Thirty-seven years ago, I wrote this editorial for Front Range Press (RIP) where I was editor/publisher at the time. The boldfacing did not appear in the original:
Twenty years ago, after Barry Goldwater won the GOP presidential nomination, one of his statements — more than any other — was repeated by his opponents to pigeonhole him as a lunatic unfit for the White House. He lost by a landslide.
Wednesday night at the Republican Convention in Dallas, Goldwater won a sort of vindication when the crowd roared its approval as the Senator from Arizona stated once again his belief that “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.”
Although Goldwater was a rotten choice for President in 1964, the slogan he coined was reasonable then and now, and the campaign that used it as proof of his warmongering proclivities always seemed far-fetched.
Pressed, most of us would use extreme means to protect the freedom of our children, friends, and nation.
However, much of the GOP audience to whom Goldwater addressed his resurrected slogan doesn’t know the difference between extremism to defend liberty and extremism used to crush it.
The Republican platform shows just how tightly reactionary extremists have gripped the party. That platform is designed to further liberate the rich from the regulations and other controls that mitigate the worst abuses of our allegedly free economic system. Simultaneously, it would shackle people with privacy-invading laws governing social, sexual, and political behavior.
Just how far over the edge the GOP extremists have ridden is demonstrated by their assertions that racist Ronald Reagan is a moderate. They believe that the past four years are a prelude to a decades-long, ultra-rightist hegemony that will carry America into the 21st Century brandishing a newly burnished version of 19th Century imperialist and traditionalist dogma.
The GOP extremists want to build an America where raped 12-year-olds give birth to their attackers’ children, where buried dinosaur bones are merely God’s way of testing our belief that the world is only 6,000 years old, where the graduated income tax and the minimum wage are cast aside as “communistic,” where full employment means only 8 or 9 million people are officially out work, where a wilderness area means a suburb without a country club, where Third World nations know and keep “their place.”
What these extremists have in store for the nation can be determined by watching the ruthless manner in which they treat the moderate and liberal factions of their own party.
Epitomized by former Interior Secretary James Watt, the GOP’s reactionary extremists see everyone to their left as unpatriotic degenerates, unAmericans. Dissenters in the Soviet Union they proclaim, justifiably, are heroes, but U.S. dissenters they view as traitors.
Poor Goldwater. His slogan contains many operative words. But the GOP ultra-rightists are deaf to all except one of them: extremism. They are a nasty bunch and, if they get Reagan’s carte blanche for another four years, count on them to lay that nastiness on all of us.
I underestimated just how bad they could be.
From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.