did his writing?  Buckley?  We still don’t understand that comment generally because we believe that remote giant Washington can be fixed.   It can be decentralized as originally designed or it ends in tyranny.

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  2. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    He was as prescient as Ben Franklin and Orwell. Leftists are like Islam in that every so often through the ages, they coalesce like a toxic liquid stain and try to overrun the world. When people let their guard down and aren’t vigilant and allow weak leaders to destroy the economy and moral laxity to spread, they strike. 

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  3. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    I Walton (View Comment):
    It can be decentralized as originally designed or it ends in tyranny.

    Indeed.

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  4. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Arahant: Absolute power does corrupt, and those who seek it must be suspect and must be opposed. … Equality, rightly understood, as our founding fathers understood it, leads to liberty and to the emancipation of creative differences. Wrongly understood, as it has been so tragically in our time, it leads first to conformity and then to despotism.—Barry Goldwater

    Those on the left might criticize the founders’ idea of equality as merely procedural, whereas they want substantive equality, which of course leads to the conformity and despotism mentioned by Goldwater.  (People usually talk about procedural vs substantive democracy, not equality, but I think the same distinction would apply.) 

    Anyhow, I find it interesting that the critics of the “procedural” are the ones who are most likely to use procedural crimes to lock up their opponents.  

    • #4
  5. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Those on the left might criticize the founders’ idea of equality as merely procedural, whereas they want substantive equality, which of course leads to the conformity and despotism mentioned by Goldwater. (People usually talk about procedural vs substantive democracy, not equality, but I think the same distinction would apply.) 

    Anyhow, I find it interesting that the critics of the “procedural” are the ones who are most likely to use procedural crimes to lock up their opponents.

    The other set of terms is equality of opportunity vs. equality of outcomes.

    • #5
  6. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Arahant (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Those on the left might criticize the founders’ idea of equality as merely procedural, whereas they want substantive equality, which of course leads to the conformity and despotism mentioned by Goldwater. (People usually talk about procedural vs substantive democracy, not equality, but I think the same distinction would apply.)

    Anyhow, I find it interesting that the critics of the “procedural” are the ones who are most likely to use procedural crimes to lock up their opponents.

    The other set of terms is equality of opportunity vs. equality of outcomes.

    Yes, it is. There are also some other uses of the comparison.  It seems to me that the wikipedia articles are weak on procedural vs substantive democracy, both referring to essentially procedural differences.  

    • #6
  7. Hoyacon Inactive
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Wrongly understood, as it has been so tragically in our time, it leads first to conformity and then to despotism.

    This quote seems incredibly prescient applied to our times when injustices occur in the name of “equality.” But, to stir the pot a bit, what did it refer to in 1964 when Goldwater uttered the words in accepting the Republican nomination for President?  I’m not so foolish as to claim Goldwater was opposed to civil rights (he clearly opposed segregation), but he did vote against the landmark Civil Rights Act of  1964 based, as a general matter, on his belief that portions of the law were unconstitutional by interfering with states’ rights and private activities.  This was no doubt a principled stand but I question whether it was the “right” stand.

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  8. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Wrongly understood, as it has been so tragically in our time, it leads first to conformity and then to despotism.

    This quote seems incredibly prescient applied to our times when injustices occur in the name of “equality.” But, to stir the pot a bit, what did it refer to in 1964 when Goldwater uttered the words in accepting the Republican nomination for President? I’m not so foolish as to claim Goldwater was opposed to civil rights (he clearly opposed segregation), but he did vote against the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 based, as a general matter, on his belief that portions of the law were unconstitutional by interfering with states’ rights and private activities. This was no doubt a principled stand but I question whether it was the “right” stand.

    He was among the few who understood that legal racism was dying, but grasping politicians and self interested groups would remain the problem whether driven by racism, pretending to be anti racists, or merely mobilizing  law and political power to impose self interested controls for far lesser concerns.

    • #8

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